Living here in Tulum, there is always something to do. Fun things that you never forget and make the best out of your day. Recently, we went to Xel-ha. It is located about 20 minutes north of Tulum, on the way towards Playa del Carmen.
Xel-Ha is a true paradise for nature lovers and a spectacular natural aquarium. It is located in the Riviera Maya , in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and since 1995 is a model of sustainable tourism, with unique attractions for the whole family.
The ancient Mayans baptized this wonderful place with the name of Xel-Há , which in the Mayan language means “Where the water is born”.
Because of its privileged position, in pre – Hispanic times Xel-Há served as a port of shelter, a commercial center, a point of pilgrimage and refuge for sailors, as well as representing a food reserve during bad weather.
The legend tells that the Mayan gods united their wisdom, illusions and love for the beauty, to create a place that would gather the best of nature in one place, which they called Xel-Ha. Once created, the gods were so pleased with the place, that they decided to allow the entrance to all mortals. To take care of him and the elements that surround him, the gods named three guardians: “Huh” the iguana, Guardian of the Earth, “Chuc Kay”, the Pelican, Guardian of the Air, and “Kay Op”, the fish Parrot, Water Guardian. It is said that to date, these guardians take care of the Park and everyone who visits it.
One of the benefits of being a resident here, is that you get a discount. That’s right, discount to get in. You must show your residency card or a Mexican drivers license proving you live in Quintana Roo. The regular price, without residency or license to get in is Adults 89.00 usd, children 5-11 years old 44.00 usd and children under 5 get in free. You must have proof of all their ages. But with residency, it is half off. It cost us 799 pesos (42 usd) a piece to get in. That is for an adult. So, half of that for children 5-11.
So, you ask, what is included in that price? What makes it such a great place to go to for your money?
Xel-ha is an all- inclusive park. That means all your food, beverage (water, soda and premium alcohol), jackets, snorkel gear, towels, lockers, plastic bags for wet clothing and almost all the activies are included in your cost.
The list of the activities that are included in this are snorkeling, floating down the lazy river on a floatie, cliff jumping, ziplining into the water, huge tube slide, a cenote in a cave, trepachanga, floating bridge, walking the jungle trails, floating through the mangroves, huge playground for the kids with wooden tunnels through the trees, called children’s worldflying a kite, bike riding, a nursery, Queen Conch sanctuary and just straight up laying on the beach relaxing.
There are other activities, too, that will cost an extra fee to do on top of the entrance fee. There is scuba diving in the cove or a cenote, bike zip line, swim with the dolphins, sea trek, manatee encounter, stingray encounter, adrenalina xel-ha tour, spa and temazcal xel-ha. Whew, that’s a whole lot to do in one place.
There is also a boat that they have tied up that has a glass bottom. You can get on it and go sit down and watch the beautiful different kinds of fish that swims throughout Xel-ha Park. There is always a large variety since the park is in an inlet from the ocean. The floating bridge walks across from one side of the inlet the other. It is quite the challenge to walk across, but lots of fun.
The best thing to do when you arrive, preferably at opening, is to find a place to sit. You want a place that is shaded, and they go quickly. You want to keep in mind that you want to be close to bathrooms, lockers, food and bar. No worries about your belongings being taken. You can keep it all in a locker and the towels are included for the duration of your stay. Then you will want to go get your snorkel gear. When you come in, you will get a bracelet with a scan bar on it. When you get your gear, they scan your barcode. When returning gear, they scan your barcode again. The only thing you don’t have to return is the snorkel. That you keep. They are great snorkels, too. There are jacket stations everywhere. Just find your size and grab it. You will not be allowed in the water without a jacket. Safety first.
Since we arrive so early, once we get ourselves set up, then we head to breakfast. The food is set up buffet style. We truly felt like we were at a luxury resort. The food is amazing and the have everything you could think of there to eat.
After eating, time to play!!!! Plan your day right. Know where all the attractions are and how to find them. It is crazy how fast your day will go. We were there from 9-5 and still didn’t do everything there was to do. Well, I guess we are going back again.
If you want to find out more info about Xel-ha Park, go to www.xelha.com. Well, you better start planning your Xel-ha day!!!!