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hlsess

Xelha or Xcaret

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anyone been to both- heard Xcaret was a tourist trap= Xelha looks like alot of fun with rope swing, cliff jumpin etc. Can only do one which would you pick and why? Anyone have a map of Xelha? Thanks Will be there in March

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I am also trying to decide which place is the better place to go. Our cruise itinerary just changed from Grand Cayman to Playa De Carmen. I am not sure I even understand what Xcaret and Xelha are. Are they similar to theme parks in America, only without rides and more interaction? I went to both websites and Xcaret was more expensive, and didn't seem to have the amount of water activities Xelha had. Also, Xcaret seemed like it was more of a tour thing...where Xelha was more of a park, you just go where you want to go and do what you want to do.

 

I have two kids and am trying to find a good place to spend the day. My main, and only interest, is swimming in lagoons, having clear water, snorkeling with fish and coral, and beach time with nice sand and beautiful water. I am not interested in ruins, aviaries, or other land type of things for this particular vacation, so hopefully one of these two places is what we are looking for.

 

Thanks for any input!

Jeff

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Jeff, you DEFINITELY need to go to Xelha then . I 've been researching both and that is where we are going- lots of snorkeling and swimming etc-get there early if possible. wE'll be there the 3rd week of March.

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how are you going to get their? i hear the taxi is $50 each way, and its about 50 minutes from the port,,,i really want to go there!!

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We will be on a land trip and are taking a cab from about 45 minutes away which I've been told will be $50 each way.

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hlsess,

 

I did a bit more research this evening and you are right that Xelha does seem to be the place for swimming and snorkeling. However, I didn't realize it was that far from the cruise tendering peir. At $50 each way, plus admission for four, this is not going to be cheap.

 

Jeff

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From a previous trip report when we stayed two weeks in the Yucatan:

>>

Xcaret vs. Xel-Ha (and Yal-Ku)

Elizabeth, Thomas, and I all agreed that if you could only pick one park to go to, Xcaret is a better choice (at least for our family). Of course, it is by far a more expensive admission ($50 vs. $20). But, it also offers much more than Xel-Ha (great show, museum, aquarium, bat cave, butterflies, etc.). I will say we did have a good time at Xel-Ha- the river with its jumps and snorkeling is quite fun. Though, I also want to point out, I would choose, for snorkeling, Yal-Ku over Xel-Ha. Yal-Ku is a great snorkeling experience (and only $6)- good visibility and coral formations (which Xel-Ha lacks). In summary, I think a full day (including the evening show) at Xcaret and a half day of snorkeling at Yal-ku (lunch at Lol-Ha on Akumal bay - perhaps even the 5:30 - 6:30 happy hour) would make for a great vacation experience.

>>

 

To read the entire report (very long):

www.playa.info/playa-del-carmen-forum/9227-paradise-found-trip-report-august-10-24-2004-a-3.html

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I've been to xelha last year. It was very beautiful. They are both eco-logical theme park. they both have similar acitivites swimming, floating down the natural rivers, cliff diving at xelha, there is bike riding and somthing called the sea trek where they take to the bottomof the ocean to pet sting rays, etc at an extra cost of course. The snorkeling is not great. I really didn't see that many fish. Although the lagoon is very beautiful and I have no regrets having gone but i have an even better alternative if you are interested. We just returned from our Cruise on Monday the 30th. We were in Calica on Saturday, January 28th and spent the day with a private tour guide name Eddie. IT WAS AWESOME. The best snorkeling, swimming day I've had. He takes you to a lagoon very similar to xelha only there are MILLIONS of fish. It was like an over stocked aquarium. He also takes you to snorkel in the Dos Ojos cenote that was amazing and you get play with spider monkeys there also if you are interested. He then takes you to swim with the sea turtles and takes you for lunch to a local restaurant. It was so beautiful and totally private only myself and my husband. We had the entire lagoon to ourselves. I found him on this message board when looking for something to do at this port. That's what we did but you pretty much ask him to do whatever you want. Some people go to visit the Ruins in tulum but we had already seen them so we skipped that. He has a stocked cooler of beer, water and pop for you to drink ALL day at no cost.

 

The cost you ask.... well since we used his vehicle because it was just me and my husband it was 50$ for transportation and then 45$ per person. You could also rent a jeep (remember to bartar you can talk them down from 100 to 65$) and meet him in Tulum if you like. We simply took a taxi for 10$ to a mall where we met him and he reimbursed us the 10$. He aslo takes a bunch of pictures with his digital camera (underwater) and provides you with all of those photos as well.

 

I'm telling you it was great. We ended our day at a local bar/restaurant called la buena vida,right on the ocean, amazing place. Happy hour 1$ for drinks...

 

After our drinks, Eddie (who is the owner) drove us right back to the cruise ship.

 

For those interested he has a tour shop in Tulum at the ruins where you can either find Eddie or his brother Daniel to take you out. He also has a website that is semi functional, my husband is working on the site right now to make it more functional. You can also email his wife Bonnie (great lady, met her also) to make a reservation.

 

His website is edventuretours.com.mx

His email is edventure68@hotmail.com

 

Tell him Tania and Mike say HI!

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Thanks so much Tania- we will be in PDC for a land trip in March with kids ages 8-16 and had planned to go to Xelha but maybe this will be better- does he charge an hourly rate-I was confused by the prices you gave- we 'd love to snorkel and do other fun things with the kids-maybe I'll email him and get some ideas from him. Thanks did you feel totally safe etc with him? I don't have a husband just kids and nmy brothers kids-he'll be playing golf probably.

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Absolutely 100% safe. Him and his wife are fantastic. He's been doing this since 1983. His wife is from North Dakota. Although he does drive fast but everyone in Mexico does, especially the taxis.

 

I know quite a few people have gone with their kids and have also given him rave reviews.

 

Bonnie will probably give you some suggestions on things to do. My personal favorite part was playing with the spider monkeys.

 

He also provides all the equipment from wet suits to snorkel equipment.

 

They usually give you a flat rate per person for the day, probably depending on what you would like to do. I also have their phone number if required.

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Thanks for the tip Tang-Bailey....I just emailed Eddie, so hopefully we can book a similar tour with him. I'll be sure to give an update soon.

 

Jeff

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Tang-Bailey -Just got email back from Eddie- he said $45 /person-not sure about transportation b/c he wasn't sure if we needed it but I am really thinking about this- what type of car/van-did it have A/C? Tell me about playing with the monkeys -do you touch them - take pictures? He mentioned a zipline- did you do this -how long of a day ?? Thanks so much !!! You mentioned $50 for transportation- was that for both you and your husband or total? Did you really like it way better than Xelha???

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We were in Cancun last year and went to Xelha for the day. We had a nice time, but the weather was not very cooperative. The river tubing was a bit of a disappointment because there were many times when there was no current and we had to paddle our arms off to move. Then there were parts that the current was so difficult to manuever that if you got off course, it was difficult to get back.

 

The snorkeling was just okay - saw some very large fish by the floating bridge, but that's about it. Can't say that I would go back again - it was VERY crowded (and the weather wasn't that great!).

 

One of my co-workers has been to Xcaret and she raved about it - said her 9 year old daughter absolutely LOVED it.

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I have been to Xcaret twice and I love it. The first time we were there it was just a park out in the middle of nowhere. I told my DW if they opened a resort here they would make a killing. Lo and behold there are several resorts nnow in the arae. If only.................:eek:

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This sounds like a very fun place to go. It doesn't look like Carnival goes to Xelha, so we would have to go to Xcaret. Anymore information would be appreciated.

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Of the two, I liked Xel-ha more, Xcaret is nice, but I LOVE to snorkel and there was more fish to see at Xel-ha. Both have dolphin shows and manatees, Xcaret has a lagoon with turtles, Xel-ha does not. The Cliff jumping at Xel-ha was fun, it's a 20 minute walk from the main lagoon to where you jump off the cliff.

 

Taxi from PDC to either Xcaret of Xel-ha should be less than $25 for a couple, $30 for 4 people.

 

We waited for the bus to take us back to PDC from Xel-ha and never saw it, we ended up taking a van with 10 other people for $4 each.

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I was on vacation in Cancun last August and did the Xel-Ha tour. Let me tell you it is totally worth going I paid more for my tour because our transportation was included about $99 per adult. But if you get there on your own it $71.10 per adult and they have a special running right now for children through the internet site. The park opens about 10am till 5pm if I remember right. It is all-inculsive even the beer. Food two buffets a breakfast and a lunch a wide variety of food to chose from and the non-alcoholic beverages included. What excursion serves you two full buffets? and snacks and drinks all day. The snorkel gear mask tube and fins life jackets towls showers soap the use of a locker. The ground are very clean. There are iguanas and other small animals that call this place home romming about. There are hamucks near all a round the park as well as plenty of chairs. It is well worth the price of admission. It a 30 min ride south of Playa De Carmon.

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I had this same question 2 months when our cruise went to Calica. After doing my research, I really wanted to visit Xel-ha more than Xcaret (I spent hours reading reviews on trip advisor). Unfortunately we didn't do either because it rained, although we had previously decided on Xcaret for several reasons. First, it's only about 3 miles from the cruise port. Xel-ha is about 25 miles away. Xel-ha is cheaper and includes much more, but we figured we'd lose those price savings in cab fare and up to 2 hours of fun from the drive. Cab fares are set in stone and listed at the cab stand. I don't remember exactly what the cab fare was, but it was very cheap to Xcaret, something like $25 RT. We took a taxi into Playa Del Carmen (about a 10 minute ride) for $25 RT and passed Xcaret on the way. I remember the cab fare for Xel-ha being $100 RT because I asked the rep, "Why is it $100 RT and only $45 each way? Shouldn't it be $90 RT?" He then went on to explain that your cab driver stays and waits with you all day there, so that's why the extra $10 is added in. There is no bus by the port of Calica that I was aware of. As a matter of fact, you can't even walk anywhere. It takes 3-5 minutes by car just to drive to the outside of the port and enter onto the main road, and once you make it to that road, there's nothing around. The port itself has nothing there but a few souvenir stands. You will definitely need a cab or a rental car. If you're coming in on a cruise, do Xcaret. If you're staying in Mexico for a few days, visit Xel-ha. That's what I would do.

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I have been to both places. I think you get more bang for your buck at Xel Ha. However, if possible the night performance is worth seeing. If you go to Xel Ha get the "all-inclusive" deal. You get to eat all of the food. It does save you money. The snorkeling was pretty decent when we were there. I thought the food was also good.

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I have visited both Xcaret and Xel-Ha. Our preference is Xel-Ha even though the night performance at Xcaret is worth seeing. You get more bang for your buck at Xel-Ha; however, you must get the all-inclusive pass. We will go back to Xel-Ha again. You need a full day there as the park as lots of activities. We also thought the snorkeling was pretty good.

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