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Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

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Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

Hi All,

We picked our tickets up today for our 2 week stay at The Yucatan at the end of March (Can;t wait now lol).. Within the ticket folder were some trip ideas to go on when we are there.. I have looked on the web but i wanted first hand views on people that have been there themselves, so here are a couple of questions.. We are a both aged 40ish and my wife enjoys animals and lazing around by water..

Which one is better, in terms of value for money and things to see or do?

What is the difference between them?

How far are they from where we are stopping, Rui Yucatan..

How is it best to book, via holiday rep, or another source..

I realise that these places are owned by the same company and offer a discount for buying a ticket for the 2, however we only want to do one as there are other places we would like to go..On that note are there any other places that any of you guys would recommend whilst we are there.. Not to far away as i don't do hours on coaches..LOL

Many thanks and look forward to some helpfull advice..

St Paul, MN
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1. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??


You might really enjoy Xcaret. All day experience. Dolphins, sting rays, manatees (oh they are big), beach, snorkeling, Mayan ball games (nobody was sacrificed) & an equestrian show. Much more. Impossible to see everything in 1 day. The Mexican dancers, musicians and entertainers finish the night at the auditorium (that was the best, spectacular). I would estimate 2/3 rds of the audience were Mexicans. Talk about passion. These entertainers were the best of the best. My kids loved the butterfly pavilion and the Mayan Village.

Do a search in to learn more about Xcaret.

Wherever you see dolphin shows or swim with the dolphins, keep in mind they limit the number of exposures the dolphins have with humans. It usually costs an extra 100 usd to swim and interact with the dolphins.

A taxi from the Riu Yucatan will be about 12 dollars, less than 10 miles takes about 15 minutes. On the way home you have to line up to get a voucher for a taxi, or purchase it beforehand from the stone kiosk. It is very organized so people don't push ahead. Buy your tickets at the gate.


Courtesy of Reallady: There have been tons of threads on Xel Ha here on Trip Advisor. We love Xel Ha and here is a review that I have posted on TA:

We really love Xel Ha! The snorkeling is great! Every time we go to Mexico we have to spend a day a Xel Ha. It is beautiful, amazing and fun! There is an open sea aquarium with at least 70 different species of fish and sea life to snorkel in. You can even snorkel next to manatee and touch them. There are cenotes, underwater caves, swim with dolphin, sea trek, snuba, kayaks, float down the river, jungle train, bicycles, Path of Consciousness, floating bridge, cliff of courage (15' jump into river), Mo's flight(jump from rock onto rope swing into crystal clear water, beautiful white beach, Trepachanga (walk parallel ropes above water), hammock Island. There is a children’s area. It is also all inclusive, so food and drink are included along with snorkel gear, life jackets if you want to wear them, tubes for river, lockers and towels. Also, Xel Ha is the 1st natural park in the world to be Green Globe Certified and has been chosen as one of Mexico's 13 Natural Wonders. We always have so much fun there and take guests with us many times who rave about it too.

Pay the all inclusive fee at gate, or purchase your tickets at the ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen for $79 and get free roundtrip transportation on the ADO luxury bus. Xel Ha is about an hour south of the Riu Yucatan. Both are excellent daily excursions, just a different experience.

Edited: 13 March 2011, 19:41
Union, Oregon
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2. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

We haven't been to Xel-Ha (not much for snorkeling) but went to Xcarat and loved it. It is an all day thing and definately worth it. Actually we didn't see everything in one day and wished we had at least 4 more hours to see everything. My husband and I are in our 50's.

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3. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

Thanks for the replies..

Grand Rapids
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4. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

We did Xcaret in one day, no problem for us. We knew what we wanted to see, what we didnt, and we went for it. We showed up at 3:00pm even. So we got the discounted rate, and we did the underground river, saw all the animals, did the space needle, saw the awesome nightly show, and still were the first ones out to the taxi stands. Do I recommend doing it that way, no, but it can be done without rushing if you know where/what you want to see...


Kelowna, Canada
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5. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

If you like animals and lazing around the water Xcaret is definitly for you! My sister and I 45 and 56 spent the day there and loved it!! So many things to see and do. Lots of animals,snorkling,relax places to just sit and people watch! Just make sure that you have Reef Friendly Sunblock to go there as if you don't you pay and arm and a leg for it there and they will not allow normal sunblock into the Park. Also the show in the evening is a must see!We are staying at the Occidental Grand Xcaret April 6th and looking forward to the stroll over to the park again :)

6. Re: Xel-Ha or Xcarat.. What's the difference/Which is better??

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