The word Xel-Ha consists of two words that together mean "entry of water" or "place where the waters are born", a clear reference to its geographical structure.
For the Mayas, the location of Xel-Ha contributed to the development of port activities. The area seems to have had two periods of pre-Hispanic occupation: in the Late Preclassic and Early Classic. In this last period, Xel-Ha was the coastal settlement with the largest population in the area.
In the “building Bird”, dating from this time, there is a clear stylistic links to central Mexico, particularly with Teotihuacán and not only that but also there is a line of 0 ° straight to Xel-Xá what keeps alive the second largest coral reef in the world.