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Xcaret review and survival guide for your visit to this park

Xcaret review

Are you thinking of one of the big eco parks to take your family or friends to? You may at first think that there are going to be lots of tourist and cheesy tourism parks, but you should take another look. One of the park is called Xcaret. Upon closer inspection, we believe you will find it very well laid out, interesting and a great display of Mexican culture.  Here is our Xcaret review for you and tips!

Xcaret Review and Survival Guide

In this guide and review we will tell you about:

  • What tickets should you get.
  • Were to get the best deal on tickets.
  • Xcaret restaurant and snack bar reviews.
  • The layout of the park and what to see.
  • Planning the end of your day at Xcaret and seeing the grand show.

 Xcaret Entrance Price

Prices might make you think about going but trust us, it is a very good value for the entire day of entertainment in this amazing park! The prices fluctuate with the exchange rate but are generally about 90 USD per adult. This is for the general entrance. There are many ways in which you can customize your experience at the park.

Where should you buy tickets?

The best way to buy tickets is online. You will get the best price and getting them in advance will give you a discount. The link below will take you to the official site to buy them.

If you are already in Mexico you  can find tickets for sale everywhere. But as we stated above it is best to plan ahead. If you still thinking to buy them when you arrive at the park get there early so you can avoid the lines. The park opens at 8:30am each day.

How to get the best price for tickets to Xcaret

To get the best deal on tickets you should book them online in advance. You can click special Xcaret photo below to go directly to their website.  Here are the discounts you can receive:

  • Buy tickets online 21 days in advance and save 15% off the price!
  • Buy tickets online 7-20 days in advance and save 10% off the price.

These are the only ways you can get a discount on entry tickets. So plan ahead and click below.

Types of tickets for Xcaret

It can be a little confusing with all the different options of tickets so we will try to make it simple for you. These are several options for tickets:

  • General Admission-entrance to the park for the day. No meals included or extra activities.
  • Plus ticket-entrance plus lunch buffet and snorkel equipment rental.
  • Xcaret Total Ticket-entrance, lunch buffet, snorkel equipment rental and one of three optional activites.
  • Xcaret plus another park entrance
  • Or  three parks in one package (for example Xplor, Xel Ha and Xcaret). Xcaret is part of the same family of parks as Xplor, Xel-ha, Xenses, Xenotes, and Xoximilco.

In our opinion it is best to get the Xcaret Plus ticket. You get a free rental of the snorkel equipment since most likely you are going to eat anyways in the park for lunch. The Xcaret total ticket is nice if you really want to do one of the extra activities but really there is so much to do that you don’t even have time for everything let along an extra one.

Xcaret Review of Restaurants

There are several large buffet style restaurants in the park. They have similar food but the atmosphere is different at each one. The restaurants are all the same price and provide a very nice buffet at about $29 USD  per person. We feel this is expensive for what it is. You certainly get a fill of food and the quality is good but still expensive. But it is an entertainment park and this is kind of expected.

Of the restaurants at Xcaret we like La Peninsula Restaurant and El Manglar Restaurant the most. Both of these restaurant are with a view of the ocean and have nice settings.

Here are three ways you can save money on food while visiting Xcaret Park:

  1. You can save money by eating breakfast before you go, having a buffet lunch (or smaller meal at the snack bar) in the park and eating outside the park after the final grand show. This option has you just eating one meal in the park.
  2. It should also be noted that you can leave the park to your car during the day and re-enter. So if you wanted to have snacks in your car, you can do this. No food or drinks or non-biodegradable sunscreen is allowed in the park. This option only works if you drive a car to Xcaret.
  3. You can buy the Xcaret plus ticket and get your lunch buffet included. This is the same price as adding food to a general admission ticket but you are getting the snorkel equipment also in this ticket. So you do save some overall.

Snack bars in Xcaret

There are snack bars though out the park. Some are just for drinks and some have food and drink.  It should be noted that there are snack bars but tend to be expensive (i.e. 20-40 pesos for a small drink). We will say that in this Xcaret review we found the hamburgers at the snack bars to be very good and it can make a nice meal. This can be purchased for less than $10 USD. Some of these snack bars are next to the ocean and can make for a nice break for a meal.

 

Xcaret Park layout

When you enter you should take a moment to look at the map and also make sure you have a daily schedule of the shows. Xcaret is an experience of Mexican culture and history. This is not a park of rides. It is good to see where the shows are and make a note of what time they will be. This way your day will be injected with a performance while you sightsee the other times of the day. The shows sometimes repeat themselves during the day and some aspects of them are included in the must see grand show in the night.

Xcaret’s scenic tower will take you up 262 ft. (80 meters) and is the highest point in the Riviera Maya. You can see how flat and how green the entire peninsula is and how Playa Del Carmen is growing. It will give you a good vantage point to see the layout of the park as well.

Besides looking at where the shows are during the day, see on the map for where you would like to visit. With as many people that visit the park, it is impressive that at times, you are alone. It is so well laid out with so many little places to visit, it eats up people. For example, next to the Hacienda is a church. Go down the steps in the church and view the people sitting there. They are actually wood cutouts of famous Mexican figures. If you go all the way to the front of the church there is an entrance to a tunnel. Most people miss this, but explore these tunnels for yourself.

Xcaret review

Shows during the day at Xcaret

Some of the shows during the day include:

  • Mayan village with “traditional” dance and ritual.
  • Mexican horse riding show.
  • Mayan ball game.
  • A  traditional show from Veracruz and others.

You can time your route though the park to see the shows that interest you. We prefer to start with the left side (from when you enter) and go counter clockwise through the park. This way you can see most shows that you might like and the timing tends to work out well, leaving you back around near the entrance in order to go to the grand show at the end of the day.

Snorkeling in the underground rivers

You really have to swim in one of the three “underground” rivers. They are called underground rivers but they are just deep in the ground and go through tunnels. Each one winds through the park and takes you on an amazing journey. The water is crystal clear and you will get an amazing perspective of the park.

When you buy the Xcaret plus ticket you get the snorkel equipment rental included. However you can still swim in the river if you buy the general admission ticket.

Toward the end of the rivers, the three rivers merge and there are tropical fish you will be swimming with. Towels are available in the park. When you get in the river you can put your stuff in a locked back and it will be at the end of the river waiting for you. It is so easy and safe to do this, just make sure sunglasses and other breakable things are wrapped up. Doing this makes getting around the park and maximizing your time very efficient.

You most likely will not have time to do all three rivers. It takes a while to swim down each one and there is so much to see in the park.  So if we had to chose we like the Mayan river the best.

Xcaret review

A horse on review at the Xcaret equestrian show.

Rest and Relaxation in Xcaret

Of course with all the walking and sightseeing you might want to rest in one of the many areas where you can just relax. The park faces the ocean and you can swing in hammocks while looking over the turquoise waters.

Also make sure you take a ride on the boat tour, it is a quiet 15 minute ride that passes some animal enclosures and highlights the amazing Yucatan landscape. This is called the lazy river.

If you have young kids with you and you parents want a little rest, why not take them to Children’s World. This is a new part of the park where kids can play and get all their energy out. See what Children’s World is like in our video and article here.

Animals in Xcaret park

There are many animals you can observe in the park. Tapirs, monkeys, dolphins, sea turtles, bats, bees, pumas, butterflies, raccoons, lots of bird species, and there is an aquarium as well. The animals are displayed in a natural way and will make your visit special. The butterfly enclosure is interesting because you walk around a large screened area with free flying butterflies.

The new bird aviary is designed very well. You enter a large enclosed area with a trees and waterfalls and walk the trails around while seeing birds from all over the world.

Xcaret show at the end of the day

Make sure at the end of the day you go to the grand finale show in the large event pavilion. It is a great historical look at Mexico and many traditional dances. It is about a two hour spectacular.

To read more about the Xcaret show and our review see our article here.

You can choose to have dinner served while you watch the show, but this is an add on. Snacks can be bought at concision stands during the show.

Exiting Xcaret at the end of the day

Leaving is easy and again, the park and grounds are laid out so efficiently that there is not a rush or lines of traffic. There is an official Xcaret bus to the highway where you can catch a taxi or colectivo back to Playa Del Carmen.

If you purchased your transportation in your ticket, you will be directed to your bus after the conclusion of the grand show.

Xcaret Park closes at 10:30pm daily.

In Conclusion

We really like this park and highly recommend it to all visiting the Rivera Maya. It is a huge park with so much to see and do. It highlights some of the natural beauty of the area as well as the rich culture of Mexico. We are sure anyone that goes will have a good time. This park is good for people of all ages and even good during all weather.

We hope you have enjoyed our Xcaret review and we hope you get to enjoy this fun park that is so close to Playa Del Carmen.

More reading about Xcaret Park

Xcaret also has a four day festival for the Day of  the Dead each year. To see what this is like, see our article here.

If you have also been thinking about going to Xel Ha park and not sure which is better between Xcaret and Xel Ha, you can see our comparison article here. This article can show you the difference between them.

Have you been to Xcaret? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comment box below. We love to hear from our readers.

35 Comments on Xcaret review and survival guide for your visit to this park

  1. Justin Baber // July 17, 2016 at 10:30 PM // Reply

    We find Xcaret perfect for out multi generational family. The kids love the underground rivers at Xcaret and my mom loves the shows and the grand show. The layout of the park is grate and there are times when you are by yourself and you don’t see other people.

  2. We love Xcaret Park and go each time we come to Playa Del Carmen. The price is expensive but it is worth it at the end of the day. My kids love going each year and there is always something new there to keep them and us excited about going. Your review is good and good intro for people going for the first time.

  3. Alfonso Duate // July 25, 2016 at 5:31 AM // Reply

    These are some great tips for going to Xcaret. It is such a huge park that it is hard to see everything in one day. The show at the end is amazing and we go each year to see it.

  4. Great tips. Loved it!

    • Mr.Yucatan // August 5, 2016 at 4:12 AM // Reply

      Hello Maria. We are so pleased you had a good time at Xcaret. There is so much to keep people busy there we have not minded going back often to visit. We keep finding new corners of the park to see.

  5. Is the price of the show separate from the Plus or General Admission tickets?

  6. We just got back from Playa Del Carmen and we had the best time at Xcaret. Your tips for visiting were spot on. We enjoyed all parts of the park. We did not have time for any of the extra activities. We did take your advice to get to the theater early and we got awesome seats.The show was great too.

  7. Violette Blakely // September 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM // Reply

    People must know that Xcaret is a good park. It is like the Disney World of Mexico. The park is laid out very well and we even found the trails in the church you talked about. Thank you!

  8. If anyone does not stay for the grand show at the end of the day of Xcaret they are missing a really big show. This is the biggest show in the Riviera Maya and one that should be seen!

  9. We are coming to Playa Del Carmen and want to go to Xcaret. Don’t they do something for the day of the dead?

  10. Hello again, If I visit this park is it safe to bring my camera ? Its a pretty expensive one. Thanks !

    • Many people bring good cameras. The only thing is if you do the river swim, you will have to put your camera in the locker. These are pretty safe. Most people put their items in a lock back and swim the river and the bags are delivered to the end of the River. This means that an expensive camera really should not be put in a lock bag because of the transport and possible damage. This means taking it to the locker and when getting out of the river going back across the park to get it. The show is really good at the end of the night so it is nice to have a good camera with telephoto lens. These are just some things to think about with taking a camera to Xcaret.

  11. PS: i booked with the private transport company you mentioned. What do you think about the pesos, should i exchange it here at a Forex or should i use an ATM once there ?

    • We recommend an ATM as long as it is one in the Airport or at a bank. The ATM’s on 5th Avenue are ones that usually have issues with card skimming.

      • Mr Yucatan, but what about the rate ? Is it better there ? Today is 15.42, i have 500 CAD cash that i want to change, should I wait though and ATM whitdraw it there ?

        • I am not sure when or where you will have a chance to exchange since you are coming into the Airport and then going to your hotel. Most likely the hotel and Airport will not offer you the best exchange rates. The best would be at a casa de cambio in Playa. If you do come into Playa one place that is good, but you will need your passport to change money, is Cibanco on 5th and near 2nd street.

          • thank you, happy new year! i saved this location so i can use it once there. what would you recommend as transport from valladolid to chichen itza and back ? for ek balam i will use a taxi i guess. after talking to you, i decided to spend the night in town.

          • Mr.Yucatan // January 2, 2017 at 9:27 PM //

            Hello Robert. There is a colectivo van service in Valladolid to Chichén Itzá. Next to the bus station in Valladolid. It is good to go early when the vans fill up faster. There are also colectivo taxis that go from Calladolid to Ek Balam. These are near Candelaria square.

          • Any chance to get into a colectivo with a stroller ? If not, I will have to take the bus or a taxi, as I need the stroller…is the jungle environment there ok for a 2 yo baby you think ?
            And what tour would you say for Sian Ka’an ? I tried talking to Community SKT but they seem to not pick up in Mayakoba unless they have 4 people and their website keeps crashing, its impossible to book online 🙁

          • Mr.Yucatan // January 3, 2017 at 8:01 AM //

            Xcaret is very doable with a stroller and kids of any age it is not like a jungle but has good walkways. The colectivos are not really meant for more then a quick pick up and drop off. There is also no luggage storage and they do not have time to stop on the side of the road and put the stroller in the back of the van. You might be able to rent or use a stroller from Xcaret. You would need to confirm this with them before hand to see if possible. As for Sian Kaan there are many tour operators that go there. Many of the community based organizations are not very tech savvy and we are trying to work with them now so they can have greater access to tourism.

        • I see..so in this case what would me my best bet to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza by 8 AM ? The ADO bus is too late, 10…How much would be a taxi ? And how do i get a taxi back, are they waiting there or I need to call ? Thanks !

          • Mr.Yucatan // January 4, 2017 at 7:36 AM //

            The colectivo vans are a good option. These are Chevy 15 passenger vans next to the ADO bus station in Valladolid. They leave when full. As long as you get to Chichen Itza before 10am you can avoid most crowds. A taxi from Valladolid to Chichen Itza would be maybe about 300 pesos one way. It will depend on your communication skills in Spanish. There is no set price and it is about a 25 minute drive. You can purchase a ticket on the bus back to Valladolid or catch the vans back.

  12. What is the best way to get from Mayakoba to Xcaret ? I wanted to book their transport but it seems i am losing one hour or so as they pick up at 9. Is there any colectivo going there ?

    • You can take the colectivos from the highway to Playa and then transfer to the other colectivos to Tulum and they will let you out at the stop for Xcaret and then there is a free shuttle to the park. But that being said, it is three forms of transportation. One option is rent a private charter. It is $68 one way and $84 RT. http://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/charter-transportation-playa-del-carmen/
      The other option is getting a taxi from your hotel. This should be around 400-700 pesos each way. This is something you would have to confirm with the taxi drivers once at your hotel because we do not have the prices from each hotel to Xcaret.

      • That’s another excellent tip ! Do they pick up from the hotels or I have to meet them in Playa ?

        • I assume you are talking about the charter vans. Yes they pick up anywhere you want. It is a full service van and very professional. You can also talk to them about a stop at the grocery store since you might want to combine the two things.

  13. The plus option, does it include towels ? sorry for the many questions, again ! 🙂

  14. Very disappoint with the pictures. We paid for the packages and we could not printed it because is only 20 days for the tourist to printed it. very bad idea you guys steal our money. I would not recomended it never again will visit the park.

    • Hello Lily

      When you say “you guys” you are referring to Xcaret Park correct? We are not the park and only a website that writs about local attractions. We are sorry you did not get to print your photos.

  15. My family and I will be visiting Playa Del Carmen in July and want to visit Xcaret! Our resort is affiliated with Thomas More travel; this company offers a tour package including transportation from our hotel. In your opinion, is it best to visit the park this way-using a tour- or just buying tickets on the website and adding the transportation option? Additionally do you have any comments on the Thomas More Travel Company?
    Thank you!

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 29, 2017 at 8:09 AM // Reply

      Hello Maddie

      Thank you so much for your question. It will just be a matter of price. The Xcaret add on for transportation is $27 per person which can be expensive. It will depend on where you are staying. If you are in Cancun or near to Playa Del Carmen. If you are in Cancun and the tour company has decent priced transportation, that might be a good option. The Xcaret transportation is slower since they do pickups. Just ask what type of van they have or is it the same transport as Xcaret. If you are staying near Playa Del Carmen there are other options like taxi, bus or colectivo that can get you there. Remember, buying your tickets in advance is the best way to get a discount. So just calculate all that together to see what is the best deal for you.

      As for Thomas More Travel, we have never heard of them. That is not surprising since there are hundreds of companies in the area.

      We hope you have a great trip here and let us know if you have any other questions.

  16. Hello, we will be staying at Iberostar Tucan. How close is this to Xcaret Park? Thanks

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 31, 2017 at 6:42 PM // Reply

      Hello Sherry

      So you are in the Playacar section on the south end of Playa Del Carmen. You are about 12 minutes from Xcaret. You can either get a taxi there or do the add on transportation from Xcaret. If you are a family it might be easier and cheaper to do the taxi option. The transportation from Xcaret tends to be better if you are further away. We hope you have a great time there! And if you need any other info just let us know.

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