I received admission in exchange for my honest review.
While planning our trip to Mexico, we heard so many great things about Xcaret (pronounced “esh-car-et”), 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. Even thought 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).
~ Getting There ~
Xcaret is very easy to find, with lots of large signs along the highway (307). It is located in Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of Cancun. We drove our a rental car 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.
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, 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/
For more tips, read my Tips for Visiting Xcaret!
What to bring:
~ 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.
~ Swimwear, water shoes/sandals
~ Change of clothes
~ Money for souveniers, 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!
Check out the other places we visited in Mexico!
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