A huge attraction for the millions of visitors to the Riviera Maya is the variety of eco-parks. What’s so special about them?
Unlike a theme park, an eco-park showcases the raw natural beauty of the area. The parks are designed to give you a fun, unique, and unforgettable experience! Here in Quintana Roo, there are several eco-parks to choose from.
When you and your family want to venture off the beach and try something different, you don’t have to break the bank. Standard park entrance fees for kids aged 5 – 11 years old are 50% off. Mexican residents receive 10% off. And as our guest, we offer you an extra 10% discount to park entrance fees. Additionally, contact us before or during your stay to receive a free coupon that entitles you to further discounts within the parks! (Coupons are one per person. Discounts apply to gift shops, some restaurants, special activities and photos.)
Some of the most commonly asked questions are what do the various parks offer and which one is the best? Obviously the answer will vary depending on your style and taste, but here is some helpful info to give you a better idea what to choose on your vacation.
XPLOR & XPLOR FUEGO
Xplor refers to itself as an adventure park, and it really is that! You’ll be constantly be on the move here, taking one adventure after the next. This is not a relaxing park where you go to just chill out and enjoy the sun and sights. Xplor is great for people looking for an active, fun-packed day. You will zipline two different circuits through waterfalls and into caves, drive amphibious vehicles through wet muddy jungle trails, raft and swim through underground rivers full of stalactites and stalagmites, or plunge into the water in hammocks adapted to be ziplines. Of all the eco-parks in the area, it’s the most similar to a theme park in that it offers ride after ride! This is an all-inclusive park (but there is no alcohol and the vending areas only provide you with natural fruit juices, delicious smoothies, coffee and cookies). Heads up: make time to savor the lunch buffet–it’s massive and amazing. There is so much variety and is sure to provide tasty options for the pickiest of eaters.
If you want to save a little cash, check out Xplor Fuego, which runs from 5:30-11:30pm. It’s all the same activities as in the daytime, minus one zipline circuit. You’ll also get the buffet. With torches lighting the jungle trails and caverns, the park is even more dramatic at night! You’ll never forget the feeling of zip-lining under spectacular starry skies or driving through dark jungle roads where every turn is a surprise. Xplor is very close to Playa del Carmen; only about a 5 minute drive south of town.
In contrast with Xplor, Xcaret is more about what you see than what you do. It is an absolute feast for the eyes. Here you can view over 50 different natural and cultural attractions including butterfly sanctuaries, aquariums, and gardens. What kind of wildlife can you expect to see at this park? Jaguars, turtles, flamingos, manatees, dolphins and more! Xcaret’s overall focus is to relax you and let you enjoy Mexico’s diverse beauty and rich history. Be sure to catch some of the performances at the amphitheatre or at the replica of an ancient Mayan city! You’ll have lots of photo ops as you tour the trails and learn about the native birds, plants, trees and animals. Like many of the other eco-parks, you can swim through the crystal-clear freshwater underground rivers and lagoons.
At dark, don’t miss the presentation “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular” at the amphitheatre. With 300 performing artists in colorful costumes, you’ll be guided through the history of this beautiful country celebrated with music and dance! One of the many ways this park keeps ancient traditions alive is with the annual Sacred Mayan Journey. Every summer, costumed canoeists paddle across 20 miles of ocean in a pilgrimage to the island of Cozumel. There are also special performances for Dia de los Muertos. A unique blend between a museum, a zoo, and a jungle paradise, Xcaret is a very nice option for families and all who want to explore the cultural side of Mexico. It’s only a few minutes’ drive south of Playa del Carmen.
XelHa (Mayan for “where water is born”), is a stunningly beautiful cove about 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Are you a water baby? Then this is the park for you! It’s an absolute paradise for snorkeling and swimming and just playing in the gorgeous turquoise water. XelHa is host to a huge variety of activities that almost all involve water, such as rope swings, a floating bridge, a cliff to jump off, ziplines, rafts and much more. There are cenotes and underground caves to explore in this lush eco-park as well. If you need a little siesta, head to Hammock Island and relax in the shade with a beautiful view. Like Xplor, XelHa is an all-inclusive park. Provided are soft drinks, beer, lime margaritas, and of course water. The food is decent but not amazing. Less crowded and a fun combination of activities and chill time, this is a very pretty park with lots to do and see for the whole family to enjoy! It makes for a relaxing, refreshing day in paradisaic surroundings.
As the name suggests, this park challenges and awakens your senses. It’s the newest eco-park in Quintana Roo and opened to rave reviews. Designed to awaken your imagination, there are plenty of fun activities including visual games and optical illusions. Prepare for the unexpected in this world of sensations! As an example, there are mirror and light shows that are synced to music, a colonial-style town that will test your balance and challenge all of your senses (you’ll be able to take some cool photos here), and a waterslide that starts slow but ends in a frenzy. Fly like a bird, relax in a river where you can’t sink, give your sense of touch a new feel with a mud bath, and get clean with waterfalls and rain showers. There is a lot to experience here, especially if you want see and feel something out of the ordinary! Unlike the other parks, you don’t need a full day to get the most out of Xenses. It’s located near Xcaret and Xplor, just outside of Playa del Carmen.
Because Xoximilco can only be experienced in the evening hours, you could theoretically couple it up with another of the eco-parks in the same day if you have the energy! This is basically a floating food and fiesta experience, mimicking a real Mexico City neighborhood known as the “Venice of Mexico”. Your river tour starts around 8 in the evening and lasts until nearly midnight. Here you will board a colorful “trajinera” boat with a long, central table that seats around 20 people and a guide at the front and a gondolier at the back. Throughout the night, you’ll get to taste cuisine from all different regions of Mexico as well as enjoy different types of live music and make new friends. Be prepared for adventurous dishes like salted crickets and corn fungus (regarded as a delicacy)! This is best experienced with a big group of friends who can be on the same boat, but if you’re an outgoing person and don’t mind conversing with strangers, you’ll have fun regardless. You can find Xoximilco on the highway near the Cancun International Airport; about 40 minutes’ drive north of Playa del Carmen.