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Published: January 16th 2013
OK, take a deep breath...I know it's going to be darn hard to believe, but we were all actually well enough to have an adventure on Monday! And our "adventure" wasn't teetering out of our sick beds to go for breakfast!!
We were never really sick as a group all togther; it was more a case of one or two not feeling well at the same time making it difficult to take a day trip. (Speaking of breakfast, we did make it out to the cafe next door to enjoy some tasty pancakes, French toast, eggs, fruit & granola, fresh juice etc).
It's always such a nice time of day to sit and just look out at the ocean and admire all that she is...powerful, strong, determined, beautiful, colorful, vibrant, life-giving, sustaining and willing to give and take. And yes, I did call the ocean "SHE"...Yep she is all that and two seashells 😉
So we were on for an adventure (with the exception of Pat who wasn't feeling 100% & Ray stayed with her) and we very much missed their company. They would have LOVED it!
So I scampered off to book our van to Xel-Ha
(pronounced "Shell Haw", a huge adventure water-theme park and the largest aquarium park in the world. (About 45 mins. out of Playa). This place really has to be seen to be believed, and I've seen it so, well I believe 😊
So this blog is in two parts: too much to say all in one. I wasn't able to take a lot of pictures because HELLO, I was floating around the lagoon. Wahoooo! But those I did take, well they are posted below.
Xel-Ha means "The place where water is born", and I can tell you water was born here and then some. This is a place where the sea meets the maze of underwater rivers and caves as well as carved-out lagoons, with acres & acres of natural aquarium (free of glass wall panes that you would conjure up when you think of an aquarium). You can swim in the lagoons, freshwater, cenotes, and snorkel interacting with nature. Amazing crystal clear water with many colorful fish and mangrove tunnels which is an important refuge for more than 400 land and water, species, flora and fauna species that are protected in this magnificent ecosystem.
It is a
spectacular park built over 200 acres of land, and 22 acres of it is lagoons and underwater caves etc to explore. It's actually difficult to take it all in; you get glimpses of it, then walk more and see more. It's a very dizzying feeling of, "wow, look at all this" and holy crap batman am I ever happy to be here in this moment to witness it in all its glory."
You can tube down a tropical river, float around a lagoon, jump off Courage Cliff (Lara & Greg's favorite), zipline into the lagoon (Ava & I LOVED doing this side-by-side and she's a little daredevil!) , bike zip over the lagoon, balance over water on a rope, swim with dolphins, walk under the sea with helmets that provide air (snuba), kayak, and explore endless jungle paths. You can explore it on foot, on tube, by rope, by a jungle train, by zipline, and by boat...Perhaps I missed a means of getting around?! We were overwhelmed with all the options. Whew... I just came up for air trying to tell you all about this place 😉
Once we got there, we put on our biodegradable sunscreen (yes
don't fool with that), found lockers and away we went. Because the park is so huge, we took a "jungle train" to the beginning of the river where we got our tubes to float down the river. It is well organized to anticipate the needs of people who are in a waterpark, with water being the key word. If you want to take your camera and wear your sandals to the beginning of the park, you can have your items placed in a large bag, which is then locked, and you are given a key that goes around your neck that is secured for you to swim with. The bag is sent down on a rotating rack and is waiting for you at the end of your river tour where you claim it. Genius! (A woman must'a thought of that one!)
Now let's say you and water aren't good friends, well this park has acres of tropical forest features many trails that you can access by both foot and bicycle, and you’re bound to see plenty of Toucans, Parrots, lizards and reptiles enjoying the scenery as well. There are SO many hammocks, chairs built out over the water, and
restaurans & walk up bars that you could spend a day just hanging out there doing nothing (although if you drink all day for free, you may need the jungle train to take your sorry butt out of there!)
This park is subsidized by the Mexican government, to increase tourism to the Riviera Maya, and it seems to have really worked. For one, it's less expensive than other parks, and they have the funds to maintain the history/culture of the this incredible area but furthermore, hire large amounts of people to staff this huge park, and all the restaurants and bars, lifeguards, cleaning staff, admittance staff...well it goes on and on.
It's actually reasonably priced and much of the money goes towards just maintaining this park, creating a turtle conservation area, caring for the dolphins and manatees and of course providing the abundance of free food and drink to us tourists.
Al also took a video of the Greg & Lara and himself (ahem) jumping off a cliff. Gives meaning to the old phrase, "go jump off a cliff"...
Take in the pictures way below. By the way, comments left by all of you are way
way below on each blog. I have appreciated your comments; go back and take a look if you want!!
So I am going to sign off here. Part two is coming. Off to take in the beautiful warm evening air.
Oh & by the way, spell check is not included for the price of admission to this blog 😊
Sallee..Oops Sally (darn lack of spell check)
PS I think my days of writing these blogs are coming to an end. All to be determined. (I will continue writing for Playa Beach Condos & Villas though)
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