Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park in Mexico

xcaret mexico main gingerbread

At Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park, in Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico, experience Mexican traditions, cultures, flora, and fauna. Explore a Mayan village, float along Paradise River, browse the gift shops at the main plaza, visit the Chapel of Guadalupe, a Mexican Cemetery, St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, House of Whispers, or Hacienda Henequenera during a visit to Xcaret.

xcaret mayan ruins

  • Xcaret’s Mayan ruins, built between the late 1400’s and early 1500’s, were once used for ceremonial baths to purify Mayans before the journey to Cozumel. Visit a replica Mayan village displaying food, crafts, and tools throughout the wooden homes with palm thatched roofs .

mayan stadium xcaret

  • Explore a replica Pok ta’Pok stadium. Here 2 teams would compete in a sacred Mayan Ballgame. The teams bounced a rubber ball, weighing between 1-15 pounds, through a stone hoop on the side of the arena without using their hands. In some legends, the losing team was sacrificed.

swimming in underground rivers xcaret

  • After storing our belongings in lockers, we float along the underground river, part of the channels underneath the Yucatan Peninsula flowing into the ocean. The water is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit but feels cooler as we float through caves and by mangroves blocking the sunlight. Passing a Mayan village dance at the replica village, we pose for a quick picture.

waterfall in xcaret mexico


  • It takes most of the day to explore all of Xcaret’s areas: the Aviary, Coral Reef Aquarium, Natural Museum of Orchids and Bromeliads, Marine Turtles, Jaguar Island, Manatee Lagoon, Regional Wildlife, and the Tropical Jungle Trail. The trails connecting the areas are also an attraction running along the underground river at times with scenic waterfalls.

sea turtle conservation

  • Since 2010, Xcaret has operated a Rescue and Rehabilitation Center for injured sea turtles. All turtles are returned to the sea upon meeting the necessary conditions. As part of the Turtle Conservation Program, Xcaret protects 13 nests along the Yucatan Peninsula. Teams provide a safe environment for these sea turtles during their first 15 months before releasing them into the sea, significantly increasing their chance of survival.

Hammocks Xcaret Mexico

  • Taking a break from exploring the 200 acre park, we relax in a shaded hammock area near the beach.
  • Xcarat also has a relaxing aquatic paradise with bars and restaurants at the beach, natural pools, and a lagoon. After snorkeling in one of the natural pools, we relax at a restaurant on the beach and eat a quick lunch.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Pack a day bag with a swimsuit, change of clothes, bug spray, water, and sunscreen. As the sunset, temperatures dropped, and bugs began to bite.

coconut jaguar

  • Restaurants throughout the park serve refreshing, fruity drinks in a carved, souvenir coconut. Don’t wait until the end of the day or the turtle and jaguar coconuts may be sold out.

xcaret beach mexico

  • Photo locations are clearly marked throughout the park with bracelet scanners. At the end of our visit, we turn in our bracelets and have an opportunity to view and/or purchase our photos taken throughout the day. We select a couple of our favorites to take home as souvenirs.

As the sun begins to set, we end our experience at Xcaret with the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular Show. Past and present Mexico, Mayan culture, and legends are illustrated through colorful dances, lights, elaborate costumes, and performances.

April 2016

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My husband, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over 6 years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours,  and experiences to maximize our time. We always try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. CREATION OF THE TRAVELING GINGERBREAD: In Tokyo, we smiled every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread offers realistic budget travel tips for full time employees, fun facts, and where to find the best craft beer.

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