How can one go to Mexico and not be enchanted, seduced and captivated by the all-encompassing Xcaret Park?
Located by the Caribbean Sea in Riviera Maya, Xcaret is the most well-known eco-archaeological theme park in Mexico. It’s an interactive recreational park with archaeological remains where one can experience nature, culture and adventure. Xcaret, meaning “little inlet” in Maya, was for over a thousand years a very important Mayan port and ceremonial centre. Today, Xcaret is a wonderment for the senses!
With over a million visitors a year enjoying the plethora of activities that Xcaret offers on its 200 acre property, it is true when they say that the park has something for everyone to enjoy.
It goes without saying that the activities I had the pleasure of experiencing at Xcaret were not only enjoyable and memorable, but enabled me to take in the rich cultural history that is perfectly represented within the park. Young, old, active or not, the park literally caters to everyone’s tastes and wishes!
One of many underground river that guests can enjoy at Xcaret. (Photo courtesy of Xcaret).
Xcaret Park was created to promote love and respect for nature and Mexico’s cultural heritage.
With over 60 attractions and activities in which you can partake, it is literally impossible to do everything in one day, let alone two. Yet, it’s so much fun trying to absorb all that Xcaret has to offer its guests.
The various attractions differ depending on what you’d like to experience. Some of the most popular activities from every category include…
(Photos courtesy of Xcaret)
• Underground Rivers: Float down one of the many underground rivers with a life jacket or snorkel and observe their labyrinth of caves and tunnels and marine fossils.
• Aviary: Discover the variety of birds that inhabit this sanctuary.
• Coral Reef Aquarium: Explore and be amazed by the natural treasures of the Caribbean Sea.
• Marine Turtles: Xcaret is proud to carry out conservation programs where visitors can learn about the turtle’s characteristics and behavior.
• Jaguar Island: These impressive inhabitants of Xcaret can be found on an island located in the midst of the Mayan jungle and crystal clear rivers.
(The photos of the Papantla Flyers are courtesy of Xcaret)
• The ritual ceremony of the “Voladores”: The ceremony is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. During the ceremony, four “Voladores de Papantla” climb a pole while one flyer remains sitting on the edge of the platform playing a flute and drum. After this act of invocation, the dancers launch themselves from the platform to which they are tied by long ropes, imitating the flight of birds and drop down to the ground.
• Archaeological Sites: Take your time to explore Xcaret’s archaeological adventure and discover, one by one, the different pyramids that are hidden in the natural scenery of the park.
• Mexican Cemetery: Discover the beautiful coloured trails of the Mexican cemetery at Xcaret where ancestors are remembered with respect and a little humour too.
• Mayan Village: This is a journey into the past where you can integrate into the daily life of an ancient community; learn about the Mayan’s way of life, social organization, how they build their homes, and what they eat.
Dream Activities (Extra cost activities)
(Photos courtesy of Xcaret)
• Sea Trek: Walk on the sea bed and admire the natural underwater beauty.
• Snorkel: Snorkel in Xcaret’s inlet to see fascinating marine life in a coral reef.
• Snuba: Experience the thrill of diving with the ease of snorkeling.
• Adrenalina: A breathtaking water ride! Speedboat fun!
• Swim with sharks: Swim freely alongside nurse sharks.
• Stingray Sea Trek: Observe beautiful stingrays like never before!
• Swim with dolphins: Have an incredible experience swimming with dolphins. **Xcaret boasts the Guinness World Record for its successful dolphin reproduction program – having achieved the largest number of offspring born in a year (11 dolphins) with a 100% survival rate.
As you can see, adventure and culture stimulation awaits every guest at Xcaret.
I was very happy to learn that a percentage of the admission costs is donated towards developing programs for the preservation of the wild flora and fauna as well as programs that encourage breeding in an effort to recover endangered species.
And if all these activities weren’t enough for you, at night Xcaret’s Mexico Espectacular show is one not to be missed! I would highly recommend everyone to take the time to enjoy Mexico Espectacular, as it highlights and brings to life Mexico’s beautiful and intriguing history through song and dance.
(Photos courtesy of Xcaret)
Mexico Espectacular is a brilliant show divided in two parts. Each part highlights the most outstanding features of Mexican folklore.
The first part describes pre-Columbian Mexico which includes a phenomenal interpretation of the ancestral pre-Hispanic ball game.
The second part is a mosaic of dances and aspects of different regions of the country, with approximately 300 performers on stage. This is pure Mexican folklore! Sounds from the Jarana (guitar-like instrument) from Yucatan, the Old Men Dance from Michoacán, the Guelaguetza (annual indigenous cultural event) from Oaxaca, the Papantla Flyers (pole flying) from the Papantla region are just some of the extraordinary performances seen during the Mexico Espectacular.
Xcaret is Mexico and one of its main objectives is to preserve and boost our cultural heritage.
For food enthusiasts like me, Xcaret also offers a VIP area that provides guests with the opportunity to eat a lavish multicourse Mexican meal as you are mesmerised by Mexico Espectacular.
The multicourse meal gave me the rare opportunity to try some of Mexico’s delicacies like their Huitlacoche. I had heard about this particular corn fungus and its amazing dreamy taste that is often referred to as the Mexican truffle, but nothing compared to trying it firsthand. The taste was sheer perfection!
Marinated salmon: cured in celestun salt, ginger, honey and lime on a piper auritum leaf.
Black lobster with soursop aguachile: grilled marinated lobster accompanied with soursop aguachile.
Mexican truffle: Huitlacoche croquette.
(left to right) Marinated salmon; Black lobster with soursop aguachile and a Mexican Truffle.
Huerta salad: Panacotta of goat cheese accompanied by fresh organics lettuces, blueberries, mashed beets, edible flowers and sprouts dressed with a vinaigrette of green stems.
Smoked string cheese cream: served with quince paste, “epazote” foam and ashes of roasted chili peppers.
Smoked string cheese cream.
Chili crusted tuna: fresh tuna serve on a crust of smoked chili, served with a trilogy of purées: hibiscus, pineapple and avocado, and pico de gallo.
Magret of duck with dark plum mole sauce and ‘ancho’ chili: magret of duck on a plum and ‘ancho’ chili mole sauce accompanied with a creamy purée of mashed sweet potato and orange.
Confit of pig: slowly cooked and served with mashed beans, piper auritum leaf, plantain, avocado and Mexican axiote.
Chili crusted tuna.
Magret of duck with dark plum mole sauce and ‘ancho’ chili.
Confit of pig.
Xcarat flowerpot: Cheese pancake served with a creamy maracuya red fruit melange, on ground of bitter chocolate and orange.
I am very fortunate to have witnessed directly Xcaret’s phenomenal job at captivating Mexico’s essence by exemplifying their cultural heritage and their passionate love affair with their environment.
With all of its activities and shows to experience, Xcaret caters to children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens…it’s for all to enjoy. What are you waiting for?!