RIVIERA MAYA ECO AND ADVENTURE PARKS
The adventure parks of the Riviera Maya have become one of the main tourist attractions of this popular Mexican destination. Unlike the typical theme parks, those of the Riviera Maya are characterized by the main role played by nature and adventure activities. These eco parks have a wide range of cultural and adventure activities such as underground river tours, bird watching, diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins or sharks, kayaking, zip lines, 4 × 4 rides, and live shows.
The Riviera Maya is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is a destination that has everything. With its more than 120 kilometers of coastline of paradisiacal beaches, it also provides you with a legacy of impressive Mayan culture, an exquisite cuisine, good nightlife, an enviable nature, and possibilities for practicing an infinity of water sports.
The possibilities of leisure of this destination are endless. However, one of the experiences that you can not miss is its theme parks. The Riviera Maya has several really spectacular. It is not easy to choose between them.
As for advice, it is worth buying the tickets online since you will get discounted prices in comparison what you will pay at the ticket office at the park entrances. You can also buy these tickets on several sites such as travel agencies or even at your hotel. However, it is likely that you will be charged a commission on the ticket price.
The vast majority of parks in the Riviera Maya are managed by the company Experiencias Xcaret, but not all. Look at the prices well because they offer a lot of variety depending on what you are interested in purchasing. In addition, the parks belonging to Experiencias Xcaret (the best known) also offer combos that allow you to enjoy several days or several parks with the same entrance.
If you are Mexican and you have planned to visit one of the Experiencias Xcaret parks you are in luck. The company offers interesting discounts for Mexicans for online purchases.
Ecotourism is big in Xcaret, an 80-hectare theme park that is a destination in itself for the whole family. Xcaret has hotels, restaurants, theaters, auditoriums and beaches, as well as adapted habitat spaces for jaguars, flamingos, deer and an aquarium, where you can see a dolphin show.
The infrastructure of the park takes advantage of the best of the jungle and the sea, and has an offer of activities from early in the morning until 10 at night. Going through it allows you to enjoy nature, see wild and wild animals up close, and learn about the dynamics of the Mayan peoples, from their homes and communities to their temples and cemeteries.
With a map in hand or just guided by the directions of the roads is easy to enjoy and choose what to know. At different points and times of the day you can see shows, for example the flying men of Papantla-ritual in honor of fertility, horse show and pre-Hispanic dances. You can also participate in workshops, one of them to learn about cocoa and chocolate production, or to learn more about dolphins while feeding them.
The park is crossed by a slow river, which in certain parts is underground, where you swim and appreciate the landscape. People can store their belongings in lockers while they are in the river. Along the route through the water and also outside there are points where, just by passing the entrance handle, a camera shoots a photo; so you do not have to worry about keeping your cell phone or a camera in your hand because you can have memories of the best scenarios. Before leaving the park you can buy the CD with the photos.
For those who love water, the sunset on the beach is lovely. There are sun loungers, umbrellas, kiosks to drink from juices to cocktails, and natural pools. All that accompanied by the flamencos performing their evening routines.
Six restaurants, three of them specialized in traditional food, another in sea food and the others with an international gastronomic offer guarantee that the experience is complete. In three of the restaurants lunch is included in the ticket plus, as well as some drinks. With this option, the income that is around 100 dollars, can go up to 30 dollars more.
The show "Mexico Espectacular" is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the park. With the staging of around 300 people, the most important moments in the history of Mexico are recreated one by one, from when the Mayans resolved their conflicts with the ball game or with a rite with fireballs, passing through the Spanish conquest and the decolonization, until arriving at the present of the Mexican towns in which the mariachis are symbol of identity of that country. Horses and macaws participate in the show.
Xcaret is part of a complex of three parks. Xel Ha is a place dedicated to sports on the water. jump from cliffs, with liana, rope ladders, floats, kayaking, diving, swimming with dolphins, underwater caves and snorkeling are some of them.
But if the intention is to have a great adventure, Xplor offers two circuits of 14 zip lines, travel through the jungle in an amphibious vehicle, two circuits of underground rivers to row in rafts, swim in a river of stalactites, walk through caverns and make hamacuatizaje. The ticket to enter both parks is around 120 dollars, but if you buy along with Xcaret you can get discounts.
Hours: Daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Xoximilco Cancun offers an original and very festive option for those who want to have fun at night, the Mexican style.
In Xoximilco the party starts with a traditional kermes, games, and the traditional esquites, a delicious Mexican appetizer, as well as a musical surprise. You will be greeted by your personal host, who will be accompanying you throughout your entire visit.
You will board the trajinera (part boat) that will take you on a tour through the park's canals. During the trip, your host will tell you legends and anecdotes from Mexico and games will be held.
On board the trajinera you will be served a delicious dinner of varied typical Mexican dishes; to accompany them, a free bar of tequila, beer, fresh water and soft drinks is offered; and at the end, traditional desserts. There are also options for children and vegetarians.
Music is the special ingredient of the night. During the journey, you will be approached by various trajineras, either with the mariachi, the norteño group or the marimba among many other live music groups, to sing and dance.
There is a 10-minute stop to go to the service area, take pictures or continue dancing. And at the end of the tour, you can buy handmade souvenirs in the store.
To visit Xoximilco it is recommended to book in advance since each trajinera has a maximum capacity of 20 people; wear comfortable clothing (preferably pants or long skirt), biodegradable insect repellent and have a minimum age of 5 years.
It is also suggested to purchase the transportation service or go with a designated driver.
Hours: Monday to Saturday. September to March from 7:15 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from April to August from 7:45 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Xenotes Oasis Maya
For those who visit Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, the cenotes are treasures of nature that more than knowing them, you have to live them.
Xenotes Oasis Maya is a tour that takes you to experience the magic of four different types of cenotes, with a different activity in each one, with the comfort and security.
The Xenotes Tour takes you to the heart of the Ruta de los Cenotes, located a few kilometres from Cancun, heading to Playa del Carmen, at kilometre 22 of the Puerto Morelos - Leona Vicario highway.
There the Closed Cenote or Cavern awaits you, a jewel hidden under the earth. Discover it while you go down in Assisted Rappel to its beautiful turquoise waters.
The Cenote Antiguo or Cenote Viejo is an oasis that you can admire from above by sliding down a zip line.
The Open Cenote is the perfect place to go kayaking and admire its walls full of vegetation and hanging gardens.
The underwater gardens of the Semi-open Cenote, are a unique scenario that you can combine with snorkelling.
The Xenotes Oasis Maya Tour is done in small groups and at all times you will be accompanied by a specialized guide, who will tell you interesting facts about the cenotes and the legends of the little guardians of the jungle that take care of them: the Aluxes.
On the tour, there will be the fruit of the season, coffee, champurrado, non-alcoholic drinks, as well as a Glam Picnic surrounded by the jungle.
The minimum age to enjoy the tour is 6 years old. It is recommended to bring a change of dry clothes and avoid the use of cosmetics and perfumes, so as not to damage the ecosystem of the cenotes. Sunscreen and repellent must be biodegradable. The tour includes the use of snorkelling equipment and two towels.
Xenotes Oasis Maya operates from Monday to Saturday throughout the year, with pickup hours starting at 9:00 a.m. The tour lasts approximately nine hours, including the time of transfers.
Xplor is the best park in the Riviera Maya for lovers of adventure sports and extreme, and those looking for a good adrenaline rush. This park is in the middle of the jungle and has an extension of 59 hectares on the surface and 8 underground.
In it, you can enjoy a good amount of adventure activities such as zip lines, tours in 4x4 and amphibious vehicles, rafting in underground rivers, or cave exploration to name a few. The adrenaline is not a joke. You will climb through the clouds in several of its attractions such as the spectacular zip line located 400 meters high, and with a length of 700 meters.
The park also offers the "Xplorfuego" mode where all the activities are performed with torches during the night adding an extra of emotion and charm to the park.
There are two stations with fruit smoothies, coffee, chocolate, sweet bread and cookies to enjoy as many times as you want. Also, a full buffet to satisfy your hunger after the adventure and rest areas with hammocks and lounge chairs to relax.
As part of your admission, you can use a locker for two people, toilets, showers and changing rooms.
The park is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. at 5:00 p.m. and a minimum age of 5 years are recommended.
A nocturnal adventure where fire guides the way through activities that will release your adrenaline.
Located next to the Xcaret park in the Riviera Maya is the only night park in Cancun, Xplor Fuego, where the adventure is lived in the light of the moon and the stars. Here you will fly in the zip lines at night with a view of the jungle dimly lit until you cross a wide arc of fire.
The paths of the jungle are illuminated with torches to tour them aboard Amphibious Vehicles in a unique experience where you will hear the sounds of the forest at sunset. Get to know the Lava River where you can swim freely while observing the underground and take a tour of Balsas in a unique attraction where you can paddle with your own hands.
Every time you wish, visit the hot drink stations to enjoy chocolate, coffee or champurrado accompanied with sweet bread and oatmeal cookies. And to close with a flourish, enjoy an exquisite buffet that will fill you with energy with its speciality of BBQ ribs. There are also options for vegetarians.
For those who want to rest, there is a special area with hammocks and chairs located around a comfortable fire pit, perfect to share your stories inside the park.
As part of your admission, you can use a locker for two people, showers, changing rooms and toilets.
All activities use modern and safe equipment, and helmet use is mandatory inside the park.
Xplor Fuego is recommended for over 5-year-olds and opens from Monday to Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
The park focuses on testing the senses and awakening the imagination. Unlike other theme parks in the Riviera Maya where you can spend the whole day and not see them in their entirety, in this one you take a tour of about five hours.
Its creators made an effort to build a park where nothing is what it seems to be. In Xenses you live in a world of sensations. Its attractions are ideas for you to enjoy sensory experiences of all kinds.
There are attractions that enhance the optical illusions, others make you feel the freedom to fly through the air, the adrenaline of sliding in refreshing waters, there are places full of flavor, and also moments of relaxation and purification in a Natural Xpa (natural spa ).
To name a few of its attractions you have the "Xensatorium", where you cross a dark path in which you have to enhance all other senses, the Rehilete, a labyrinth of mirrors, the Town of Xenses with a house "legs up" that test your sense of balance, slides for you to enjoy at full speed, zip lines, the Riolajante, a trip downstream very relaxing, or the Lodorama, which will also allow you to relax covered in mud.
The minimum recommended age is 5 years. Take a towel, a change of dry clothes, and cash or card to acquire original souvenirs or savour some delicious snacks.
Xenses Park operates from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. at 7:00 p.m.
For those who purchase the transportation service, the following schedules are handled:
Arrival between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and departure between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Arrival between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and departure between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Visitors without transportation can enter between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The departure time will depend on the arrival time to the park (the approximate duration of the tour is five hours).
Xel-Ha is one of the largest natural attractions park in the world. It is a natural wonder of indescribable beauty. The name of the park comes from the Maya. It means "The place where the water is born". It is a very successful name since water plays a central role in what this fantastic park has to offer.
It is an ecological park with an approximate area of 86 hectares structured around a natural cove created by a set of wells and lagoons. The park has an incredible natural environment with cenotes, caves, jungle, mangrove area, and lagoons with abundant endogenous flora and fauna.
It is a place to enjoy as a family where children have a special area. It is an ideal park to practice snorkeling among hordes of tropical fish, kayak, hike, explore cenotes and caves, admire the fauna and flora in their natural habitat, and practice adventure activities.
There are a good number of activities and quiet attractions for the most restful, and others more risky for the adventurers. All are characterized by their contact with nature. These include walks through the jungle, bicycles, a fun mini-train to enjoy a leisurely tour of the park, a tour of the Xel-Ha river by snorkeling or a floating tire, lianas, zip lines, and other games. strings, or the popular "Stone of Valor", a jump to the water from 6 meters high.
The park operates under an all-inclusive regime which gives you access to almost all the activities and everything you can drink and eat in its different bars and restaurants. However, some of the most interesting and fun activities require a supplement to enjoy them.
Among the activities that you have to pay extra are swimming with dolphins, encounters with rays and manatees, underwater scuba diving, adrenaline Xel-Ha, Zip Bike, and others. It is a pity that we have to pay an extra for these activities because all of them is a worthwhile experience.
The tour inside the facilities of the Xel-Ha park can also be used to visit the archaeological site of Tulum since the two are very close to each other. It is a good way to maximize your day if you have a few days on your trip. Otherwise, I advise you to do both on separate days with ease
The Xel-Ha park opens 365 days a year from 8:30 a.m. at 6:00 p.m.
The Xichén Tours of Xcaret Experiences, are the most comfortable, safe and complete experience to know the most important archaeological sites of the Yucatan Peninsula. All include round-trip transportation in comfortable buses with bathroom on board, food, specialized bilingual guides and access to the archaeological sites that are visited.
Xichén Deluxe is a Chichen Itza Tour with luxury bus transfer with two bathrooms, gourmet breakfast and drinks on board. In the archaeological zone, a novel system of hearing aids is used, so as not to lose detail of what the guide says. It includes a walk through the Magic Town of Valladolid, with buffet lunch in the Casona de Valladolid and a visit to the Zací cenote. Every day from Monday to Saturday.
Xichén Clásico takes you to Chichén Itzá on a guided tour in the archaeological zone, visit with a swim in the cenote IK'Kil and lunch at the cenote restaurant (drinks not included). This tour is available every day of the week.
Xel-Ha - Tulum combines the only archaeological site facing the Caribbean Sea in Tulum, with the Hidden Wonder that is Xel-Ha. Unlimited snorkelling and varied aquatic attractions. This tour operates every day of the year.
Xel-Há - Cobá explores the ancient Mayan capital of Cobá and takes you to snorkel in the beautiful cove of Xel-Há, the same day. This tour takes place from Monday to Saturday.
Cobá - Tulum takes you to enjoy a day surrounded by the architecture and history of the ancient Mayan civilization in two of the most representative and amazing archaeological sites of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Xenses - Tulum is a tour where you will get to know the best of nature and the history that abounds in the archaeological zone of Tulum, as well as the best of you, connecting you with your senses, in a fun and fantastic day in the Xenses park.
It is one of the best aquariums in Mexico and is located in the Calle Corazón shopping center in Playa del Carmen.
It houses more than 10,000 animals of more than 200 underwater species that can be enjoyed along its three levels in 45 themed exhibitions.
It contributes to the environment by raising corals and releasing them into the sea.
Hours: Daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
In a short time, neighboring communities, adhered to the project, enhancing the natural attractiveness of the forest, little valued until then, as well as the millenary heritage of the Mayan culture. Alltournative offers the following options:
Encuentro Maya is a cradle of origin where you can get into nature and meet an authentic Mayan family in the community that keeps the secrets of their ancestors, as well as immerse yourself in ancient cenotes of crystal clear water and enjoy a typical lunch in the area.
Cenote Maya Native Park
Discover the cenote with the largest vault of the Yucatan Peninsula, enjoy this natural jewel with beautiful geological formations where you can swim and perform adventure activities.
Get to know the Mayan culture, participate in a blessing ceremony, visit a traditional Mayan house and enjoy a lunch of typical dishes prepared with vegetables from the organic garden.
Emotions Native Park
Live the thrilling experience of driving ATVs through jungle paths. Enjoy pleasant while you get into the vegetation to fly in zip lines, explore caves, discover authentic Mayan remains and learn about the lifestyle of the first inhabitants of the area, as well as swim in a beautiful cenote of crystal clear waters.
Emotions Jungle Night
When the sun goes down, the only ones ready to immerse themselves in nature are the true adventurers. The guided ATV tour allows you to take your inner explorer and intensify all your senses to discover what is under the mantle of darkness.
Walk with your guide through the jungle to discover beautiful caves and fly over the vegetation in three impressive zip lines. Relax in a purifying temazcal session and let the magic come alive in front of a bonfire.
Jungle Maya Native Park
Enter the amazing Sac-Actun system, the longest underground river in the world, explored and recommended by specialized divers of the National Geographic Snorkeler.
Snorkeling surrounded by ancient rock formations. It goes through the jungle in all-terrain vehicles.
Descend in rappel and swim in the beautiful Yaxmuul cenote. Enjoy nature by flying in exciting zip-lines. Participate in an authentic Mayan ceremony of blessings.
Snorkel Native Park
Discover the underwater world inhabited by beautiful multicolored fish and spectacular reef formations of the Puerto Morelos National Park, the largest barrier reef in America.
Rest in the pleasant beach club while you admire the turquoise tones of the Caribbean Sea and enjoy a delicious traditional buffett and open bar. Live the best snorkeling adventure in the Riviera Maya.
The park that has an area of 400 acres of virgin rainforest and three caves with cenotes inside. One of the caves has been illuminated with indirect light for better observation.
The beautiful dry cave of 600 meters (0.32 miles) long you travel with a guide that will give you an interesting explanation of the origin of the cave system of the Yucatan Peninsula.
After the tour you can swim and snorkel in the transparent sacred waters of the cenote. National Geographic Society has included it in the list of the 10 most impressive underground rides in the world.
You can also enjoy a fun aerial adventure, where you will have an interesting perspective of the tropical vegetation in a route of more than one kilometer (0.62 miles) with a circuit of 10 canopy lines and suspension bridges.
It has a restaurant. Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This eco-park has three cenotes where you can do various activities such as diving, snorkeling, rappel and zip line.
Additionally, you can tour the jungle that surrounds it by bicycle, or immerse yourself in a Mayan ceremony or enjoy the benefits of the temazcal, a steam bath used by the Mayans with the idea of purifying the body and soul.
Hours: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Its name in Maya means "Boca de Piedra Amarilla" (Mouth of the Yellow Stone). In this ecological park, you can swim in wonderful cenotes of fresh water and explore an underground cavern.
You can also enjoy all the flora and fauna that surrounds these magnificent cenotes and caves. Hours: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
It is a sanctuary where you can appreciate a great variety of primates and other animals of the region that have been rescued, it is an experience for the whole family.
During the tour, the guide will take you to the Mayan jungle to observe the environment that includes a beautiful cenote. On the way you can interact with spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, lemurs and other animals such as goats, boas and macaws, to name a few.
Hours: Daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
SIAN KA'AN BIOSPHERE RESERVE
This reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico, with 1.6 million hectares of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems.
It also includes 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) of the Great Mayan Reef. The diversity in Sian Ka'an is exceptional, since it has tropical jungle, mangroves, petenes, wetlands, savanna and sea.
Its name means "where the sky is born" and when contemplating it you will understand why the Maya baptized it with that name.
More than 850 vascular plants have been found, including 120 woody species, 375 species of birds and 115 species of mammals, 90 species of native bees, 47 species of dragonflies, 74 species of beetles, 276 species of crustaceans, 310 species of mosquitoes, 318 species of butterflies and 1,048 species of flora.
As for the reef, 84 coral species have been identified where it is easy to find shark, alos, sea bass, parrotfish, butterflyfish, barracuda, grouper and moray eels, among many other reef inhabitants.
Its beaches are very important reproduction areas for the green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Wetlands are home to manatees and two species of crocodiles in danger of extinction.
Within the reserve have been discovered 23 Mayan settlements and also covers the towns of Boca Paila and Punta Allen.
This is the only sector of the Reserve that is open to very limited tourist development, and there are private houses, as well as small fishing pavilions that make up a virgin Caribbean paradise. Punta Allen is considered one of the best places for fly fishing.
Kayak your beautiful canals between mangroves that are home to hundreds of birds and enjoy the incredible natural landscapes, or you can snorkel and snorkel in its crystal clear waters.
In 1987, the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve was declared a World Heritage Site due to its exceptional natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity.
Rio Secreto (Secret River)
Río Secreto is a park that allows you to discover the beauty of underground rivers that run approximately 20 meters below the earth and that cross area full of unique geological formations. The itineraries offered by this park give you a very enriching and exciting experience.
The passage through the underground rivers and the caves of the park is complemented by activities in rappel and bicycle stretches along jungle trails, a tour of its Dry Route, and the light and sound show that is projected in the Hall of Peace, a natural scenario where the creation and evolution of the Universe is told.
Their itineraries are an encounter with the geological history of the area. Underground rivers and caves riddled with stalactites and stalagmites offer a fascinating contrast to the surface covered by lush jungle, home to many species of vegetation and wildlife.
Río Secreto was a firm candidate to be part of the new natural wonders of the world, due to the spectacular nature of the river and its millenary rock formations. It is an ideal place to understand part of the geological history while enjoying the impressive visual spectacle that thousands of stalactites and stalagmites give to this mysterious and enigmatic place.