Daytripper: Making a Splash at Xocomil

Daytripper is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on day trips within easy reach of Xela. This July 2010 issue is called “Making a Splash at Xocomil”.  By Chris Warren.

Now that rainy season is upon us, you’ve probably found yourself slipping and sliding through the slick cobblestone streets of our fair city, Xela. If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve even had the urge to grab an inner tube and take to the streets for some urban rafting whenever 13 Avenida floods into class IV rapids.  Unfortunately, while fun, this is not a good idea for travelers looking to avoid skin infections.   Good thing that Central America’s premier water park, Xocomil (open 10 AM to 5 PM), is a mere hour and a half away, in steamy Retalhueu.

Hop on any camioneta that’s headed to Reu and ask to get off at the “entrada de IRTRA” (Q13) and you’ll soon find yourself in water park heaven. Walk through the biggest parking lot ever and buy your ticket (Q100, but well worth it…) Xocomil, boasts over 1.2 kilometers of water slides, not to mention a fantastic lazy river and a wave pool. My personal favorite begins at the highest point in the water-park, giving you the chance to admire the dense jungle foliage of the coast and ends after a breakneck vertical drop that makes you feel as if you are literally about to take flight aboard a 1 inch thick magic carpet of plastic foam. Other highlights include a 2-person giant toilet bowl slide, an X Games-worthy quarter-pipe that you enter forwards and exit backwards, unprepared for the watery splash down that awaits you.  Besides these there is also a massive 4 person slide, another labyrinthine complex of a half dozen or so slides that resemble a giant tubular medusa of fun as well as a kids area with a number of Legends of the Hidden Temple inspired challenges, including a series of half-submerged lily pads that I challenge anyone to navigate without assistance from the overhead ropes!

You can bring your own lunch (as long as you aren’t bringing metal silverware) or  purchase lunches (mostly burgers and fried chicken) in combos ranging from 20 to 45 Quetzales.

All in all, Xocomil is an entirely worthwile daytrip from Xela, though if you really want to do it up right, you’ll decide to spend the night in one of their famed Bungalows, which are among the most luxurious in all of Central America.  Xocomil itself is equally stunning: the cleanest water park that I’ve ever been to in my life (although the “no orinar” signs every 10 meters were slightly disconcerting) also had some of the most creative rides I’ve ever been on and made the tropical jungle of Reu bearable for the hours that I was there.

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