Our trip to Mexico was kind of a bummer because of all the rain and a terrible trip home but the absolute highlight was going to Xplor Adventure Park in Playa de Carmen/Cancun area. I got to go both during the day and night so I’ll be able to offer a good comparison.
For the day trip our whole group went minus an extremely hung over Ryan who couldnt’ leave the bathroom. It cost us $135 US per person for a shuttle, admission, and food. We were there from about 9-5 and just fit everything in with about 30 minutes to spare.
This place is amazing! When you first get there to register and get your locker key and helmet you go down into an enormous cave.
We started off on the zip lines at our guides suggestion because he said the line ups can get really long. I was a teeny bit nervous because I’d never done a zip line that long or high and it showed on my face on the first one, luckily we were able to pair up to make it a little less scary and more fun.
Our group had a blast seeing which zip line attendants would let us pair up and which wouldn’t. There is a weight limit and our group of women ranged from 5’8 (me) to 6’1. We were tall ladies so some attendants would let us pair up while others would tell us “you weight is enough” or “no- she goes alone”.
My favourite part of the zip lines was the water features. You end zip lining into a waterfall in the cave.
On the second zip line (there are two) you get to go down an adult water slide which was such a blast!
We were pretty pooped after the zip line (its a lot of tower climbing) but as we headed toward our lockers we passed an amazing smoothie hut. They did this strategically so that attendees could enjoy a snack and relax in the hammocks set up around the smoothie hut. They had soy so I was able to order and avocado, apple, soy smoothie which was soooooo good! I love avocado but whenever I heard about using it in a smoothie I thought it was weird, but it makes the smoothies as creamy as a milkshake. Once we had smoothie’d up we headed deep down into the caves for cave swimming.
Cave swimming was amazing! It was my favourite activity at the park and the most awe-inspiring. There were two options, a long route which was about 325m and a short one that was 25 m. We of course took the long one and had so much fun.
I really enjoyed the large holes that went to the surface and let sunlight in. The park and covered them with glass so debris didn’t get into the crystal clear water but let all the sunlight in.
Our group were a little camera crazy. The park had motion censored cameras planted all over the park and whenever we saw them we would pose over and over. With the cave swimming, we became a little confused and thought the flash was the camera so there are a lot of photos with us posing in the background at the flash! Ha ha ha ha!
After cave swimming we hit up the cave rafting portion of the park.It was a lot of walking in caves and we enjoyed posing for the cameras and checking out this incredible place.
As we got closer to the rafting we saw a sign that said “If you want to avoid a divorce, choose a single raft.” I thought that was pretty funny but we got a taste of it first hand when our group (who had three singles and one double raft) got caught up behind two couples who really struggled with the rafting. I mean REALLY struggled. One couple fell off and it took them FOREVER to get back on and caused a huge jam. Watching their struggle made me so grateful that I workout and prepare my body for all the activities I want to do.
Compared to the cave swimming we found the rafting to be a big let down. But it could have been the frustration of being stuck behind those few couples who couldn’t raft together.
After rafting we decided to head to the buffet for lunch and wow! The food was way better than at the resort. They had a huge spread that included steak and shrimp. We had expended so much energy we were famished and scarfed the food down.
After eating we had one last activity to hit which was ATV-ing. This was such a blast! But what made it more fun was the fact that my sister Leilani was being bounced all over the backseat and was very vocal about how much she hated it which only made me hit more pot holes. Ha ha!
You go through a 5km path through the jungle, in and out of caves, over bridges, and under a waterfall.
As much as Leilani hated the ATV, my other sister Laura loved it! So she and I went a second time with just the two of us.
Here’s the really frustrating part about the ATV’s- a lot of people have never done anything like this before and we kept getting stuck behind really, REALLY slow people who would come to a stop before going through a pothole or would go as slow as a kids car ride at Disneyland.
I began getting road rage and started tailing these people and yelling at them. A lot of the park attendees didn’t speak English but I think road rage is international. So after yelling at three different cars, Laura and I were zipping along bouncing like crazy when all of a sudden the steering gave out on my ATV. We pulled over to the side and stood there not knowing what to do. The three people I had harassed and yelled at passed us laughing and I thought it was very karmic.
Laura and I stood at the side of the trail laughing for a while. Just as we were about to give up and hitch hike with someone else a worker came, looked at the vehicle and flagged down a couple to drive us back in.
It was such an amazing day! And for $89 (split between all five of us) we were able to take home a ton of photos.
So we got back and told Ryan all about our awesome day we had while he festered away in the hotel room. He was pretty bummed out but I thought it was fair since I had tried repeatedly to get him to stop drinking the night before. But on our last day my sisters talked me into going to Xplor on Fire– their night-time tour with Ryan so that he could experience the fun too.
We started off on the zip line but it wasn’t quite dark yet. We went through the “fire ring” just as the guy was lighting it.
At night they only have the first zip line course open so Ryan didn’t get to experience the water slide.
After zip lining we headed to the cave swim which was so much creepier at night than during the day because they changed the lighting. Instead of blue illuminations, it’s red and they don’t light up as much as the cave, and there isn’t any natural light from the holes because it’s night.
When we were done cave swimming we decided to try zip lining again because it was pitch black out by then. Zip lining in the dark is SCARY! Because all you can see is the end of the course it feels like you are flying!!! Your whole depth perception is thrown off- we loved it.
After the second zip line we headed off to the ATV course where we experienced the same frustrations with being stuck behind slow people. It was fun watching how nervous Ryan became driving over the bridge!
At one point of the course, they have floating tiki’s in the water as you cross a bridge which was really cool.
The night-time course is way different from the two-day time courses and we had a blast going in and out of caves.
After the ATVing we stopped at the buffet for dinner and had BBQ ribs both pork and beef which was tasty.
Ryan and I originally planned to skip rafting since the group had such a bad experience the day before but we had so much time left! So we went to the raft and chatted up the attendant. He thought it was hilarious that we insisted on single rafts but after seeing the struggles of the couples, I wasn’t about to spoil our date night with a fight over paddling a raft!
The attendant pointed to the rafts and said “You can choose from ‘true love’ [the double raft] and ‘friends forever’ [the double]”- we still chose the single rafts.
With no one else on the course, we really enjoyed paddling through the cave leisurely.
After rafting we decided to try the cave swimming again and do the short course to see what that looked like. Don’t waste your time, the short course is not a natural cave, it’s a man-made tunnel through rock for 25m and then you’re at the end. We had a good laugh over how lame it was.
While wandering around we found the hammock zip line- something I had seen during the day but we never found the start of the course. That was a little crazy because a hammock isn’t all that stable.
But as I hit the water in my hammock I realized it was getting cold (by Mexico standards) and I didn’t want to do any more water related things.
We had just enough time to go back to the ATV’s so that I could take a hand at driving.
It was kind of miserable though because we got stuck behind these Selfie People!!! They would stop every where and just snap selfie after selfie. I was ready to lose it! So lesson learned? I shouldn’t ever do an activity where I want to go fast but have to stay behind other people and whatever pace they set.
Xplor at night has way fewer people and you don’t have to wait in any lines and it often feels like you’re alone. It made for such a rad date night! I would just caution – don’t be fooled by the marketing, there is not nearly as much “fire” as the photos in the brochures make it look. We expected top see tiki torches everywhere and there were only a few in certain sections.
That’s a really lengthy summary but as I said, this place MADE my trip! I suggest going during the day so that you can do the second zip line because there is just something about an adult water slide! Ha ha!