The concept of the Xel-Ha Park is pretty bold, but also quite remarkable. I imagine there were many questions being asked when the idea was first brought up, such as, "How can we attract the most visitors?" and, ultimately, "What will make us the most money?" However, there was definitely someone in there that asked, "How can we keep it Mexico?"
Xel-Ha is a water park, amusement park, or whatever you want to call it, but I also think it's so much more than that. Yes, there are zip-lines and giant buffets with free bars, but the fact the park is located right on top of a natural paradise is actually really cool. Freshwater is pouring out from inland to meet the saltwater of the ocean, which makes for a really interesting area that you get to explore. I still don't think the nature purists out there would be happy sharing the area with hundreds of other people running around in their bathing suits, drinks in hand, but for those looking to have a unique experience with the perks of unlimited food and beverages, I think this might be the place for you. For me, I was very excited to come here because of the natural beauty of the area (the amazingly-colored water and cenotes), but the easy access to food and drink was a huge, added bonus.
Tickets for Xel-Ha are all-inclusive. This gets you entry into the park and access to all the restaurants and bars. Also, parking is free. Lockers, towels, bathrooms, and showers are free once you get in. There are many optional activities you can add onto your base ticket price, such as swimming with the dolphins, seawalk, boat rides, etc. We didn't do any of the optional activities ourselves, but some of them looked pretty fun! Food is of typical buffet quality and there should be a wide enough variety for most people. There are a different buffets with different options so you can go around to each one and see what their menu has. They're all located in the same general area. You can order specialty drinks (cocktails, mocktails, etc.) from servers at each buffet (or from bars around the park) or just use the self-serve area for normal drinks (juices, sodas, milk, etc.). We didn't order any drinks until right before we left and we really regretted not having anything earlier. The virgin pina colada was so good!
Free activities include snorkeling (get free-to-use gear at different spots), riding bicycles on a path, swimming, water slides, zip-lines, cliff-jumping, tubing, and more. It's actually a pretty big place that you mostly have to walk around, so you'll have to explore for yourself. Luckily, there are big maps all over the place to direct you. I'd recommend exploring everything the park has to offer! However, we didn't like the water slide at the top of the lighthouse. It just wasn't fast enough for our liking, although the view from the top was pretty cool. You can walk up there just to see the view if you want. You'll have to leave all your belongings in a locker before accessing this area (including flip flops, phones, etc.), though.
There are many different “experiences” you can have within the Xcaret family in the Cancun area of Mexico, which can bring your vacation to a whole other level. We’ve only tried out Xel-Ha so far, but judging by how fun that was, I think we may have to try some others in the future!