Luxury Travel Blog

Xcaret Eco Park – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

After spending a few days in Playa del Carmen we decided to venture out to one of the multiple tourist parks near town.  The 3 main parks are Xplor (caters to the adventurous people with zip lining, 4 wheel driving and such), Xel-ha and Xcarat (both cater to the more sensible people like us!). We aren’t adrenalin junkies or in our 20s anymore (unfortunately!), so it was a toss up between the last two.  We choose Xcarat.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

The bright and beautiful Macaw – Xcaret Eco Park

 

Xcarat is an eco-theme park located a few miles south of Playa del Carmen.  The easiest way there is by taxi and it only set us back a little over $10.  As always in Mexico we made sure we agreed to a price first.

There are a two different entry tickets.  You can either just pick up park entry for $79 USD per person, or for $30 more you can get a free lunch (a choice of meals, including buffets, in one of 5 restaurants within the park), hire of a locker, as well as the hire of snorkeling equipment.  The extra $30 was a bit of a no brainer for us, as buying lunch in the park will set you back the best part of $30 anyway, so why not pay upfront and get some snorkeling gear and a locker thrown in as well.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

The Caribbean ocean as seen from our hammock!

 

The park itself was very well set out with heaps to do.  While there were plenty of people around the park it wasn’t crowded and it wasn’t unusual to find yourself walking a path all alone.

Being an eco-park there were a lot of animals around.  One of my highlights was a huge section on sea turtles, including an area where they hatch baby turtles (only during hatching seasons).   There were dolphins, monkeys, bats, some big cats (Jaguars) and a huge aquarium to name a few.  There was even a butterfly house with hundreds of butterflies including a beautiful blue one that Nicole chased around trying to get a photo of (to no avail!).

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

A black leopard – If you look closely you will see his leopard markings under his fur

 

The park also has 100s of birds, with my favorite being the macaw.  The colorful bird is native to Mexico and there are a lot of them scattered throughout the park.  We could definitely hear them when they are near!  There is an area within the park where they breed them and we got to see some that were only a few days old.  There are also Pink Flamingos, which are one of Nicole’s favorites.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

Sleeping Flamingos – One of my favorites birds!

 

Being an eco-park it wasn’t all about looking at pretty animals, there was lots of information for everyone.   We learned a lot as we went through the park. There is even some real exciting stuff about compost (okay, not all the information was that exciting!).

One of the highlights of the park was snorkeling the underground river. This is part of the extra $30 we paid at the start.  Basically we grabbed some snorkels and flippers and swum our way down a man-made river, which is sometimes out in the open and sometimes through dark tunnels.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

One of the tunnels you can snorkel through in crystal clear water

 

The river was several hundred meters long and it snaked through the park.  It was really quite enjoyable; for one we were out of the Mexican heat, and secondly, it is a very relaxing and fun swim.  Some of the water was crystal clear to swim through, however some of it got quite murky, particularly when there were people stirring up the water ahead (some people just don’t know how to snorkel!).  It was pretty cool swimming along and looking down at the colorful fish.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

The man made beach and swimming hole – Swim, snorkel or kayak!

 

There are also some really great swimming holes, some of which are also great for snorkeling.  There’s also a great little man-made beach which would be perfect for the kids to play in as there is a bar for mum and dad to enjoy a nice cold drink!

For lunch we chose one of the buffets.  The food and service was good and there was plenty to choose from.  As you walk around the park, there are plenty of snacks outlets.  Just be aware that you will be paying twice the amount as you would in Playa del Carmen.  There’s a standard ‘park’ pricing system here!

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

There is a beautiful orchid house at Xcaret with stunning variations and colors

 

After running around seeing everything, and once the feet get a little tired, there are plenty of places to relax.  You can chill out and drink a Corona while laying back on your own deck chair.  Or for those want to really relax, there are hammocks near the water.  We could just lay back and listen to the ocean roll in.  In fact there was one couple that were so relaxed I’m sure I heard them snoring!

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

Spider monkeys are very popular with the tourists

 

There are also several cultural shows throughout the park.  They have been ‘Hollywooded’ up, but are entertaining none the less.  Shows include an equestrian show, The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) and Xcarat at night, to name a few.  Xcarat at night is definitely the pick of the shows to see and everyone will be there, so you may want to get there early for a good seat if the park is busy.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

One of the Mayan ruins that are at Xcaret

 

Staying on the cultural theme there are some Mayan Ruins onsite to see, as well as an old Mexican cemetery and a Hacienda Henequenera (House of Mexican Folk Art).  Also don’t miss the St Francis of Assis Chapel, which you can even use for a wedding location.

The park is definitely aimed at the tourist and isn’t cheap, but it will take a good full day to get around and is very enjoyable.  It would be great for kids of all ages.

 

Xcaret Playa del Carmen Mexico

One of the many paths to take through Xcaret surrounded by lush tropical gardens

 

It is something different to do if you get bored of walking down the famous 5th Ave (the tourist strip), drinking a Corona at a corner bar or chilling at the beach.  Hmm maybe you should go to the park even if you don’t ever get bored of that!

 

Have you ever been to one of Playa’s eco-parks?

 

10 comments

  1. Erin Bender (Travel With Bender) /

    Why yes yes we have! 😀 We loved it too, it was so much fun. Like nothing we have ever been to before. Glad you loved it!

    • Nicole Connolly /

      So glad you loved it too Erin! We had a ball. If it wasnt so exi we would have done the other parks too. But I think we definitely picked the best one!

  2. Xcaret looks absolutely beautiful ! I have never been there but your photos make me feel a bit like I’m there.
    Freya recently posted…Climbing Mount Jbel Toubkal in MoroccoMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Freya!

      Xcaret was amazing. I had never been to anything like it before. I love eco parks but this was so much ore than an eco park. If you go to Mexico I definitely recommend it 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend 🙂

  3. I went to somewhere that looks similar, but near Tulum. Can’t remember the name, as it was more than 10 years ago, and I didn’t organise it (I was a teenager, grumpily following along on a family holiday. I know, I was so spoiled). This looks much nicer, though, and when we eventually get to Mexico (willingly, this time), this is definitely the kind of thing we’d want to check out!
    Sam recently posted…Food Porn Friday: Bulebar, MontevideoMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hey Sam!

      There is a few of them around the area. If we could afford it, we would go to them all cause they all seem great fun! You should definitely give Xcaret a go if you come back down this way. If you are an adrenaline junkie the others may suit better 🙂

      Thanks for popping by again!

  4. Debbie /

    Great article and photos. Loved Xcaret when we were there! You’re making us want to go back 🙂

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hey Debbie.. Thanks for visiting 🙂

      Im glad you enjoyed the post and glad you enjoyed Xcaret! Its so amazing. I would definitely go back when we are back in that area. We want to do the other parks around there too! So much fun!

  5. Thanks for the review! We were in the same predicament on our visit and only had money/time for one park, though we ended up choosing Xplor. Xcaret’s sounds great for a return visit, though we were thrilled with Xplor as our option at the time! Give it a shot if you get the chance in the future.
    Becky recently posted…The Virginia Creeper Trail: If I Can Do It, Anyone CanMy Profile

  6. felix /

    Yup in deed this is an amazing park. Great report and great pics!

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