Results 1-10of 22 Reviews
February 10, 2007
We spent the whole day snorkeling in the bay, walking the iguana-laden trails, and just going down the waterway on a raft. IT WAS FUN. When we got hungry, we stopped at one of the many eating places and just ordered food without having to worry about the bill or having money (which is great when you're in swim trunks). If I felt like a beer or a drink, I just went into one of the waterside bars.
I saw loads of fish and took my photo in a cave that we had to snorkel into. My ex-girlfriend got mad because I didn't want to swim with the dolphins (this caused a fight). But I've never wanted to do this, and she wasn't going to cover the extra $150 for it. Anyway, this is a place where there you can encounter the famous "cenotes" and play in a land where the Mayans used to. (I don't think the bars or restaurants were there yet, though!)
There are lots of fish, and if you want, you can "Snuba," though I preferred to snorkel. Be advised, they DO NOT allow you to use your own sunscreen here because it will destroy the environment.
From journal Cancun and Cozumel: Land of the Mayans
Raleigh, North Carolina
December 22, 2006
The bus trip was interesting, it was about 1.5 hrs once we got on the right bus. The tour bus picked us up at the resort, then dumped us off at a market, where we were supposed to shop for 45 minutes until they rounded us up and we finally took off. We were a bit annoyed at this part. The bus guide gave us directions in both Spanish and English, and it was fun to hear the long Spanish explanation and then just a few words of English. We wondered if he was telling us all the same things!
Once we got there, we were amazed by the natural beauty of the park. The owners of this park (by the way, it is a privately-owned property) have obviously gone to great means to maintain the grounds. The snorkeling was outstanding, and we saw lots of variety and quantity. There are fun rope swings and other stuff for the little boys in all of us. The nature paths and local flora and fauna were outstanding. We can't say enough about this park. It was well worth the non-inclusive money.
From journal Fiesta Americana Cancun
March 25, 2005
The park is in a circle, so it is easy to make your way around. Your entry fee includes 11 all-inclusive restaurants the caliber of any American theme-park restaurant. There are free bottled water depots, ice-cream depots, and mixed-drink depots all around as well. The photographers who take your photos all day do a great job. Make sure to check your photos before you leave, as we bought most of ours. Here you can go rock climbing and then jump into the ocean. You can go scuba diving, ride down the lazy river/ocean in a tube, visit with the dolphins, or just relax in the hundreds of coves they have set up for you - all included in your entry fee. You get your towels, a locker, and snorkel stuff at check-in, and it is very sad when the end of the day comes and you have to leave. There are millions of large fish. We have never seen such large, colourful fish in one place. It was well worth it. We will go back to Mexico just to visit Xel-Ha again!
From journal Reef Club Cozumel
Ladysmith, British Columbia
August 19, 2002
From journal First Time in Cancun
April 25, 2005
Most of the bigger hotels in Cancun have reps that can organize this. Doing it this way, it’s $45 but includes transport, entry to the park, and lunch, and usually combines the park with a visit to the Tulum ruins, too.
The park is really beautiful, but most of the coral is dead, so that was disappointing for me. Xel-Ha is quite spread out, but some of the areas farther a field can be reached by a small tractor or bicycles. We took some bikes to get to the start point of the lazy river, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The river was really cold, and that was quite refreshing seeing how it was close to 100°F the day we went.
The plan was to cycle to the start of the river, leave the bikes, enter the river, and let the current take you back into the main lagoon. The river was quite slow, though, so most of this time we had be swimming and it’s quite a long way, so unless the river is quicker on a different day, be prepared for this. Equipped with our snorkel gear, we spent a long time here, and some of the areas were quite spooky, with mangrove roots touching your legs and very bold fish that would pull on my belly ring. UGH!
Once back in the main lagoon, you can feed the fish for a dollar. This is also a little creepy, as those fish are very aggressive and swarm around you jumping and, again, pulling on loose jewelry. I did wonder after I’d lost both an ankle chain and toe ring if they had been so trained and some guy was selling my bling by the roadside someplace!?
There are restaurants along the lagoon where the food is included if you do it as a package. There are trails and beaches that you can take very small hikes to, and en route, you will run into the biggest iguanas I have ever seen.
If you look beyond the commercialization of the park, you will learn that it really does do a lot to protect the local environment and encourages environmental awareness .Speaking of which, be sure to bring some kind of chemical-free sunscreen, as you are not allowed to wear the regular kind here, and with the heat of summer, you can’t go without it. They do sell small bottles there, but at $14, you might want to bring your own.
Look HERE to check out their website and look at all the different activities.
From journal Fun in the Sun
September 17, 2004
My wife and I spent hours snorkeling around the lagoon. Although you can find coral all over the lagoon, the fish tend to hide out along the rocks and coral next to the lagoon's banks.
Afterwards, we spent almost a half hour floating down the River of Dreams, which made for a relaxing break from all of the swimming.
Although small, the Mayan Cave was a sight to see as well.
My wife and I went with the all inclusive package, which includes the park's entrance fee, locker, life jacket, and snorkeling equipment rental, and all of the food and drinks you can stuff down your throat. We felt it was well worth the money.
There are several snack areas and small restaurants located throughout the park and a large buffet-style restaurant right next to the lagoon. The restaurants serve everything from hamburgers and pizza to ice cream and seafood.
Most of the activities are free after paying your entrance fee, but some activities, such as the spa and swimming with the dolphins, will cost you extra.
My wife and I really enjoyed our day at Xel-Ha and other than the water being a little cold and a little rough near the beach (but not in the lagoon itself), we have absolutely no complaints about the park. It is a tropical paradise if ever I saw one. You are surrounded by nature at all times and can't help but feal like you are in some kind of surreal dreamland. Take a look at our photos and see for yourselves.
From journal A Memorable Honeymoon in Cancun
Saddle Brook, New Jersey
April 21, 2004
The main attraction at Xel-Ha is the 10-acre lagoon, where you can snorkel, tube or just go for a dip. We brought our own snorkel gear, but we did wait on line for the free life jacket rental. The lagoon is anywhere between 9-12 feet deep, with most fish congregating by the rock formations scattered about the lagoon. The tropical fish pay no mind to you as you admire their beauty in their natural environment. One great area to see larger fish, such as snapper, is to snorkel by the floating bridge, where the Xel-Ha people throw feed into the lagoon.
Another option at Xel-Ha is the "Swim with the Dolphins." To swim with the dolphins costs a fee of about $115. If you plan on this you should make reservations at least 24 hours in advance. You can also watch the dolphins around the fenced area as they play with the paying customers.
A popular area in Xel-Ha is the "Hammock Park". Here you can just relax or take a nap on one of about 50 hammocks. Next to "Hammock Park" is a picture taking area. Here you can take pictures with beautiful Macaw parrots. The handler will place as many as three on your head and arms. To take a picture is free, but if you want the picture it will cost about $9. Be smart have your camera ready to take a picture quickly and you can save yourself a couple of bucks.
Other areas of Xel-Ha include an underwater cave. This was very cool. The cave is in a "U" shape and is not very big. There is also a Xel-Ha employee there to take a picture of you for a price. Here is a quick tip. There are sinkholes on a trail over the cave. Here you can see down into the water, get a family member or friend to take a picture of you as you swim by the hole. Along one of the trails (on the trails you will see plenty of iguana, so watch your step) you will come to a Tarzan swing. You can also get your picture taken here by a Xel-Ha photographer (they also take pics of you as you swim in the lagoon).
Your food options in Xel-Ha are decent. There is a buffet, a couple of sit-down restaurants, and a couple of fast-food places, if I remember correctly. There are also a few ice cream stands around the lagoon.
I would say Xel-Ha was one of the highlights on our trip to Cancun.
From journal A Bit Of R&R In Cancun
January 11, 2004
From journal Snorkling in the Riveria Maya
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
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