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On The Road — By Katrina Verweel on March 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm
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Zip-lining Through the Waterfalls

By Christopher Robinson

If you are the adventurous type, then strapping yourself into a harness and speeding down a zip line in the jungle is too good of an opportunity to pass up while vacationing in the Mayan Riviera.

Xcaret, the ecotourism-park that has been operating for two decades in the Mayan Riviera just opened its newest addition, Xplor. The park features over two miles of zip-lines divided into two courses with multiple platforms. A helpful hint: do not bring footwear to the zip lines, or you may end up wearing your sandals on your hands to avoid losing them midair. Both courses feature a descent through a waterfall and one of them has an amazing water slide to cool off in.

Zip-lining is only the beginning of the activities at Xplor; the park has a five-mile long jeep tour through the Mexican jungle in amphibious vehicles. As long as you have a valid North American driver’s license, you can drive the vehicles and carry up to two additional passengers. The jungle tour is a lot of fun, but can take up a lot of time if there are slow drivers in front of you!

Xplor’s final activity involves swimming in underground rivers known in Mexico as “cenotes”. There is the option of taking personalized rafts through the cenotes, but if you are not the best at paddling, then swimming is recommended to avoid embarrassment. One thing to note, Xplor does not offer towels, so bring your own towel from your hotel or you can buy one for $30 at the gift shop.

Visiting the park is a daylong excursion and includes a buffet meal with admission. The food is surprisingly good featuring everything from traditional Mexican flank steak to pizzas and salads. Some interesting juice concoctions with protein boosters are also served instead of alcohol.

For those worried about safety and security, there is nothing to fear. Lockers are given to each person to store their belongings when checking into the park. Security and staff are visible all around the park, including trained zip-line experts on each platform.

Xplor is located about an hours drive from Cancun or 10 minutes from Playa Del Carmen. Transportation is not provided and must be arranged by visitors at their hotels, or you can grab a taxi depending on where you are staying. The price of admission is $99 US dollars and can be cheaper if purchased in advance from the Xplor website.

For those looking for a quieter daytime excursion in the Mayan Riviera, Xcaret Park, located right next-door offers more family oriented activities including a zoo, swimming with the dolphins, and a nighttime show about Mexico’s history.

The Park (map) is open year round, from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

Visits to the park can be arranged through your hotel concierge or travel agency. To contact the park directly, customer service/sales: (52) 998 884 5275


Local expert: Christopher Robinson is just finishing up his degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph and will be applying to several hotel company management programs such as Fairmont, Four Seasons and Marriott. Chris has lived in five different countries throughout his life; Venezuela, Canada, US, England and Mexico. He has also traveled much of Europe and the Caribbean. Chris currently lives in Playa Del Carmen, which has been his home for the past four years. This article was written about his experiences of the new ecological park Xplor in the Mayan Riviera.

Photo credits: personal collection

To see the Mayan Riviera Guide by PlanetEye, click here.

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  • Steve Mirsky says:

    Just returned from Cancun last week and visited Xel ha. Great snorkeling! I’ll be sure to try this cave zip lining next time I visit!

  • Megan Pasche says:

    ohh just came across this article. that zip lining looks so fun!! If I ever make it to Cancun again, I need to make a little side trip!!

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