Location: Carretera Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Hours of operation: 8:30 am – 9:00pm
Entrance Fee: Yes. Check their website for rates
Welcome to Xcaret Mexico!♥
Where is it and how big is the park?
Xcaret Park is located in the beautiful Riviera Maya, only a few minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It was considered as one of the largest theme parks in Mexico (about 80 hectares, 200 acres) but I never realized how big it was until I got there. Think of it as big as Disneyland (85 acres) only 5 acres less.
With park this big, 1 day in not enough to see all that there is in this park. But if one day is all you have, then you really have to prioritize and make the most of that one day. Now, if you have more than 1 day to spare, I suggest you get the multi-pass or better yet the unlimited pass. I got the unlimited pass from my hotel Occidental at Xcaret Destination for $179.00. Unlimited pass includes entrance fee which is normally $100.00/day, unlimited underground river activity (a must do) and discounts to most paid additional activities like Sea Trek, Snorkeling etc. I have a separate post Fun and Sun in Mexico, check it out to see the hotel I stayed in.
How to get around the Park
The park uses color coding to identify paths or route. They have Red, White, Black, Blue, Green and Brown lines in the pavement, just follow the lines to see the attractions in the specific area. The park directions are properly labeled, and there are park maps almost every where you go, this helped a lot especially in prioritizing what you need to see and do.
The park caters to both kids and adults, with so many things to do and see, you will never have time to get bored in this place. The place is an animal jungle for sure, you will see wild life almost everywhere you go from variety of local birds, jaguar, turtles, dolphins, monkey, pink flamingos, butterflies and even bats (yes, lots of them inside the underground river).
Walking in this park is literally getting in touch and up-close with nature. They also have pool, lagoons and beach with white powdered sand where you can sit and relax. If swimming is not your thing, be lazy in the hammocks along the beach while you admire the view and enjoy the calming breeze of the ocean. Food is not a problem at all, (although they are costly) as snack bars and restaurants are available in most places. They also have a lunch buffet package when you buy the ticket, getting that will be a lot cheaper option.
Enjoy the view of the Xcaret Park in a different level and go to the Scenic Tower. This will give you birds eye view of the park, and you will be amazed how huge it is. Day time performances are also offered in the resort. The Flying Men were one performance that you should see if you have time.
Getting up close with the animals is one sure treat that you can do in the resort. For an extra fee, you can swim with the dolphins and even have a bonding time with the shark (how cool is that? not for me though). If you prefer to keep your distance, you can admire them for afar , or visit the aquarium or the turtle place.
Optional paid water activities
If you have the luxury of time to do other activities, they have plenty line up for you. Lie down, relax and pamper yourself with Xpa service, or explore the beauty of underwater with their snorkeling and sea trek activities. If that is not enough thrill for you, they also offer adrelina (fast boat ride) and swim with the dolphin or sharks. Come night-time, wine down and have dinner while you watch the cultural night show “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular”.
Underground River of Xcaret – a MUST do activity
- No of Rivers: 4 (3 swimmable, 1 raft tour)
- Each river varies in depth, but it could range between 5 – 16 feet.
- Distance could vary as well from 600 – 800 yards. There is an emergency exit if you wish to stop, but be reminded that you will have to walk far to reach the end where you can get your things.
- Average temperaturee: Around 75F
One of the must do and certainly the highlight of visit to Xcaret is the underground river, no doubt about that. Whether you know how to swim or not, the life vest is your one best friend when you decide to do this activity. Relax (if you can) and let the current of the river take you around mysterious underground caves while you admire and marvel at the surroundings.
There are 4 rivers namely: Blue River, Manatee River, Maya River and Paradise River. The Paradise River is the only one that you will have to take the raft to go around the river and caves. All the other three requires you to go into the water and paddle your way out or just go with the flow.
If you are in a good shape and condition, no high blood, asthma etc., then give this activity a go. This will definitely be the highlight of your visit, I promise you. It took a while for me to convince myself to do it, but I was glad I went to do it anyway.
Life vest is a must, but the flippers are optional. It will help you to move faster, if you’re comfortable with it then go for it. I opted not to use one and I was fine without it.
My biggest question was if this is doable even if I do not know how to swim. I’ve ask different staff (almost every day) and they all said yes. I’m pretty sure that the feeling of safety and security is better when I know how to swim, but nonetheless I managed to do it. It was exciting, at the same time a little terrifying for me because I did it alone, but the experience itself was unbeatable.
Everything I saw in every turn I made was unexpected and amazing. The rock formations inside the cave, the mangrove, the bat cave was freeking crazy, and the stained glass roof was amazing. The photo above is the stained glass that I saw from below the cave (photo below).
The struggle that I had was the cold water, I was thinking maybe because I did it late in the afternoon or just because it was inside the cave. It helps to just keep moving, once you stop especially when in open area then cold will hit you and going back into the water is going to be another struggle. Also, if you’ve purchased the photo pass, make sure to be aware of where the automatic cameras are. You wouldn’t want to miss the best spot for photo when doing this activity.
All the 3 rivers leads you to the same end. The beauty of trying all three of them is that you’ll get to see and experienced different view and rock formations along the river and caves. I hope this is enough to convince you to try it. If you can do it, the just do it!
Aviary at Xcaret – A real wild life sanctuary
From fountains, lush greenery, hanging bridges, water falls and colorful birds, they got it all in the Aviary.
Enter in the Aviary section and be amazed with the water falls that will greet you from the entrance. If you get lucky, you will have birds flying and walking around to welcome you as you enter their sanctuary.
Walk a little bit further and you will pass through a walkway some of them were besides the water falls and others as hanging bridges, like a short suspension bridge. Pay close attention to the side walls so as not miss the display of colorful birds siting in the wooden stand.
Seeing all this animals so close is such a great experience for me, but even more fun is having the view of the entire Aviary place in different levels as I slowly cross the suspension bridge. These suspension bridges and water features are what made this place one of my favorite in Xcaret. Check out my YouTube video!
North/South Playa Beach
Ready to go for a swim? Another one of my favorite place in Xcaret is the Playa Beach area. I’m not really surprised because I’m always a beach person. The white sandy beach, the turquoise blue water, the cute cottages, the wooden chairs and the hammocks are good enough reason for me to keep coming back to this place, not to mention you can also have your Pina Colada drink while admiring the amazing view.
South Playa Beach
Swim with the Dolphins
Get up close and personal with the dolphins at Dolphinarium. You will surely have a great time whether you choose to interact and swim with the dolphins or just be spectator watch the dolphins do their stunts.
Created specially for the little ones (ages 0-12), but also a nice place for adults to hangout and relax. The area features water sliders, hanging bridges, cenotes, a parakeet habitat and a playground in Mayan jungle theme. For me, it’s the man-made waterfalls is what made this place really standout.
Cultural Night Show
A musical journey that showcase Mexico’s history and culture. This is a 2 hours long night show with almost 300 artist and performers.
The Flying Men
The performance was only 15 minutes, but it’s a must watch too. It’s very impressive how the performers do the stunts while tied to the rope. The performance is weather dependent, so make sure to check the schedule. Check out my YouTube video! The first part of the video is mostly the performer playing music, you can move it up to 5:45 time in the video to get to the actual stunts portion of the video.
This is similar to a revolving lookout tower where you can see panoramic view of Xcaret from the top of the tower. It is 80 meters high, and it slowly rotates 360 degrees while it goes up and down. So anywhere you sit, you can see the entire view. This is around 15-20 minutes. Check out my YouTube video!
I hope I was able to give you idea on what to do and what to expect when you visit Xcaret. There’s so much to see and do, but I can only cover so much in this blog. If you are thinking where to stay when visiting Xcaret Park, checkout on my Fun and Sun in Mexico post. Until my next adventure, this is SweetNSpicy your travel buddy.