Talc-white beaches, reefs teeming with life, ruined temples in misty rainforests – the Riviera Maya offers a family or romantic beach holiday with a dash of Indian Jones adventure.
This popular water-based theme park with rides, slides, snorkelling and zip lines, comprises a series of broken, crystal-clear bays and glassy streams, teeming with brightly coloured marine life and fringed with low tropical forest. It’s great for families with safe, supervised activities and excellent snorkelling.
It also offers the chance to swim with captive dolphins, manatees and stingrays (though consider the ethics of keeping these animals in captivity before supporting them by participation).
Getting there & doing it
Xel-Ha is about 10 minutes’ drive north of Tulum on the main 307 Highway (about 30 minutes’ drive south of Playa del Carmen).
No pre-booking is required for admission, but book ahead for the swimming with dolphins and manatees experiences. Book online in advance for a 10% discount.
Eating and changing facilities are on site. The entry price includes a buffet breakfast, lunch and snacks.
When to do it
It’s open all year round, seven days a week.
The weather in the Mayan Riviera is generally good all year round, and the water is always warm enough for swimming. The rainy season from May through October sees the fewest visitors to Mayan Riviera. June through October is hurricane season. The dry season – November through April – gets busy everywhere.
If you can, avoid peak season in December to January, when it gets oppressively crowded, especially around Christmas and New Year.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience