One of our favorite destinations in Mexico is easily Xcaret Park (you can read my full review here). There is so much to see and do at Xcaret, from swimming and snorkeling to visiting the beach, seeing wildlife, and experiencing Mexican culture. I recommend plenty of planning so that you can enjoy as much of the park as possible. Here are some of our tips:
~ Get there early ~
Changes are, you may be visiting the park as part of a tour. But the park opens at 9, and there is a fantastic show from about 7-9 pm, and even spending 12 hours there, I think we maybe saw half the park. Get a good night’s rest and try to pack in as much as you can! I would have easily gone back for another day even after spending a full day! Plan accordingly.
While I didn’t think the admissions lines were particularly long, you can buy your tickets ahead of time online if you want to streamline your day.
You can visit Experiencias Xcaret to book your tickets right online. Remember that Children from 5 to 11 years old are 50% OFF of the adult price and children under 4 are FREE of charge. (Be prepared to show ID at the park office).
Before you go, get an idea of what is available, so you can prioritize. There are tons of activities to do, from swimming to lounging on the beach, watching performances, visiting a butterfly garden, and more. Then, there are paid activities like a sting-ray encounter, parasailing, and much more. We tried to fit in as much as we could.
Not only should you plan ahead, but keep a map on you. I was worried when we went because people said the park was so big and people had gotten lost, but Xcaret is SO organized. We would check the map for our destination and simply follow a color-coded path – plus, there are signs everywhere.
~ Sun protection ~
The park does not allow regular sunscreen. You can trade in your sunscreen for a sample of reef-safe sunscreen there, but my recommendation is to wear a rash guard and bring your own reef-safe sunscreen. Most swimming places in the Mayan Riviera request that you wear reef-safe sunscreen anyway.
~ Water shoes / sandals / comfortable shoes ~
A lot of the park consists of water-based activities, like swimming, beaches, snorkeling, etc. We all wore water shoes and that was a great way to get around between water activities.
We also had comfortable flip flops with thick soles, which worked well. There is also a little ropes course in the children’s part of the park, and my kids spent a lot of time doing that, so it was nice to have good shoes.
Even if you don’t want to wear water shoes, I would recommend comfortable shoes for walking around.
Plan on staying for the show at night
The show is from about 7-9 pm, and is included in your admission. It was a really long day for us, especially for the kids – but the show was a perfect way to end the day. We enjoyed sitting and eating, and enjoying the show. I recommend getting there a little early (not right at 7) so that you can grab food if you want and get settled in your seats. Also, the walk along the way is awesome because there are performers all along the way, and it really is an experience.
~ Decide what to bring and what to rent ~
There are so many amenities available for rent, and you should decide ahead of time what you want to bring vs. rent.
You can rent a locker for your items, but there are also towels and snorkel equipment for rent – which makes it convenient for not having to lug things around the park all day. We left our snorkel gear in the car and decided to leave it there and not rent. I would say snorkeling gear is not necessary as we swam the whole river (in life jackets) without a problem.
If you bring your own towels, I highly recommend packable microfiber towels. These can be folded into a small space and aren’t too heavy either. Full size towels for our family of four would have been to bulky to lug around, in my opinion.
~ Bring money for food ~
According to their website, you cannot bring your own food into the park. You will want to be prepared and bring money to eat at the park. You can bring food for children such as formula, milk, and baby food, and there are also family rooms for nursing mothers.
All of the food we had was great, and my youngest loved the buffet at La Isla – which says a lot because she is incredibly picky. They had everything, from fruit to rice, pasta, meats, and more. I am a vegetarian and found plenty to eat.
~ Bring cameras and/or buy photos ~
When you enter the park, you are given a bracelet. All around the park there are stations where you can scan your bracelet, and a photo is automatically taken. You can check out the photos from the comfort of home and decide if you want to buy them.
We took so many photos that day, on our regular camera, underwater camera, and with the park cameras. We love having all those memories of such a special day!
What did we do while we were there?
Children’s park – approx 10-11:30am
Lunch at La Isla – 12-1
Swimming in the river – 1-3
Beach – 3-4
Horse Show 5-6
Gift shop and walking to theater 6-7