Xcaret Eco Park is one of our guests’ favorite places to visit during their Playa del Carmen vacation. The huge park is like a mini-Mexico, representing the country’s vast culture, history, and nature. Here’s an overview of Xcaret’s best attractions.
Let’s start by answering some FAQs. To begin with, we highly recommend buying an entry that includes food and transportation. Everybody leaves Xcaret at the same time – when the show ends – and it’s difficult to get a taxi and public buses get full up quickly. During high season it can even be difficult to find a parking space. With your transportation booked beforehand, you can get back to your hotel in Playa del Carmen comfortably and hassle-free.
Once you enter Xcaret, make sure to get a map to provide you with an overview of the park and its different activities. There are a total of 45 free activities and some extra activities that you need to pay for.
The size and many activities Xcaret offers can easily fill up more than a day. To help you decide what to do and make the most out of your day, here are Playa Palms’ 5 favorite Xcaret activities – all of them included in the entry fee.
1 The Animals at Xcaret
At its heart, Xcaret is considered a natural reserve, dedicated to protecting endangered species. For example, they have the world’s largest macaw breeding program – you can see the colorful birds flying around everywhere in the park! Plus, Xcaret is home to Jaguars, spider monkeys, tapirs, and many more. If you are an animal lover, the park’s Wildlife Breeding Area and Aviary is a must see. Have a peek at baby macaws, flamingos, the beautiful Quetzal bird and other animals, such as baby crocodiles for example.
One of Xcaret Park’s highlights certainly is the Coral Reef Aquarium. It exhibits over 5000 living marine organisms. Among them are tropical fish, sea horses, turtles, mesmerizing jellyfish, nursery sharks, rays… You can even touch some of the animals!
Xcaret is also home to one of the largest Butterfly Pavillons in the world. In its gardens, which make you feel like you are in the middle of a rainforest, you can see colorful butterflies of more than 20 species up close.
2 Mayan Village and Cemetery
Another highlight of Xcaret is its replica of a Mayan village with a beautiful cemetery. You get to know how the traditional Mayan people lived, with people going about everyday activities and artisan work.
The spectacular cemetery is a colorful tribute to life, located on a shell-shaped hill, called the “bridge to paradise”. Its shape should remind of the shells Mayan used to communicate with their gods. A narrow spiral path leads up the hill, through 7 levels representing the 7 days of the week. It passes by 365 beautifully adorned graves that will entertain you with their sometimes meaningful, sometimes humorous inscriptions.
3 Xcaret’s Underground Rivers
Xcaret has 3 underground rivers. Equipped with life jackets and snorkeling gear, you can float and paddle through the natural caves and artificial tunnels at your own pace. They take you past (real) Mayan ruins, mangroves, flamingos, and along a beautiful mysterious scenery.
4 Hacienda and Folk Art Museum
Hacienda Henequenera, fully furnished with antiques, gives you a glimpse of how wealthy Mexicans of the 19th century lived. Walking through the impressive mansion, you will learn a lot about the history of the Yucatan Peninsula. But what is most impressive are the creations of renowned Mexican artists exhibited throughout the Hacienda.
5 México Espectacular Show
For Xcaret’s probably most outstanding attraction you have to wait until sunset: their famous night show. It is a real tribute to Mexico and, as its name suggests, really spectacular. The first part of the show takes you on a journey through Mexico’s history, starting at Prehispanic times up to modern Mexico, featuring incredible costumes and set designs. The second part shows typical dances from Mexico’s different states, accompanied by the most representative music.