The Weird and Wacky World of the Xenses Theme Park in Mexico

Photo of Phoebe Lowndes
26 February 2020

The Xenses Park and its interactive exhibits will leave you amused, confused and utterly disoriented.

A stretch of Mexico’s coastline called the Riviera Maya is an area known for its glamorous all-inclusive resorts and water activities, which include diving, wind-surfing and swimming with dolphins – and one mind-boggling theme park.

Even the water fountains are weird | © Culture Trip

What to expect

When traveling, it’s wise to expect the unexpected, but this unique theme park is a whole different ball game.

The activities on offer have been specially designed to challenge your perceptions using mind-bending illusions. These include a zip wire that simulates flying and a topsy-turvy town where streams run uphill. A menagerie of fascinating scenarios is dotted throughout the park, each one forcing you to question reality.

At every turn there’s something amazing to see or do – imagine a park full of crazy science experiments and you’ll get the picture.

El Pueblo

Start your journey through the park by wandering down this absurd street. Constructed to confuse your mind, it’s hard to tell whether you’re walking uphill or downhill. This one really messes with your head, and it’s a great way to kick off the day. Pictures simply don’t do it justice either; you have to experience the illusion to get the full disorienting effect.

Who doesn’t love an optical illusion?

Fooling your senses is one thing, but optical illusions also create the perfect holiday snaps, adding wit and humor to otherwise generic landscapes and run-of-the-mill family photos.

At this bonkers park, where “normal is boring” and nothing is as it seems, you’ll find hilarious photo opportunities that won’t fail to amuse.

If you opt for the park’s unlimited photo package (and it’s recommended you do), you are given a bracelet to scan at certain points. The fixed cameras take as many pictures as you like – and are available to download 24 hours later. Top tip: some of the scenarios may seem bamboozling at the time, but once you see the photograph, all is revealed.

The Xensitorium

Embark on a journey of self-discovery in the Xensitorium, a pitch-black maze that tests your senses by forcing you to rely on non-visual faculties, such as smell and sound, in order to feel your way out.

Many visitors find this one quite overwhelming at first, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your brain and body adjusts. It’s a revealing experience and certainly not one to be missed.

Who is this for?

Travelers with an uninhibited sense of fun – this one’s for you. The park is an eye-opening experience and the perfect day out for adventurous kids and adults alike.

Activities range from the more daring water slide to a relaxing river that transports you gently through cave-like tunnels. Those who don’t fancy getting wet or covered in mud can easily bypass these and head on to something else.

Need to know

Half a day at the park is all you need to do the exhibits justice. There’s a café on-site where you can refuel, but if your resort is an all-inclusive number, there’s no need to miss a meal.

The most exciting thing about the park is that it invites you to immerse yourself – often quite literally – in the experience. Lots of the exhibits include water, so definitely come prepared with swimming things. There are changing areas and lockers to store shoes and other valuables such as phones and cameras.

All in all, you are guaranteed a few hours of mind-boggling fun. Prepare for your perceptions of reality to be challenged, and come with a sense of humor.

For more information, visit the website here.

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