no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 13 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

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).

Price from: £80
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

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.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hotel Jashita

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[4.1 miles]

Luxurious couples-focused beach pavilions overlooking one of the Yucatan’s few bays, twenty-minutes north of Tulum

Official star rating:

Villa Pescadores

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[14.8 miles]

Tulum ruins perched on a cliff and turquoise sea lapping talc-white sand: it’s all about location in this rustic beach-cabin retreat.

Official star rating:

Kai Hotel Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[14.8 miles]

A good value hotel on the choicest stretch of sand and in the shadow of Tulum ruins. Its cabanas come with ocean views.

Official star rating:

Coco Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[20 miles]

Beachside party hotel with great value rooms in traditional barefoot-chic Tulum beach cabanas, with comfort. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Mayan Riviera


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.

Website >
Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Gran Cenote

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[13.7 miles]

Lily-covered, glassy-clear and filled with terrapins and tropical fish, this cenote near Tulum is easy to reach and fabulous to swim in. Big caverns make for spectacular cave diving.

Best for ages: 6+ | £7

Website >
Overview >

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..


Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico[4.9 miles]

A simple nature-based theme park with a safari-park zoo, a cenote for swimming, a spectacular cave and a rainforest canopy zip-line adventure.

Best for ages: 4+ | £30

Website >
Overview >

Mayan ruins of Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico[13.8 miles]

Iconic, though modest, Maya ruins perched on a cliff overlooking a beautiful beach and a turquoise ocean.

Best for ages: 10+ | £2

Website >
Overview >