Which is better if you had to choose one to go to, Xcaret or Xel-Ha?
Xel-Ha was awesome! We spent six hours snorkeling though and did not have much time or energy left to explore the whole place. It was pretty busy (on a Saturday) but once you float/snorkel out of the river then you have tons of space to go off by yourself. I would suggest getting there first thing in the am so you have the entire day to spend exploring...I felt like we could have easily spent 2 days there.
I don't know anything about Xcaret except that the admission seemed more expensive.
If you have any questions about Xel-ha I'd be glad to answer them, however I don't check the posts everyday so I may not answer right away.
Xel-Ha is by far the better park. Snorkeling the underground river at Xcaret was cooling on a very hot day, but got kind of boring after 10 minutes or so. Not much to see except the inside of the caves and schools of tiny, tiny fish. At Xel-Ha, we spent several hours snorkeling in the large lagoon that feeds into the open sea. Many fish to see and you could get in and out of the water in a number of locations. We also did the tubing-down-the-river "thing" and would advise everyone to skip this activity. It took a long time to get down the river and you had to paddle with arms and feet constantly to keep moving or to stay in the channel and not drift away to the shoreline. It was exhausting and not all that much fun! My husband and I can have fun wherever we go and enjoyed both parks, but my vote is for Xel-Ha. Enjoy yourself!
We went to Tulum area in August arriving on Sat. All along we planned on going to XCaret on Monday. Sunday included a visit to the Tulum Ruins and some time the Ruin's beach. Excaret has more "stuff" but you pay more for it. Xel-ha shuts down around 5. Excaret has the spectacular night program. We decided after a full day of activities, we'd be too tired to take in the dinner show as well. So we took Xel-Ha and had a wonderful time. If you're renting a car, get there when the park closes. You can tell the difference when the tour buses arrive. Xel-ha had a lot of interesting areas to snorkel. We were pretty tired by the end of the day. The oppressive heat took it out of us as well.
Thank you everyone for your replies. They are all very useful. I think that we'll probably go to Xel-Ha and pack our own lunch to save $$$.
What is available at Tulum? Is there any good shopping there? And is there a cost to see the ruins?? Thanks in advance for your knowlege!! :)
We went in February is was a trip offered by the Hotel... all inclusive Xel-Ha and Tulum Ruins.. cost about 75 each we left from cozumel gave us half day at the park included lunch and drinks they balance of the day at ruins. there are shops at both places. bring a hat there is no shade at the ruins and it was hot..
I guess I'm the lone Xcaret fan. We've done both and I was not that impressed with the fish we saw (or didn't see) at Xel-Ha. Xcaret has a lot to offer and yes it is more money, but we felt it was worth it. The night time show was spectacular! The Mayan ball game was very interesting to see...still not sure of the rules, but it was great! If you go and stay for the night show bring bug repellent. As for the underground river, there are in and out points all along the way so you're not stuck if you get bored or whatever.