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Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

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Zug, Switzerland
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Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

We are a family of 3 (one 6 year old) going to Playa del Carmen in March for 3 weeks and we can't wait.

Which of these parks is best? Any recommendations for whale/shark/dolphin watching tours? Would it be feasable to go to Isla Holbox for a day from PDC? Any recommendations for getting close to nature?

All tips gratefully received. Thanks.

NY
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1. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

I'm interested in the answers to this as well...we'll be there next week and want to visit XelHa or Xcaret and haven't decided which one yet...thoughts?

wisconsin
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2. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

If only able to do one- it is a hard choice but I would have to say Xcaret!! It is like an outer body experience!! All you hve to do is look at the excursions- there is a reason that you can do half Xel-ha and half Tulum- there isn't that much there- do Xcaret all the way!!

Nanaimo, B.C.
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3. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

We are heading to Puerto Aventuras for the last week of March and this is the same question we have. My wife and daughter are also very keen to snorkel with sea turtles. If anyone has any thoughts on this they would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Texas
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4. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

This question gets asked alot, and I give the same answer: IF you can only do one, Xcaret. Xel-Ha has slightly better snorkelling, but you are very limited on what you can do. Xcaret has good snorkelling, underground river, animals, fauna, you name it, plus alot of cultural displays. I think it offers a better overall experience, and that is whay I choose it when I am in PDC.

Embarrass, Minnesota
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5. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

It is going to be Xel-Ha as my choice. It is great for the 6 year old yet is all-inclusive, lots to see (besides snorkeling), and the adults will like the food/beverage. Go all day and early in the morning. Only went to the Tulum/Xel-ha split "tour" once and learned ...been back to spend full days at Xel-Ha every year since.

Sea turtles are best seen in Akumal and since you have 3 weeks do that another day. You'll swim with baracuda, tuna, parrot fish, probably more fish varieties than you can count at Xel-Ha but at Xcaret the fish are limited ... lots of them are in tanks and it is more like an aquarium.

Whale and shark watching is not the greatest in this area. Dolphins are available at Xel-Ha and several other tourist places but they can be sometimes seen from a boat. You even might see one if taking the ferry over to Coz.

Holbox is on the northern tip of the Yucatan peninsula and quite a hike for a day trip. Not recommended. They got hit pretty bad by the hurricane so there are not as many services but it is a beautiful nature area. Closer to Playa del Carmen there is an aviary in Playacar and botanic gardens in Puerto Moreles to the north (Halfway to Cancun)

If you want to get close to nature than chose a resort that is more into that thing. Sandos Caracol Village north of PDC seems to have that family/nature thing going for it...and the beaches are wide open for kilometers to the north and south to explore. It is in an area of undeveloped cenotes and mangroves so there can be quite a few critters around.

There is also a big nature area south of Tulum so you could look into guides for day trips there. I would recommend a day trip into the jungle (monkey watching?), Coba, visit a Mayan village and family, or hire a van with driver for a personal tour.

You'll surely find plenty of information on this forum by doing keyword searches in the little box on the top of this column. Have a good time ...it'll be a vacation your 6 year old will remeber his whole life.

(There are few cows in this area so you will notice dairy products are not quite the same as in your wonderful country!)

Zug, Switzerland
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6. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

Thanks for all responses and especially for all your detail Viking45. The dolphins in the tourist areas /parks are in captivity I presume. Although I would love to swim with them I do have a bit of a conscience about them being in captivity. One other thing - do you know if any of the zip line adventure excursions would be suitable for a six year old? They do say from 6 upwards but it would be nice to hear from someone who has done it with kids.

saskatchewan
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7. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

I have just returned from Playa. Depending on what you want to do, both are amazing. Excaret is more like a park with lots to see and some to do. the night show is spectacular, you must stay to see it. The admission in 59us I would skip the all inclusive and just rent what you need when you get inside. Xel ha is basically all snorkling. If you want to snokle with turtles taxi to Akumal and just go off the beach. It free and there is always turtles there.

Yal ku is also in Akumal and it is greaat snorkling addmission is 7us. Hope that helps.

lisa

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

If what you are looking for is a more natural experience (less theme park) I wouldn't go to Xcaret or Xel-Ha. Yal-Ku Lagoon is beautiful and calm for snorkeling, Akumal Beach for turtles, maybe a ceynote, definately Tulum (bring suits for beach), a mayan village near Coba. We did go to Xcaret 2 years ago, and I left it and our "shiny" all-inclusive feeling like I didn't experience Mexico at all. This time, in March, we are doing it completely different. I'm so excited, can't wait.

Manitoba
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9. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

We went to Xel-ha with our 4 & 9 year old and our 9 year old loved it. He really enjoyed the tube river ride and the snorkeling. It was his 1st time snorkeling and he thought it was great. I spent my time with the 4 year old watching the dolphin shows. You have a great view really close to watch them.

We found the price really reasonable for the all inclusive. We spent the day and found it went by very fast.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Xel Ha or Xcaraet?

After looking at your post again, 3 weeks is a nice long vacation. Going to either of those eco-parks would be a fun day, especially if your near by and like to stay active. where are you staying? A day trip to Isla mujeres or cozumel may be fun. If you want to see the biggest Mayan ruins go to Chichen Itza ( aprox. 2 1/2 hrs. fom Playa), but I love Tulum for location and beach.