In the Yucatan Peninsula, theme parks take on a whole new meaning. Here, turquoise waters, jungle caves, cenotes, and Maya ruins can all be found in ecological parks that have won awards for sustainable tourism development. Here are our top picks in the Riviera Maya.
Xel-Ha fuses natural beauty with the convenience of an all-inclusive park. Set about 90 minutes south of Cancun by road, the park is a swimmer’s paradise referred to as a “natural aquarium” thanks to its calm, clear waters and abundance of aquatic life. With roundtrip transportation from Cancun hotels included with most tours, this day trip is convenient and fun.
Xplor offers day-trippers the opportunity to spelunk in caves and zipline among treetops. Also on offer is a ride in an amphibious vehicle, a paddle through an underground river, a 14-line zipline course, and cave swimming.
An ecopark on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen, Xcaret features an underground lazy river prime for floating, white-sand beaches, and natural lagoons housing turtles and manatees that are easy to observe. Add-on activities such as swimming with dolphins, Snuba underwater swimming, and jet boat tours are available for additional fees.
Xenotes Oasis Maya
Xenotes Oasis Maya is another natural wonderland in the Riviera Maya, where visitors can zipline through the jungle, swim in ancient cenotes, rappel down semi-open cenotes, and snorkel in caverns, observing tropical fish and plants. Most day trips include lunch and all equipment necessary to properly explore the park.