There are a ton of “natural” attractions to do in the Riviera Maya.
So why Xel-Ha?
It may not have colorful corals, but it’s a great place for your family and friends to practice their snorkeling skills giving them comfort that they are in a protected lagoon and knowing they won’t get swept out to sea. It’s a great baby step before you head out to the second largest reef system in the world just a boat ride away from the coast. This natural lagoon has real fish, surrounded by wildlife, and options for adrenaline or relaxation.
Start with a half day tour of Tulum, and keep cool the rest of the day or a full day experiencing Mexico’s natural wonder. But just in case you need more convincing, here are 11 reasons why you should go to Xel-Ha:
1. It’s the largest natural aquarium in the world that you can swim in.
2. All-inclusive price includes: All food and drink (including alcohol), snorkel gear, tubes, life jacket, lockers, bicycles, showers and towels.
3. Fish identification guide is printed in the brochure. It’s nice to know which of the 5 different yellow striped fish we saw. The best places to see fish are around the rocky outcrops or by the walls of the lagoon.
4. You can snorkel or tube from fresh water to salt water. Float along with the current as it takes you past mangrove roots, into a small rocky cove and out into the inlet.
5. Beat the heat and spend all your time in the water. Mexico can be brutally hot and humid, especially in the summer months.
6. They have rope-walking, cliff diving (jumping), and zip-lining!
7. Opportunities to Snuba, and swim with dolphins and manatees ($ extra).
8. Get up close and personal to wildlife. Iguanas are everywhere, but we also stumbled upon a troop of coatis digging up dinner.
9. Shuttles and bikes are available to help get you from one side of the huge park to the other.
10. Tired? There’s a hammock with your name on it!
11. Extra Bonus: There’s a massage center ($ extra)!
ECO-FRIENDLY TIP: Help Xel-Ha conserve its natural environment by buying bio-degradable sunscreen. It’s sold at the park and costs just a bit more than regular brands, but won’t leave an oil slick on the water, rocks, coral or fish that can affect the health of the ecosystem in the lagoon and out in the ocean. Sunscreens cause reef bleaching and the ingredient oxybenzone has been proven to feminize fish. Remember, if it doesn’t say Biodegradable on the label, it isn’t.