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Soaring and Swimming at Mexico’s Xplor Adventure Park

Underground river illuminated blue at Xplor adventure park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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 park 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 location 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.

Xplor Park Activities

Activity board showing congestion at different activities
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 (the 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.

Purchase discounted tickets here

Stalactites in the underground river
Paddling by the ancient structures of the underground rivers

Stop number one was one of Xplor’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.

Sign for the jaguar zip line
Starting out on the 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 zipline course took over an hour as we glided above the trees. We flew past 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.

Zip lines above a tree canopy
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 because there is a driving activity at the park. However, there is a huge variety of juices, flavored waters, and amazing, addictive smoothies to drink–absolutely try the peanut butter one.

People fastening seatbelts in their amphibious vehicle
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 theme park before.

Bridge across very high water
Yes, that’s water immediately under the planks of the bridge
Amphibious vehicle driving through muddy water
Heading straight into the flooded cave

After our ride in the amphibious vehicles, it was time for our visit 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).

People wearing helmets while swimming in an underground river
Helmets are required for the river swim

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 our hotel, Occidental at Xcaret Destination. And a nap.

Is Visiting the Park Worth It?

We absolutely loved Xplor. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we’ve been twice on different trips to Mexico. All the activities are fun and the food and drinks are great. For us, the zip lines and swimming in the underground river were the highlights. Even if you’re more a lie-on-the-beach kind of person, you’re basically guaranteed to have fun.

The activities generally appeal to all age groups, so the adventure park is also a great place for kids, teenagers, and adults. It’s really a perfect family vacation destination, unless you have very young kids.

When people are debating whether to visit one of the Playa del Carmen theme parks, they are often deciding between Xcaret or Xplor. We’ve been fortunate to visit both parks twice as well as their sister parks Xel-Ha, Xenses, and Xenotes. For (much) more detail, you can read our reviews of the other parks in these articles:

Underground river lit up with blue light
Making our way through the underground river

Visiting Xplor Adventure Park


Xplor adventure park is open Monday through Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm. At 5:30pm it reopens as Xplor Fuego, featuring the same awesome activities dramatically lit at night by torches and fires.

Getting Here

The park is only about 5 miles from Playa del Carmen. If you don’t have a car, you can take a taxi or book transportation when you buy your tickets through the website.

Xplor park sign


Regular-priced tickets costs $130 for adults (age 12 and older) and $65 for children (age 5 to 11). You can save by booking your discounted tickets online and by booking tickets at other Grupo Xcaret parks or tours with them.

The price includes:

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


  • Bring a t-shirt to avoid any discomfort from the zip line harness on bare skin. A dry change of clothes and towel will also be useful.
  • Water shoes are also highly recommended due to going in and out of the water and the rocky surfaces of some attractions.
  • To protect the environment, Xplor requests that guests only use natural sunscreen like this
  • Bring cash or a credit card if you wish to buy photos or souvenirs.

Where to Stay

Sitting area by the ocean surrounded by palm trees
Beach area at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination

The Occidental at Xcaret Destination is ideally located for visiting Xplor and any of the other parks. The resort offers five pools, sports facilities, scuba diving excursions, and a private beach area, among other amenities. It is located within about five minutes of both Xplor and Xenses parks and adjoins Xcaret ecopark. Xel-Ha is just 15 minutes away. Check current prices for the Occidental at Xcaret Destination here.

We were the guests of the park. All opinions of the adrenaline-inducing are our own.

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Jennifer Luther

Thursday 25th of March 2021

Thanks for the review. We are planning to go in June. Can you do the activities more than once each?

Laura Longwell

Saturday 27th of March 2021

When we visited, you could do them as many times as you want.


Sunday 27th of September 2020

Hi Laura, how did you get from your hotel to xplor? I've stayed at Occidental Xcaret before but didn't go to xplor and was wondering if they have a shuttle, how much it costs, did you walk, or did you take a taxi?

Laura Longwell

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

Transportation was included with our ticket. It would certainly be possible to walk, but I'm sure the hotel could help with other transportation arrangements. Enjoy! Xplor is our favorite X-park :)


Wednesday 5th of February 2020

We have a 3 year old going on vacation with myself my husband and our 2 teenagers. Do you happen to know if my 3 year old is allowed to ride the Jeep excursions?

Laura Longwell

Thursday 6th of February 2020

I am fairly certain that children under 5 years old are not allowed at Xplor. The language on the website is a little imprecise in spots, but, in one place, it states that an ID would be necessary to prove the child's age, and in another spot, it clearly says 5 is the minimum age. There are also height and weight requirements for the different activities.


Friday 27th of December 2019

I don’t know how to swim and I usually panic with just a life vest to float, can I still enjoy the zip lines that land on water?

Laura Longwell

Friday 27th of December 2019

That might be difficult for you. I don't know the official measurement, but I would guess the zip lines at Xplor that land in water end in about 5-6 feet of water, so you will almost certainly go under. You come back up quickly and can walk out, but there will be a few moments of swimming.


Saturday 21st of January 2017

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

Saturday 21st of January 2017

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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