Do you like zip lines? If you've never done one and have always wanted to, Xplor is the perfect place. Picture yourself flying above the tree tops enjoying a panoramic view of the lush green canopy. Xplor has 2 different zip line routes, each of which consists of approximately 9 interconnected zip lines lasting about 1.5 hours total. Although the activity requires quite a lot of stair climbing, it's a great way to get exercise and the views are certainly worth it. Once you're above the tree tops you can see Playa del Carmen in the distance, the ocean and the vast jungle. On two zip lines you actually fly through a man-made waterfall and glide into a water landing. Another includes a full water slide between zip lines instead of stairs.
Most of my staff has been on zip lines before as last year we took them to Aktun Chen. For most the initial fear of jumping off a platform hundreds of feet in the air was much milder than last year. Regardless there is always a little apprehension having to place your complete faith in a harness and 2 cables suspended between two very tall towers. That being said Xplor is extremely safety conscious and has to be the safest park I have seen thus far in the area.
After the zip lines we enjoyed the delicious full buffet with a wide selection of food and non-alcoholic beverages (included in the price of admission). The all access entry to the park is roughly $100 USD per person. With proof of residence in the Riviera Maya (voter card or driver's license) you can get in at 1/2 price. The park is open to 9-5, and I recommend arriving between 9 and 10 to be able to participate in all the activities.
Our group decided on driving the amphibious vehicles after lunch as our next activity. There are several ATV routes, all through the jungle, one through cenotes filled with water. The ATVs hold 2-4 people and are very exciting. We drove through premarked paths through the jungle, over suspension bridges and through dimly lit tunnels, through water and around bends. It's a circuitous path that often goes under the zip lines and then back out into the jungle. After the cave route we did the jungle route which proved to be equally enjoyable. I highly recommend starting with the cenote route and then choosing one of the jungle paths afterwards.
Our last stop of the day after the vehicles was to the water hammocks. The water hammocks work like zip lines except instead of sitting in a harness strapped to a zip line you are just sitting in a hammock that glides down a cable and splashes into the water. There are two short hammock lines and the stair climbing is minimal. The hammock lines are very relaxing, especially considering the water landing helps to cool the body after the heat of the day in Playa del Carmen!
This trip there was not enough time to partake in the swimming nor rafting down the underground river nor the hike through the cenote. It was just as well as most of my employees are not fond of cold water and we were really tired after all those stairs. By cold I mean anything under 85 degrees. I think the underground water is refreshing as would most any North American or European. However, we are talking about locals who put on winter coats when temperatures fall below 65 F.
Allan and I did the underground river swim and canoe paddle and cenote walk last year along with Allan's grandson, Nick. Meandering through the underground cave, admiring the stalactites, one almost feels like you are back in prehistoric time. It's certainly an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Xplor in my opinion is a must do for any traveler. Although the zip lines are a bit much for senior citizens, children, or anyone with limited physical capacity, the underground river, water hammocks and amphibious vehicles are sure to keep anyone amused. Being bored at Xplor is not an option. There is so much to do it's hard to fit it all into one day!
|Carla, Zoila, Luis, Nori and Connie get ready for the zip line|
|Luis heads up the stairs to the zip line|
|Zoila prepares for the water slide|
|The NAS crew at Xplor: Allan, me, Carlos, Zoila, Carla, Connie, Luis, Nori and Erminia|
|Allan exits the water after the water hammock|
|Carlos and I on the ATV|
|ATV over the suspension bridge|