Guide to the Best Ecopark in Mexico – Xcaret

xcaret

Located in the beautiful Riviera Maya in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Experiencias Xcaret offers the best parks, activities, and tours in Cancun and the whole of the Riviera Maya. It attracts tons of visitors from both Playa del Carmen and Cancun on a daily basis, and millions of visitors from around the world each year.

There is something for every person in the family: the nature and animal lover, the historian and culture lover, the beach bum, and more. If the sound of swimming with dolphins, diving into underground rivers, checking out archeological sites, watching wildlife, snorkeling, and witnessing fun shows sounds like your idea of fun, read on.

xcaret

Xcaret Ecopark covers around 200 acres filled up with trails, rivers, beaches, attractions, and ruins. Think Disneyland, but with a focus on conservation, nature, and marine attractions. The place is beautiful, with a bounty of flora and fauna, you’ll find beautiful gardens, a butterfly pavilion, a coral reef aquarium, and lots of wildlife including exotic birds, jaguars, and deer.

On stage, you can enjoy and learn about Mexican culture with entertaining pre-Hispanic dances, equestrian shows, Voladores de Papantla, and more.

best ecopark mexico xcaret

Wildlife in Xcaret

Xcaret takes pride in its focus on eco-conservation offering incredible displays of animals native to Yucatan and the rest of Mexico. While they mainly center on threatened species like jaguars, butterflies, and spider monkeys you can also see other local animals including an amazing variety of birds like pink flamingos, toucans, macaws, and vultures.

There is a whole area dedicated to sea turtles in large tanks and pools, where you can observe their peaceful demeanor for as long as you want.

turtles xcaret
Photo by Joaquin Moreno

There is also a manatee lagoon, where like the majority of the animals at the park, are rescued animals.

The Waters of Xcaret

The Underground River

For those who love the water, there are plenty of options to enjoy it at Xcaret including an incredible underground river that runs along most of the park. This was my favourite part of Xcaret. With admission to the park, free life vests and snorkel equipment is offered to enjoy the river and its magnificent clear waters and wildlife (fish) underwater. There are plenty of entrances and exits along the river for you to get out and check out the nearby attractions whenever you like.

xcaret underground river
Photo by Eduardo Ribeiro

Beaches and Pools

If you prefer salt water and relaxing, there are white sand beaches and salt water pools to sunbathe and relax to your heart’s content.

xcaret riviera maya
Photo by Kyle James
xcaret hammocks
Photo by Occidental Grand Xcaret

Swimming with Dolphins and Sharks

For those of us who enjoy the thrill of your heart beating faster and experiencing memorable activities, there are options at Xcaret to swim with the nice dolphins or the little more scary sharks. I can tell you that swimming with dolphins is quite an experience. Feeling their incredible soft skin and being pushed really fast with their noses is something to be remembered forever.

xcaret dolphins
Photo by wiredtourist

Entertainment – Performances and Shows

There are several amazing daytime and nighttime shows to enjoy at Xcaret. Including several traditional and Mexican folk dance shows that are surely a joy to watch, and the very impressive Voladores de Papantla where one man sits atop a 100-foot pole and plays music while a few other men are hung by their feet upside down and moving in a circular motion around the pole.

voladores mexico4

There’s also an equestrian show showcasing Mexican cowboys (charros) and their horses in a very fun equestrian acrobatic display.

One show that can’t be missed is the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular Show, which takes place in the evening at the Gran Tlachco Theater with a capacity of over 8000 people. The show offers a cultural journey from pre-Hispanic times to modern days, with over 300 performers including a Mayan ball game, traditional dances, extravagant costumes, Mexican charros performing tricks, tribal drums and music, mariachi bands, and recreations of history like the Spaniard arrival to Mexico.

Be sure to buy tickets as soon as you arrive at Xcaret because they go fast.

With the Xcaret at Night package, you get admission to the park between 4pm and 10:30pm plus tickets to the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular Show.

Xcaret Theater show
Photo by Beth and Anth

Xcaret Information

Opened 365 days a year from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

How to Get There:
Xcaret is about a 15-minute drive from Playa del Carmen, and about a 70-minute drive from Cancun. There is ample free parking. The nearest international airport is in Cancun. You can take a taxi (expensive from Cancun), you can also take a bus from the station in Cancun (Av. Uxmal) and Playa del Carmen (5th Avenue), or you can book with Tour Xcaret and get free transportation.

How long will you need?
Plan on spending the whole day at Xcaret to hit your favourite attractions, but you’ll need two days if you want to experience all the attractions and shows.

Cost:
Basic admission to Xcaret is $99 per adult. Buy on-line and get up to 15% off. You can also book your tickets with additions like food and beverage, transportation, an extra day of admission, and photo pass.

By booking Xcaret Total you get Xcaret admission + activity of your choice + buffet.

Children under 5 are free, and kids aged 5-11 get half off adult prices. You may be asked to show ID at the Park’s ticket office. The second day is half price on multi-day passes.

Facilities:
Xcaret has everything you’ll need from shops, ATMs, equipment rental, WI-FI in some areas, wheelchair accessibility, lots of restaurants, and restrooms with showers.

If you’re more in the mood for ziplining, driving ATVs in the jungle, and swimming in cenotes, Experiencias Xcaret also operates Xplor Park. You can get 15% off if you buy online.

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