Everywhere you look in the Riviera Maya there are things to do. Cenotes, snorkeling, Mayan ruins and don’t forget the gorgeous beaches. Unfortunately, loads of options don’t make it easy to decide where to go. Which place is best? How much time will it take? Will the kids like it? What will we eat?
Enter Xel-Ha park. Xel-Ha means “Where the water is born” in the Mayan language. You can experience snorkeling, floating through a mangrove, zip-lining, delicious food and more. It’s a great place to visit if you only have the time to do one thing outside of your resort.
Most of Xel-Ha’s experiences are included within their All Inclusive Ticket. When traveling with my family, I love when everything is included. I hate being nickel and dimed for every little thing (big things are different of course). One thing we did add to our ticket was the stingray encounter. We were able to get up close and personal with stingrays. The experience was both very cool and very unnerving at the same time. Evan, Dewey and I all got to touch the sting ray and have pictures made with it. One interesting thing we learned is that Xel-Ha doesn’t keep sting rays in captivity. They feed them during the encounter and they come back every day like clockwork. We got to do our part to keep them coming back by feeding our stingray friend a snack (above).
Next we were off to float through the mangroves on our tubes. Evan and I decided to get a tandem tube so we could both float together. Floating through the mangrove roots was so cool. It felt like we were traveling through a weird underground world. Once we left the mangrove, we continued to float through Xel-Ha watching everything going on around us. This picture looks a bit crowded but it really wasn’t. There are just a few slow spots in the river where tubes can clump up a bit.
The only thing that Evan wished we had done that we didn’t was the ZipBike. It is kind of a melding of the zip line and riding a bike. Next time!
Before heading out to snorkel, we had to refuel. A buffet lunch is included in your ticket to Xel-Ha. They have both a traditional Mexican/Mayan buffet and a western food buffet to choose from. We tried the Mexican buffet and it was delicious. They even had mole! Everything was fresh, tasty and replenished often.
Once we were full and sleepy, it was time to wake up by hitting the water! We scanned our bracelets to get our included snorkel equipment. This was Evan’s first time snorkeling so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully he loved it. He was amazed at the fish he got to see. The water is amazingly clear. We saw parrot fish, rays and more. Evan’s waterproof camera came in handy while we were at Xel-Ha. It let us capture great pics even when we were snorkeling. Next time, though, we will splurge on the Photo Pass so we can get more pictures together as a family.
We can’t wait to visit Xel-Ha again with the big kids. We are pretty sure they would love the zip-lining and other scary…er…adventure options that Xel-Ha has to offer. We would also love to have more time to relax in one of Xel-Ha’s many hammocks around the property. So much to see and do, we definitely have lots to experience next time we visit.
Disclosure: We were hosted by Xel-Ha during our visit. There are also affiliate links within this post. As always, all opinions are my own.