Results 11-20of 22 Reviews
January 22, 2004
We loved Xel-Ha. It is a natural lagoon surrounded by miles of walking trails. You can enjoy the main section or disappear into secluded areas of the park for privacy. Xel Ha offers snuba (a combination of scuba and snorkeling), snorkeling, dolphin swim (additional fee of about $110), dolphin shows, cliff jumping, and an aquarium.
We spent two hours snorkeling, but it is possible to snorkel all day. The calm water is great for beginners. The water was very clear so we had great visibility. The reef is dull brown but the variety of brightly colored fish more than make up for it. As we got closer to ocean, we even saw a barracuda. They advertise a beach on one perimeter of the park, but it is over a mile from the entrance and the ocean current makes it too dangerous to swim in. For families with young children, they have a playground and a kiddie pool. For those who just want to relax they have rows of hammocks in a shaded area. We took advantage of them after lunch. I have pictures of my son asleep on my husband's chest in a hammock.
As you get away from the main gate they set up tables and chairs in small inlets on the rocks where a couple or family can be alone. There are also quiet walking trails throughout the park.
The wildlife in this park was amazing. At the entrance, we were greeted by beautiful Macaws. The area is covered with dragons and iguanas. They will come up to visitors looking for fruit or scraps of food. I choose not to get too close, but I watched a little boy share his pizza with one.
We highly recommend this site. It was absolutely beautiful.
From journal Cancun in November
January 11, 2004
From journal Snorkling in the Riveria Maya
August 16, 2003
From journal Riveria Maya Vacation Oct 2002
June 5, 2003
From journal My Family In Cancun
May 17, 2003
This place is extremely spread out. Plan on walking long distances. We didn't see much because we didn't want to walk the entire day. You can see caves, snorkel, hike trails, swim with dolphins, and tube in the lagoon (they say it's a lazy river, but that's not true - it's just on a different side of the snorkel lagoon).
If you really like snorkeling this isn't the place for you. It's a bare, sand bottom lagoon. There are some large fish here though. The lagoon is meshed off from large predators, so the fish inside tolerate snorkelers in exchange for their safety. Snorkelers are eveywhere! Snorkeling off of a shore or a boat is much better.
We weren't that impressed with Xel-Ha, we felt that XCaret was much better and much more worth the money. They do rent towels, lockers, and snorkel equipment. It was nice, but after visiting XCaret we probably would not return to Xel-Ha. Xel-Ha does have some beautiful scenery and there are fresh water showers everywhere to rinse off.
From journal Cancun Vacation
February 9, 2003
From journal Rivera Maya
January 6, 2003
We snorkeled for several hours all over the close in lagoons. This was mom's first experience snorkeling, and almost Katie's first. The fish were lovely, although Katie found some of the larger ones a bit scary. At one point a large fish scared her out of the water. We snorkeled until noon, then ate lunch at one of the restaurants.
Mom was feeling a bit tired (and sunburned; Xel-Ha won't let you use regular sunscreen because it hurts the fish. They sell an ecological sunscreen, but it is water soluble). So mom was indeed pretty sunburned. So she took a little siesta on one of the chaises while Katie did the same in one of the hammocks. Then we shopped (mom bought a teapot and some shirts) until we dropped. Dropped back into the water again, that is.
We spent another hour snorkeling, a little further out in the water, until even Katie was pooped.
From journal Mom and daughter in the Yucatan
November 27, 2002
At this point we took a few minutes to really look around us. All shades of green in this jungle-beach paradise. Walkways placed to be unobtrusive and preserve the beauty of the foliage. Bright flowers, twinkling white sand, and blue, blue water. Time to jump in!
Our travel companions had never been snorkeling before and were mesmerized by the whole experience. Swimming around amazing rock formations, schools of vibrant-colored fish swimming just out of reach, searching the crevices for the shy ones, and seeing massive fish hovering in hiding places near the bottom. The Xel-Ha inlet is in a place where fresh water meets salt water. We don't know if it was because of the tide at the time we were there, but there was a layer where the salt water and fresh water were mixing, making vision cloudy. For my husband and I, who have snorkeled many times, this was not the best place we've ever been.
Unfortunately, it was time to head back to catch the ship before it left without us. We said good-bye to this tropical jungle after a quick, unmemorable lunch at one of the food stands, and drove the 30 minutes back to Playa del Carmen.
From journal Port of Call: Cozumel
Ladysmith, British Columbia
August 19, 2002
From journal First Time in Cancun
April 4, 2001
The lagoon is calm even on windy days, but the coral is dead - no color. The different varieties of fish make up for the color! Xel Ha feeds the fish so there are many looking for a free hand out. For a peso you can also feed the fish, and watch the school grow very fast! For an extra fee you can swim with a trained dolphin. They charge $55 for 1/2 hour.
Xel Ha has a few fresh water cenotes and hidden beaches with hammocks. Near the bridge check out the Mauan Cave. The restaurants and snacks, sodas are reasonably priced so enjoy lunch at the park.
From journal Memories of Cancun