Xel-Ha, a natural, aquatic theme park south of Playa del Carmen, has 35 acres (14 hectares) of clear, warm, swimmable lagoons, caves, and aquatic inlets. Named after a Mayan archaeological site, Xel-Ha means ‘place where the waters are born’ and offers a variety of land and water activities, plus ecological attractions. Visitors keep busy snorkeling (gear provided), tubing down a natural lazy river, riding the jungle train, hovering above the river on a rope walk, exploring verdant jungle paths, and visiting a scale model of the Tulum ruins.
Add-on activities allow visitors to cycle through tree canopies on a zip bike (from $35) for a bird’s-eye view or walk beneath the waves on a SeaTrek surrounded by fish (from $31). Although not offered by Viator, add-on animal encounters are available—choose a 40-minute, educational session that includes snorkeling with manatees, a stingray encounter (from $49) or the opportunity to swim with dolphins (from $99). These activities are offered during scheduled time windows and require advance reservations.
Xel-Ha is located about 70 miles (117 km) south of Cancún and 30 miles (48 km) south of Playa del Carmen in the Quintana Roo region of the Yucatán Peninsula. Getting around the park is easy with the jungle train and available bicycles. Xel-Ha is part of a network of related parks and experiences, including Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenotes Oasis Maya, Xoximilco Cancun, Xichen, and Xenses. Packages including admission to multiple parks are available. Some tours depart from Cancun or Riviera Maya and include roundtrip transportation. Travelers will find four restaurants, a gift shop, several bars, lockers, showers, and free WiFi at Xel-Ha. Wheelchairs are available for rent.