I received admission in exchange for my honest review.
While planning our trip to Mexico, we heard so many great things about Xcaret Park (pronounced “esh-cah-ret”), and we knew we wanted to visit. I had no idea just how incredible it would be or that I would want to spend several days there!
There are so many things to do in Xcaret, I recommend spending at least a full day there. Check out my Tips for Visiting Xcaret blog post.
Even though we spent an entire day there, you could easily go back for another day, because there is no way to do everything in one day. I suggest planning on getting there when they open and staying for the show at night (which goes until about 9pm).
Just to give you an idea of how big this park is, check out their map. Xcaret is on 200 acres of beautiful jungle, and you can see how it would take multiple days to really explore everything. (You can visit the full map here).
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
~ Getting There ~
Xcaret is very easy to find, with lots of large signs along the highway (307).
Xcaret is located in Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of Cancun. We drove our a rental car from Avant Rental Car that we picked up in Cancun, and had no problem getting there or finding a parking spot.
We were so excited to finally arrive after months of planning!
~ Admission ~
There is a main admissions area where you can buy tickets or show your internet tickets. Everyone gets a barcoded bracelet which scans at the entrance.
There is a general admission price, and there are also “Dream Activities” that you can pay extra for. Some of these activities include Snuba, parasailing, a snorkeling trip, swimming with sting rays, and much more.
~ Getting Around ~
We started by doing some exploring before deciding what to do. One of the cool things about the park are color-coded pathways and a plentitude of signage and maps along the way. I had heard how big the park was, but never once did we have a problem finding our way around as we followed our map and the color-coded pathways. Plus, the map has plenty of symbols, so it is easy to find things like photo ops, bathrooms, or places to eat.
Not only is it easy to get around, but you can rent lockers for your gear. You can also rent towels, snorkels and life vests. What a lifesaver to be able to rent and stash your things, and not have to carry them all day.
~ Photos ~
On your admissions bracelet is a symbol of a camera with a barcode next to it. Around the park, there are cameras, so all you need to do is scan your bracelet and strike a pose. There are so many cameras around the park, and we got lots of great shots! You can see the footprints by my daughter’s feet that show you where to stand. The kids had a great time taking photos. You can go online after your trip to Xcaret to look through the images and decide which ones you want to purchase.
~ Children’s World ~
One of the areas recommend to us was Children’s World, so we headed there first. I was hesitant at first because I thought it might be too young for my kids (ages 8 and 10), but it was by no means boring. As soon as we got there, they were having a blast! They had such a great time doing a variety of obstacles and slides into lagoons and cenotes.
Note the device on the left for scanning your bracelet to get your photo taken.
In fact, we spent quite a bit of time there, and I had to chase the kids down to get them ready for our next adventure at Xcaret.
Everything at Children’s World is so convenient. For one, there was ample seating for parents – in the shade! And you have everything you need right at Children’s World, including a shop, bathrooms, and even a Mother’s room. I love how this park was so well thought out and kept parents and kids in mind, because I have been to many parks that are poorly planned. I was able to enjoy sitting in the shade in the jungle while the kids were swimming in the cenotes.
~ River ~
One of the major attractions at Xcaret is the river that you can swim. It is absolutely beautiful, and while I am generally not big on swimming, I went along with my husband and kids and was glad that I went. The trip down the river takes about 45 minutes to an hour. You are provided with life jackets, which makes the journey down the river easy and relaxing.
Like the other parts of Xcaret, swimming the river is incredibly well planned. We put everything in our locker ahead of time, and then we were able to put a couple bags of stuff, towels, etc. in a bag to give to an attendant. At the end of the river, we presented our code and picked up our stuff, safe and dry.
We had a choice of two rivers – one is more enclosed, and the other is more open, so we chose the latter. It down was pretty cool, swimming in cenotes, down the river, through a mangrove, and out towards the beach.
~ Beach ~
Towards the end of the day, the kids wanted to check out the beach. There are several beach areas to explore, so we weren’t able to check them all out.
My daughter swam right off the beach with her goggles and saw lots of tropical fish, which was a nice experience to do without having to get out all our snorkeling gear.
The kids loved this neat rope line that goes out over the water.
~ Food ~
For food, there are a variety of concession stands and restaurants. There are 18 (yes, eighteen!) places to choose from to eat, whether you visit the snack bar, bar, buffet, or gourmet restaurant.
We ate at Restaurante El Manglar, open-air buffet restaurant that overlooked the beach.
We had a very relaxing lunch, and the food was fantastic.
There were so many choices here, and everything was delicious.
When we got back home to New York, I asked my daughter what her favorite place was that we ate, and she immediately said, “Xcaret”!
~ History, Culture, and Nature Around the Park ~
Everywhere you turn, there is something else to see or do. In between activities, we enjoyed to beauty of the park.
One of the things about Xcaret is that the part celebrates and embodies the cultures of Mexico. Everywhere you turn, there is beautiful art, music, and more – all that truly capture the history and country of Mexico. I found some of the details very touching, like an artistic re-use of trees that had been knocked down during a hurricane that devastated the area. This is an eco-park that truly cares: “Since Xcaret, Xel-Há and Xplor opened to the public, we have carried out Corporate Social Responsibility tasks based on our understanding of what is good for our community, culture and environment.” These are the details that make Xcaret such a special place.
I loved seeing so many different parts of Mexico while we were at Xcaret, and that is something that I have wanted for my kids.
~ Gift Shop ~
The gift shop at Xcaret is spectacular. They have so much to offer, and not only can you find things like gifts and Xcaret merchandise, but they also have basic needs in case you forgot something (for example, eco-friendly sunscreen, water shoes, swim suits, rash guards, and so on).
~ XCaret Shows ~
At the end of the day, we headed to the theater. The walk itself is incredible and you can feel the atmosphere changing!
There are characters along the walk where you can stop and take photos. Needless to say my youngest was a little scared but I did get my photo!
The show was amazing, and the almost two hours flew by.
There was a little bit of everything. At the beginning, everyone lighting a candle, and there is a great ambiance. The show starts off with the history of Mexico.
The show has a little bit of everything, like the Mayan Ball game, dancing, singing, and more. The show was almost 2 hours and it flew by! It was a great end to a long day, as we had had a full day of swimming and exploring, so it was nice to watch a show.
We had an incredible time at Xcaret. I cannot say enough good things about the park. We had an amazing day full of so many adventures, and the park is so well-designed, I can see why it has won so many awards. I would recommend Xcaret to people of all ages, and I would love to go back again on another trip to Mexico. Even though we were just there, I would go back in a heartbeat!
Visit Xcaret at http://www.xcaret.com/
Children from 5 to 11 years old 50% OFF of the adult price and children under 4 are FREE of charge. (Must show ID at the Park’s box-office).
For more tips, read my Tips for Visiting Xcaret!
What to bring: (contains Amazon affiliate links)
~ Reef safe sunscreen, rash guards – Most of the park has shady areas, except if you are swimming at the beach or lagoon. On our trip to Mexico, we always tried to reduce any use of sunscreen or used reef-safe sunscreen, which is what we did at Xcaret. As always, Xcaret thinks of their visitors: “To avoid affecting the natural balance of the ecosystem, only the use of sunblock and sunscreen containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide is allowed in the Park. If your products don’t meet this requirement, at the Park entrance you will find an Information Booth where you can exchange your sunscreen for a free sample of a biodegradable product. Your sunscreen will be returned to you upon departure.” Read my article about Traveling with Reef Safe Sunscreen.
~ water shoes/sandals
~ change of clothes
~ money for souvenirs, rentals, food
You can rent most of what you need (snorkels, towels) and buy food on site, and I recommend doing that when possible. Plus, you can store your things in lockers or have them transported while you swim the river. As a mom, I find visiting most parks is exhausting because you are hauling stuff around all day, and Xcaret makes it easy to have a relaxing day!
About the Author: Marysa
Busy blogger and mom of two girls! We love traveling and the great outdoors, and are always looking for our next adventure!
Check out our other Mexico blog posts HERE!
Our Mayan Riviera wedding
Aldea Zama condo rentals, Tulum
Avant Car Rental, Cancun
Cenotes Casa Tortuga, Tulum
Coba Ruins, Coba
Fiesta Americana Villas, Cancun
Muyil Ruins, Tulum
Hacienda Tres Rios, Playa del Carmen
Punta Laguna Nature Reserve, near Coba
Xcaret, Playa del Carmen
Yal Ku Lagoon, Akumal
Zazil Kin Beach, Tulum
Our Mexico Road Trip Itinerary
Oh wow! I officially feel like I am missing out because I have NEVER been to Mexico. I really do need to make that happen in my life at some point in the near future.
These are absolutely wonderful photos. What a super time and I would have enjoyed the day also.
How awesome!! We though about going here as well but didn’t! Now I wish we would have!! It looks fantastic and you are so right! That river is gorgeous!! <3 What a great time!! It looks huge so Im glad to hear it's super easy to navigate!
Wow, this place is absolutely breathtaking. The beach is probably where I’d be 90% of the time.
I love Xcaret! So Beautiful. Your post reminds me that it’s time to go back 🙂
That looks like a really fun place to visit! It sounds like there’s a lot to do. And am I imagining it or did they sort of build in shady areas to get relief from hot sun?
That sounds like the best place to visit. Just looking at all your pictures is making me want to book a trip so I can go there!
I’ve been to Mexico many times but I’ve never been to Xcaret! How did I miss this? I’ll be sure and visit next time – so many fun things to do!
Not something we will be visiting anytime soon. Wonderful to see all your photos. Great looking place.
This looks like such a cool place to explore. I’m pretty sure my family would love it. That show looks so neat!
Oh My God, it’s like Paradise on earth. It seemed like you and your family had an amazing time!
It’s so wonderful that Xcaret is such a good keeper of the environment and encourages visitors to do the same. This will help keep Xcaret and places like it around for generations to come.
Oh My!! I went to Cancun about 16 years ago and we went to Xcaret for a day. It was the BEST time ever! This is bringing back so many memories and it looks like not a whole lot has changed since then. 🙂 We loved the cave river and the show – which we also went to at the end of the day — and you’re right, the walk to the show was a thrill in it’s own right! Sounds like you all had a fantastic time!
I think I need to pack my self in your bag next time you go there. What a gorgeous place to explore. And what a wonderful adventure you got to take your kids. I am all for kids traveling. It gives them an education that school cannot.
I had no idea there was this magical place. I’m glad you had a great time. Now for everyone to start planning their trip to Mexico.
I had no idea this place existed! It looks incredible! I think we are going to have to add it to our Mexico list!
Wow! Now I want to go to Mexico! Looks like you guys had a blast
We are hoping to go to Mexico next winter. I would love to take the family to Xcaret. It looks like it would be a ton of fun for the whole family.
Wow! That looks like a beautiful place to visit. Ton of things for the whole family!
We went to Xcaret once during a business trip. It was amazing and I have always wanted to take ,h family there.
So many gorgeous images. I’m glad you enjoyed your special time with family. I bet it was amazing in every way!
This park looked so impressive! It sounds like a really fun place for an adventure with family!
This looks like an amazing place to visit! I love that the bracelet can be used to activate cameras all over the park.
It looks like your family had an amazing time on this trip. I love how the barcodes allow you to snap shots all over the park without having to use your camera.
That’s a fun family vacation I can tell everybody is having a blast. I have never been to Mexico definitely this place is on top of my bucket list.
wow!! definitely saving this for later. i would LOVE to go here. the photo op areas are such a great idea! i love that you get to learn about the culture while going to a place that’s so fun. the river looks beautiful!
Xcaret looks like a fun place to get away with the family. A great place to have fun and bond together as a family. The kids are gonna love it.
Wow, what an absolutely amazing adventure! I think my boys are still a little too young for a trip like this, but will definitely save this for when they are older and more adventurous. Looks so gorgeous!
Thanks for sharing your travels. The place is beautiful. Great way to enjoy family time
I have never been to Mexico but I know one thing for sure, I have got to go to Xcaret when I do! Awesome article and very informative.
I went back when I was in high school when we visited Mexico and were on a mission trip. It’s one of our favorite places to go back to and take our kids when visiting Mexico. Isn’t it the best? So fun finding someone else who loves that place as much as we do. Thanks so much!
This looks like so much fun. I did something similar years ago, I can’t wait to go back!!!
This is a beautiful place, o have to keep this in mind. I love those photos, all great memories. Thank you for sharing.
What an amazing park this looks like, Just wondering how did I miss out when i was in mexico.. A great way to spend family time together, more so a fun place for kids too.
What a beautiful place to visit! If we ever go here I am checking it out!
We were in Cancun last year and didn’t know how cool this was, so we didn’t go :(/ We did go to Xenses though and I highly recommend it. That was alot of fun too!
What a beautiful place! Definitely adding this to a spot we’d like to visit one day. Thanks for sharing all this great info!
This looks like such an awesome place to visit!! You guys must have had a blast.
That looks AMAZING!!! What a cool idea to have the semi-automated photo stops set up along the way!
What a fun place to visit. Looks like so much fun with some great food.
That park looks simply amazing. What a wonderful experience to have as a family. I would love to go there some day, will have to see if we can plan a fun travel time together someday in the next couple years!
I had no idea a place like Xcaret exists! It is so wonderful, it is all I can do to not pack and go right now!! The swimming looks so nice, and they thought of everything from the lockers to the food to the signs. I’m amazed I never heard of it before.
Wow what a magical place and experience! This would be a lovely family trip to experience together!
The children’s world looks like a place my kids would like. This is a nice looking vacation. 🙂
I’ve got to admit, I’ve never heard of this gem in Mexico! We could get lost in all the awesome things to do and places to see!
Xcaret looks like an amazing Mexico experience. It’s so upscale, and those grounds are the perfect combination of high style and pure Mexican heritage. I love it!
WOW!! now that was some awesome day jammed packed full of fun! All of your pictures are amazing and really want to make me book a trip RIGHT now to get out of this snowy cold winter! My sonny boy would love all of the activities-especially the snorkeling -he really wants to learn how to Scuba dive but is only 10–
What a wonderful place for the whole family! It looks like you guys made some great memories to look back on for years to come!
Its one of the most beautiful places to visit
What an amazing place! Tulum has been on my bucket list for a while. The pics look amazing and all the fun and scenery! Pretty spectacular!
I love all of the photos! This looks like such a fun place for admission. Thank you for the “What to Bring” list as well!
Wow, incredible indeed! What a fun place to take your kids to.
This resort looks amazing for families! We stayed at another resort in Riviera Maya last year and loved it, it’s a fabulous area to vacation in. I will have to check into this resort next time we go! Thanks!!
What a gorgeous, hidden gem! My husband and I love to go to one special place per year and the intention is that each year it’s something very different from our prior vacations. We’re definitely adding this one to the list. I was already thinking about Cancun because of the all-inclusive deals, but we would add this park to the adventure for sure.Thanks so much for telling us about it!
This looks like a lot of fun! These are great pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Years ago my family and I went to Mexico and had a blast . So many fun things to do ! Makes me want to go back . I would love to do the river swim. Thanks for the thorough info,
OMG I need to go there!
This looks like a jungle made into Disneyland, I love it! Looks like a fun thing to explore with your family!
I have never been there but I would love to be there. Such a lovely place. Seems you had a great time.
Oh my goodness, Xcaret sounds like an amazing family-friendly park. The Children’s World and extra Dream Activities seem like so much fun. I’m definitely adding it to my travel itinerary and bucket list!
It looks like a wonderful place. You seem to have had such a great time. I definitely want to go there.
This sounds and looks like an interesting place. I can imagine all the fun you had. Would love to visit.
WOW! What an amazing adventure! Looks like the kids had so much. I especially love the tropical fish. Must be such an spectacular experience!
That looks like a beautiful place to visit with family. Your pictures speak for itself how splendid it is!
That’s awesome that you got free admission for your honest review! It looks like a beautiful place!
No wonder you wanted to stay a few days. How absolutely gorgeous! Hurrah for lockers too. Nothing ruins a beautiful day faster than having to tote around heavy or bulky belongings.
This place looks amazing! I would love to take my family there sometime. It is so different and unique.
Looks beautiful! I love how it’s very family friendly too.The kids looked like they really enjoyed themselves.
This looks so amazing and your pictures are amazing. Will have to put this on my list for vacation ideas. Thanks!
Xcaret looks amazing! I would love to visit here with my family someday, my kids would love it!
Xcaret is the best! I remember visiting it a decade ago with my husband. We had a a blast. Even me, who is not ok with cold water, I got into the river (granted it took like 30 minutes) and snorkled all the way through. The food and the show at the end were spectacular. I can’t wait till my kids are old enough to take them.
That sounds exactly like me! I am not really a water person, and I snorkeled the whole river. Just amazing!
What an amazing location to visit. I’ll have to add this to my list.
Wow! This looks like an incredible place to visit!
My boyfriend isnt a swimmer, will the river be an option?
Wow! This is just breathtaking. I feel like I need to travel way more!
We visited Mexico last year and did not make it to Xcaret. I see we missed out on something wonderful!
My kids would love that too!
Oh my goodness this looks absolutely gorgeous, so many beautiful places for photog opportunities! Looks like it was fun for the whole family, I loved how crystal clear the water was. Now I want to plan a trip there!
Wow! thi looks like so much fun. I appreciate places like Xcaret as sometimes they are the only link to ancient cultures.
This looks like a highly recommended place to visit when you go Mexico, it’s beautiful and it feel so relaxing to be there.
Now that is a stunning park – absolutely worth a visit once travel becomes tenable again! Thanks for sharing!
I would be so down to go there at this moment, such a beautiful place!
I’m so relieved you included a pronunciation of the word Xcaret because I was tongue twisting trying to get it right. That buffet restaurant and the beauty of the park with all the water features and activities looks ideal for a family holiday!
We are going to Mexico in September for our anniversary. We will check this out! Looks like fun!
I love parks visit. The fun and nearness to nature. Thanks for sharing.
Always love parks because kinds can roam around and just do anything. That park is something I would want to visit as well.
Xcaret is a lot of fun, and it’s also a lot of physical activity like walking and swimming. Our favorite place to take a rest are the hammocks on the beach, which are a beautiful place to relax for a while.
Wow this looks like a beautiful park. Looks like you and your family had a blast.
I loved Xcaret when I went in 2011. So many things to do and see. You can easily be there all day. Glad you had a great time while you were there.
This place looks incredible! I’m adding it to my travel list!
This is absolutely stunning! Take me there.
Waw, it looks like Paradise on earth, so beautiful amazing photos of wonderful place.