Xcaret Park, Mexico is a nature park in Quintana Roo. It’s everything Mexico is all about – mysterious Mayan culture, stunning nature, a bit of mysticism and famous Mexican cuisine. The park features more than 50 attractions for the whole family, including aquariums with huge fish and Caribbean corals, exotic butterflies, wild animals, Mayan heritage sites, and ethnic performances. In 2016, the park won Best Theme Park and Best Water Park at the prestigious Travvy Awards in New York City.
Trip to Xcaret Park
So, we went to Xcaret Park from Cancun for a day. First impressions were the “crowds” of pink flamingos and the colorful parrots. Interestingly, flamingos are very social birds, preferring to live in colonies of up to 1000 birds, and only in the mating season before breeding they divide into groups of 15 to 50 birds. As for parrots, they can also be found in the parks of Mexico City, but here, in the park, they feel more free.
Practically at the entrance to the park is an information board with a schedule of performances. However, we didn’t stick to the schedule at all, and we made it everywhere. The only thing we absolutely remembered at once – two-hour theater performance begins at 19.00.
The most interesting thing in the park, in our opinion, is the village and the ancient Mayan city. You can see the life of typical Mayan families and the rich archaeological heritage of the mysterious civilization. The Maya civilization was once one of the most advanced – they built pyramids, observatories (!) and created 3 calendars, in which time went in a circle, having neither beginning nor end… Maya, whose descendants still live in Mexico, speak the Maya language Yucatec.
By the way, there are many iguanas living in the archaeological area. They are very cute, it is terrible that in some Latin American countries they are eaten.
Cemetery in Xcaret Park
The next thing that captured my heart and struck me was the cemetery under the beautiful name “Bridge to Paradise. In general we do not photograph graves, but here we could not resist. The tombstones are so bright and beautiful that you have a feeling that you are on some kind of holiday, and not in a place of mourning.
There are 7 levels (as the number of days in the week) and 365 tombstones (as the number of days in the year), each decorated in its own unique style: a child’s grave is decorated with a piñata, some graves are decorated with huge figures of the Virgin Mary and entire castles. It is said that those who are buried here will never cease to enjoy the beauty.
This is the second cemetery that struck me in Mexico; the first was in the capital itself, and it struck me not with the design of the headstones, but with the countless cats on the graves. And the cats were as from the exhibition – very well groomed and not skinny…
Museums in Xcaret Park
The coffee and chocolate museums and the coconut museum are small but interesting. There are master classes on how to get coconut milk, make a dessert out of coconut, etc. Nearby is a spice museum and a small “botanical garden” where you can see how cocoa, pepper, vanilla and cinnamon grow.
We also watched how they feed the huge stingrays, admired the turtles, a beautiful black cat – the puma. We did not manage to see the jaguar, though it is written that it also lives in the park.
We visited a small exhibition dedicated to bee-keeping, huge aquariums with corals and other sea inhabitants, saw monkeys. Too bad you can’t feed them here because they have a special diet.
We bought a ticket with food. I recommend it to everybody, because after walking around the park and swimming in the rivers you get a wild appetite. The choice of dishes in the buffet restaurant is huge, and if you are not a fan of Mexican cuisine, there are many international dishes, including the famous “fried” ice cream, seafood, soups, sweets, fries (chicharon).
Already in the afternoon we encountered a tapir. The little beauty was sleeping so sweetly that we did not wake him up for the photo session. It is interesting that despite their impressive size the tapirs eat only fruits, grass and some berries.
As for the theater and horseback riding show, it was fun and beautiful! It is clear that all this is for tourists, nevertheless, it is interesting to see. And what beautiful and bright national dresses decorated with embroidered flowers.
There are stores with souvenirs in the park. Here, as in Mexico City, a large selection of Katrina dolls. The “glamorous” Katrina skeleton (or, La Calavera de la Catrina skull), along with tequila, is one of Mexico’s most famous symbols.
When Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada created the image of Katrina back in 1913, he had no idea it would become the most prominent symbol of Mexico’s artistic identity and the main figure for the Day of the Dead celebrations on November 1 and 2.
The outfits for Katrina are sometimes very revealing (we saw one in Mexico City dressed in such a way that we immediately dubbed her Katrina the prostitute), but most often the “girl” is dressed very elegantly. The obligatory attribute of Katrina is a hat with a wide brim decorated with flowers, which was very popular in the XX century.
I have already written that Mexico in some inexplicable way combines two diametrically opposed sides: deep religiosity, at times bordering on fanaticism, and a love of mysticism and the otherworldly. And the latter passion is so strong that the radio show La mano peluda (“The Hairy Arm”) has been a resounding success for 22 (!) years. You could call in to the radio station from 10 p.m. to 00 a.m. to tell a horror story that happened to you or a friend of yours. It wasn’t until January 2018 that the last issue came out, but you can listen to the recordings on youtube.
But back to Xcaret. There’s more to do at the park: you can rent snorkeling gear, explore a cave, etc.
How to get to Xcaret
From the central bus station in Cancún (la central de autobuses de Cancún) or Playa del Carmen there are buses directly to the park’s ticket office. If you buy a tour, the transfer is included in the price.
You can also order a transfer on the website of the park for 513 pesos.
On the website entry ticket is cheaper to buy, in addition, the park often conducts promotions and offers packages.
Ticket price to Xcaret
The cost of the admission ticket when buying on the official website (https://www.xcaret.com/es/comprar-mi-entrada/):
- adults – 1,709.82 pesos
- children – 854.82
- food and drinks – 513 pesos
- 1,120.81 pesos for a professional photo shoot
If you want to enjoy the beauty of the park longer, you can stay here at the all-inclusive Xcaret SPA Hotel, which offers rooms in different categories with ocean views, garden views, and whole houses.