While on the 2009 BioGuard Enrichment Conference, BioLab treated us dealers to day at the remarkable Xel Ha Natural Wonder. Located about 80 miles south of Cancun and about 20 miles north of the Tulum architectural site on the Mayan Riviera, Xel Ha is a natural inlet from the Caribbean Sea.
Now you can "step through" the aquarium glass and into the natural habitat of the local region. It's just a beautiful spot. You can make your day as relaxing or as exciting as you want.
Walk the nature trails that surround Xel Ha. It's about a 3.5 to 4 mile walk (my estimate, at a brisk walk it took me almost an hour to walk completely around the lagoon) through tropical beauty. You are encased in lush vegetation with dazzling flowers and flitting butterflies.
Ocassionally one the "guardians" of Xel Ha will cross your path. The guardians are the local iguanas growing up to 4 and 5 feet in length. Don't worry, they just want to sun themselves on the path!
As you cross over or next to the pockets of the lagoon, you'll see gentle manatees grazing on the bottom of the lagoon. The fish are in stunning colors. The water is just crystal clear (just like we want our pools to be!).
Further up on the path, you'll come across not one, but two places to jump off a cliff and into the lagoon! The cliffs are about 15 - 30 feet in height above the water depending on the tide at the time of day. I'm usually not too good with heights, but I figured, "why not?" I'm here and it's safe. So in I went - more than once!
At the furthest end of the Xel Ha lagoon is a spot where you can catch an inner tube and enjoy a leisurely paddle back to the main area - about 1.5 miles away. The sun was warm but the water was perfect temperature. Don't want to float? Then don your mask, snorkel & flippers and enjoy the underwater sights!
Continuing around, you'll find secluded spots to soak in some sun or rest or take a side path and explore the local jungle. Toward the end, cross the pontoon bridge back to the main area where you'll find food, drink, facilities, shops, parrots, and much more. One thing I didn't do was swim with the dolphins. I'm saving that for next time!
By the way, if you visit Xel Ha, DON'T bring your usual sunscreen. Regular sunscreen has enough stuff to muck up the water (especially with several thousand people per day visiting). We used a product called Mexitan which is all natural and will not harm the environment. With an SPF of 15, it works well too.
If you're ever in Mexico's Yucatan, this is a stop I would heartily recommend!