Considered one of the largest parks in the world, the Xel-Ha Natural Park offers one of the best experiences for snorkeling in all of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Watch hundreds of tropical fish and over 90 marine species inhabiting its cove and explore its cenotes (sinkholes), caves and lagoons fed by the ocean, which blend with the fresh waters of a spring.
Located to the south of Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha is an eco-archaeological park whose name means “birthplace of water” and which offers a great number of aquatic activities, ecological attractions, restaurants and a wide range of experiences in a unique place where you will be able to enjoy the Riviera Maya’s wealth in biodiversity.
What are the attractions it offers?
Come and dive into one of the cenotes, lagoons, caves and aquatic zip lines Xel-Ha has to offer to ensure you are having fun. Get to know one of the park’s main attractions: its cove formed just where the water from the river creates fresh water currents through the rocks and blends with the ocean. This phenomenon gives life to a natural aquarium which is home to hundreds of marine species, both freshwater as well as saltwater, tropical fish and exotic flora where you will even be able to swim with dolphins. Play with and watch yellow tail fish, parrot fish, surgeon fish, snapper, sergeant fish, grumpy fish, stingrays, cubera snappers, doctor fish and occasionally some barracudas. It is also quite common to see marine turtles and manatees.
Go snorkeling in the Xel Ha River; stop at one of the platforms where you can make a stop to admire the underwater wonders. If diving into the water is not your thing, board an inflatable tire and enjoy the ride from the surface; tour the lush mangroves and the tropical jungle dotted with orchids that will make you feel as if you were in Paradise. You can also take a better look at the Mayan culture, taking the guided eco-tours around the reserve. Visit the apiary of Melipona bees or “Maya bees” and learn the traditional Mayan methods of encapsulating the hive inside a hollow trunk.
What you cannot miss
Delve into the depths of the ocean with Sea Trek where, equipped with a special suit, you will be able to walk on the ocean floor for 22 feet and interact with all kinds of species such as a stingray family or dolphins, who will display their intelligence and whom you will be able to watch in their natural habitat.
Don’t miss the opportunity to practice Snuba, a combination of scuba diving and snorkeling in which you can swim freely breathing from a tank located on the surface while you explore the abundant marine life in the depths of the Caribbean ocean aided by visor and flippers. Swim with manatees, coexist with them and feed one of the endangered species that are cared for in this park. You will also be able to visit the endangered marine turtle reserve, where studies for their preservation are being carried out.
Out of the water, you will also find plenty to do: you can cross a hanging bridge, walk through a maze, go climbing and rope climbing, biking, and even a take a walking tour of the cenotes. There is no excuse to be bored!
The approximate time is five hours.
Who can enjoy it
Because of its intimate atmosphere, couples find Xel Ha to be the perfect place for them. Families with small children will find an irresistible proposal of activities in this paradise in the Riviera Maya.
We suggest you bring a bathing suit, water resistant shoes, shorts, a T-shirt and a change of clothes for when the tour comes to an end. Use 100 per cent biodegradable sunscreen and don’t wear any makeup to avoid damaging the environment or the species. Arrive 15 minutes earlier to the meeting place agreed upon with your operator.