Xel Ha
Eco-Park in the Mayan Riviera

Xel Ha, also spelled Xelha in one word, is located south of the touristic town of Playa de Carmen in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

To be more exact on the shores of the Caribbean Sea in what today is the thriving Mayan Riviera. The name in the Yucatec language means Xel for spring and Ha for water.

Map of Xel Ha and all its attractions

Map of Xel Ha and all its attractions

In ancient history it was one of the ports of the Mayan city of Coba, like Tulum. During the Pre Columbus era between the 7th and the 12th Centuries it was center of exchange and navigation between the Mayans and other navigators arriving to their shores.

Today it is world’s largest natural aquarium, where you can swim with countless tropical fish among the rock formations and underwater caves in crystal clear lagoons.

Xel Ha

Swim as much as you want in the sweet water river

Swim as much as you want in the sweet water river

Getting there

The best way is to buy a tour from your hotel desk or if you come with a cruise to Mayan Riviera or Cozumel Mexico, you should buy one of their shore excursions.

You may also arrive by a rental car or taxi. It is located 60 minutes south of Cancun and 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen.

The Marine Life found in this park is mind boggling

The Marine Life found in Xelha Park is mind boggling

Many attractions

  • Snorkeling in Xelha

The large lagoon is an ideal place for beginners in the world of snorkeling. Inner tubes are free of charge and you can rent snorkeling equipment at reasonable prices or even bring yours with you.

The waters of the lagoon are calm, therefore easy for new snorkelers. But the corals are mostly dead. The consolation is the fish that are fed and kept alive in big amounts. You may also feed the fish for a small fee in Mexican pesos.

Like in Neighboring Xcaret Mexico, there is a river that starts in the mangrove and you may swim from one end of the lagoon to the other. There are cliffs from where the most braves may jump into the river.

  • Delphinus

You can swim with dolphins at the park. Make sure you make your reservation before starting the tour.

Swim and play with the dolphins at the Delphinus Xelha

Swim and play with the dolphins at the Delphinus Xelha

Other attractions

  • Hammock island
  • Mayan cave
  • Mangrove Chaac
  • Bay of Caprices
  • Mayan Wall
  • Grotto Ixchel
  • Grotto El Dorado
  • Tree Nursery
  • Apiary
  • Turtle Camp
  • Cenotes.

The Beach offers a great spot for swimming since a barrier reef creates a calm aquarium at the foot of the Lighthouse. Shade is provided by Mexican palapas or huts.

Visit Xelha Website

Swim in the lagoons or the beautiful beaches of Xel Ha

Swim in the lagoons or the beautiful beaches of Xelha

Where to eat

  • México Lindo Restaurant and La Cocina del Pueblo serve delicious Mexican appetizers and specialties.

  • La Terraza (The Terrace) is for hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos.

  • La Parrilla (The Grill) is for Fast Food with a variety of beef cuts: Arrachera (beef skirts) New York and Sirloin.

  • Natura Deli (Nature's Deli) is for Fast Food with a variety of sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and juices.

  • Nevería del Pueblo (The Village Ice Cream Shop)

  • # Bar del Puente (The Bridge Bar) 9s Well stocked bar with national and international favorites.

When visiting the Mayan Riviera or just Cancun, please do not miss this opportunity to enjoy this great Eco-Park. Xel Ha is so beautiful that you will cherish the memories forever.

images for xel ha
courtesy of the park.

From Xel Ha go to Mexico Beaches

Go to Tuchman Beaches Guide Home Page

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Eddy Tuchman