Planning a trip to Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan peninsula? If you’re looking for the perfect balance of relaxation and action for your family to enjoy, you won’t find a better combination than a stay at a gorgeous Rental Escapes villa, paired with a day or two of discovery at Xel-Ha park!
Xel-Ha is an incredibly popular attraction in the Mayan Riviera – and with good reason. Centered around swimming, snorkeling, and its natural “lazy river”, you’ll come up close and personal with all kinds of aquatic life (fish, birds, and crustaceans) during your time here. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in a unique habitat that melds the brilliant turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea with green mangroves and lush jungle plant life.
There are wooden bridges to traverse, mysterious paths to follow, epic waterslides to whizz down, bikes to ride, cliffs to jump off of, and ziplines with spectacular water landings – allowing you to imagine you’re an explorer discovering this captivating slice of coastal Mexico for the very first time. And a single entrance fee is all you’ll pay to enjoy a truly all inclusive experience, which incorporates unlimited food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and the vast majority of the activities available.
Xel-Ha is a 40-minute drive from Playa del Carmen, a 20-minute drive from Tulum, and only a 10-minute drive from Puerto Aventuras/Soliman Bay. Your Rental Escapes concierge can arrange a private shuttle for your group, or get you set up with your own rental car, if you’d prefer to drive there yourself.
A few tips to make your visit even better
You may want to try to arrive at the park as early in the day as possible, so that you can enjoy the naturally sacred feel of the cenotes, caves, and other spaces on the property that have limited occupancy at any one time.
Upon arriving at the park, you’ll be given a lock for your own private locker, with the key on a wristband that you’ll wear throughout the day. In order to protect the various species of tropical fish that life there, you’re not allowed to wear regular sunscreen in the park, so be prepared to purchase the eco-friendly lotion that is available on-site. Fuel up with breakfast at one of the park’s four restaurants, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground (or the water) running!
A few highlights you won’t want to miss: When floating down the lazy river on your own personal inner tube, keep an eye out for the brightly-colored crabs that hang out on the roots of the mangrove trees. Then, when you’re crossing the lagoon on the floating wooden bridge, look over the sides to see if you can spot the massive groupers! Kids will marvel at these prehistoric-looking creatures, which they’re unlikely to have seen anyplace else.
The park is open until 6:30 PM, but you’ll have to pace yourself if you want to last that long – especially when it comes to the delicious margaritas that they serve! To avoid getting too much sun, or to sober up before you try walking on the sea floor wearing an astronaut-esque helmet, be sure to take frequent breaks in the shade. The “hammock village” is the perfect place to lie back and catch your breath for a few minutes before you’re off to the next attraction.
If you want to feel like a kid again (or give your children an experience they’ll never forget!), there truly is nothing else like Xel-Ha elsewhere in the world. So if you’re mapping out a Mexico villa vacation of a lifetime, we recommend you make it a point to include a visit to this inimitable natural wonder.
All you need to round out your plans for your Mayan Riviera holiday is the perfect villa – which will be ready to greet you with its sense of serene luxury upon your return from Xel-Ha. Below are some of our favorite family-friendly choices located in Tulum, Playa del Carmen/Playacar, and Puerto Aventuras – three beautiful areas of the Yucatan Peninsula that are within easy reach of the park.
Villa Alma Rosa: