When searching for things to do in Playa del Carmen we came across Xcaret Park. I am not a fan of any kind of theme park so I was a little reticent to visit Xcaret as I thought it sounded a little gimmicky and touristy. Yes, it is touristy. No, it is not gimmicky. It is amazing! There is so much to do and we packed in a full day of activities.
Firstly, the best part of the Xcaret experience is their Underground Rivers which you can see in my photos. You don a very attractive life vest that enables you to float effortlessly (well, somewhat effortlessly in my case) through their enchanting freshwater river system. The rivers are part of a natural network of channels which circulate through the Yucatan Peninsula.
There are three rivers to float through. You put your belongings in a locker at the beginning of your adventure and put any additional essential items such as flip flops and wallet in a padlock secured waterproof duffel bag. This duffel bag gets delivered to your end location which you efficiently pick up up as you depart the river. Some rivers have large sections underground, others have large open sections surrounded by high cliffs or busy mangroves. If you’re really lucky you may even see a flamingo!
I will admit, I am very claustrophobic and was really quite scared about doing this. I held onto Stephen’s shoulder with all my might at first however after five minutes, I realised it was a very safe and calming environment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the water front there is also a beach area where you can just chill, have a beer, some guacamole and ceviche under an umbrella. They also have many activities such as snorkelling, sting ray and dolphin experiences and snuba however we didn’t do these.
If getting in the water isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Their Scenic Tower scales 80 meters providing a rotating 350 degree panoramic view of the Riviera Maya.
Guadeloupe Chapel is absolutely stunning. I have never seen a chapel like this. It is a glowing cave like area that feels utterly serene and cool on a searing hot day – a welcome respite (and not one you have to be religious to enjoy).
The Paradise River experience allows you to enjoy the underground rivers without actually getting wet! Jump on board a wooden raft that glides through the canals surrounded by jungle and wildlife.
There are also many performances throughout the day to enjoy such as the equestrian show (truly exhilarating) and the voladores de papantla (flying men on a very tall may pole).
Additionally, Xcaret has a beautiful butterfly pavilion, aviary, museum of orchids and regional wildlife.
Finally, we enjoyed the wonderful Xcaret Mexico Espectacular in the evening. The website explains it as the following and it is just as amazing as it sounds.
“A journey through Mexico´s History going all the way from the pre-Hispanic times and reaching up to the modern days, a country with an ancient blend of culture and traditions that endures. More than 300 actors with original costumes are displayed in a spectacular setting in an atmosphere of light and color showing typical dances, performances of our history, legends and all the festivities of the different cultural regions of our country. A tribute to Mexico that goes beyond joy, magic and tradition; accompanied by most representative music of this incredible country of treasures, including of course the Mariachi, World Heritage. We’ll shout all together ¡Viva Mexico!”
We would both highly recommend a day out to Xcaret whilst visiting the Riviera Maya. There is so much to experience that you will not see anywhere else in the world.