Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Get an adrenalin rush at the Riviera Maya's newest park - Xplor!

While in Cancun this trip we decided to visit the park Xplor.   The park is operated by the same group that has Xcaret and Xel Ha - we have been to these parks multiple times and always enjoyed our time there.  Xplor is a very 'active' park.  There are no shows or relaxing activities (unless you take some time to enjoy the hammocks).  It is not a place for small children.  Be prepared for lots of walking, swimming and paddling...and also lots of fun!
All activity areas can be reached from the 'heart' of the park

We booked a private van from the hotel zone in Cancun to Xplor.  There were 6 of us in the group and the cost was $121 pp.  Gate entrance to Xplor at this time of the year is $99 pp.  If you have a car, or are staying in the Riviera Maya, you could save a few dollars and drive yourself or take a cab.  We don't like to do the 'public' tours as you waste hours picking up other passengers from different hotels, organizing the groups, waiting around and having to endure rest stops.  With a private van you pick the time you want to leave in the morning and return on your schedule.

When you get to Xplor you check in and get your helmet and locker key.  Everything is included at this park- equipment, locker, food and drinks.  There is a small gift shop and you can purchase photos if you want.  Be prepared to get wet and stay that way all day.  A bathing suit is a must and water shoes or sandals that strap on your feet are important.  Running shoes can be worn, but in areas that you have to swim they can be heavy.
Flowers lining the walkways - taken with our Kodak mini waterproof camera

Photos - your helmet has a chip which captures your photos.  They tell you not to switch helmets or pictures will be mixed up.  If you only want to purchase one set of photos - you might want to 'share' the helmet.  Not all the zip lines have photos so plan accordingly.  The other activities you can get couples or small groups in the photos.  There are a few places around the park that you can trigger the cameras with a button and take all the pictures you want.  Do this!  The picture packages are priced per helmet - no matter how many pictures are taken. If you buy the photos they are on a thumb drive (not actual photos, but files).  There are monitors around the park that you can hold your helmet up to and view what pictures have been taken.  We all bought the photos and got a better price for 6 helmets worth of photos.  We had our laptop in our condo and just downloaded them onto our drive, loaded copies onto one couple's SD card and gave the drive to the third couple.  They do allow waterproof cameras to be carried on the activities.  We used ours....but Dennis had our Kodak mini wash out of his pocket on a zip line (the pocket has a Velcro closure).  Luckily one of the workers had a snorkel and found our camera AND our room key!
Double lines, automatic brakes - very safe!
Water landing - or how we lost the camera!
There are some VERY long runs

There are 2 sets of zip lines (with about 7 or 8 zip lines each).  Once you are on the course you have to finish.  Use the bathroom and get a drink of water before you start.  It took us 2 hours to complete the courses and there were no real lines (at most 10 people ahead of us).  Make sure you look around when up on the lines.  The views are great!  You can see Cozumel, zip over cenotes, jungle, roads, through water and down into a cave!
Some of the zip line towers
Down into the cave
There is a lot of walking up on some of the towers
Water flows though the bottom of this ramp and into the caves
There is a water slide in the middle of the zip line course!

The 4 wheeler course is a great way to dry off a little.  You drive through the jungle and also through some caves.  Our vehicle didn't have much power up the hills....we barely moved along.  On one part another vehicle stalled in the water in a cave and we were stuck in a line waiting for them to get some help.
Crossing a bridge in the jungle
Going into the cave though the water
Driving inside the caves

The rafts in the cave are fun - just don't get close to those who don't know how to paddle.  You have a choice of single or double rafts and there are 2 different courses to paddle through. 
You paddle with your hands

The cave swimming was beautiful!  There are 2 different swim courses.  One long and one short.  The long swim has great cave formations to see and even a few bats!  We have been in many caves over the years and the caves here at Xplor have many formations to enjoy.
Photo taken with a 35mm waterproof camera

Coati looking for treats

The smoothie bar was a great place to take a break and get something to drink.  There are also cookies and fruit at this location.  If you just want juice or water it is self serve at this location.  Hammocks, chairs and a small swim area are close by if you want to relax.
Walking though the caves between activities

If you like to zip line, are ready for a bit of walking, climbing, swimming and rafting...this is the park for you! 

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