A theme park where Mayan culture meets water adventure activities. Set in southern Mexico, one half hour from Playa Del Carmen, the jungle setting (along with tiny black biting bugs) makes one feel as if nothing but water and trees exist in the world.
Well, except for the restaurants, gift shops and lounge chairs… large-bellied people and small children, snorkelers, zipliners and tube floaters… where beer and margueritas pour while chicken mole simmers in clay pots and hammocks hang between palm trees – it’s remote.
Watch for iguanas roaming across the paths or blending in with rocks – not noticing until they slightly move a head or tail. It’s strange (and slightly unnerving) to watch animals behind glass (@ Toronto Zoo) and then meet them in their own setting – anything can happen. We got in the way of two ‘arguing’ iguanas who came running at us with the speed of scurrying squirrels (or charging bulls) – we leaped out of the way and let them pass. Lesson learned: a zoo acquaints you with animals whereas the wild makes you experience them.
But if you veer off the main path in Xel-ha, a plant nursery with rows of potted native plants reveals itself. As we make our way through the aisles, breathing the humid heavy air, we find a replica Mayan house waiting to be discovered. We enter the rustic abode and immediately feel the presence of the past within its walls.
A wonderful blend of beauty and ruggedness in Xeh-ha, Mexico.