Welcome to the Jungle: Xplor Park – Riviera Maya, Mexico

Xplor Park – Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Federal Highway, Km. 282. Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

When most people think of Mexico, they think of sun, sand, and ice cold margaritas in their hand.

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There is so much more to this beautiful country, and what many people don’t know is that adventure is just a short drive from some of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most popular resort destinations.


Must Know

Xplor Park, located conveniently along highway 307 near Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s famous Riviera Maya, is a 145 acre adventure-filled fun park that opened in July of 2009.  This eco-adventure park is surrounded by a thick jungle landscape, and at times we found ourselves completely forgetting that the pristine beaches of Playa del Carmen and the vibrant nightlife of Cancun were all just a short drive away.  The Park itself is packed full of funtivities for the adventurous traveler including tearing through the jungle in off-road amphibious vehicles, swimming in and paddling through one of a kind underground rivers, and of course some of the tallest and most exhilarating zip-lines in Latin America.  With six incredible activities there is enough to do at Xplor for everyone, and each activity is spaced out accordingly.  At no time during our fun-filled day at Xplor Park did we feel clustered with the masses as we have at some of the best theme parks.

Park Hours: Monday to Saturday – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Park Admission: $ 119.00 USD Adults & $ 59.50 Children

Park admission is all inclusive of a Park helmet, zip-line safety harness, life jacket, hand paddles, Park locker, all-you-can-eat buffet, and parking.  In our opinion, the price paid for the value you receive at Xplor Park is far better than any other adventure park throughout Riviera Maya.

Discounted admission is available online through pre-purchased tickets.

10% – 7 day advance purchase.
15% – 21 day advance purchase.

Tours including Park admission and round-trip transportation are available for an additional package fee, however we prefer to come and go at our own pace.  This allowed us ample time for uninterrupted enjoyment of all Xplor Park had to offer.

The minimum weight for zip-lining is 88 pounds, and the maximum weight is 299 pounds.   The minimum height for zip-lining is 4 1/2 feet.

The minimum age to enter the park is 5 years old (with some attractions having a minimum age of 6 to participate), and guests must be 18 in order to drive the amphibious vehicles.


Welcome to the Jungle, We Got Fun & Games

We arrived to Xplor via our rental car from Tulum.  As we exited highway 309 to Xplor Park, we were directed to the parking lot which is located below the Park’s spiraling marquee tower which also serves as one of the highest zip-lines in Latin America.  Driving next to this colossal tower and imagining ourselves soaring over the parking lot via a cable, was overwhelming to say the least.  As we exited the car, we could hear the zip-lines themselves and the screams of horror joy from all of the riders enthusiastically zipping down the lines from high above the treetops.

Although we are lovers of all things adventure, we were about to set sail on our first zip-lining adventure. We do struggle with a few fears so we left our extreme fear of heights (Janine) and our fear of falling (Jared) with our rental car – or so we thought, and we made our way through the parking lot to the entrance of Xplor.  As we descended the stairs into the Park’s massive underground open-air lobby, which is built to resemble the mouth of an enormous cave equipped with modern day guest service stations and ticket counters, we began to forget about our fears and we started to think this might not be so bad after all.

In the lobby we purchased our day passes to Xplor Park.  For us, this was officially the point of no return.  We both decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to go all out.  Once we signed off on the liability releases, we were given our Park helmets and sent on our way.  Your Park helmets are to be worn at all times while you are participating in each of the Park’s various activities.  These bright orange helmets are also how you are tracked through the Park for the photo package that is offered for an additional fee.

The pathways from the lobby that lead to the various points of the park are lined with countless impressive stalactites and stalagmites.  We are so used to seeing such well themed attractions like those at Walt Disney World that we just assumed these stalactites, stalagmites, and cenotes were in fact another work of impressive craftsmanship.  However, this was not the case.  Although the pathways themselves are man-made, and the park took over five years to build, we were told by a number of locals that each of these remarkable cenotes and immense underground caves are the real thing.  This plethora of natural beauty is in fact the result of the Yucatan’s close proximity to the ocean, and the natural limestone that is abundant in the surrounding surface.  There is no shortage of these striking structures throughout the Park, and after a while we had to pinch ourselves to make sure this was not a dream. With the abundance of this natural beauty also comes huge safety precautions, and it is very important to wear your helmet at all times while visiting Xplor Park.

 


Touring The Jungle

After we deposited all of our belongings in our Park locker (lockers are included with admission), we headed straight for the ATV Park to rip through 6.2 mile jungle pathways and underground caves in our very own amphibious off-road vehicle.  For us, this was the highlight of our day at Xplor Park.  We do own ATV’s for personal use, and we have spent many hours tearing through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania on our ATV’s.  However, these were not your ordinary ATV’s.  These amphibi-roadsters were packed with a roll cage and monster truck tires that cornered like a dream and could plow through (and did) almost anything, including the darkest of underground caves.

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For the amphibi-vehicle attraction, we were broken into small groups where we were armed with our Park helmets and loaded into our vehicles, a seat belt check was performed, and we were provided brief instructions.  We were reminded that we were not the only ones on the track, and we were explicitly told not to bump the vehicles in front of us.  Again, this attraction was a great way to jump start our day at Xplor Park, and we are so glad we did this first.

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There are a number of photo opportunities along your ride through the jungle.  If you purchase the Park’s photo package, this is a great way to capture some of the most intense moments of your ride through the jungle.  We were also able to take a video from our point of view during our ride which we have shared below.

 

However, full disclosure – we were involved in a minor fender bender during our last ride around the amphibi-vehicle course.  A young tourist plowed into the back of our vehicle while we were stopped in a traffic jam waiting for a number of vehicles to pass through one of the narrow underground caves.  Needless to say, we were very lucky that we were not hurt, and there was no significant damage to our Park vehicle.  I’m not sure how often these types of incidents occur, but it was a simple case of the young driver behind us not paying attention to the vehicles ahead of her.  In no way do we think the incident was intentional by any means.

Winding through the canopy covered dirt paths, through water-filled underground caverns, and over the narrow suspension bridges of the Mayan Jungle at top speed was an absolute thrill.  We tore through the muddy jungle roads with no problem, and we had a ball!


Flying Through The Jungle

For our next activity, we headed to the main attraction – the tallest zip-lines in Central America.  There are two zip-line courses in the Park, Deer and Jaguar, consisting of seven zip-line circuits each.

The Deer zip-line course is recommended for beginners as it contains the Park’s smaller towers and zip-lines, but this course includes a water slide, and a number of water landings that add a nice finishing touch to some of the best zip-lines.

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The Jaguar course entails even longer zip-lines, taller towers, two hanging rope bridges, and one fantastic zip-line that takes a refreshing ride through a waterfall.

During the safety instruction portion, where you are fitted with your safety harness, it is recommended that first time zip-liners try the Deer course before they hit the Jaguar course.  The instructors also suggest to the crowd that you forget about your fears.  This is so much easier said than done!  We opted for the beginner course, and we were glad we did.  This allowed us to ease into the idea of zip-lining high above the jungle, but in no way did this make it any easier as our internal battles with a fear of heights and a fear of falling overcame us with every step we climbed to each of the seven towers.

If you still find yourself fighting off your fears after riding each of the seven towers in the Deer course, you may want to opt for the chance to double up on your future rides.  There were a number of towers on the Jaguar course where we asked if we could ride together instead of flying solo, and much to our surprise we were able to do this a number of times.  We aren’t sure why this made us feel better, in hindsight we realize that our combined weight on the line itself could’ve made this whole experience much more unsafe, but as we were always told there is safety in numbers!

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As we made our first climb up Deer Tower 1, our hearts were racing and our nerves were on edge.  There were literally people of all ages running up the towers to get to the next zip-line launch point.  We kept telling ourselves – if they could do it, so could we! We could feel our blood pressure rising with each step up the tower.

Once we arrived at the Tower’s peak, we were hooked one at a time with a tandem cable to a Park staffer who then ushered us over to the launch point.  We were instructed to sit in a seated position as we hung from our safety harness.  The staffer unhooked his cable from us, and we were given the green.

As we took those first steps off the platform, our hearts raced.  We closed our eyes and held on so tightly to our safety harness as we zipped over the jungle canopy.  After a few minutes of adjusting to the fact that we were after all not going to fall to our death, we opened our eyes and took in the amazing view as we soared over the sea of green that is Mexico’s tropical landscape.

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As our flight on Deer’s Tower 1 came near the end and we rapidly began to approach the end of our zip-line, we started to wonder how on earth we were going to stop ourselves since we were approaching at such a high rate of speed.  To our surprise, the staff was there to brake us at the end of our ride which was fantastic.

Jungle

The height of the Deer Towers grew with each of the other zip-lines, and not all of the seven zip-lines were alike!  Climbing each of the towers themselves had us trekking across suspension bridges, through caves, and up ladders.  Many of our rides on the zip-lines themselves had us soaring over treetops, waterways, the ATV circuit, and even other zip-line trails.  Some of our rides ended with a splash or a dip in a shallow water landing, and some even ended with a refreshing ride down a water slide.

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The dreaded Tower 7 is Xplor’s tallest, longest, and fastest zip-line, and the long walk up the winding ramp from the ground floor of the Tower itself is enough to get your heart racing.  Tower 7 literally towers over the entire park at a colossal 45 meters/150 feet.  This Tower was also our longest wait of the day, perhaps due to it being the longest zip-line in the Park.  The view from the highest point of Tower 7 is unbelievable.  From Tower 7 the scenery from this vantage point was breathtaking, and on a clear day you can spot the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the island of Cozumel, and the town of Playa del Carmen.  We had to take a moment and remind ourselves where we were, how we got here (we literally climbed 150 feet toward the sky), and give ourselves a pat on the back for conquering our fears in the name of adventure.  This is the launch point that gives you butterflies.  The loading area itself is nothing more than a small declining concrete ramp as if to say – there’s nowhere to go but down, and we left our stomach behind as we took the ride of a lifetime!

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Eating Through The Jungle

After climbing all those towers and giving ourselves a thrilling rush of adrenaline while zip-lining, we worked up one heck of an appetite.  We decided to make our return to earth for a feast of epic proportions. We were ready to dig into the Park’s all-you-can-eat buffet, El Troglodita.  Upon arrival, we checked in with the hostess who asked how many were in our party, and we were ushered to our seats at a communal cafeteria style table.

The restaurant is a large open air cafeteria with a substantial barbecue and buffet featuring a made to order hamburger/cheeseburger grill.  The food is self-service, but there are very attentive staffers who bus the tables throughout the restaurant.  Although the food is far from authentic Mexican cuisine (hot dogs, pizza, and salads), the best part about the buffet is that it is all-you can-eat!  We also really enjoyed the assortment of unique and delicious fresh juices that the buffet offered.  These fresh fruit smoothies are amazingly addictive and a refreshing treat after a morning of heart-pumping activity.  However, Xplor Park does not offer alcoholic beverages for sale or consumption anywhere within the Park.

A nice feature to each of the restaurant’s tables are the helmet hooks that can be found at the end of each table.  Here you are able to dine helmet free, and enjoy all the restaurant has to offer.

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Rafting Through The Jungle

After we were fully recharged from our feast at the Park’s buffet, we made our way to the Underground River Rafts.  Xplor’s rafting adventure offers riders a single or double seated raft and two river courses with a short (579 yard) route or a longer (623 yard) route.  You have the option to do both or just one – it’s really up to what you can handle.  For a true test in our ability to work together as a team, we decided to paddle our way down the underground river via the longer course and through the caves on a double seated raft.

When we first sailed off into the caves, it was hard for us to find our rhythm.  You don’t realize how hard it is to paddle your way through a river with your hands, until you actually do it! Once we found our groove, our true test came as we navigated our way around each and every one of the sharp, tight, and winding curves of the underground river.  We also had to be very careful not to bump into all of the other couples, families, and single-riders, who were struggling with their rafts.  Of course we did manage to bump into some other couples, but it made for even more fun as we all laughed at how each of us were struggling in our own way.  Some rafters decided to completely abandon ship and swim/walk the remainder of the river.  The water is shallow for this attraction (3 feet deep), and life jackets are not required.  There are also a number of “emergency exits” throughout the river in case you want to abandon your voyage all together.

Words cannot express how much fun struggling maneuvering our way through the winding underground river was as a team.  When we reached the end of the river, we were so proud of ourselves for not tipping over our raft or anyone else’s raft for that matter!


Swimming Through The Jungle

As we made our way through the 437 yards of the underground Stalactite River Swim and into the cenotes, it was as if we had been transported to another planet.  We partially submerged ourselves into the warm (89 degrees Fahrenheit) waters, and we were surrounded by limestone formations which line these caves.  These formations were unlike anything we had ever seen before.  The atmosphere of the underground river was peaceful, and we were captivated by all of the grandeur that are the countless stalactites that line the cave’s ceiling.

As we floated down the river in our life jackets, we were surrounded by the beauty of the turquoise waters of the riverbed and the endless stalactites that peered down on us from high above the cave’s ceiling.  Although we were doing all the work, our swim through the river was peaceful as our life jackets kept us a float.

We highly recommend you take your time on the river swim.  This is something that really should be enjoyed at a slow pace in order to appreciate all of the amazing natural beauty that can be found within the caverns of the underground river.

If you are able to swim the full length of the river, you will find a nice surprise waiting for you! Here you will find the environment of the river transforms from dark, calm, and quiet to a roaring good time.  If you pay attention during your time on the zip-line towers, you may take notice of this scenic spot prior to your journey through the cenotes.  This was our favorite part of the river swim, and we could’ve (as a lot of others agreed) spent the rest of the afternoon splashing around in this scenic spot enjoying the view.


Must Do

The photo package was totally worth it for us.  Even though we came prepared with waterproof cameras, our photo album never would’ve included the incredible photos of us as a couple without the purchase of Xplor Park’s photo package.  We were able to capture great pictures of each other with our own personal camera, but aside from selfies – there were not many opportunities to capture shots of us together.  Jared is always the first one to turn down any unnecessary extras when it comes to add-ons like this, but he was the first one to suggest that we purchase this photo package since he knew that there was a high possibility we would never do anything like this again.

With the purchase of our photo package ($80 USD), we received all of our memorable photos on a Xplor-themed USB Flash Drive with the Park’s corazón logo.  On our USB Flash Drive, there were a ton of incredible digital photos that captured some of our scariest best moments.  You can easily spot a few of the photos from our photo package throughout this review as they feature the yellow Xplor logo.

If you find the price of the photo package is within your budget, we highly recommend this add on so that you will never forget the memories you made during your day at Xplor Park.  If you are certain you would like to purchase Xplor Park’s photo package, we highly recommend you take advantage of the discounted pre-purchase add on offered through Xplor Park’s website.


Must Wear

For our day at Xplor we brought a change of dry clothes which we kept in the locker included with our Park admission.  Changing rooms and restrooms are provided adjacent to the Park’s locker area.  This area is kept very clean, and a nice retreat to freshen up after your water adventures.  However, we spent the majority of the day (aside from our time in the restaurant) in our swimwear and a comfortable pair of water shoes which came in handy throughout the Park.  If you forgot your water shoes, they are also available for purchase upon arrival at Xplor Park.

We had no problems zip-lining and ATV-ing in our board shorts and bikinis, but of course this is all personal preference.  Our best advice is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in, and remember you are in the jungle!


Getting There

  • Cancun International Airport – 56 km South
  • Cancun Resort Area – Between $80 to $100 USD for a taxi ride of about a 70 minutes
  • Playa del Carmen – 6 km East or $15 USD for a taxi ride of about 15 minutes
  • Tulum – 55 km North

Like most of the attractions throughout Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, there are a number of tour groups who offer group packages to Xplor Park where a bus will collect you and the members of your party at your hotel or a central meeting point and then transport you to Xplor Park with a number of other guests.  A few drawbacks of this option are:

  • You are arriving after the park itself has already opened
  • You are paying a much higher price for the group tour
  • You are confined to the strict time periods of your tour group which means you come and go as they tell you.  If you decide to leave early or that you would like to stay longer, you do not have this option.

Since Xplor Park is so conveniently located within Mexico’s famous Riviera Maya and free parking is provided, we highly recommend taking a taxi or renting a car to make the trip yourself from any of the Yucatan’s fabulous beach destinations.  The Park itself is easy to find, and the road trip down highway 309 is a breeze.  This allows you to arrive as soon as the park opens, and you will have the opportunity to explore a number of attractions before the tour groups begin to arrive.


Travelers Notes

  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time online for a discount at http://www.xplor.travel/xplor-tour-cancun.php
  • Arrive early as the lines grow with the hours of the day.
  • Pack towels, flip flops, and a dry set of clothes to keep in the locker.
  • Be prepared to do a lot of walking including up and down stairs.
  • The zip-lines are the main draw in the morning, so head for one or two (or all) of the other attractions while those lines are busy at the Park’s opening.
  • Follow your heart – if you or any member of your party becomes separated at any time during your adventures at Xplor, a great meeting place is the Heart/Corozan which can be found at the Park’s center.

When our day at Xplor ended, we were sad to say goodbye.  This was something we never thought we’d experience in a place known for its sun, sand, and tequila.

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The only activity we did not take part in while we were at Xplor was the Hammock Splash.  Unfortunately the line for this activity always seemed to be the longest.  However, this gives us a reason to return to Xplor again in the future.

Why did we choose Xplor Park? For us, the main attractions that sold us on Xplor were the zip-lines, and the idea that we could do everything in one location for under $100 USD per person.  When we researched the area prior to our visit and even after our arrival in the Yucatan, we were wavering between a number of other adventure attractions in the area.  However, with each and every local we met during our journey throughout Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, more and more of our new found Mexican and Mayan friends continued to share their enthusiasm for Xplor Park.

What was the scariest part of our journey at Xplor Park? The zip-lining was definitely full of highs and lows – literally.  After the first few towers on the Deer course, we began to shake off our fears.  However, the Jaguar course and specifically Tower 7 was by far the most terrifying and at the same time incredible experience we had during our entire Yucatan escape.

Will we return to Xplor Park? Absolutely! We were able to take part in activities and see natural wonders at Xplor that we never thought we would see in our lifetime.  Most importantly, Xplor Park forced us to live outside of our comfort zone and take a flying leap of faith off a platform 150 feet in the air.

If you have the opportunity to spend a full day at Xplor Park during your upcoming trip to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, we highly recommend a day of adrenaline-pumping fun above and below ground at Xplore Park!

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It was great to experience such unique adventures on an otherwise typical tropical getaway.  We had such an amazing time flying, riding, and swimming through the jungle while conquering our fears and making memories that we will never forget!  We hope someday we’ll be able to visit Xplor Park again soon.

Have you had the chance or are you planning to visit Xplor Park or any other adventure parks while on holiday? If so, we’d love to hear about your adventures!

For more information on Xplor Park, please visit their website at: http://www.xplor.travel/

For more of our adventures throughout Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, please visit our posts on:

  • Casa de Los Suenos – Boutique hotel & bar located in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
  • La Lomita Authentic Mexican cuisine in the heart of Isla Mujeres, Mexico
  • Encantada Boutique eco-hotel & restaurant on Beach Road in Tulum, Mexico

Fashion Credits:

Janine – ROMPER  |  BIKINI  |

Jared – BOARDSHORTS (similar)  |

The comments, opinions, and views set forth on this site are the reflected personal positions of the site’s creators.  This site is not an affiliate of  Xplor Park or it’s subsidies.  The comments, opinions, and views set forth within this site are not the official positions of Xplor Park, and they do not reflect the Company’s position.

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