Xel-Ha is an ecological park located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is characterized by a large cove where the river water meets the Caribbean Sea, forming the ideal for coexistence of 70 marine species and freshwater space. It is for this reason that Xel-Ha is known as the world’s largest natural aquarium. Also, as the space of many specimens of flora and fauna of the region, he was awarded the title Xel-Ha Natural Wonder of Mexico in a recent call nationwide.
Xel-Ha is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, 122 km south of Cancun, and 13 km north of the archaeological site of Tulum, from the Cancun-Tulum highway.
Xel-Ha Mayan consists of two words that together mean “water intrusion”, a clear reference to its geographical structure, or “place where water is born.”
A legend about the origin of Xel-Ha that the Mayan gods, having conjugate in one place the best of themselves, created three guardians: Huh, the iguana, guardian of the earth; Mo, the macaw is the guardian of heaven, and Kay-Op, the parrot fish, keeper of the waters. Then, the gods decided to deliver this natural paradise to mankind.
Today the main attraction of Xel-Ha is its large cove, which is characterized as simultaneously a water of sea to the mainland and the mouth of several freshwater canals. Therefore, it is home to 70 species of aquatic fauna such as blonde, the parrotfish, surgeon, mackerel, sergeant, Chacchi, snapper, bonefish, stingrays, sunfish, and the occasional barracuda.
Xel-Ha is one of the few places in the world where we see two phenomena simultaneously: the thermocline and the halocline. The dense and warm sea water, which cannot be immediately mixed with the sweet and lower density of freshwater canals water, produces a mirage-like visual effect. You can distinguish a layer of liquid on the surface like oil on water, but it is actually fresh water floating on the salt, which is denser.
In the cove you can practice water sports such as snorkeling, diving and snuba. It also has conditioned a special space for activities such as coexistence with dolphins and manatees, and Sea Trek or underwater walk.
Around the cove there are endless formations of great beauty, like a cave whose walls are covered with fossils of extinct mollusks and other prehistoric specimens. They are also near the Paradise and Adventure cenotes, which are home to numerous species of fish and birds in danger of extinction.
Bay of Caprices also offers spots that show the charm of the Mexican Caribbean. There is also a mangrove area where you can swim.
Almost from its inception as an ecological park 15 years ago, Xel-Ha has worked to maintain a balance with the environment. Since systems for waste recycling programs to preserve endangered species such as the manatee, the queen conch and sea turtles.
The Xel-Ha has responded to the concern for national and regional water resources and has made a strategic alliance with the Water Network of the Mexican Academy of Sciences through the financing of a water monitoring project to determine the Hydrogeology State of Quintana Roo.
The first phase of the project was presented at the 2006 World Water Forum held in Mexico City, as an example of what can be achieved working together with academic institutions and private companies.
Also, the park has served as a starting point for various social programs that integrate all the nearby communities, particularly Ciudad Chemuyil and Tulum. The philosophy of the park is to encourage the development of those communities from which they come as many of its employees.
If you are interested in visiting Xel-Há, Discovery Mundo takes you there in a tour that includes transportation from your hotel lobby, open bar and access to the many specialties restaurants available on place. You can book your tour online by clicking here and get an automatic confirmation in your email!