Fun and Educational Activities at Cancun’s Top Eco Archaeological Park
Where else can you swim through underground rivers, watch a spectacular show, walk through thousands of butterflies, swim with the dolphins and inner tube through amazing inlets of water where ocean meets fresh water? You might ask yourself, “Does this place really exist?” Well, it certainly does and our experience at this majestic place called Xcaret, is more than anyone could ever imagine experiencing!
Xcaret, in the ancient Mayan culture, is a word that signifies “small inlet” and it is where this eco park received its name. Xcaret is an Eco-friendly park situated on approximately 80 acres where the jungle meets the ocean and is located in the Riviera Maya on the outskirts of Cancun Mexico. But when I say park, it truly is an understatement. The uniqueness of this park completely outshines any other park we have been to. Many say that it is the equivalent of Disneyland, but honestly, its only similarity is that it is a park. Xcaret is a park that would resonate with those interested in seeing animals, snorkeling, swimming and experiencing cultures first hand. If you are a National Geographic fan like us or your family loves the Discovery and Disney Channels, then this is certainly your type of place.
The developers of this park aimed to package the Yucatan culture and the ecology of Xcaret, for days of interactive fun. On our visit, it was interesting to see how they worked around the natural habitat with their vision being to keep many of the original structures and habitats intact. So where stages have been prepped and Mayan cities have been built, everything revolves around the natural development of this area. There are so many things to see that visitors certainly need to allocate at least 2 days in their itinerary.
We were unable to cover the entire park in one day so we plan on returning. When visiting the park, we recommend that you select the Xcaret Plus ticket. It is worth it, for sure. Your Xcaret Ticket includes access to Xcaret in Cancun from 8:30am. to 9:30pm. where you can enjoy more than 40 activities, attractions and access to facilities with access to the “Plus” ticket areas. It also includes one buffet lunch that has some of the best food and fresh fruit juices we have ever had. By night, you have access to view the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular celebration which is a must see show.
Family Friendly Activities at Xcaret
If you only have one day allocated to enjoy Xcaret, we suggest that you explore and enjoy the following must-do and must-see activities:
The Butterfly Pavillion is one of the largest breeding facilities in Mexico where we were able to see all the stages in a butterfly’s life and ultimately walk through an enormous free-flying butterfly facility. We were able to see them feed and fly behind us, above us and even have some of them take a break by landing on our hats. It is a great experience for kids of all ages and a majestic experience for adults.
The Underground Rivers were by far our favorite attraction. The rivers are part of a large cave system that forms deep under the surface of the Yucatan peninsula and at Xcaret you and your family can experience this even if you don’t know how to swim. Both children and adults are required to use a life vest and if you’d like, they will also give you snorkel equipment. Lockers are provided so that you are able to leave your clothes and belonging while you snorkel down the river. One thing to mention is that the river does not end in the same place where you begin, therefore, the park provides you with a secure duffel bag that they will have for you once you exit the river. You should place your shoes, a small change of clothes, and a towel so that you can explore the park after your swim. Once you are ready, you can walk back to the lockers to get the rest of your belongings. This was a very accommodating service.
Sea Turtles in Xcaret is part of its Marine Turtle Conservation Program in Riviera Maya that includes rescue, rehabilitation, marking and release operations. The turtles in Xcaret are protected under this program and are easily viewable from some of the platforms and pools within the exhibit. We did not have much time to explore this exhibit but from what we saw, it is surely a not to miss viewing opportunity.
Xcaret Coral Reef Aquarium is a great place to explore many of the underground sea life found across the Caribbean reefs. These interactive exhibits will allow you to touch some of these wonderful species that inhabit the coral reef and we were very impressed with the fabulous job that Xcaret has done with this exhibit that kids and adults alike, will enjoy!
The Night Show: Xcaret Mexico is an experience within itself with a performance that will take you on a magical journey through the culture and history of Mexico. Over 300 actors and ancestors of the Mayan culture take you through time and help you explore the culture with ancient Mayan games, dances, music and a live performances that you feel in your heart and that bring smiles to the faces of the children. It is a fantastic way to end your day at Xcaret.
Other activities we’d like to explore on our return visit to Xcaret:
The Beach, Lagoons and Pools are a place in Xcaret that we were unable to visit on our one day excursion, but we plan to spend more time there upon our return. This part of the park offers hammocks to relax in, white sandy beaches to walk down and a lagoon where you are able to freely snorkel in and swim in with your family. I could have easily spent a half the day there and I plan to on my next visit!
Optional Activities are offered at Xcaret park for an extra cost and I plan to try a few out the next time I have the chance! For an additional charge, you can swim with dolphins and sharks, ride Adrenalina (a high-speed boat ride) and kids between 4 and 8 can experience Adventure Kids. Adventure Kids is new to Xcaret and is a place where young children can interact with small nurse sharks and sting rays in a natural lagoon in a completely safe atmosphere.
Our recommendation for Xcaret dining is at La Laguna restaurant which seats 420 people and has the largest buffet spread I have ever experienced. One meal at this buffet is included with your Xcaret Plus ticket purchase and it is 100% worth it! There was so much to select from and the quality of the food offered was excellent. We felt like it was home cooking and it was one of our favorite meals for our entire Cancun vacation.
Why We Recommend Xcaret For Families
- Family Friendly Atmosphere
- Large and Beautiful Park
- Gorgeous Tropical Landscape
- Mayan Archaelogical Sites
- Education of Mayan Culture
- Snorkeling in Underground Rivers
- Xcaret Mexico Espectacular
- Beaches and Lagoons
- Animals Galore
- Mayan Cultural Performances
Are you ready to leave on your journey to Xcaret? Awesome! You can buy your tickets online, upon your arrival at your hotel or many of the agencies selling them in Cancun (it might be a little more expensive through a travel agency). Make sure to purchase the ticket with transportation as it makes the most sense.
Your Xcaret Plus ticket includes:
- Roundtrip transportation in a bus with air conditioning and tour conductor.
- Access to the Xcaret in Cancun from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30pm.
- More than 40 activities, attractions and access to facilities in the Plus area.
- One (1) lunch buffet that includes one beer and unlimited drinks (fresh juices, soft drinks and coffee).
- Xcaret at Night and the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular celebration.
- 10% off the Snorkeling Tour, Snuba Reef, Snuba Family or Temascal.
Click any of the above images to visit our photo gallery and see all 38 Photos and 2 Videos of Xcaret.
We hope that you enjoy your visit at Xcaret as much as we did! See other family activities, restaurants and hotels on our Cancun Tourist Map. Visit the Xcaret website for more information on this wonderful eco theme park.
We were provided free entry into the Xcaret for the purpose of reviewing it on our blog. Regardless, we would only recommend places, activities or services that we would use/visit personally and that we believe will be good for our readers.