Xcaret, a dreamlike Eden in the Riviera Maya
Xcaret is the most exciting aquatic, cultural, amusement, and eco-archaeological park in Mexico and one of the emblematic sites of sustainable tourism worldwide. It’s a place where jewels of nature and historical and cultural treasures converge, giving place to all kinds of attractions that, of course, everyone should experience.
In addition, thanks to its privileged natural environment, Xcaret has developed, since its foundation in 1990, various programs for the conservation and reproduction of flora and fauna typical of the Mexican southeast, such as sea turtles, manatees, spider monkeys, and deers. Within its facilities, specifically designed to respect nature, there’s a spectacular butterfly farm, a living museum of orchids and bromeliads, and a unique coral reef aquarium. And these are just a few of the different spaces that make up this exceptional natural sanctuary.
As a theme park, Xcaret is characterized by its 360-degree sustainability. An approach that allows the park to show Mexico’s most representative natural and cultural aspects with innovative in-house technology. Always under a philosophy based on the happiness of visitors and those who are part of the organization alike.
- The Xcaret Ecopark, a fascinating world of excitement
- Xcaret: A festival of water, fauna, and culture
- Underground Rivers and Coral Sculptures
- Environmental Awareness and Magical Fauna
- The gift of ancient Mexico to the world
- Nights of light and color
- The Maya past in its archaeological jewels
The Maya legacy of Xcaret (originally called Polé in the indigenous language) has more than a thousand years of history. Settled as a community dedicated to maritime trade, this Eden became an important navigation port and ceremonial center. From here, the ancient Maya canoeists left for Cozumel to worship the goddess Ixchel. In any case, this fantastic destination is both a natural paradise and an archaeological and cultural treasure.
The Xcaret Ecopark, a fascinating world of excitement
Inside this exciting ecological park, there is a fascinating world of fun, adventure, and knowledge. Everything from endless water activities in its cenotes, underground rivers, reefs, and beaches to experiencing the most important traditions of the Maya people and the typical Mexican folklore can be enjoyed here.
In any case, Xcaret offers more than 50 natural and cultural attractions that allow its visitors to enjoy an unforgettable day: tours of underground rivers, fun water activities on the beach, the cove and its natural pools, visiting the Coral Reef Aquarium, the Butterfly Farm, and the Aviary, taking the little ones to a fun space designed exclusively for them, enjoying one-of-a-kind equestrian show, admiring colorful ancestral traditions, learning about various types of pre-Hispanic dances… In short: a day of countless experiences!
Xcaret: endless attractions
Would you rather have fun in the middle of the exuberant nature of the Riviera Maya? Are you one of those who travel to discover the most impressive cultural manifestations? Or, perhaps, you are willing to live all kinds of experiences and enjoy every surprise that life throws your way. In any case, Xcaret and its more than 50 attractions will not disappoint you.
Xcaret: A festival of water, fauna, and culture
The Main Plaza of Xcaret is specially designed to make the arrival at the park a spectacular moment. Everything is set to make us feel that we are in one of the most beautiful places in Mexico. There you can find the primary guest services: dressing rooms, toilets, locker rental, ATM, and pharmacy. And from there, you enter a world of infinite emotions and adventures. A festival of water, fauna, and culture!
The most curious thing about the Main Plaza is what is just below it: a cellar with the best wine labels in Mexico. And even a silver mine! Don’t miss them! And at the exit, the Main Plaza of Xcaret offers a wide variety of crafts, gifts, and traditional Mexican music to back take home as a souvenir.
Underground Rivers and Coral Sculptures
In Xcaret, one of the most popular activities is to take a dip and swim or snorkel at the beach, the natural pools, and the lagoon. Exploring the passageways and caves among the islets and mangroves means visiting the home of a large number of bird species, especially the elegant pink flamingo.
But without a doubt, the central attraction of Xcaret is to explore its three underground rivers, Río Azul, Río Maya or Río Manatí. The three are close to 600 meters in length and flow about 5 meters below the ground until they empty into the sea. Fresh and crystalline waters from the earth’s interior run through a labyrinth of caves and tunnels illuminated by natural light that comes in through several openings in the cave’s ceiling. A magical journey that lets you take a good look at the imposing and precious coral formations fossilized in the rock walls. A unique testimony of a remote past where this place was part of the ocean floor, which later evolved into an underwater sculptural space of incomparable beauty.
Environmental Awareness and Magical Fauna
Xcaret has avant-garde programs for the preservation and reproduction of species from the Mexican southeast. Initiatives that allow visitors to get in close contact with sea turtles. To observe the natural habitat of the manatee. To discover lively spider monkeys playing and scampering from one tree to another. To get to know one of the sacred animals of the ancient Maya world: the deer.
Another of the most spectacular activities in Xcaret consists of visiting its Butterfly Farm, the most important in Mexico. As well as the Coral Reef Aquarium, one of the few places in the world where authentic reef structures can be seen in their entire natural splendor.
And suppose you want to enjoy the charm of the underground rivers in Xcaret from the comfort of a raft. In that case, it is possible to navigate the crystal clear waters of the Paradise River aboard a comfortable raft. Then, cross the landscapes of the Tropical Forest Trail on a route that allows you to observe blue crabs, iguanas, and peccaries. Just enjoy the fantastic flora and fauna of the Riviera Maya in this delightful walk.
To end on a high note, no one should miss the spectacular views offered by the Scenic Tower. This 262 feet tall viewpoint allows you to observe the incredible landscape of Xcaret: the jungle, the rivers, and the beautiful coast of the Caribbean Sea.
The gift of ancient Mexico to the world
Among many other things, Xcaret is an extraordinary sample of the artistic and cultural wealth of Mexico. In this sense, discovering its many attractions means enjoying some of the most authentic traditions of the country.
Thus, for example, the park offers unforgettable afternoons in a Hacienda Henequenera, a type of factory farm typical in the Yucatan Peninsula during the 19th and early 20th centuries. A place where textiles, ropes, rugs, and sacks were made from the strong henequen fibers. The Hacienda is also the gateway to the Museum of Mexican Folk Art, which permanently exhibits the most beautiful Mexican handicrafts. The museum has its own gift store, where you can purchase unique pieces of great beauty.
Another essential attraction, located at the highest point of Xcaret (120 feet above sea level), is the Chapel of San Francisco de Asís, dedicated to the saint protector of nature and animals. A magical place that welcomes visitors with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. The chapel was built integrating natural elements typical of the Maya culture, such as the living tree at the entrance, the limestone altar, and the salaam wooden benches. The tranquility of the surroundings and the landscape of Xcaret that frames it makes it a perfect place to perceive the park’s inexhaustible charm. In addition, the chapel offers Sunday masses and is the scene of weddings and religious festivals throughout the year.
Nights of light and color
At night, Xcaret experiences a spectacle of music, dance, light and color that takes visitors through the history and joy of Mexico, offering from performances of ancestral dances, verbenas and mariachis, to the Mexico of today.
Following the aroma of copal to the Mayan Village, the Pre-Hispanic Dances show celebrates the arrival of the night. Afterwards, it is possible to admire the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular show, which shows the history and vibrant Mexican folklore represented by more than three hundred artists on the stage of the Gran Tlachco, a space where Xcaret vibrates at night.
As soon as you cross the great gate of the Hacienda Henequenera de Xcaret, you feel like you have traveled back in time. Its architecture and all the elements found in it, take us back to the golden age of haciendas in Yucatan.
Xcaret is also an invitation to explore labyrinths of mysterious caves and grottos that lead to the territory of the Mayan People, where walking through passages lit by natural light entrances, give the right lighting to appreciate the beauty hidden in the paths under the jungle of this wonderful place.
The Maya past in its archaeological jewels
The archaeological remains of the ancient Polé found within Xcaret are distributed in different parts of the park. Ancient temples and ceremonial buildings recall the remote splendor of this port city and, of course, of the magical Maya civilization.
Another essential link with the past is the “Bridge to Paradise” Mexican Cemetery, a place full of mysticism that can be seen from a distance. The site draws attention for its lively colors and its peculiar sea snail shape, outlined in memory of the Maya ancestors who used these large shells to communicate with the gods. In it, elements of the Maya people and the mixture of cultures that exist in Mexico are synthesized, from pre-Hispanic times to the present day. The perfect place to learn in detail how Mexicans experience death celebrating the famous Day of the Dead.
But Xcaret is a very alive place. What’s more, it’s a place where the ancient customs of the Maya civilization come back to life. Enjoy a unique trip to the past and discover how a pre-Hispanic community lived in the Mayan Village. Discover their way of life and their social organization; learn how they built their homes or what made part of their diet. See the creative process of the Maya artisans and acquire some of their masterpieces.
Xcaret: spectacular living culture
This exceptional park is a place full of action and adventure, always framed by its wonderful nature. But if there is something that makes Xcaret special, it is its different shows. An authentic display of living culture that turns out, of course, to fascinate you.
Thus, in Xcaret, you can enjoy the traditional ritual ceremony of the Papantla Flyers at different times of the day. An extraordinary show in which some intrepid air jugglers invoke the fluttering of birds several feet above the ground, hanging only from a rope and rotating around a massive mast while they slowly descend back to the floor.
At sunset, the sounds of the seashells transport the visitor to the ancient Maya world. A great stage under the sacred ceiba tree becomes a magical display of tradition through the show of Pre-Hispanic Dances. Enjoy the imposing dancers moving to the rhythm of the powerful drums, among the smoke and the aroma of copal. A unique journey through time that no one should miss.
As soon as you cross the great door of the Hacienda Henequenera at Xcaret, you feel that you have traveled to the golden age of the haciendas in Yucatan. To an old Mexico full of color and joy. A unique environment in front of which is the Mexican Corner, where the Equestrian Show takes place (every day at 5:30 p.m.). Don’t miss the opportunity to observe the authentic Mexican charros and the escaramuzas (female rider) giving a magnificent display on beautiful Aztec horses of great lineage.
But, without a doubt, the maximum expression of all the cultural magic of Mexico comes at nightfall. The imposing stage of the Gran Tlachco Theater is flooded with music, dance, light, and color to take its visitors on an exciting journey through more than 500 years of history. A 2-hour show that presents the inexhaustible joy of Mexico through traditional dances, fiestas, and mariachis, as well as expressions of the vibrant Mexico of today. More than 300 artists on stage make the Xcaret México Espectacular show an essential sample of the magnificent Mexican folklore.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get to Xcaret?
Xcaret, one of the most important tourist attractions in the Mexican Caribbean, is located at kilometer 282 of the Chetumal-Puerto Juárez highway. It is 74 kilometers from Cancun International Airport in the direction of Tulum, and 6 kilometers from Playa del Carmen in the direction of Tulum. It can also be reached from Tulum, which is 57 kilometers in the direction of Playa del Carmen.
Hay también salidas desde la central de autobuses de Cancún (Av. Uxmal) o desde la terminal de autobuses de Playa del Carmen (5a Avenida) hasta las taquillas del parque.
What are the park hours?
Xcaret Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 365 days a year.
Where is Xcaret?
Xcaret is located in the heart of the Mayan Riviera, about 3 miles south of Playa del Carmen and less than 50 miles south of Cancun, in a jungle setting of unique beauty.
What is Xcaret?
Xcaret is a water park, theme park, eco-archaeological park, and much more. All in one place!
What to bring to Xcaret?
Don’t forget your bathing suit, maybe some water shoes, and a towel. Also, bring comfortable clothes and some pocket money to buy a nice souvenir. And the most important thing: let yourself be surprised by all the charm of this fantastic place!
What can you do in Xcaret?
In Xcaret, you can enjoy more than 50 natural and cultural attractions that represent a fascinating encounter with nature and the traditions of the Riviera Maya and the rest of Mexico.