When booking my vacation to Cozumel, I already knew exactly what I wanted to do once I got their. One destination I knew I had to see was Xel-Ha, which is known as natures aquarium. Searching photos online at this world wonder I knew it was a place I could not pass up, the only problem was I was going to be located in Cozumel, and Xel-Ha was located on the main land in Riviera Maya, MX.
Searching around a bit I came across a bunch of tours that I could book, most of these tours were expensive ranging from $140 up to $180. What bothered me most was the time limits. I never liked tours where I felt rushed, and the only tours I could find on Xel-Ha included both Xel-Ha and Tulum. As much as I longed to see Tulum, I knew that a pit stop would cost us hours, not giving us enough time at Xel-Ha. From what I heard, and read in forums Xel-Ha is a place you will need an entire day in order to experience all it has to offer.
I decided to try and figure out how to get from point A; Cozumel, to point B; Xel-Ha.
Hours of research and I finally decided I was going to go on my own, without a tour in order to give myself as much time as I wanted.
In order to save the most money you will want to go to Xel-Ha’s official website and buy tickets online. It will save you $8.00 if you were to just head to Xel-Ha without pre-ordering the tickets. The price will come to $71.10 and will include everything from food, drink, and access to what the park has to offer.
Once in Cozumel, and you have picked your day to venture from Cozumel to the mainland it costs around $12 per person each way for the ferry. From Cozumel, you simply take the ferry over to Playa Del Carmen.
Once in Playa Del Carmen you can ask the police which you will see everywhere around the streets standing and keeping watch of the tourist shopping area. They are easy to spot as they wear funny hats, and all black suits, even in the hot smoldering heat. Ask one where the bus station is located. It is not a far walk at all from where you will be let off from the ferry.
You can take a bus for around $4 straight to Xel-Ha. If you do not want to wait for the bus however you can take a cab to Xel-Ha, which ran us $27.00.
All in all, taking a day trip from Cozumel to Xel-Ha, and back to Cozumel ran us approximately $126.00 per person. You will not save a huge amount of money but every penny counts, and you will be able to go about things in Xel-Ha at your own pace taking in everything it has to offer. Besides that you can also leave whenever you want, allowing you to visit Tulum as well if that was something you wanted to add to the itinerary.
Be sure to check your ferry times though, the last ferry out of Playa Del Carmen is usually 10pm, but you will probably end up going back earlier on the 8pm. Give yourself about an hour to explore the shopping areas in Playa Del Carmen before leaving, it’s quite an experience itself. Fun, safe, and interesting.
Traveling outside of tours on your own may seem like a scary thing, and people may try to deter you from doing so, however we never for even a moment felt unsafe, lost, or afraid venturing from the cozy island of Cozumel to the big mainland of Mexico.
It was a wonderful experience, and not having to worry about time restraints or staying in a large cattle like group just adds to the freedom of your vacation.