Xplor’s history began 65 million years ago when a 10 km-diameter asteroid crossed through the Earth’s atmosphere and struck the Yucatan peninsula, putting an end to an era and generating a series of changes giving rise to new lifeforms. For millions and millions of years nature sculpted the underground landscape of Xplor. Drop by drop impressive stalactites and stalagmites began taking shape, creative stunning underground decorations and exposing precious fossils.
Xplor Cancun Park opened to the public in July 2009. It is next door to neighboring Xcaret Park, located only 5 minutes from the heart of Playa del Carmen and 45 minutes from Cancun. It takes up 59 hectares, eight of which are adapted underground activities.
Explorers can enjoy six incredible activities: zip-lines, amphibious vehicles, rafts, swimming in underground rivers, spelunking and hammock splash. With nature and adventure at their core, these activities take place in natural settings outdoors and within underground environments. In addition to adventurers’ delights, exquisit and abundant food to recharge the energy. A station of unlimited smoothies and juices, and a delicious BBQ buffet can be enjoyed at “El Troglodita” Restaurant.
And for the most extreme visitors, Xplor offers a new experience that makes it possible to enjoy the sunset and nighttime activities. Xplor Fuego Tour joins the best of two worlds in a night version that invites you to discover new emotions with additional ingredients such as the fire of torches, fireflies and stars that light up caves, paths and bridges.
What this new adventure promises is sunset from the treetops, a venture into the darkness of the jungle and a plunge into the refreshing waters of an underground river, as well as watching the bonfires that ignite your inner fire and sharing space and time with the fauna of the night. Let the light from the stars and moon guide you into the shadows as this invitation is quite unique. Ignite your life with Xplor Fuego, a challenge in the dark like you never could’ve imagined.
Many people come to the Park wishing to live and enjoy incredible experiences filled with adventure and adrenaline and adventure. Xplor is located in a place where the mystery of nature gets exposed in an amazing setting, readily welcoming true explorers.
Distance: 48.1 km / 32 minutes
Playa del Carmen
5th Avenue - AKA La Quinta (kin-tah)
5th avenue is one of the most famous Playa del Carmen attractions. It is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, cafe's, gelato shops, convenience stores, pharmacies and more.... This main strip is a pedestrian walkway that runs for about 5 kilometers (3 miles) through Playa del Carmen town and is continually expanding and getting longer. It is located 1 block west of the beach.
Opening Hours on the 5th Avenue
There are no official opening hours on 5th avenue as many of the shops are independently owned. As a general rule, you can expect things to be open from approximately 10am through until 10pm. No siesta time is enforced or observed.
Most everything operates as usual even on major holidays such as Christmas and New Years. Some shops and restaurants *may* close on Sundays as this is the "normal" day off in Mexico.
Can I pay with US Money?
US dollars are a second unofficial currency in Playa del Carmen. However, the official currency is Mexican pesos and most everything will be priced this way. Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, but figure about 15-16 pesos per USD, 11 per CAD and 16 per EURO. All shops will accept USD, but will rarely give you the bank's exchange rate. In any flea market type souvenir shops, prices are negotiable and merchants will often expect you to bargain. At any brand name stores, convenience stores and department stores, the prices are as advertised.
Paying with a Credit Card
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most shops, although you may be asked to present a piece of picture ID when making the purchase. You will get an excellent exchange rate by using your credit card, but contact your bank before travel to advise of possible international purchases and to find out if your credit card charges an international transaction fee. American Express is sometimes accepted and Discovery is rarely accepted.
Types of Shops and Shopping
Shops range from the name-brand Lacoste, and Hurley to flea market type stalls and there are even 2 small shopping malls. Paseo del Carmen is at the far south end past the ferry dock and includes shops such as Zara, Bershka, American Apparel and the official Harley Davidson store. The newest one on the corner of Consituyentes, Quinta Alegria, was the talk of the town when it opened in 2014 and it that includes a Forever 21, Victoria's Secret, Body Shop and more. There are flea market type stalls and stores selling handicrafts and knick-knacks the whole way along. For the most part, you are expected to bargain, except when the prices are already listed on the items. Check to make sure that the items are actually made in Mexico. Shops have also expanded into the surrounding areas, so you can also wonder to 1st Avenue and 10th Avenue to find many more options.
Popular souvenirs include:
Ceramic: Hand-painted works that will add charm to any home. Check out the sinks!
Mirrors: You will find mirrors bordered with punched tin and embellished with hand painted ceramic tiles. They are simply beautiful.
Leather: Anything from boots, to sandals and handbags.
Blankets: Choose amongst the colorful blankets, perfect for a picnic once you are back home or to add a bit of color to a room.
Embroidery: You will find many options if you are looking for embroidered items. The little girl’s dresses are adorable.
Alcohol: You are able to purchase alcohol from 10 am though until 11pm from Monday-Saturday and from 10am to 2pm on Sundays.
Distance: 45 km / 44 minutes
Scuba Diving Center
Phocea Mexico is based in Playa del Carmen, a charming village on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula, and also on the island of Cozumel, another paradise for divers, an underwater site whose reputation has been a fact for a long time. Moreover, it is with pride and for your greater pleasure than we opened in February 2015, a dive center in La Paz (Baja California).
Diving in Playa del Carmen The famous « Tortuga Reef », « Barracuda Reef », « Moc Che Profundo », and « Punta Venado » are just a few of the most popular dive sites along the coast of Playa del Carmen. We invite you to discover them all… All the reefs are easily accessible by boat, only a few minutes from our departure point.
Diving in Cozumel You will discover the legendary sites of Palancar, Colombia and Santa Rosa (made famous by the Commander Cousteau in 1954). Cozumel reefs are popular worldwide for their reliefs and coral formations, as well as their visibility, which is often extraordinary. Almost all the reefs are inside a protected Marine Park.
- Recreational Diving Certifications
- Become a Tek Diver
- PADI Professional Trainings
- Swimming with the Whale Sharks
- Swimming with the Sailfish
- Diving with the Bull Sharks
- Belize Diving Tour
Xcaret Park (Spanish: el parque Xcaret) is a privately owned and operated theme park, resort and self-described ecotourism development located in the Riviera Maya, a portion of the Caribbean coastline of Mexico's state of Quintana Roo that has been designated as a zone for tourism development. It is part of Xcaret Experiencias Group which also owns the Xplor Park, Xel-Ha Park, and Xenses Park; as well as the Xichen, Xenotes, and Xoximilco tours and activities. It is situated approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) south of Cancún, and 6.5 kilometres (4 mi) south of the nearest large settlement Playa del Carmen along Highway 307. It is named after the nearby archaeological site Xcaret, a settlement constructed by the pre-Columbian Maya some of whose structures lie within the boundaries of the park's 81 hectares (200 acres) of land holdings.
I am a natural sanctuary where the history of Mexico combines with fun traditions and the splendor of the Mayan culture. I open my doors along the Caribbean Sea and invite you to discover magical experiences where underground rivers await you, along with the fauna of the Mayan jungle and unforgettable shows. Fall in love with my culture and my people...
Distance: 49.4 km / 39 minutes
Mayan Ruins of Tulum
The Mayan city of Tulum stands 130 km south and 700 years away of Cancun. But the contrast between the two can be measured in more than just distance and time. Cancun is a string of large resort hotels which did not exist prior to 1974 and which specialize in the expected. Tulum, on the other hand, was built late in the thirteenth century, during what is known as the Mayan post-classic period. With a little imagination and knowledge, the ruins become a giant puzzle waiting to be pieced together. What sets the site apart from other ruins in Mexico is both the fact that it is well preserved and it boasts its own, inviting beach.
Each Mayan city had a specific purpose, and Tulum was no exception. It was a seaport, trading mainly in turquoise and jade. As well as being the only Mayan city built on a coast, Tulum was one of the few protected by a wall. Made of limestone, the 784-metre wall encloses the site on three sides, is seven metres thick, and varies between three and five metres in height. No doubt this fortification helped preserve the seaport. Like the questions which surround the decline of the Mayan world, there are several theories as to why a wall surrounds Tulum. One has a Mayan population of 600 on the inside, protected from invaders.
Another suggests only priests and nobility were housed within the walls, while peasants were kept on the outside. After entering the ruins through one of five doorways in the wall, visitors are greeted by a field of gently-rolling hills. Black and grey stone outcroppings, which were once buildings, dot the sun-baked landscape. Here visitors realize that what is left of Tulum can spark the imagination. Given that the seaport was once a link with the outside world, can there be any clues as to what happened to the civilization here? It's a question historians and archeologists still grapple with, so don't be discouraged if an answer isn't obvious. Most prominent among the remaining structures is the Castillo, or castle, which is perched on the edge of a 12-metre limestone cliff, overlooking the Caribbean coast. Negotiating its steep steps is best done sideways, a fact which will assert itself on the way down. Before descending, though, be certain to catch a glimpse of the Caribbean behind the Castillo.
The view is as refreshing as the cool breeze coming from the sea. In front of the Castillo is the Temple of the Frescoes, one of the better preserved buildings. Peer inside the temple to see a mural painted in three sections. The first level represents the Mayan world of the dead, the middle is that of the living, and the final, highest piece, is of the creator and rain gods. Interesting to note in the middle of the living section is a god astride a four-legged animal believed to be a horse. If in fact this is a horse, it would mean Mayans still occupied Tulum in 1518 when they would have seen the animals for the first time with the arrival of the Spanish. Chiselled above the doorway of the temple is a figure with what appears to be bird's wings and a tail. This diving god is believed to represent a Mayan deity who protected the people and is particularly well-preserved on various buildings around the site. Piecing together what Tulum was like a millenium ago is exciting, but it can also be a humid venture. That's why it's a good idea to take something cold to drink, a hat and a bathing suit.
Just north of the Castillo is a pathway that leads down to a sandy beach and the multi-hued Caribbean. For visual drama, a walk along the beach provides ample opportunity for photographs. The walk is an adventure into, around and under nooks and crannies carved out of the cliffs. Each additional turn brings a new, secluded stretch of the Caribbean, perfect for both swimming and reflecting on the ruins.
Tulum remains popular because of its elegant setting on sheer limestone cliffs above the turquoise splendour of the crashing Caribbean, the only Mayan city built on the coast.
Distance: 8.8 km / 12 minutes
Mayan Ruins of Muyil
Muyil (also known as Chunyaxché) was one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya sites on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is located approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of the coastal site of Tulum, in the Municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Artifacts found here date back from as early as 350 BCE. to as late as 1200-1500 CE. The ruins of Muyil are an example of Peten architecture, like those found in southern Mayan sites with their steep walled pyramids such as Tikal in Guatemala. It is situated on the Sian Ka'an lagoon, a name meaning "Where the Sky is Born".
Muyil was located along a trade route on the Caribbean once accessible via a series of canals. Among the most commonly traded goods were Jade, obsidian, chocolate, honey, feathers, chewing gum, and salt. It is believed that throughout much of its history, Muyil had strong ties to the center of Coba located some 44 kilometres (27 mi) the north / northwest. The 2010 federal census reported a population of 191 inhabitants in the locality.
Distance: 33.8 km / 31 minutes
Xel-Ha Park (Parque Xel-Há) is a commercial aquatic theme park and ecotourism development located on the Caribbean coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the municipality of Solidaridad. It is part of Xcaret Experiencias Group which also owns the Xplor Park, Xcaret Park, and Xenses Park; as well as the Xichen, Xenotes, and Xoximilco tours and activities. It is situated within the "Riviera Maya", a region promoted as a tourism corridor along Highway 307. It is approximately 240 kilometres (149 mi) to the north of Chetumal, and 122 kilometres (76 mi) south of Cancun. The park is named after the site of Xelha, an archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, part of which is located within the lands leased to the park. The Maya site of Tulum is nearby, some 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) to the south.
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest Natural Wonders, Xel-Há provides one of the best experiences in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Practice snorkeling and see hundreds of colorful fish and a great diversity of marine species that inhabit its cove and cenotes. At this All Inclusive Park you can enjoy water activities, ecological attractions, restaurants and the best scenery to admire while you relax in a hammock or stroll the nooks and crannies of Xel-Há. Come and immerse yourself in one of the cenotes, lagoons or caves, and enjoy the aquatic zip-lines you’ll only find at Xel-Há.
Distance: 9.2 km / 8 minutes
Chichen Itza which means “at the mouth of the well of Itza “, is the 2nd most visited archeological site of Mexico today. The Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen-Itza which known as “El Castillo” (the castle), is one of the new seven wonders of the world elected in 07.07.2007. It is exactly 24 m. high considering the upper platform. Apart from the Kukulkan Pyramid, in Chichen Itza there many other archaeological sites to visit, all carrying traces from Mayan Culture in many ways.
Chichen-Itza, now including one of the new 7 wonders of the world; the Kukulkan Pyramid, is located in the Peninsula of Yucatan, in the Yucatan State; Mexico, between Valladolid and Merida and is just 160 km from Un Pedacito del Cielo, just 2 hours drive.
Chichen Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Peninsula of Yucatan. Throughout its nearly 1,000 years history, different peoples have left their mark on this city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their artistic works and stone monuments. Several buildings have survived.
In the northern region of the Yucatan peninsula, on a limestone plateau lie the relics of Chichen Itza, once one of the most powerful cities of the Maya. Ruins of the temples of this ancient civilization spread from the Guatemala jungles to the Yucatan. Today, Chichen Itza attracts millions of visitors who come to marvel at the spectacular remains.
Distance: 161 km / 1h58 minutes
Mayan Ruins of Coba
Coba (Spanish: Cobá) (pronounced cō-bǝ) is an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The site is the nexus of the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world, and it contains many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Late Classic Period (AD 600–900) of Mesoamerican civilization. The adjacent modern village bearing the same name, reported a population of 1,278 inhabitants in the 2010 Mexican federal census.
The ruins of Coba lie 44 km (approx. 27 mi) northwest of Tulum, in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The geographical coordinates of Coba Group (main entrance for tourist area of the archaeological site) are North 19° 29.6’ and West 87° 43.7’. The archaeological zone is reached by a two-kilometer branch from the asphalt road connecting Tulum with Nuevo Xcán (a community of Lázaro Cárdenas, another municipality of Quintana Roo) on the Valladolid to Cancún highway. Coba is located around two lagoons. A series of elevated stone and plaster roads radiate from the central site to various smaller sites near and far. These are known by the Maya term sacbe (plural sacbeob) or white road. Some of these causeways go east, and the longest runs over 100 kilometres (62 mi) westwards to the site of Yaxuna.
The site contains several large temple pyramids, the tallest, in what is known as the Nohoch Mul group of structures, being some 24 metres (79 ft) in height. Ixmoja is the tallest pyramid on the Yucatán peninsula.
Coba was estimated to have had some 50,000 inhabitants (and possibly significantly more) at its peak of civilization, and the built up area extends over some 80 km². The site was occupied by a sizable agricultural population by the 1st century. The bulk of Coba's major construction seems to have been made in the middle and late Classic period, about 500 to 900 AD, with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions from the 7th century (see Mesoamerican Long Count calendar). However, Coba remained an important site in the Post-Classic era and new temples were built and old ones kept in repair until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the arrival of the Spanish.
Distance: 56.2 km / 58 minutes
LE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
Joyà is a 70 minute long, resident show at the Vidanta resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico produced as a collaboration between 45 degrees and its parent company Cirque du Soleil. It is Cirque's first resident show in Latin America. Inspired by the fabulous migratory journey of the monarch butterfly, where life is passed on from one generation to the next to perpetuate the love of life. The whole theater, including its dinner experience, is devoted to invoke your senses.
Suspended and swinging high up in the air, the Queen of the night produces breathtaking pirouettes.
Handbalancing on canes
A solo artist takes center stage effortlessly balancing her weight with the fluidity of ballet, contortion and the strength of an athlete.
Dynamic duo showcasing strength, agility, complete synchronisation and a definite showmanship!
A quartet of artists execute a bouncing choreography, where precision is a must!
The JOYÀ characters are an intrinsic part of the story. Often half-human, they are all part of Joyà’s imagination, taking the role of aide or obstacle in Zelig’s quest of knowledge transfer.
Distance: 75.3 km / 58 minutes