22 Sep

This weekend, I made the quick trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen with Jorge’s family to visit one of my favorite places in the world: Xcaret.

Xcaret is an immense ecopark filled with unbelieveable attractions. I’ve been there 4 or 5 times already, and I still haven’t seen everything! The park has Mayan ruins, an underground river, a Mayan village, an hacienda, greenhouses, a huge butterfly pavilion (my favorite part), stunning beaches, dolphins, jaguars, sharks, a lookout tower, amazing restaurants, an aquarium… and the list goes on. All this is surrounded by lush jungle and winding paths, making you feel as if you’ve stepped into another world.

This park isn’t just about nature, though. It’s about Mexico. Combining Mexican culture, Mayan roots and the stunning jungle setting of the Riviera Maya, Xcaret is heaven on Earth. (Except for the snake that slithered across my foot at the entrance… sent that thing flying with a high kick and a scream!)

We started the day wandering around the hacienda near the entrance, with beautiful courtyards and unique colonial artwork, followed by amazing views of the Riviera Maya from the lookout tower. Then, we stopped by the orchid greenhouse (WOW) and took a turn on a riverboat.

A few of us jumped into the underground river, where we swam through caves and vine-covered cliffs, exiting into a beautiful enclosed jungle filled with vibrant butterflies. We walked past jaguars, tapirs and monkeys on our way to explore some Mayan ruins, then stopped by Xcaret’s large aquarium.

After a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea in one of the park’s crystal clear inlets, the family grabbed a quick dinner and headed to Xcaret’s famous show. Mayan warriors greeted us along the fire-lit path to the immense theater, where we sat back and watched the Mayan ball game, Papantla flyers and traditional dances from all over Mexico.

The evening ended with the show’s final song, “Mexico en la Piel” (Mexico In Your Skin), which brings tears to my eyes every. single. time.

Exhausted, I took a little cat nap on the car ride back to Cancun, thinking how much I’m dying to go back already.

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You can follow Xcaret on Twitter via @XcaretPark

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

28 Responses to “Xcaret”

  1. Ashlie September 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Great post Laura! You really put me in the picture. It has been awhile since our last visit to Xcaret. I may just have to plan a trip there soon 🙂

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

      Definitely! I’ve been there several times and I still get excited about going

  2. RumShopRyan September 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Looks like a beautiful day indeed. Love the turtles! Cheers!

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      The turtles are one of my favorite parts, too… and they’re HUGE!

  3. Laura September 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Beautiful photos! Xcaret is on my list of places to visit. Bummed I didn’t make it there the last time I was in Cancun. Loved your ‘My Mexico’ video, by the way! 😉

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll go.

      I’ll probably be posting the My Mexico video tomorrow 🙂

  4. ann obrien September 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    love love the pics – turtles my fav too !! will be there in 12 days, may have to make a trip !!

  5. KfromMichigan September 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Xcaret is a must for any tourist. The butterfly pavilion is my fav. I’ve been 3 times and still need another visit.

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

      Butterfly pavilion is my fave, too! (followed by the aquarium and the turtles)

  6. Krysten September 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I LOVE Xcaret! Great pics, it’s so beautiful.

  7. Libby September 24, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Lovely pictures! I have to laugh and think how funny it would be to see the snake crawling cross the foot and you making a ‘field goal’ with it. Thanks as always for the wonderful stories and the beautiful pictures.

  8. Kristi September 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    I have been to Cancun at least 5 times but never made it to Xcaret. Next time for sure! It looks so beautiful, glad you had a ncie time!

  9. Harri September 25, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Ohmygosh this looks absolutely beautiful! I’ve never heard of such an incredible eco park. so jealous, I will be sure to visit here someday! xxx

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      Hope you can visit! We should each visit eachother someday 🙂

  10. Sarah Winfree September 26, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    OOH! I want to go back so bad. But now at least I know what I am going to be for Halloween…High ponytail, cat face and body paint, leather loin cloth arrangement. It’s gonna be awesome!

  11. Ang September 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Looks amazing! So jealous of all this neat stuff you’re doing!

    • Laura in Cancun September 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

      Well you got to go to Hawaii!

      • Ang September 27, 2011 at 11:52 am #

        I suppose that’s true – but that was a one time deal – you’re doing fun stuff all the time! that’s it, I’m moving to Cancun. Do you have a spare bed?

      • Laura in Cancun September 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

        Actually I do 🙂

  12. Kathryn September 27, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Um, that only sounds like the coolest place EVER! And I would have killed to see you high kick a snake! Awesome.

  13. Kristin Busse September 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    I really need to get back to Xcaret. I have only been there once. It was 10 years ago and it POURED rain all day. We came out of that underground river and it was raining sideways right into our eyes. haha I believe you that it’s amazing, I just haven’t had the desire to go back after spending 8 hours there soaking wet.

  14. Ceri September 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Oh wow. I’m heading to Playa del Carmen to start studying in five weeks. I am definitely going here. Thanks for the wonderful post, hun. Gets me all the more excited now!

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