The extremely popular visitor attraction of Xcaret Park is a privately owned eco-archaeological park in the Cancun, sandwiched between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The park gets its name from the Mayan culture and means “little inlet” because it was once a small port. It was named after the archaeological site, Xcaret, built by the Mayan people, which lies nestled within the grounds of the park. These ruins offer visitors an insight into the culture and lives of the intriguing Mayan people.
Xcaret Park was created to honour the county’s cultural heritage as well as to promote love and respect for nature. It is incredibly environmentally friendly and proudly showcases Mexico’s diverse wildlife. Here are a few things to look forward to:
- Replica of a Mayan village
- A river running through a Mayan village
- Subterranean river for swimming and snorkelling
- Beach activities
- Marine animals, from turtles to rays
- Swimming with dolphins
- Bird and butterfly pavilions
- Bat caves
- Orchid and bromeliad greenhouse
- Deer shelter
- Mexican cemetery
- Equestrian show
- Mesoamerican ball game
- Live theatre performances
- Cultural displays and craft stores
There are also several nature trails to explore, a stunning beach perfect for a little siesta, and some of the conservation programmes include supporting turtles and manatees.
One of the highlights is the chance to meander along an underground river, as the Yucatan is well-known for these natural formations. Life jackets are provided and there’s a choice of three routes to try. Do allow at least one hour to complete each one. While it is rather dark in places, the activity is extremely exhilarating! As you float along, take the time to glance up and admire the cave ceilings – you may spot some snoozing bats!
You will also get the chance to experience many aspects of Mexican life both before and after the Spanish invasion. Attractions include a demonstration of the amazing ritual ceremony of Voladores (or flyers), Mexican folklore dances, and an equestrian show within a hacienda. In the evening, you can stay on to watch an array of musical performances, celebrating everything Mexican. You’ll soon discover that there’s a lot more to this country than the typical Mariachi band! Make sure to check the times of all the performances on offer so that you can plan your perfect day.
Extend your stay at Occidental Grand Xcaret
One day is simply not enough to experience all that Xcaret Park has to offer. Luckily, the Occidental Grand Xcaret, located next to the park, is the perfect excuse to extend your stay. Ask for the Unlimited Xcaret Xperience (UXX). You won’t be disappointed!
Joanne Ellis is a product manager for the Caribbean & Mexico and has travelled extensively throughout Mexico’s Yucatan peninsular, visiting some of the best Mayan archaeological sites including Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Tulum.