When naming Xel Há, many will think of the famous water park in the Riviera Maya. Only a few will do so in the exquisite Xel ha archaeological site.

The Xel Há archaeological zone is under the long shadow of the Xel Há park. This entertaining water park is one of the most sought after destinations in the Riviera Maya.

From the archaeological zone Xel has the vast majority of tourists do not know it, and they are a pimp. Let's be curious 😉

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archaeological zone Xelhá

Brief history of Xel Ha

It is believed that the archaeological zone Xelhá, Mayan word that means water entrance, was one of the most important ports of the powerful Coba during the Classical period, AD 250 to AD 600

The beautiful Caleta de Xelhá, where today we find the Xel Há water park, it was the refuge of this port city. From 600 AD it went into decline and temples and palaces stopped being built. After 1200, when the prosperous commercial activity that characterized the Postclassic Period, Xelhá resurfaces again.

archaeological zone Xelhá

Xel Ha Archaeological Zone Tour

From its first period of splendor it conserves mural paintings, like the board found in the Group of the Birds, that remember the strong presence that Teotihuacán had in the Maya area in those times.

archaeological zone Xelhá
Wall remains of a board
Xelhá ruins

From its second epoch there is a relevant mural painting with hardly any remains of the figure of a feline in a descending position in the so-called la House of the Jaguar, within the Jaguar Group.

In this group we find original wooden lintels made of sapodilla, the tree from which chewing gum is extracted, and remains of hand paintings printed in bright colors. The Jaguar Group of Xelhá It is from the Postclassic period, between 1200 and 1500 AD

jaguar group Xelhá
Temple of the jaguar, where painted hands are appreciated

This vestige is a little removed: a path (sacbé in Yucatec Mayan) takes you to the cenote near Grupo del Jaguar, in an attractive walk through the low jungle where the Riviera Maya is camouflaged.

Xelhá bird group
archaeological zone Xelhá

Xelhá I was lucky enough to visit him with a group led by Claudio Obregón Clairín, an excellent Mayista author of the blog Literature and Mundo Maya, with whom I always learn and reflect. He does guided tours and workshops, follow him on his Facebook if you are interested in the subject

archaeological zone Xelhá
Claudio Obregón Clairín guiding in Xelhá

A pleasant surprise on the way Xelhá. As almost always happens to me, each Mayan area offers me walks and visions that expand my person.

Xel Ha Archaeological Zone, an amazing visit in Riviera Maya 1

Xel Ha Archaeological Zone, Archaeological Site

LOCATION: Xelhá It is located 113 km. from Cancun and 39 km. from Playa del Carmen and 16 km. from Tulum, on federal highway 307, Cancun - Tulum. The archaeological zone Xel ha remains on the interior side, it is indicated. Not to be confused with the water park.
SCHEDULE AND SERVICES: open from 8 a.m. to 17:XNUMX a.m. daily. They do not sell drinks or food inside. There are services at the entrance.
PRICE ENTRY: 70 mxn. On Sundays, the INAH entrance is free for Mexicans and permanent residents. Access to archaeological sites is free every day to children under 13 years, students, teachers and senior citizens with valid credentials. HOW TO GET IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? Buses pass from Tulum on the main street. If you go from Cancun the collective They leave near the ADO terminal) you must get off at the last stop in Playa del Carmen and from here take another bus to Xelhá (from calle 2 between avenida 15 y 20). Tell the driver of the van that you are getting off at the ruins of Xelhá, he will notify you.
WHAT TO BRING? Light and light clothing, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, closed shoes better and some water always goes well.

Good way,

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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