It has been close to 10 years since I last came to Xetulul. This incredible place is like the Magic Kingdom for Guatemala, filled with exciting rides, delicious food, and many memories waiting to be made. Xetulul is part of what would be the equivalent of Disney for us, Irtra. There are different parks scattered throughout Guatemala and they all have different things to offer. In total, there are six parks but I have only visited three of them and they all are incredibly fun. With the economy going back to normal, theme parks are finally beginning to open back up so we decided to give Xetulul a try to see how much it has changed through the years and see what protocols they are following to keep everyone safe.
Xetulul is a park based on different areas of the world, some of them include: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and of course Guatemala. Each area has architecture, food, stores, and attractions inspired from the country - and they are all equally thrilling. My personal favorites are, La Avalancha and Estrugensen which are rides that I recommend you ride on with an empty stomach because there are A LOT of twists and turns.
Since we went on the day they opened the park back up, there were not that many people - which was a blessing since we got to ride everything fast and as many times as we wanted. The park is doing a phenomenal job at keeping all the proper COVID protocols, you get your temperature taken at the entrance and at multiple places inside the park, there is antibacterial gel EVERYWHERE (you have to apply gel on at every single attraction before and after you ride), and there are social distancing stickers when you wait in line for food and attractions. Rides also have decreased capacity to help with social distancing and all the employees are wearing face masks (guests are also required to wear masks at all times). There are rest areas scattered through the park where you can remove your mask to take a breather, but only for up to 10 minutes. Overall, I felt extremely safe at the park at all times - so they definitely pass my health inspection!
Since it had been years since my last visit, I was happy to hear they had a new area open up - and it was inspired by the Caribbean. This new area has more rides tailored towards kids, but they had one ride that has shot straight at the top of my favorite rides, the Plane Race. At first glance, it looks like an innocent kids ride... but it really is for adults! This ride lifts you up into the sky and spins and twirls you upside down at high speed - so definitely ride with an empty stomach.
Xetulul is located in Retalhuleu which is about a 4-5 hour drive from the city, if there is no traffic. So we recommend staying at the Hostales del Irtra, which is located directly in front of the parks and is this beautiful resort with different areas also inspired by different countries. They have areas inspired by Greece, Spain, Guatemala, India, and other countries. I always had great memories of this place, but this time around it was not as great because we learned the hard truth about the pricing... it is better if you are affiliated. If you are not, prices are incredibly high and you might get placed in the older and "cheaper" area. Our room had a faulty A/C unit, no TV, poor customer service, and was close to social areas where you could literally hear EVERYTHING. I came to this place when I was very young, so obviously my family is affiliated but you must come with them, so the prices we got years back were cheaper and we could stay in the beautiful suites. Nonetheless, the experience was still stellar and the pool is always fun no matter your age. Just definitely be aware of the prices.
If you are looking for a great weekend getaway, Irtra is definitely a place to look into while you are visiting Guatemala. I was happy to visit this magical place once again and experience it with my loved ones.