AAA Editor Notes
Xel-Ha is about 16 km (10 mi.) n. of the town of Tulum via a well-marked turn-off on the e. side of Mex. 307 (Km marker 240). The centerpiece of this water park (pronounced shell-HAH) is a beautiful lagoon surrounded by jungle. A natural aquarium with a mix of salt and fresh water, it provides an environment for brightly colored tropical fish that inhabit the underwater rock formations.
Snorkeling can be enjoyed without the undertows or strong currents that can make the beaches dangerous, and the clarity of the water is excellent. Snuba gear enables snorkelers to stay under water longer by breathing air through tubes that run to air tanks floating on the surface. For landlubbers there are viewing platforms built over the lagoon. Another popular activity is river floating; visitors are taken to a drop-off point by a shuttle train and then float slowly along with the current toward the sea.
Chuc Kay's Flight, a rope swing and the Cliff of Courage provide an exhilarating plunge into lagoon waters, while Trepachanga involves balancing between two ropes suspended above the river. Children's World has play areas and water activities geared toward younger kids, and a short distance away is a quiet area equipped with hammocks for a relaxing siesta.
Other activities include swimming in freshwater cenotes, hiking and biking along jungle trails and visiting a nursery/apiary where honey is harvested from stingless bees. Xel-ha also offers a dolphin swim program.
To fully enjoy the park get there early; it can become very crowded once the tour buses arrive. Dress casually and bring comfortable shoes. Life jackets are provided, and there is a first-aid station on site. All food services close at 5 p.m. Package tours from Cancún and Playa del Carmen that include round-trip transportation are available.
Food is available.