The areas surrounding Cancun and the Riviera Maya feature plenty of things to see and do. There’s no shortage of parks and excursions for those who are looking to step out of the resort and do something fun and new. Despite all this variety, Xcaret Park has been the region’s most popular attraction for decades. In this guide and review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Xcaret Park and why people love it so much. By the end, you’ll be able to tell if this park is for you, and you’ll get tips to help you make the most of your visit to Xcaret.

What is Xcaret Park?

Xcaret Park (pronounced ish-kah-ret) is the biggest and most popular destination in the Riviera Maya of Mexico. It’s a huge eco park that features a wide variety of activities, shows, and exhibits which showcase the history, culture, and natural beauty of Mexico. It features animals, physical activities in a natural setting, and lots of exhibits and live performances. The full outline of activities & features will be mentioned in detail later on.

xcaret park sign at the beach

Who is it good for?

Xcaret is great for people of all types and ages. Families with children, couples, and groups of friends will all love Xcaret Park because it has something to offer everyone. As you read on, you’ll be able to tell if this experience is for you, but there are two points worth considering straight away.

First, the main draw of Xcaret Park is the various shows and exhibits. If you’re the type of person who prefers action and adventure, you may also want to consider other parks like Xel-Ha, Xplor, or Xenotes.

Second, Xcaret Park is huge, so plan to be there all day. If you get tired easily or you’re not interested in staying the entire day, you’ll miss a lot of the park’s offerings. In this case, you can check out the other parks I just mentioned above, as well as Xenses which is a half-day experience.

How much are tickets?

There are 3 different types of tickets. The charts below show the base prices before any discounts. A list of available discounts are below. You can check the Xcaret website for the latest prices.

Gives you access to the entire park and all its attractions. It also allows you to attend the night show.

Includes everything from the Basic admission plus a lunch buffet, snorkel equipment rental, and access to exclusive dressing rooms, washrooms and lockers.
This is my recommendation because it’s cheaper than getting the Basic ticket and then buying food or paying for snorkel equipment rental separately. It also gives you access to the Plus section, which has exclusive dressing rooms, washrooms, and lockers that are centrally located. It makes your visit to the park easier and more enjoyable, so it’s the best value.

Includes everything from the Plus admission, as well as one optional activity: Adrenalina for a high speed ride in the sea; Snuba Family, a combination of snorkeling and diving; or Sea Trek, a walk on the seabed.

If you were planning to do one of the optional activities, then the Total admission is the best value. I’ll talk more about these optional activities later in this guide.

Xcaret Basic

Admission
$ 109
99
(Before Discounts)
  • Access to entire park
  • All exhibits, activities, and shows
  • Night Show - Xcaret Mexico Espectacular

Xcaret Plus

Admission
$ 139
99
(Before Discounts)
  • Access to entire park
  • All exhibits, activities, and shows
  • Night Show - Xcaret Mexico Espectacular​
  • Lunch Buffet
  • Snorkel Equipment Rental
  • Access to exclusive lockers, dressing rooms, and washrooms
Recommended

Xcaret Total

Admission
$ 199
98
(Before Discounts)
  • Everything from the Xcaret Plus admission
  • One optional activity
  • Choose from Adrenalina, Snuba, or Sea Trek

Xcaret Park tickets may not be cheap, but there are several discounts available that you can take advantage of (see below), and the park is amazing value for money when you realize how much there is to see and do.

Save on Xcaret Tickets

Xcaret Park offers several discounts:

  • Early booking discount:
    • Save 15% by buying your tickets online at least 21 days before your visit.
    • Or, save 10% if you buy your tickets 7-20 days before your visit.
  • Childrens’ discount:
    • Kids aged 5-11 save 50%.
    • Kids 4 & under get in for free.
  • Multi-park discount:
    • Save 20% on your purchase of tickets for 2 parks or tours.
    • Save 25% on your purchase of tickets for 3 parks or tours.

Where to buy Xcaret tickets

I suggest buying your tickets online directly from the official Xcaret website. It’s secure and the prices are always cheaper than what travel agents or local vendors will charge. When you buy online, the early booking discount and childrens’ discount will automatically apply if you meet the above mentioned criteria. 

You can buy your Xcaret tickets from the official website here:

Attractions: Activities, Exhibits, and Shows

Xcaret Park is huge, there’s so much to see and do (over 50 attractions), that chances are you won’t get to experience everything in one day.
I’ll share the highlights so you understand what the park is all about, but there are lots of “secrets” and surprises scattered throughout the park which are best left to be discovered during your own visit. You can also watch the video review from my visit in 2019.

Animals

Throughout the park, you’ll come across various animals like jaguars, deer, flamingos, macaws, stingrays, manatees, crocodiles, sharks and sea turtles. Some animals roam the park a little more freely that you’d expect. They also have exhibits like the bird aviary which features toucans & eagles, a butterfly pavilion, and a coral reef aquarium.


I want to address the topic of animals in captivity. When I published my review on YouTube, I received a number of comments expressing concern & distaste for the animals that are held in captivity at Xcaret Park. I consider myself a proponent of animal rights, and I didn’t have an issue with captive animals at Xcaret. They all seemed happy and healthy, and their enclosures were large, often mimicking their natural habitats. Plus, I know that Xcaret does a lot of conservation and rehabilitation work with species like sea turtles and macaws, so I have confidence that the animals at Xcaret are well cared for.

Previous
Next

Ancient Archaeological Sites

The ancient archaeological site of Xcaret is located within the park. Many of the ancient structures lie within the park and are available for visitors to explore. Most of the structures date back to 1200-1550 AD, but some date back as far as 200-600 AD.
Needless to say, these are REAL mayan ruins, not replicas, so it’s a great chance to get up close and experience some history.

Beach & Natural Pools

The Xcaret beach is pretty nice, and is a great place to relax after a busy morning exploring the park. It’s located in a bay so the waters are calm & clear, making it a safe place for children. There are plenty of nice beaches throughout the Cancun-Tulum corridor, so the Xcaret beach probably shouldn’t be a major reason for your visit, but it’s one more thing to check out when you visit the park.
They also have natural pools. These are set up right next to the ocean, so the waves of the ocean bring in salt water, allowing you to swim or soak in salty sea water.

Snorkeling

There’s another bay where you can go snorkeling. I didn’t try this out myself because I’ve done snorkeling at Xel-Ha, but it seemed like a nice little activity that helps you cool off. Snorkel equipment rental is included if you have the Xcaret Plus or Total admission. If you bought the Xcaret Basic admission, you’ll need to rent the equipment for a small fee.

If snorkeling really interests you, then you may want to visit Xel-Ha because that’s the main draw of the park. Otherwise, if you just want a quick snorkeling experience, this is a good opportunity to try it.

Underground River Swim

There are beautiful rivers that run from one end of the park to the other. The landscape differs from underground to open air parts. They’re all beautiful, which makes this one of the must-do activities at Xcaret.
It’s a long swim and can be a bit tiring, but there are several exits throughout the way. There’s a rope alongside the river that you can hold on to, or pull yourself along. They also have lifeguards patrolling, so you should be able to explore the river, even if you can’t swim.
Tip: At the entrance of the river, they have bags to secure your belongings. The bags are locked in front of you, and you’re given the key. The bags are delivered to the end of the river, once you’re done swimming, you give them your key and they unlock the bag in front of you. It’s super safe and convenient. The bags may get moved around or piled on one another, so if you have fragile items, you’ll be better off placing them in a locker.

Paradise River

They also have a raft tour that takes you along another river. It’s a slow, quiet, and relaxing boat ride that allows you to see the flora and fauna of Xcaret.

I didn’t get to do this during my visit, but the videos I’ve seen look beautiful. I’ll definitely do this on my next visit to Xcaret.

Scenic Tower

The rotating scenic tower is 262 feet (80 meters) tall, and will give you a great view of Xcaret Park, the nearby resorts, and the Riviera Maya.
This was another activity that I didn’t have time to do, but some friends who have done it say it’s pretty cool and checking out on a clear day.

Children's World

This is a special section of the park for children under 12 years of age. It features water slides, cenotes, tunnels, climbing nets and other obstacles. For younger children, they have a wading pool, sandbox, and more. There’s a rest area for parents which allows them to keep an eye on their kids. There’s also a snack shop, change rooms, and washrooms.
For safety & security, life jackets are mandatory, there are lifeguards at each body of water, and there are security cameras.

Mexican Culture & History

The culture & history of Mexico is proudly showcased at Xcaret. There are sections of the park dedicated to this, like the mayan village which features REAL handmade arts & crafts, a chocolate workshop, a Mexican Cemetery, and more.

Shows & Performances

Mexican culture & history is also presented through various shows & performances. Xcaret features everything from a horse exhibition to an ancient Mayan style dance show. 

 

There are many different shows scheduled during the day, you can check the showtimes on information boards throughout the park. Depending on where you are or what you plan on doing in the park, you may not be able to catch every show that interests you, but don’t worry. Most of these performances are also featured during the night show, so you don’t need to go out of your way to catch every show.

Night Show- Xcaret Mexico Espectacular

Cap off your day Xcaret Park by checking out the night show, which is called “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular”. The show is centered around Mexican history and culture; it takes you through the history of Mexico, from the pre-hispanic to colonial times. In the latter half, it showcases the vibrant and diverse culture of various Mexican states.

The show starts at 7PM and lasts about 2 hours. It really is spectacular, the production value is very high; costumes, props, and stages are very well done. They probably have hundreds of people on stage throughout the night, featuring a lot of talented dancers, singers, and performers. Overall, the night show was very impressive.

Food is not included with the night show, but you can buy snacks and drinks at concession stands before the show. You can also buy a 7 course meal to enjoy during the night show (that’s one of the optional activities, which I’ll talk about in the next section). All tickets, even the basic ones, include the night show, and I highly recommend staying to see it.

Tip: The show starts at 7PM, but get there at least 15-30 minutes before if you want a good seat. You can also use that opportunity to grab some snacks from the nearby concession stands.

Previous
Next

Optional Activities (Extra Cost)

There’s no shortage of things to see and do at Xcaret Park. However, there are optional activities that you can add on for an additional fee to really customize your experience.

Those are thing like:

  • Andrenalina speed boat
  • 7-course meal during the night show
  • Dolphin experiences
  • Paraxute (parasail)
  • Shark encounter
  • Stingray encounter
  • Sea Trek
  • Snuba
  • Snorkeling tour
  • Temazcal
  • Xpa (spa)

It should be obvious by now that Xcaret Park is huge; there is plenty to see and do in one day, so you don’t need to pay for additional activities to have an action packed day. However, some of the activities are really cool bucket list items, so you may still want to check them out.
If you plan on doing one of the optional activities, get the Xcaret Total admission because it’ll be cheaper than paying for the activities separately.

That’s a summary of the major activities & attractions of Xcaret Park. Each exhibit/section of the park is packed with interesting details that go beyond my short summary, so it really should be seen for yourself.

Food & Drinks

Unlike other parks like Xplor or Xel-Ha, Xcaret is not all-inclusive. This means you’ll have to pay for food and drinks. If you get the Xcaret Plus or Xcaret Total admission, you get a buffet meal included. They have several restaurants to choose from, they’re all-you-can-eat buffets with different themes (e.g. seafood, Mexican etc.), but they all feature a wide variety of food, so they’ll appeal to every taste.

I ate at El Manglar, which was close to the ocean with a nice view. The speciality at this buffet is their seafod & ceviche, which is great. They also have a nice selection of drinks, snacks, and desserts.

There’s a-la-carte restaurants and snack bars if you don’t have food included with your ticket, or if you get hungry and want to grab snacks or drinks.

You can’t bring food into the park, but you’ll probably get away with a small snack bar and water bottle. You can re-enter the park, so if you drove, you can keep food in your car and have a quick lunch in the parking lot.

Photo Package

If you add the Photopass, you can scan your bracelet at designated photo points throughout the park which will allow you to take unlimited high-quality photos. When you’re done with your visit, you simply download your photos online. It’s a great option if you don’t want to carry around a camera all day, and the park’s cameras have some unique vantage points that you can’t access yourself.

TIP: Up to 10 people within your group can share one photopass, as long as you’re all under the same purchase transaction. So add the photopass when buying tickets for your entire group.

Transportation

You can add the transportation option for easy pick-up and drop-off. The cost varies based on the distance from your hotel to Xcaret, but it’s a reasonable rate and super convenient. It’s a big, comfortable bus with Xcaret branding all over, so it’s easy to spot. The transportation option is a safe and easy way to get to the park and back.

If you’re looking to make the most of your day at Xcaret, you may want to get there early to beat the crowds. In that case, you can easily get to Xcaret by car or taxi.

Tips for your visit

Since Xcaret Park is so large and offers so much, it’s best to take note of a few things that’ll help you make the most of your day.

Pack light

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so if you’re bringing a bag with you, try to keep it light and carry just the essentials. If you’re thinking of leaving extra things in a locker, you should know that it might be a bit of a walk from where you are in the park, so packing light will make things a lot more convenient for you.

For example; I placed my towel in my locker so that I wouldn’t have to carry it around all day. Once I got out of the river, I realized that I would have to walk halfway across the park to get my towel from the locker, so I decided to lay on the beach chairs and dry off under the sun. For that same reason, I also didn’t bother bringing shorts, I just wore my swimming trunks all day.

Security

Lockers are available to those who bought the Xcaret Plus or Total admission. Xcaret Basic ticket holders need to pay US$5.99 to rent a locker.

The water activities have places where you can lock up your stuff. At the entrance of the river, they have bags that you can drop your stuff into. The bags are locked in front of you and delivered to the end of the river. Once you’re done with the river swim, you give them your key and they unlock the bag right in front of you. It’s safe and convenient, I left my phone & wallet in there and had no issues. Just avoid placing fragile items in the bag, because they’re usually stacked on top of eachother.

Navigating the park

Despite the size of the park, it’s really easy to get around. There are 6 colored routes on the map to guide you through the different sections of the park. That same colored line is on the pavement that you walk on, so you’ll easily be able to tell if you’re on the right path without having to constantly check the map.
(map)

Plan your day, or don’t

If you want to make the most of your day, study the map, decide what shows or attractions you want to see most and plan your day around them. You probably won’t catch every show, so prioritize whatever you consider a must-see.
OR
Just go explore and see where the day takes you. Even if you don’t see and do everything, Xcaret is still an amazing experience. Plus, some of the shows during the day are also featured at the night show, so if you miss them during the day, you can still catch them later on.

Other tips

  • For the water activities, you do not need to know how to swim. They offer life jackets and they have lifeguards patrolling. For the river swim, they also have a rope alongside the river that you can hold on to.
  • Change rooms are available for everyone.
  • If needed, you can rent lockers, towels, wheelchairs, strollers, and snorkel gear.
  • The park is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible. Some sections of the park may pose difficulties such as narrow paths, slippery surfaces or steep slopes, which means you’ll need to take a different route. Refer to the wheelchair map (PDF link) for details.
  • If you’re visiting with young kids and plan to stay for the entire day, it might be a good idea to plan a nap time for them. There are lots of areas around the park where you can lay down on some hammocks or beach chairs and catch a quick nap. The beach and the sandy area near El Manglar restaurant are two of the easiest spots to find. You’ll also stumble upon a few quiet areas scattered throughout the park where you can catch a break.
  • Get to the night show about 15-30 minutes early if you want to get a good seat. You can also use that opportunity to grab some snacks from the nearby concession stands.
  • If you’re staying in Cancun, you can get a free admission to the Cancun Scenic Tower with your Xcaret bracelet.

What to pack

  • Aqua shoes/water shoes- Helpful but not necessary. You can wear sandals or shoes and take them off for the water activities, and store them in the provided lockers or bags. Just wear something comfortable to walk in, because you’ll be doing a lot of that.
  • Eco-Friendly Sunblock & bug spray- In order to avoid damage to the local ecosystem and marine life, these products must be eco-friendly and/or biodegradable. If they’re not, they’ll take away your sunscreen and return it at the end of the day. They give you a small sample of biodegradable sunscreen at the door, and you can purchase the appropriate sunscreen from the park.
  • Towel- There’s some water activities, so bring a towel if you want to dry off quickly, otherwise if you want to travel light, you can always dry under the sun. You can also rent or buy a towel if needed.
  • A change of clothes
  • Cash or credit card, and ID

How to save on tickets

There are so many amazing things to see and do at Xcaret, so it’s an amazing value for money and totally worth it. That being said, tickets are not cheap, so I suggest buying your tickets from the official Xcaret website and taking advantage of the discounts they offer.

Xcaret Park offers several discounts:

  • Early booking discount:
    • Save 15% by buying your tickets online at least 21 days before your visit.
    • Or, save 10% if you buy your tickets 7-20 days before your visit.
  • Childrens’ discount:
    • Kids aged 5-11 save 50%.
    • Kids 4 & under get in for free.
  • Multi-park discount:
    • Save 20% on your purchase of tickets for 2 parks or tours.
    • Save 25% on your purchase of tickets for 3 parks or tours.
Visit the below links to find the latest prices and all available discounts.

There are three different types of tickets you can buy:

Gives you access to the entire park and all its attractions. It also allows you to attend the night show.

Includes everything from the Basic admission plus a lunch buffet, snorkel equipment rental, and access to exclusive dressing rooms, washrooms and lockers.
This is my recommendation because it’s cheaper than getting the Basic ticket and then buying food or paying for snorkel equipment rental separately. It also gives you access to the Plus section, which has exclusive dressing rooms, washrooms, and lockers that are centrally located. It makes your visit to the park easier and more enjoyable, so it’s the best value.

Includes everything from the Plus admission, as well as one optional activity: Adrenalina for a high speed ride in the sea; Snuba Family, a combination of snorkeling and diving; or Sea Trek, a walk on the seabed.

If you were planning to do one of the optional activities, then the Total admission is the best value. I’ll talk more about these optional activities later in this guide.

How to get to Xcaret Park

Xcaret park is located south of Playa del Carmen, on Chetumal – Puerto Juarez Federal Highway km 282, in the state of Quintana Roo.

It’s located 15 minutes (4 miles/6KM) south of Playa Del Carmen. It’s about an hour south of Cancun (45 miles/74KM), and 45 minutes (35 miles/57KM) north of Tulum.

Xcaret Park is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30AM to 10:30PM. If you booked the transportation option, you’ll be picked up at a set time, so check your ticket for the pickup times.

Nearby hotels & accommodations

If you’re looking to stay at a hotel or resort that’s close to Xcaret Park, you have two options.

Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Occidental at Xcaret Destination is located right beside Xcaret Park, so you can walk over. It’s a highly rated resort offering great service and amenities, but the most unique thing is their Unlimited Xcaret Xperience package. Hotel guests can opt to add this package, with which you can enjoy unlimited access to Xcaret Park during your stay. You’ll need to check the latest rates with the hotel, but at the time of writing this, it’s approximately $200 for adults and $150 for kids. This is a good deal if you plan to visit the park multiple times during your stay at the hotel, but if you only plan to visit once or twice, it’ll be cheaper to buy your ticket directly from Xcaret.

Hotel Xcaret

The word Xcaret is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to either Xcaret Park or Hotel Xcaret. While they are separate properties, they are owned by the same parent company, Grupo Xcaret.

Hotel Xcaret is located near Xcaret Park. It’s a top-rated resort with amazing amenities and top-notch service. It’s also what they like to call “All-Fun Inclusive”, which means that during tour stay at Hotel Xcaret, you get unlimited access to all the group’s parks like Xcaret Park, Xel-Ha, Xplor, and more.

You’re not limited to these hotels though, remember that there are a plethora of hotel & resorts throughout Cancun and the Riviera Maya, so you can stay pretty much anywhere and still visit the park.

Summary

Xcaret Park Mexico

I absolutely loved Xcaret. There’s so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why it’s the most popular excursion, activity, or park in the Riviera Maya (or even all of Mexico for that matter).

It showcases Mexican culture, history, animals, activities, and attractions into one perfectly packaged park. And it’s not just the size that impresses, it’s how the experience is delivered. Every single detail is well thought out and carefully executed to ensure you have the perfect experience. It allows you to see all the wonderful things about not only the Riviera Maya, but Mexico as a whole. There’s something for everyone here: old, yo ung, single, couples, or families- there’s enough variety here that everyone will finish the day with their own unique & amazing experience.

My day at Xcaret Park was filled with awe. Even though I was getting tired from walking under the sun all day, I wanted to keep going so I could explore every inch of this paradise. I highly recommend Xcaret Park for families and groups who want to spend a day in a beautiful natural setting, experiencing something wonderful.

Thanks for reading my review and guide. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them down below, I’ll be sure to read and reply to you.

Buy Xcaret Park tickets here:

Xcaret Basic

Admission
$ 109
99
(Before Discounts)
  • Access to entire park
  • All exhibits, activities, and shows
  • Night Show - Xcaret Mexico Espectacular

Xcaret Plus

Admission
$ 139
99
(Before Discounts)
  • Access to entire park
  • All exhibits, activities, and shows
  • Night Show - Xcaret Mexico Espectacular​
  • Lunch Buffet
  • Snorkel Equipment Rental
  • Access to exclusive lockers, dressing rooms, and washrooms
Recommended

Xcaret Total

Admission
$ 199
98
(Before Discounts)
  • Everything from the Xcaret Plus admission
  • One optional activity
  • Choose from Adrenalina, Snuba, or Sea Trek

 

If you’re planning to visit Xcaret, please consider buying your tickets using the links I’ve posted in this review. They’re links to the official site so it’s secure, offers the lowest prices, and gives early booking discounts. Plus, if you found this article helpful, using my links help support me and my site by allowing me to collect a small commission for referring you. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and I get a small reward which helps support the time and effort required to create these guides and maintain this site. I truly loved my visit to Xcaret Park, and I covered my own expenses, so these are my honest opinions, unaffected by my partnership with the park or Grupo Xcaret.

Leave a Reply