Playa del Carmen is blessed with natural wonders. Aside from its archaeological treasures and beautiful beaches, it boasts of natural-made features that would truly wow every visitor. This is why the city and the Riviera Maya are focusing on their ecotourism programs. Natural parks such as Xel-Ha water park, Xaman Ha Aviary, Xcaret and other attractions provide excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and learning about the Yucatan Peninsula’s natural gifts and the local Maya culture.
Xel-ha is a natural aquarium set in a splendid backdrop of limestone formations and it is home to tropical fish of all colors and shapes. This park will give you a great opportunity for relaxing and nature tripping. It is a fairyland of inlets, thick jungle, lagoons, caves, plus archaeological sites. It also houses more than 350 species of plants and flowers. The crystal-clear waters of the Xel-Ha inlet are also habitat to stunning marine flora and fauna.
When you are in Playa del Carmen, you will be amazed at the beauty and diversity of tropical birds that live in the Xaman Ha Aviary. This aviary is not your typical zoo. Unlike a traditional zoo wherein animals live inside cages, Xaman Ha Aviary serves as a natural habitat for birds and many other wildlife that make the aviary their home.
Xcaret has a park that houses crocodiles, sea turtles, spider monkeys, jaguars, flamingos, and macaws. This wonderful park also provides you with opportunities to have a deeper knowledge about the ancient Mayan culture and their rituals. Xcaret even recreates an ancient ball game popular in the ancient Mayan civilization. At night, you can see interesting ancestral dance performances and fire ritual ceremonies.
Other parks worth visiting include the following: Crococun, a regional park and zoo that belongs to the Riviera Maya; Tres Rios, home to a wealth of subtropical flora; Aktun-chen and Kantun-chi, where you will see cenotes and wonderful stalactite and stalagmite formations; Garrafon, the highest elevation in the Yucatan Peninsula; Dolphin Discovery, where you can swim with dolphins; and Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve.