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Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Manitoba
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Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Just returned yesterday (sigh .....) and just wanted to share what we found was the best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha. Everyone tells you to go by the floating bridge which does have big fish, but its someone cloudy because of all the people and that's where they do the sea trek. What we found by chance was that the best snorkeling was by the manatee. We wanted to see them underwater so we went back to get our snorkel gear and we found hundreds of fish (and very few people) there. On the manatee side there is a nice inlet with lots of fish. And on the other side there are lots of coral formations that you can weave through. Just look out for the large barracuda (about 4 feet long). We spent about 2 hours in this location. If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer if I can.

Oklahoma city...
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1. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

where is the manatee place? We were there two years ago, but was with another couple and felt rushed. I loved it, but didn't really feel like we saw to many fish. So I'm trying to decide if we want to go back or try going snorkeling on our own.

Manitoba
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2. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

The manatees are on the way to the river run (where you go on the innertubes and paddle down the river.) There is a small walking bridge with the manatees on the right and then there is a place to get into the water to the left of the bridge. I just showed my family the underwater video I took from there and they couldn't believe how many fish there were. We spent the entire day at Xel-Ha and we still didn't get to see everything. If you don't want to go back to Xel-Ha and want to snorkel on your own, I've heard great things about Yal-Ku lagoon, Alkumel beach and Half Moon Bay. I think they all have reviews on TA.

Enjoy your trip.

Michigan
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3. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

So, can you just walk right in to the water and snorkel?

Did you do the all inclusive thing with transportation, drinks, food, etc?

We've tried Catamaya and a regular snorkeling trip from Puerto Morelos and I've determined for me, I just want to walk into the water and snorkel as much or as little as I want. Is that more or less what you can do at Xel-ha?

Embarrass, Minnesota
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4. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Yes, you can walk right in and snorkel. You walk down a few steps and sit on the lower step if you like, then ease into the water. You can do the grand splash entrance but that is usually the dude that used to go to the Pacific side of Mexico.

It is not the best place for the number of fish per square foot (That is by the bar/burger palapa where it is hard to swim without brushing them) but there is a lot of structure there for the fish and they love it. This is where the BIG parrot fish hang out. BTW going to the right on the paths will take you right by the equipment pickup area and on to the bridge mentioned. Keep on going to the headwater of the river float.

Louisville, Kentucky
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5. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

I'm having a little trouble imagining what Xel Ha is really like. How big is this place anyway? How long would it take to see most of the attractions? When you are walking around do you need shoes? Right now I'm thinking I would like to walk around the place with my camera and take some pictures and see everything first. Then maybe go to the locker room and change into swim/snorkel gear and go snorkeling and change to an underwater camera. Does this seem like a reasonable way to do things? Do the lockers lock or do I need to bring my own lock? Should I bring a towel?

Thanks for your help. I'm just a little confused right now.

Manitoba
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6. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

The place is actually quite large but you will have no trouble navigating around the park -- it is very well marked. They do have a website so check it out and you can actually see an aerial view of the park.

You don't need shoes as the paths are pretty even. I hate walking without shoes and I had no trouble. Besides, most of the time you want to bring your fins with you. You do not need to bring anything other than a $20 deposit for snorkel gear. You get mask, disposable snorkel and fins. The lockers are free and you are given a key there. You can go in and out of your locker as many times as you want. You also don't need towels as they have lots of blue towels at the same place you pick up your snorkel equipment.

We started the day with snorkeling as that was our first reason for choosing Xel-ha. We did the river later in the day. I just found that it does get very crowded in the afternoon so you might start swimming into other people when everyone is in the water. Either way -- walk around first or swim first, you'll have a great time.

Embarrass, Minnesota
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7. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Never used a $20 deposit. Carry an old expired driver's license and old closed account credit cards. Use them for deposit. (They never check the date of expiration nor care) You'll need two ...one for the snorkel gear...the other for the locker and the furnished lock. Get a top locker as wet stuff in lockers above you can drip into your locker below...also the critters like the lower lockers.

Xel-Ha is big...I have a jpeg map I scanned of it...don't use it. I just go to the right and start early at the top of the river and float to the main palapa. (break for food/drink) Then snorkel the main lagoon and under the west bridge. If time I roam with the camera and walk on the great circle around the entire park. Pictures of critters and cenotes are fun and often overlooked. Yes, you will run out of time. Save time to get some ice cream as you leave...it's a nice relaxing way to end the day...sitting on the bus eating ice cream.

Louisville, Kentucky
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8. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Really sounds like a lot of fun. How much time do you guys think I'll need to see the park? Can you do Xel-Ha and Tulum in the same day? They look like they are very close on the map, so I'm tempted to try and do both.

Oh yeah, forgot. How big are the lockers? If I brought a back pack would it fit in the locker?

Pittsburgh...
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for Puerto Aventuras, Cancun, Pittsburgh
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9. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Hammer- Go to xelha.com and you will see amap of xelha and all the attractions. It will give you some idea of how large it is. It is a great place!

cleveland
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10. Re: Best place to snorkel at Xel-Ha is .....

Wow I have been there twice and have never seen the Manatees and we where all over that park!!Maybe they are new to it!