Riviera Maya’s Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism

 

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism pin

 

Mexico’s sprawling Riviera Maya is home to many beach resorts and parks. As new venues are added, it can be difficult for families with autism to know which ones may be the best options to visit. After a decade of vacationing in the beach towns of Cancún and the nearby Cozumel,  our top choices are- Xel-Há, Chankanaab, and Xcaret.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism logoon

Xel-Ha

Xel-Há, located in the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Known for its sustainable tourism model it is our number one pick for families with autism. The main reasons for our recommendation are that it is less crowded and more peaceful than its counterparts.The water as our son described was so clear and clean that he felt like he was swimming in an aquarium.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism kids

Family activities include snorkeling the Xel-Ha river and exploring the Mayan cenotes. For the more active visitors, the park offers a climbing course that guests can jump into the cove from and the Trepachanga challenge that consists of walking between two ropes suspended over the river. Additional attractions are swimming with dolphins, stingrays, manatees and sea trekking. For the younger kids, Xel-Ha features a wading pool with a water slide, a playground with a rope course and even a crawl tunnel.

 

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism huts

The park provides water equipment, Wi-Fi, lockers, bathrooms, and showers. Furthermore, day .the venue boasts four restaurants and four bars that are open throughout the day. The Chulavista and Cucina del Pueblo offer international and Mexican fare while  La Terraza and Jardin Corona specialize in fast food and grilled meats dishes.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism meats

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Wheelchairs are available for those who might need one.
  • The park provides life jackets, so parents don’t have to bring their own.
  • Since this is a protected water area, parents have to buy special sunscreen from the park’s shop.
  • For temperature-sensitive kids, parents should bring water shoes as the sand can get hot.
  • Park eateries don’t cater to special diets.
  • Parents should bring hand wipes to clean the kids’ hands after touching sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring along a mini first-aid kit in case their kids get minor cuts while swimming in the caves.Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism lizard

Xcaret

Xcaret, “small inlet” in Mayan, is located on the spot that is said to have been a ceremonial center and a  starting point for the ancient ritual pilgrimage by canoers to Cozumel, to worship the goddess Ixchel.The eco-archaeological park catering to locals as well as tourists is more crowded than our two other recommended venues. With that said it does offer a plethora of activities that all family members can enjoy including visitors with autism.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism parrots

From touring a replica Mayan village, dancing to tribal music, trekking through a mini tropical jungle to exploring the Museum of Mexican folk art at Hacienda Henequenera, families can keep busy while learning more about Mexico and its culture.Visitors seeking animal encounters can enjoy swimming with Dolphins, Stingrays or even sharks!  Also, the park is home to various birds like flamingos and macaw parrots which can be watched in individual enclosures.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism gear

Xcaret has complimentary Wi-Fi, lockers, restrooms, and showers on-site but guests should bring their towels.The park provides pick-up shuttles from many of the local hotels for an additional fee.Unlike Xel -Ha and Chankanaab, Xcaret stays open in the evenings until ten-thirty pm. There is a fee to use snorkel gear, and all extras (swimming with the dolphins, swimming with stingrays or Sea Trek) are an additional charge.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism loungers

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The cavern swim is very long, though there are stops where swimmers can get out every hundred feet or so. Nonetheless, this activity is not recommended if your kid is not a strong swimmer.
  • The “Xcaret Mexico Spectacular”  night show is lively and noisy, so parents to noise sensitive kids should bring earplugs.
  • At times the park shows and attractions can get crowded. Parents should prepare their kids to long waits since there are no autism accommodations.
  • Wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers are available to rent, but visitors should be advised that only 50% of the park is wheelchair accessible.
  • Any sunscreen used should be free of the following chemicals: Benzophenone, Etilhexila, Homosalate, Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicylate, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane.
  • For children on a restricted diet, parents should bring food.
  • Parents sure bring plenty of hand wipes as the kids are going to touch sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring a mini first-aid kit in case of minor scrapes and bruises.Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism island

 

Chankanaab

Located in Cozumel’s National Marine Park, Chankanaab  (Mayan for small sea ) is a remnant of an old Mayan settlement. The park boasts pristine swimming and snorkel areas, as well as a sheltered children’s shallow lagoon. There are chaise lounges and straw umbrellas spread throughout te stretch of the beachfront though they do tend to become occupied by midday when cruise ships are in town. Travelers don’t have to worry about bringing their gear since there are multiple places to rent snorkeling and diving equipment.
Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism scuba

When it comes to animal encounters this park is similar to the others. Guests can swim with sea lions, manatees or partake in dolphin encounters. The Sea lion shows are included in the admission price, and patrons are invited to meet the sea lions after the show.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism sealions

Families can also explore the park’s botanical garden with over 350 species of tropical plants,  walk around a Mayan village replica with huts that show how the ancient Mayans lived, or relax in the tranquil hammock area.Park amenities include restrooms with showers, lockers, three restaurants and a snack bar.

Riviera Maya's Best Aquatic Adventure Parks for Kids With Autism beach

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The entrance to one of the snorkeling areas is pretty rocky and has some coral around. Therefore, parents may want to be extra careful or bring a pair of socks/water shoes.
  • The park tends to get crowded, so parents should make sure to watch their kids, so they don’t get lost.
  • The park doesn’t provide any autism accommodations for the shows.
  • For children on a restricted diet, parents should bring food.
  • Parents sure bring plenty of hand wipes as the kids are going to touch sea life, birds, and animals.
  • Families should bring a mini first-aid kit in case of minor accidents.

 

 

 

 

 

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