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Soaring and Swimming at Mexico’s Xplor Adventure Park

The underground rivers at Xplor adventure park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, look like they're from another world. Spending a day at this lively park is a great alternative to a beach day.

When’s the last time you soared above the treetops or swam in an underground river surrounded by million-year-old stalactites? At Xplor adventure park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, these are just two of the exciting ways to spend the day. We recently had the chance to get our hearts racing above and below ground on a visit to Xplor.

Before the adventure began, we started at the heart of the park. Literally. The center of Xplor is actually a giant mosaic heart from which paths branch in all directions to the activities. A tad literal, maybe, but it makes it impossible to get lost. The heart is also the home of the locker area, so after storing our dry clothes and towels and liberally applying some sunscreen, we were ready to be on our way.

Purchase discounted tickets to Xplor here.

Activity board at Xplor adventure park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The very handy board showing availability of the different activities

A quick look at the activity board showed us that we might have to wait for zip lining (Xplor’s most popular attraction), so we opted to start with the river rafting. For people like us who don’t do so well standing in endless lines for things, this board was a blessing—a simple red, yellow, or green light lets visitors know how full the different areas are at the moment so you can maximize your time.

The stalactites in the underground rivers at Xplor in Mexico began forming over a million years ago.

Paddling by the ancient structures of Xplor’s underground rivers

Stop number one was one of the park’s amazing underground rivers. We climbed aboard the raft, strapped paddles to our hands, and eagerly got going. The rafting activity involved making our way along a 600-yard water circuit, which provided a pretty good upper-body workout with stunning views. The clarity of the water, the lights, and the rock formations made us feel like we’d stepped into another world. There are so many interesting things to look at that it’s easy to get distracted from the paddling and find yourself bumping your way along the craggy path. Slow and steady is the best way to see everything and stay on track.

Starting out on the Jaguar zip line circuit at Xplor park in Mexico

Starting out on the Jaguar zip line circuit

After our underground voyage, we were happy to see that some of the traffic at the zip lines had decreased a bit, so we decided to chance it and were pleasantly surprised that there was almost no wait. When it comes to the zip lines, there are two choices at Xplor adventure park. We could choose the higher, longer course (Jaguar) or the shorter, faster course (Deer). We opted to give Jaguar a try.

Our zip line circuit included six zip lines stretching over a mile, plus two hanging bridges. The whole course took over an hour as we glided above the trees of Xplor. We flew passed other attractions in the park and hiked our way up again to even higher starting points–one as high as 130 feet in the air. The last zip line of the course ended with a literal splash down into the water. It was a great way to cool off after all the activity.

View from the zip lines at Xplor adventure park near Cancun, Mexico

Such beautiful views from the zip lines

Between the paddling in the river and the stair climbing for the zip lines, we had worked up quite an appetite, so it was time for lunch. Xplor is all-inclusive, so all we needed to do was show up to the buffet and dig in. The focus of Xplor’s restaurant is providing healthy, lighter dishes to keep you going during your day of activity. There is a grill with burgers, chicken, and other items, but many of the selections are fruit- and vegetable-based. Unlike the other parks in Xplor’s family, alcohol is not available at Xplor for everyone’s safety (there is a driving activity at the park). However, there is a huge variety of juices, flavored waters, and amazing, addictive smoothies (try the peanut butter one!).

Riding in amphibious vehicles is one of the popular activities at Xplor park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Getting ready for the rocks and water

Recharged from lunch, it was time for us to check out the amphibious vehicles. With big tires and elevated engines to avoid the water, the vehicles are a cross between a 4×4 and a suped-up golf cart. And they’re not called “amphibious” for nothing. Over the course of the 6-mile exploration, we went down rocky jungle labyrinths into water-filled caves and across bridges where the river nearly overtook the road. It was a great adventure and definitely unlike anything we’ve done at a park before.

Crossing a bridge with very high water in an amphibious vehicle at Xplor adventure park

Yes, that’s water immediately under the planks of the bridge

Riding in an amphibious vehicle through a flooded cave at Xplor park in Mexico

Heading straight into the flooded cave

After our ride in the amphibious vehicles, it was time for our day at Xplor adventure park to end much as it began—with a trip down an underground river. This time, it was a swim. The 430-yard-long river is full of twists and turns that open into magnificent caverns. As with the first river, there is plenty of light to see by, but we still had the distinct feeling of being in an underground oasis. As we floated our way along through the calm water, we again passed ancient stalactites and rocky surfaces as we wondered what new sight would be around the next corner. (These rivers have more rocky features than the underground rivers at Xplor’s sister park Xcaret and are completely enclosed).

Swimming in an underground river at Xplor adventure park

Helmets are required for the river swim (and everything, really)

The most amazing part of the river swim came right at the very end. As the river dead ended, we swam through a waterfall into a circular room where light poured in from above ground. Everyone just floated there, mesmerized by the light and the rushing water that drowned out all other sounds.

But ultimately it was time to depart. A bit damp and a lot tired, we left the river and gathered our things, ready for the quick trip back to the hotel. And a nap.

Swimming in an underground river is one of the popular activities at Xplor adventure park in Mexico

Making our way through the underground river

Visiting Xplor Adventure Park

A regular-priced Xplor ticket costs $119 for adults (age 12 and older) and $59.50 for children (age 5 to 11). You can save by booking your discounted tickets online and by booking tickets at other Experiencias Xcaret attractions like Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xenses, or Xenotes Oasis Maya.

The price includes:

    • Buffet lunch and non-alcoholic drinks
    • Life jacket, helmet, paddles, and all activities

Recommendations: Bring a t-shirt to avoid any discomfort from the zip line harness on bare skin. Water shoes are also highly recommended due to going in and out of the water and the rocky surfaces of some attractions. Bring cash or a credit card if you wish to buy photos or souvenirs.

We were the guests of Xplor park. All opinions of the adrenaline-inducing are our own. Note: Some links may be affiliate links, which means Travel Addicts may earn a few pennies if you buy something, which helps offset our costs of web hosting – all at no additional cost to you.

Have you ever tried anything like the activities at Xplor?

At Xplor adventure park, you can sail over treetops and swim in the underground rivers of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

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What do you think about Soaring and Swimming at Mexico’s Xplor Adventure Park?

  1. Crissy June 16, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Awesome, we are looking at doing this and your post was very helpful! Thanks for all the great pictures!

    • Laura Longwell June 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      That’s great, Crissy. It’s a really good time and something a little unusual to do in Riviera Maya. Thanks for the compliment on the photos — it was my first time trying out our waterproof camera housing 🙂

  2. Allie August 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    This was great! So helpful to plan out our day when we go. Thank you!

    How long were you there? I don’t want to overbook our day with activities but also need to take advantage 🙂

    • Laura Longwell August 5, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

      So glad it was helpful! I think our visit was about 5 hours. We were there in the off-season, though, so keep in mind possible crowds when you’re planning your time.

      • Allie August 8, 2016 at 11:15 am #

        I will keep that in mind. Thank you!

  3. Jennifer Claflin December 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    Were the amphibious vehicles easy to drive? Automatics?

    • Lance Longwell December 28, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

      They weren’t automatics per se, but super easy to drive. The brakes on ours were very touchy, but only took a minute to get the hang of it. If you’ve ever driven a go kart or a golf cart, you’ll be fine. I didn’t know what to expect from it, but really enjoyed driving them.

      • Jennifer Claflin December 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

        Thanks. I’ve never driven a stick shift so I just wanted to make sure that I could do it.

  4. Nathalie January 21, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    We are planning out our trip, and trying to decide which park to visit. We will probably do a day at Xcaret and thinking of doing a second one. Would you recommend one over another?

    Thanks you!!

    • Laura Longwell January 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

      It’s tough to provide a recommendation without knowing your party or your interests because all the parks have great points. That said, Xplor is probably my favorite in terms of parks. I also really loved the Xenotes experience.

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