There are plenty of fun things to do and see while visiting the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Swimming with sea turtles, heading to Isla de Mujeres for the day, exploring the cenotes and just relaxing on the beach are some, but my absolute favourite Riviera Maya activity must be visiting Xel-Há Park – an all natural water park!
Side note: It’s pronounced ‘Chel Ha’.
For someone who loves being in the water like me, it’s heaven on earth. Getting to run around in a water park is one of my favourite activities when I’m travelling, let alone an all-natural water park!
One of the main attractions of the park is a large inlet from the sea, where several tropical fish have found a home. Here you can spend all day snorkeling, swimming and saying hello to your new underwater friends. The inlet is quite big, so even when the park is full you won’t notice. Especially not when you’re in your own little world underwater.
There is plenty of things to do in addition to snorkeling and swimming, such as ziplining into the water on one of their many ziplines, relaxing in a hammock (you’ll find designaded areas for relaxing, with hammocks and shade from the palm trees), or just floating around (literally) while soaking up some sun.
Other attractions include a river tour (a natural lazy river, which actually turned out being quite scary due to all the mangroves surrounding it), the Cliff of Courage (see the awesome GoPro phot above? I proved my courage, hah!), and dark caves where you are free to explore on your own (if you dare). They also have some lovely shaded walks around the forrests, where you’ll meet plenty of iguanas relaxing along the pathways.
Additionally, you can purchase extra activities throughout the day, such as animal encounters and ‘snuba’ diving.
As if all of these activities aren’t enough, let me get to the good part.
I haven’t even mentioned my favourite thing about the entire park. Once you have purchased your admissions ticket, you’ll get unlimited snorkeling, food and drinks for the rest of the day! This means that whenever you’re tired of running around in your bikini, jumping into the water wherever you see fit, you can head into the nearest bar, grab some nachos and a margharita! How perfect doesn’t that sound?
Side note: The bars don’t open until 10:30. Bummer.
They had plenty of fun, ‘Xel-Há’ themed drinks, in addition to all your classic favourites.
The practical stuff
Xel-Há is located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, and we booked a taxi from our hotel in Tulum to get there. This was not too expensive, and as we left the park for the day there were loads of taxis outside waiting. The ADO buses also run between Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Xel-Ha, and it is also possible to book transport with your ticket when booking online.
They ask you to only use biodegradable sunscreen in order to protect the marine environment, which can be purchased in the park if necessary.
The price for one adult was $89 when we visited, which includes unlimited snorkeling, food and drinks, as mentioned above. Totally worth it! If you book online there is a discount, and I advise you to do this in order to avoid the ticket queues upon arrival.
Have you ever been to a similar place? Where is your favourite water park?
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