Plopping into my clear plastic tube at Xel Ha, I was ready for cool relief. It had been scorching and sweaty hot, as the temperatures soared to over 100 degrees for the last few days. I had come to the golden lands of a Mexican destination. I was in search of the festivals surrounding the “Dia de Los Muertos” -those lazy days in November where Latin Americans celebrate death as a natural part of the human experience.
I had spent the entire day-before observing this Mexican tradition and so admire the culture of the Mexican people. But I couldn’t wait till this day, as Xel Ha Park is one of my favorite excursions Riviera Maya has to offer (that along with the cenotes, the underwater diving museum, and Xcaret’s Adventure Park.)
Xel ha, Mexico: Land Where the Water is Born
But today, I was drained from the heat and couldn’t wait to finally be immersed in the cool, crystal-clear freshwater river that flowed into a lagoon at Xel Ha. I fiddled around with the buckles on my life jacket vest to make sure they were tightly secured. I had my flippers on my wrist like a bracelet and my mask firmly attached to my forehead. The attendant at the park must have thought I looked like a wacky, sweaty tourist. But at this point I didn’t care, all I wanted was to be in that crystal clear water.
Xel ha, Mexico Perfectly Shaped Lagoon
The “put-in” spot at Xel Ha was a perfectly shaped lagoon surrounded by mangroves. I waited until I could no longer see the last person in front of me floating away. Then snugly attached to my clear plastic floaty, I was off drifting among the mangroves inside of Xel Ha Park. Slightly spinning, twirling and relaxing, I looked back at my new travel friend to make sure she made it into the water. She was so cute with her yellow ponytail and bright white skin, as I watched her do the same and she soon caught up and joined me.
The Gorgeous Xel Ha Park!
The lagoon we were in was set in a beautiful landscape of trees, cenotes, and clear waters. The park was busy, but with these mangroves surrounding us; it was as if we were all alone in the watery forest. These mangroves are essential to the ecosystem, and we were right dab in the middle of the red mangrove, which is the only species that lives in saltwater and serves as a natural filter for the water, as it provides oxygen and nutrients for the coral reefs below.
It also serves as a natural barrier against hurricanes and controls erosion of the sand along the coastline. We traveled down this natural lazy river on our plastic tube rings for hours. It was so relaxing and peaceful.
Xel Ha Park is Total Relaxation
Occasionally I would look back at my friend, as she posed for her selfies in the water. All I wanted to do was relax and once in a while, I would doze off to the gentle rock of the calm waters. We were in a magical paradise in the Riviera Maya known as Xel Ha Park. It has been described as a “natural aquarium in the earth” and I was floating above 90 species of marine fish down below.
Xel ha, Mexico: Mayan Mythology
Xel Ha is steeped in Mayan mythology. It was most likely used as a point of intercultural exchange between the Mayan people and other sea-navigating peoples between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Ancient Mayans in Xel ha, Mexico
Hundreds of years ago, ancient Mayans believed that the Gods combined their love for beauty and wisdom to create a perfect paradise named Xel Ha, a place “where the water is born.” As I drifted in the cool waters, I begin to feel what the Mayans were talking about. The waters re-energized me and gave me a sense of peace, I was “re-born”.
It was the perfect place to cool off and relax after the unbearable heat from a few days earlier. I decided that this mythical paradise of Xel Ha is actually a reality! I think the Gods got it exactly right! And now there is a park named Xe Ha just for you and your family to come to have fun and to relax. It is a total paradise.
The Land Where the Water is Born is Xel-Ha
Today, Xel Ha is a natural water park in a lush setting with a plethora of activities for water lovers. As far as excursion Riviera Maya style, it is an amazing and fun day. They have everything: snorkeling, cliff jumping, bike riding, jungle trails, zip-lining, zip bikes, cenotes, large animal encounters (dolphins, manatees, and stingrays), adrenaline water rides and much more. You could spend days here and not do all the activities that they have to offer. Honestly, it is a water lovers paradise and I highly recommend it.
Xe Hal: Hours of Operation
Xe Ha Hours are 8:30 am to 6 pm
What Does Xel ha Offer?
They have everything from breakfast to lunch to snacks. So when you get tired and hungry, or just want to sit for a while. They have all the snack food you and lunch style buffet that you need.
There are five modules throughout the park that you can scan your admission bracelet into and get the water equipment you need so you don’t have to carry it around with you everywhere you go. Once you finish with that module, you give it back to them and move on to the next one. I love this concept of not having to carry too much stuff around!
Locker rooms, restrooms, showers. You name it, they have it for you, You can put your valuables away in a locker, slip into your swimsuit and sunscreen, and rest assured that your things are safe. They also have shower stalls for you as well.
They even have hammocks strategically placed throughout the facility for you to relax!
Stores for Souveniers
You can purchase souvenirs in the stores around the facility. As well as any necessities that you forgot, like sunscreen and pharmaceutical products!
ATM And WIFI
Yes, you guessed it, in case you need some cash, they even have ATMs throughout the facility! And it is not that you are going to want to use it, but they do have free wifi!
Disclosure: I was invited to Mexico by Experiencia Xcaret. The pure joy I felt that day, floating among the mangroves was all my own!
Recommended Reading about Riviera Maya area of Mexico: