What is Xel Ha park like?
Xel Ha park is a large inlet that connects the ground water flowing out to the ocean. In Xel Ha you have the opportunity to spend the day snorkeling, floating, swimming, and having fun in this large open park. You will get to see tropical fish, have meals, and explore this beautiful area.
Xel Ha is part of the Xcaret family of parks. Each of their parks is different and offers a great experience to guest here in the Riviera Maya. If you are familiar with our website, we have written about their parks and what each one is like and what makes them different. We feel that each one of the parks is worth going to and each park is done very well. This is why these parks are so popular.
In this article we will try to tell you everything about visiting Xel Ha and what you should expect for your day there. We will also have lots of insider tips on things like getting the best price for tickets, options for getting to the park and what to see there. Lets start with a short video that will show you around the park and what Xel Ha is like.
Our video introduction to Xel Ha
We made this video for you so you could see the beautiful inlet that is home to tropical fish and how the park compliments this area.
What is included in the Xel Ha park admission?
When you buy an entry ticket to Xel Ha, here is what is included:
- Full day at the park.
- Snorkels, fins, mask, life jackets and tubes for swimming and snorkeling.
- Waterslides and observation tower.
- Breakfast buffet and lunch buffet as well as snack bar throughout the day.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Access to the zip lines (3) in the water and cliff jumps.
- Walking trail to see cenotes.
- Children’s park.
There really is so much to do in one day at Xel Ha park that you don’t need to add any optional activities. The only time we recommend it is if there is something you really want to do or if you have been to Xel Ha before and want to make your experience a little different.
There are some pretty unique things that you can do while at Xel Ha. In our next section we will talk about some of the optional activities you can do here.
What optional activities are there to do at Xel Ha
Xel Ha park really wants to give people a special day of experiences for their vacation. The park itself is a great fun day but in addition to that, there some optional add-ons you can do. Prices generally run from about $30-140 USD per person for these optional activities. (Tip: booking in advance will get you the discount as well as admission).
Here is a brief list and description of optional activities:
- Sea Trek. This is a walk on the bottom of the sea to visit marine animals. You will wear a special air helmet connected with a tube.
- Stingray encounter. This is an up close and interactive experience for marine life lovers. This is done in open water in the inlet.
- Snuba Caleta. This is like scuba diving but easier. You will have an oxygen tube to your mouth. The tank is on the surface on a raft so you have freedom of movement. A weighted belt will help you say under the water to explore. This activity comes with a certified guide. This swimming takes place in the main inlet.
- Snuba Cenote. This is just like the above Snuba Caleta but will take you to some of the more remote parts of Xel Ha.
- Adenalina Xel Ha. This is a super powerful boat that does 360 turns in the ocean and will give you the adrenaline rush you want. To read more about Adrenalina speedboat, see our personal experience here.
- Zip-Bikes. These are specially designed bikes that hang on cables. This self guided tour will take about 30 minutes. You will go through the treetops, across a cenote and in a cave. See our article and fun video about the Zip-bikes here.
How to get the best prices for tickets to Xel Ha
We will say that this park is worth the entrance cost. Not only is it a full day, you get all your food and drinks included. Of course getting the best price is important. Many people wait until they are here to decide where they want to go and what day. This is fine but you can save some good money if you just plan. Here is how.
The “Reserve Now” button or any of the links here will take you directly to Xel Ha’s website so you can book your tickets. Using this link helps support our website. You will be buying your tickets at the official price. We only get credit for referring you.
Save 15% off your tickets to Xel Ha park
If you buy your tickets here 21 days in advance you save 15%. You do not have to worry about the weather because if you want to change the date, you can do so up to 24 hours before going. This is Xel Ha’s weather guarantee.
A little planning can mean that a family of four can save over $35 USD on your day at Xel Ha.
Save 10% off your tickets to Xel Ha park
If you buy your tickets here 7-20 days in advance you save 10%. You do not have to worry about the weather because if you want to change the date, you can do so up to 24 hours before going. This is Xel Ha’s weather guarantee.
Children’s discounts for Xel Ha park
Children ages 5-11 years old get 50% off entrance. Children ages 0-4 years old are free. These discounts do not apply to optional activities.
What are the hours Xel Ha park is open?
Xel Ha is open 365 days a year. Daily the park is open from 8:30am-6:00pm. Take this into consideration when planning your transportation. Some transportation options take longer and you will want to maximize your time here.
How do you get to Xel Ha park?
There are four ways get to Xel Ha park and you just have to see what best fits your needs.
Buying transportation with your ticket to Xel Ha.
This option is about $27 USD per person. This option is good for people staying at large hotels and do not wan to worry about arranging a taxi, figuring out the colectivos and busses or renting a car.
Taking the ADO bus from Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.
This is good if you are in one of these two places and can easily get to the bus station. It will limit you to the times of the bus, but can be an affordable option. See our guide to ADO bus stations in Playa Del Carmen here. For the ADO bus station in Cancun see our article here.
Note: If you are staying in Tulum it is not possible to take the ADO bus because they only are scheduled to arrive late in the day to Xel Ha and only leave from Xel Ha park early. The bus schedule for Cancun is 7:50am, 8:45am, 9:45am, and returning 5:40pm and 6:10pm. The price is about 75-150 pesos. The bus will take about 2:40 minutes so you should account for this when going to Xel Ha park. The schedule for Playa Del Carmen to Xel Ha is 8:31am, 9:41am, 9:51am, 10:51am and returning 5:40pm and 5:55pm. This takes about one hour and five minutes. The price for ADO bus from Playa Del Carmen to Xel Ha is about 50-85 pesos depending on the day and availability.
These are minivans that are shared transport that offer basic services along the highway. We recommend this if you are a small amount of people going, can easily get to the station in Playa Del Carmen or Tulum and do not mind waiting for them for pickup. These are a minivan with seats and it is often full. There is not a lot of room in the colectivos. We do not recommend this transport from Cancun because you will need to go first to Playa Del Carmen and then transfer to the Playa-Tulum colectivos. See our article about colectivos here. The cost from Playa Del Carmen is about 40 pesos each way. From Tulum to Xel Ha entrance it is about 20 pesos.
This is great if you have a car. If you are a group you might consider renting one for the day. This gives you flexibility for departing times from both where you are staying and from the park. Driving from the south or north of Xel Ha water park is very easy. You just need to take the 307 Highway and look for the Xel Ha signs. It is well signed. Parking is free at Xel Ha and plentiful.
Where is Xel Ha?
Xel Ha is between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum in the Riviera Maya. It is closer to Tulum and on the 307 Highway. Xel Ha is well signed. You will see the fish kites also on the bridge over the highway where you turn.
Here are some estimated driving times to help you plan out your visit:
- Cancun downtown to Xel Ha 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cancun Hotel Zone to Xel Ha 1 hour 37 minutes
- Puerto Morelos to Xel Ha 57 minutes
- Playa Del Carmen to Xel Ha 37 minutes
- Tulum downtown to Xel Ha 20 minutes
Other parks to visit by the same owners of Xel Ha are:
See the links of any of the above for more information.
If you are also trying to pick a park between Xel Ha and Xcaret park, you can read our article comparing them to each other.
This is a great video! I loved going to Xel Ha when I was there. There was so much to do and it made for a magical day.
Thank you Jason. Yes we love visiting each time we go. There certainly is a lot to see and do there.
We loved Xel Ha! We spent the whole day floating around and we especially liked the caves on the far side that you can go into. We would love to go back and spend more time there.
I hope you had a good time there! We love going each year.
Thanks for the tips! We did not know we could save the money if we got our tickets in advance. we are 6 people so that will save us a lot!
Hello to all, how is everything? We are planning a trip to Xel Ha and this is extremely helpful. Thanks
We take our kids each year to Xel Ha. Each year they are a little bigger and do different activities. We still look forward to it each trip. The last time we were at Xel ha it looked like they were adding something near the beach. Cannot wait to see what it will be.
It is our first time to the Riviera Maya. What is your recommendation between going to Xplor or Xel-ha?
Both parks are great. So here are some differences. Xel Ha is all about swimming and snorkeling. Xplor is more about zip lines, jeep driving in the woods, and swimming and paddling in the underground rivers. Both parks include buffets that are included. Xel Ha also includes alcoholic drinks in the price of your ticket.
Hello Everything. I have some questions about Xel-Ha. We want to go here but also see they offer a half day tour to Tulum. Will we have enough time to do the park and visit the ruins? Also my daughter is a vegetarian. Will the food be fine at the park? Thank you.
We have always said that Xel-Ha is such a large park that it takes a day to discover. It is also nice to spend the day relaxing there so you don’t have to keep looking at your watch and hurrying up. We recommend doing the Tulum ruins another day and Xel Ha one day to itself.
As for the food, there is a large buffet at Xel Ha. There is fruits, salad bar and breakfast foods with things like eggs, yogurt and breads. There should be no problem finding something to eat.
Even in the rain Xel-ha is fun. We spent the day there stopping in the bars and getting wet all day. It is great because you don’t need to carry anything with you like money. Super fun day and great memories.
I have a question for you. Can you see the manatees while swimming or is this only a paid extra activity at Xel Ha?
The manatees are in an area that you can walk to and see them. You cannot swim with them unless you do the optional activity with the manatees.
Very nice video and explanation. I will be forwarding this to my family as we are planning a trip here in August.
We hope you will have a great time here. Make sure if you want to save money on tickets to buy them at least 21 days in advance. That can save your family a lot of money.
Thanks for all the tips for going to Xel Ha. We loved this park and the little ones too. We found your website to be the most helpful for our vacation and spot on for tips. We look forward to coming back next year and reading up so we can do more fun stuff like this.
Thank you so much. We hope you come back soon and enjoy more things here. We will be here writing about everything.
Love our videos! It is a great way to see the area. Xel Ha looks beautiful!
We saw your video on the zip bikes at Xel hand had to try them out. Thanks for telling us, we did not know that they were there and they are pretty unique.
I have a question for you. I am traveling with my 70 year old mum. Do you think she will enjoy the park if she does not swim?Thanks
If she does not swim there are float to use. Or if she does not want to get into the water here are her options. There are trails that she can walk. In some areas you can see the manatee, cenotes and fish from the bridge. There is also the glass bottom boat that you can sit and watch the fish as long as you can climb down the stairs. This is not a moving boat but stationary. There are also the many places to watch people swim. All food is included so she can eat throughout the day that will give some value to your day at Xel Ha.
I love all your travel tips and videos. It makes me want to go everywhere! I wish I had more vacation time to explore the area. Xel Ha is on my list now for sure.
Good eco park to check out. I love how big the place is and how many tropical fish there are. The food options are overwhelming and with several restaurants it is a good option for a day.
Hello. I am going to Xel Ha with a group of friend and we wondered if there is a better way to get there other then paying for the transportation because it is expensive for each person.
If you are traveling with a group it is usually better to just take a taxi there or rent a car. We don’t know where you are but if you are more toward Cancun it is better to rent a car and go for the day. If you are between Tulum and Play Del Carmen area or just north of Playa Del Carmen, you can take taxis there cheaper then the transportation add on cost.
Just went to Xel Ha. Saw the construction of the waterslide there. Looks amazing. Cannot wait to go back!
Can you swim with dolphins here? Or is there a better place to go to for that?
They do have this as an add on activity and you spend the day at the park and also swim with the dolphins. You can buy this with your entrance ticket. You can click the links in our article and book this.
We were not sure if this was going to be too much like a tourist trap but really loved the park. It was very natural and well planned out.
Hi there, I am looking to go xel-ha and we’re wondering ( as we want to take lots of pictures of our experiences) are there any safe places to keep your cellphones and cameras etc while in the water?
We were just there yesterday at Xel Ha! You have two options. One is to use the lockers. They are safe and there are cameras in the locker room. We have never heard of anyone having things stolen there. Option two is to buy a waterproof pouch and carry things with you. Underwater photos are great there and the $20USD on a good pouch can hold your camera or cell phone while you swim and play. We usually do a combination of both so we can take photos and then swim freely. We hope you have a great time there!
We loved Xel Ha! One of the best days of our vacation! Everyone should consider this as a day trip from the Riviera Maya.
Hi, travelling with children aged 3,10 and 13. Will del Ha be better than xplore? Thanks
Yes it will be because there is a height restriction for the zip lines at Xplor. That is the major attraction and your 3 year old could not go. Make sure if you want to save on your tickets to buy them ahead of time. It is the only way you can save. If you use the links in our article here, you will be booking on the official site and paying the best price but giving us credit for referring you.
I loved Xel Ha! Loved the water and all the things you can see in your day there. It is a must do for visiting the Riviera Maya!
Hello. Love your blog! My family and I are going to be staying at Dreams Tulum in a few weeks and will be going to Xel-ha. I think it will be easy to get a taxi from the hotel to Xel-ha but are there taxis waiting at Xel-ha to take people back to their hotels? Also, is there a place where we can keep our belongings (sorry if you’ve already answered this)
Thanks for you help!
There are taxis that wait for people at the end of the day at Xel Ha. It is pretty easy to do. There are lockers at Xel Ha and they give you a key. The lockers are pretty safe, there are cameras in the room and we have never heard of any issues here. We hope you have a great time there!
I have a daughter who can’t walk very long and can’t ride a bicycle. If she can’t do the bicycle, is there another way to get to the top of the river where she can float down the river?
There is a tram that goes between the pick up section to the beginning of the river. It is a tractor pulled open sided cart with seats.
I see pictures with everyone wearing life vests. Are these mandatory? I’m asking, because my husband has difficulty wearing them (health reasons) and was not allowed out of the boat to snorkel at a previous private snorkeling excursion.
We REALLY want to float and are great swimmers, but I know he won’t be able to with a vest on.
These are required, some take them off for a short while to dive down but it is mandatory at Xel Ha to wear them.
I am so glad xel ha is open! We are coming in two weeks and enjoy going every time we come to the Riviera Maya. There is so much to do there.
Xel Ha was our favorite part of our trip to the Riviera Maya. If we could of, we would have spend two days there because there was a lot to do and so relaxing.
How is the water during the winter? Can you swim or is it cold?
The water at Xel Ha is warm enough to swim in year round. Some locals done swim much in the winter months in Cenotes and the ocean, but for tourists, it is fine.
I really liked Xel Ha! It was a full day looking around the park and swimming a few times the river. I love all the parts of the park and things to do. It is a must do when you visit the Riviera Maya.
Generally my kids like to stay at the pool all day, but when we went to Xel ha they loved it! It was great to see their faces. We got the photo package so we took photos all day a the park.
Xel Ha is heaven on earth! My kids loved the zip lines into the water and seeing all the fish while snorkeling. It is a very well recommended activity for people visiting.