A daytrip to Tulum and Xel-Ha – Mexico

My first experience with Mexico was in the first week of October this year, where I spent a week in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. I absolutely fell in love with the country! The beaches and sea are breath taking, the people are so kind and the nature is magnificent. This is a part of Mexico which has so much to offer. Either you are looking for a relax holiday or an adventurous holiday (or a combination) you’re at the right place. I chose for a combination of relax and adventure and during my one-week holiday in Playa del Carmen, I had some relax time, but I also visited some places around the Riviera Maya.

This week I’ll tell you some more about a daytrip I made to Tulum and Xel-Ha, a big aqua park, which are both located at the coastline of Quintana Roo. If you haven’t that much time to visit each place a whole day, this is definitely a perfect combination for a daytrip. In my opinion, half a day per place was enough. Of course I can imagine that some people would want to spend some more time in Tulum or Xel-Ha though.

We started our day in the archaeological park of Tulum, which is located approximately one hour driving from Playa del Carmen. Tulum is an old Maya town which is well-known for its perfect location at the beach. The archaeological park and old city is completely walled and features several temples. One of the buildings used the be like a sort lighthouse. In the night, they lighted up some fire at this places which shined through a gap in the wall. With this fire, the sailors could navigate through the reefs.

The park is big and has much to offer, so you can easily spend a whole day here when you’re also thinking about taking a swim in the beautiful, blue sea, or about buying some souvenirs. There are shops and some restaurants where you can eat something. Looking at the shops, there are either shops inside buildings or little stalls outside where you can buy, for example, a delicious coconut.

After we went to Tulum (without swimming in the sea), it was time for some water fun for ourselves! So that’s why we continued our trip to the aqua park Xel-Ha, which isn’t that far away from Tulum. Here we spent the rest of our afternoon. We had an All Inclusive ticket, which meant we could have lunch as well in all of the restaurants. However, All Inclusive doesn’t mean that all activities are included. Some are against payment, but we enjoyed ourselves the afternoon without the extra activities.

The park is very green, huge and has many places to offer! You can get snorkeling equipment for free and there is much space in the water to go snorkling. Furthermore, there is a lighthouse where you can find a really high-located slide. There are also some cenotes in the middle of the nature and when you would like to relax for a moment, you can float over a river lying on a plastic swim tire. For the more adventurous people, there are also activities like a zipline.

Although it can be a little expensive and there are many other water parks, I think this one is definitely worth a visit. Especially because of its variety of attractions and other possibilities. Next to this, you can eat in several unique restaurants.


The two places which I’ve mentioned above can be perfectly visited each on another day so you can spend your whole day at that place. However, when there’s not much time (like we had, unfortunately) Tulum and Xel-Ha are a perfect combination to visit in one day. A combination of culture, water fun and relaxation.

Have you ever been to the Riviera Maya and one of these places before? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comment section below!

Author: Tamara


  • Claire Sturzaker

    I loved Tulum! I was there a few weeks ago and didn’t want to leave, the beaches there were beautiful – and the ruins are just so picture perfect! I didn’t go to Xel-Ha though, we decided to spend the afternoon on the beach at Tulum, and went for dinner in the town, maybe next time I’ll go to Xel-Ha!

  • thevikingabroad

    I only went to a resort in Cancun this May. I really want to explore more of Mexico like the cenotes and nice beach areas such as Tulum. Would love to check out the aqua park Xel-Ha, seems so nice.

  • WanderWithJo

    Well thats great to know that you can visit both in one day if you really want. even though, I am a lazy traveler and like to take things slow, sometimes when u have a time crunch you just need to fit in whatever you can in a day eh? Tulum looks gorgeous.

  • Candy

    I’ve never been to either, but would love to check out the aqua park Xel-Ha. I love water parks! I love all-inclusive tickets that cover meals. Especially at waterparks because I get super hungry at parks like this. Good to know that all-inclusive doesn’t mean it includes everything in this park 🙂

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