Zip-lining, ATVs, Grotto Rafting, and More Xtreme Fun!
Why yes, that’s me, hand paddling a raft along a glowing underground grotto of real stalactites and stalagmites. And sadly, no, you can’t see my burning triceps (get me an oar!) nor the paddle-challenged dude in front of me who steered himself into the wall, causing an in-cave traffic jam.
Sound bizarre, exhausting and enchanting? Welcome to one of four nature-focused activities at Xplor, a wild adventureland near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, 35 miles south of Cancun. This lush location offers visitors extreme interaction with land, water and sky, forcing them to engage their muscles while engaging Mama Earth’s best.
In addition to rafting the grotto (or swimming it, a second water option I missed due to time constraints), the brave can take a rattling ride over 6.3 miles of jungle paths. The four wheel drive amphibious vehicles barrel over unpaved, twisty trails and through dark, watery caves.
An important tip for speed racers (i.e. me, see above) who want an extreme thrill vs. a meandering jungle sight-see: TRY TO GET IN THE FIRST CAR ON YOUR LANE. There are two routes on the amphibious vehicle course, and visitors are corralled in small groups of cars before unleashed on them. If you don’t want to get stuck behind a Sunday driver who stops to stare at the butterflies (and granted, there are many pretty butterflies), make sure to maneuver for the front car in your group. Having an open road before you is worth it.
Lastly, ahhh… the open air! Xplor has 2.2 miles of zip lines spread between two courses offering a bird’s eye view of the park. (If you zip the “Jaguar” route, you’ll spy the big cat and other animals in pens below.) For those who fear heights or speed: zip-lining is not as scary as it looks. You don’t move very fast, and you’re snugly strapped on the line. What might be more daunting are some of the steep treks between zip lines. Your quads and calves work as you climb steps and spiral walks to the next drop off point. Thank goodness for the occasional refreshing water landing!
Xplore is a great stop for active tourists who get antsy sprawling by the pool. The admission ticket includes unlimited access to the stocked (and tasty) buffet, perfect for refueling throughout the long day you’ll spend here.
Shutterbugs should bring water-proof cameras. If you don’t have one, carefully positioned cameras snap photos of you throughout the park. I bought the collectible 1GB flash drive that came with about 13 photos (~$50), some of which are shared above. A little pricey, yes, but in this case, I find the humor value worth it.
For More Information:
Federal Highway 307 km 282 Solidaridad
Quintana Roo, México
 +  849 5275