So, you’ve made it to Cancun… Welcome! Whether you travel solo or with friends and family, we hope that you have a great time at the Mexican Caribbean. And there’s no doubt it will be so, if you decide to go to one of the most wonderful attractions of the area: Xel-Ha Eco Park.
In this all-inclusive paradise you can enjoy dozens of fun activities like swimming with dolphins, scuba diving next to big schools of tropical fish, biking through the Mayan jungle, or riding on zip-lines over the Xel-Ha river, just to name a few!
So, if it’s already part of your itinerary or if you like to add it to your schedule, in this article we review the best means of transportation to Xel-Ha so you can make all the arrangements necessary. Here we go!
Xel-Ha is located in the State of Quintana Roo, 110 kilometers to the South of Cancun (around 69 miles) and just a few miles to the North of the archaeological site of Tulum.
So, like on any holiday destination, you can either buy a tour package that includes first class transportation, or arrive in a rented car, by taxi, or by public buses and vans that depart–or go by–the nearest cities and resorts. Check out these 4 options and choose the one best suited to your needs –and also, your budget.
Tour package w/transportation
This is one of the most convenient option if you don’t feel confident asking for directions or taking different means of transport through the whole journey.
However, there are different scenarios for this particular option, which may include:
- Transportation with your entrance ticket. This is offered directly by Xel-Ha when you book your tickets online. It can pick you up from your hotel in Riviera Maya, or you can catch it on one of its stops in the Cancun or Playa del Carmen area.
- Third-party tour packages. Tour operators in the area may offer you packages with the park entrance and transport (and maybe a tour guide!). You could also book a private van or bus just for your group. Prices vary according to the company, exclusivity, and the number of people.
- Swim with dolphins + park entrance + transportation. With the Dolphinclusive Xel-Ha package, you get all your needs covered to visit this amazing place, including:
- Full-day pass to Xel-Ha and over 20 activities
- 3 different swimming programs to choose from (Primax, Dolphin Ride or Interax)
- Transportation to and from your hotel.
- Food and beverages, etc.
Public transportation: buses and vans
The ADO bus line is one of the best means of transportation, since they have buses running daily from Cancun and Playa del Carmen in different schedules in the morning, with two return trips in the evening. You descend and board directly at Xel-Ha’s parking lot.
On the other hand, if you want to have a taste of the local experience, you can take shared minivans (known as colectivos) that run from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum.
The departure point is on 2nd Street–between 15th and 20th Avenues. The fare per person is around $40 pesos (around $2 USD) each way. You’ll know that you’ve arrived when you see the fish kites on the bridge over the highway. Just ask the driver beforehand to leave you at this stop! From the highway there’s a pedestrian pathway to the park. It’ll be a 10 minute walk to the entrance.
For the return trip, you might get lucky and find a colectivo waiting at Xel-Ha’s parking lot. If there are none, just walk back to the highway: Vans come along every 10 minutes or so.
Tip. For large groups (4 people or more), you might have to take two vans since they tend to fill up in the evening as the local folks go back home from work.
Rent a car
Driving to Xel-Ha it’s very easy: Just head to the 307 Highway, follow the signs, and you’ll be there quickly! It’s a 30 minute ride South from Playa Del Carmen.
When you get to the big sign of exit, take a right and drive about 4 minutes toward the ocean to the main parking lot. By the way, parking is free for your whole stay!
Sure, this might well be the most expensive option of the lot, but it is also a very convenient one to get to the park early and make the most out of your day (Xel-Ha opens daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m).
You’ll probably wonder why we left this option last, even though many hotels and resorts have this service in their menu. The reason is that this might well be the most expensive of the means of transport to Xel-Ha.
The reason is that the park is far from most towns of the whole Riviera Maya and the costs could go up drastically. For example, a regular fare from Playa del Carmen could range from $500 to $800 pesos (around $25-$40 USD) each way. So, if you wish to go with this option, we suggest that you settle the price beforehand.
For your return trip, you can rent taxi service at special booths in the park.
So there you have it. We hope you enjoy a fantastic adventure in Xel-Ha. And, if you feel like coming back–which we definitely think you should–, now you’ll know your way around and you’ll have an even better time!