Xel-Ha picture
Xel-Ha
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LisaStrachan/Getty Images

Key Info

Near Tulum

Price & Hours

Prices vary by package type
8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Details

Natural Wonders, Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.1scorecard
  • 2.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

In the Mayan language, Xel-Ha means "where the water is born." So, expect a trip to Xel-Ha to include plenty of time underwater. Xel-Ha is a natural aquarium centered on an inlet and lagoon that visitors can swim and snorkel through, accompanied by schools of tropical fish, dolphins and turtles. Opinions are split on the benefits of visiting, particularly given that Playa del Carmen's Xcaret eco-park offers virtually the same experience and is closer to town. Several say your preference will probably be determined by which park you hit first. Before you pick, consider that Xcaret's exhibits are man-made, whereas Xel-Ha's are natural. Or on the flipside, keep in mind that Xel-Ha is strictly an aquatic park while Xcaret also includes an aviary and a small zoo, among other attractions. Still can't decide? There's always the option of visiting both thanks to build-your-own packages.

Recent travelers were impressed with Xel-Ha, describing it as "amazing" and "beautiful," and many recommended booking a package deal that allows you to experience both the Mayan ruins in Tulum and the water activities at Xel-Ha in one day. Visitors warn that the prices are steep but well worth it.

Xel-Ha, which is open year-round from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., is situated about 20 miles south of Playa del Carmen; the cost of transportation to the attraction is included in many package deals. Admission prices vary depending on what package you select; ticket prices start at $94.49 for adults if purchased online in advance. For additional information, visit Xel-Ha's website.

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