Xcaret Park - the most important information
Xcaret Park is a privately owned and operated theme park, resort, and self-described ecotourism development located in the Riviera Maya, a portion of the Caribbean coastline of Mexico's state of Quintana Roo. It is part of Xcaret Experiencias Group which also owns the Xplor Park, Xel-Ha Park, and Xenses Park. It is named after the nearby archaeological site Xcaret, a settlement constructed by the pre-Columbian Maya some of whose structures lie within the boundaries of the park's 81 hectares of landholdings. After all, Xcaret park is the Cancun park where you can find underground rivers, the Caribbean, and Mexico’s culture, all in one place.
History of the Xcaret Park
The Ecological Park is built in the same area as the archaeological site and has the same name, Xcaret. The land was originally purchased by a group of Mexican entrepreneurs, led by architect Miguel Quintana Pali. When he began to clear the land, he started uncovering cenotes, sinkholes formed by collapsed cave ceilings weakened by 3 million years of erosion from underground rivers running through them and flowing into the sea. He saw the potential for tourism and formulated the idea of an Ecological Park open to the public, and eventually, he achieved this goal in December 1990. Since that, Park has become a landmark of Cancun and Riviera Maya, even considered by many, as the destination of this region. At the same time, contact was established with the National Institute of Anthropology and History with the objective of rebuilding the remnants of the Mayan pyramids and buildings that were found in the area.
What to see in Xcaret Park?
There are several attractions which you can see and experience at this park. Here are some of them:
- The nature-based attractions of the park include a river that goes through the Mayan village, a subterranean concrete sluice in which people can swim and snorkel with a life vest. Near the inlet, there are recreational activities at the beach, snorkeling, Sea Trek and Snuba in the nearby reefs, or swimming with dolphins. The park also has a coral reef aquarium turtle nesting site. Next to the inlet, there’s an area for manatees. The park also has a bird pavilion, butterfly pavilion, bat cave, orchids and bromeliad greenhouse, an island of jaguars, and a deer shelter, among others.
- The cultural attractions include an open church, a replica of a Mayan village with real artisans at work, a Mexican cemetery, a museum, an equestrian show, Mesoamerican ball game, an open theater with performances of pre-Hispanic dances, Papantla flying men, and the Gran Tlachco (a theater with a capacity of 6000 people) where the Mesoamerican ball game is represented, as well as the meeting of two worlds, the Mayan and the Spanish, and the presentation of several Mexican folklore dances.
- Other demonstrations of Mexican traditions include the Day of the Dead celebration and the "Travesía Sagrada Maya" (Mayan Sacred Crossing), an annual rite when Mayans would cross the sea from Xcaret and Playa del Carmen to Cozumel to pay homage to the lunar goddess Ix Chel. The modern version is a re-creation of this rite done in late May to early June. The park also has a Temascal and Spa, has 11 restaurants, dressing rooms, souvenirs, and handicrafts stores, as well as an adjacent all-inclusive resort hotel.
Opening hours and tickets for Xcaret Park
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Tickets: The price range for tickets go from 50 USD to 100 USD depending on the day of booking. Children from 5 to 11 get half off the adult ticket price. Children under 4 years old have free admission. You can get your tickets on the Xcaret Park official website.
How to get to Xcaret Park?
There are several ways to get to Xcaret Park from Cancun:
- by Car: distance is 74 km south of Cancun International Airport, toward Tulum. Travel time is about 1 hour.
- by Bus: There are departures from the Cancun bus station (Uxmal Avenue) or from Playa del Carmen main bus station (5th Avenue) to the park. You will also find other buses and public transportation that will drop you off at the special entrance on the side of the road. Just walk a few meters to the place from where the folkloric bus 'Despeinado' will take you to the park entrance for free from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (every half an hour).
- by Taxi: the price of a one-way ride from Cancun is between $80 and $100 USD.