Xel Ha, Tulum
Located off of Mexico 307, Xel-Ha is a collection of cenotes (underground rivers which come to the surface as they meet the Caribbean) which are full of beautiful tropical fish. For the admission price you can stay here all day swimming, eating, snorkeling, and hanging out with dolphins in one of Xel-Ha's many dolphin swimming areas. If you come here, come early because it gets VERY crowded and if you want to swim with dolphins I recommend making reservations on the web before you go because the tickets for that always sell out. Again, I recommend driving as opposed to taking a tour bus. Also, if you have smaller children and don't want to go snorkeling you can take a tube ride down one of Xel-ha's gorgeous tropical rivers. Keep in mind that conventional sunblock is not allowed here because it harms the fish, so you will have to purchase a packet of biodegradable sunblock when you get here. Don't try going without!
(pronounced shel-hah) This is a natural aquarium that is made up of coves, inlets and lagoons. The name means 'where water is born', river flows from a natural spring out to meet the saltwater. You can go snorkelling, inner-tubing, swim with dolphins, sunbathe, and take pictures. Be forewarned that you are only allowed to take biodegradeable sunscreen in with you. I bought a bottle at Tulum for $10 US.
Walk on the floating bridge. You can get handfuls of fishfood to feed to the enormous fish. It was quite an experience trying to keep our balance on the bridge as the waves were rocking it back and forth.
Xel-Ha is an ecological water theme park located on the Mayan Riviera. It was not far from our resort and we had been told by others it was a great place to visit. I wasn't sure what to expect but I am very glad I went, well worth the visit. It is not the cheesy water park I was expecting.
A whole day can be spent there. You can buy an all inclusive pass (approx. $51 USD) which includes entrance fees, all meals, drinks and equipment. You may have to buy the proper, ecological friendly sunscreen, as normal sunscreen can not be worn in the water.
It is a large lagoon just off the sea. There are plenty of fish, allowing some great snorkeling. There are trails through the trees, where you can see badgers and iguanas. There are a couple of cliffs to be jumped, and of course lots of swimming. There are also places to swim with dolphins, for extra cost of course.
There are a couple of restaurants, one main buffet which gets very crowded at lunch time... but the food is good.
I think Xel-Ha is a great place to visit as a break from the resort. There are a lot of people though, so be prepared.
There you will find something for everyone to do - snorkeling, scuba, the rio to fload on, dolphins, kayaks and so on... within a wonderful natur.
The bad thing is that you have to pay a lot of money to see that nature...