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babykitty Nov 12th, 2003 06:47 AM

Xcaret or Xel-ha?
Based on your experience, which would you recommend visiting while in Mayan Riveria? We'll be there a week & feasibly go to both, but I wonder if that would be overkill...Thanks in advance!

TravelByBob_Com Nov 12th, 2003 03:33 PM

They're both great, but I like Xel-Ha a little better.

I was in Riviera Maya a few weeks ago, sat through an hour-long seminar about why I should get a timeshare, told them no and walked away with free all-inclusive passes for Xel-Ha. Looking back on it, probably wouldn't sit through all the B.S. again, but saved me some money and had a great time.

Kat6688 Nov 14th, 2003 03:19 PM

Our resort offered a trip to the Tulum ruins in the morning and finishing with Xel-ha in the afternoon. Honestly, I would have eliminated Tulum (you can't go inside the ruins anyway) and would have spent 5-6 hours at Xel-Ha. The snorkling is great - take your time, don't rush and plan on spending lots of time in the water. Xcaret at a different time of the year was also great fun but don't wait for swimming with the dolphins - that's really a show where you sit in line for over an hour, jump into the water and the dolphin propels you through the water. Not worth it; however, if you are interested in scuba diving but have never done it, they offer snuba diving where you're tethered to a floatation device above the water but still have the feeling of diving. Both are great; if you love the water you may want to go to both. Have fun!

windsurfer Nov 16th, 2003 04:05 PM

Just got back from PDC last night. My vote is also for Xel-Ha. Great place. Spent approx 5 hrs there. Snorkeling was terrific & was better snorkeling there than at the reef in Porto Morales. The dolphin swim was a little pricey @ $112 USD. Consider going to Coba, as well. I could have passed on Tulum.

dan_woodlief Nov 18th, 2003 05:39 AM

You might be interested in my Web site at My Yucatan section has a travelog and photos from Xel-Ha. It is a fun, relaxing day. Keep in mind that I went 5 years ago, so a few things could have changed. I wouldn't go to both parks, since there are so many other things to see and do in the Yucatan. Do make sure to go to a major archaelogical site. Chichen-Itza and Uxmal are the best, but Uxmal doesn't work for daytrips. Coba ia also very interesting and can be combined very effectively with Tulum for a full day of touring. Tulum is beautiful but much less interesting than the other three main sites.

bisabella Nov 18th, 2003 08:13 AM

We went to both. I liked Xel-ha better. The night show at XCaret was very good, but only if you're familiar with Mexican culture. I did the dolphin swim at Xel-ha - It was the best thing I ever did. It only cost $90.00 (plus $30 for the video which I had to have).

Diana Nov 18th, 2003 09:06 AM

I would ask you to please reconsider the dolphin swim. They are incredibly cruel. I did it once and was sorry ever since. No matter how clean or nice it looks, more than half of the dolphins die within 60 to 90 days of capture.
In order to make an informed decision, please visit:

(The second site is the Humane Society of the United States' position on SWTD programs.)

cacho Nov 21st, 2003 10:39 AM

You are correct. Both the dolphin swim is cruel and in fyou go to Cuba. you can swim with wild dolphins in the sea without torturing them. It is up to the dolphins to help you touch them. Most of the time they are very curious and will get close enough for you to touch them. But the usually do not like it if you try to get on top of them. But who would???
Xel-Ha is the best park if it was not for the tourist trap feel that it has and the cruel treatment of dolphins.

Poppa Nov 21st, 2003 06:20 PM

I went to Xel-Ha in 1977 and am delighted it is still a good snorkeling experience.

I try to warn people that Tulum is NOT WORTH A FIRST LOOK MUCH LESS A SECOND.

If you can get to Chichen for 2 days, fine. If not, I hear Coba is worth it. But don't waste vacation time on Tulum.

magster518 Nov 22nd, 2003 09:12 AM

We were in the area last april and went to Xel-ha. My kids did the dolphin swim and LOVED it (they paid the $90 with their own allowance). The best part of Xel ha was the area away from the big beaches. We found these little nooks with chairs and jumped into the water where the snorkeling was fantastic (it was over near the rope tightrope thing). We ended up there at the end of the day, but it would have been lovely to get there earlier. Get there early and beat the tour buses, although there's no way to avoid them completely. If you go, when you enter you come to the beach area ... if you head to the right and walk up that pathway it takes you to the nook areas.

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