Hello and welcome to our guide on the best things to see and do at Xcaret park, Mexico! We visited Xcaret during our stay in Riviera Maya and were blown away by the number of activities on offer. You could spend days here and not get bored!
Depending on how long you’re planning on visiting the park for, you may not have enough time to see absolutely everything, so we’ve made things a bit easier by highlighting the things you simply cannot miss. From cultural experiences in a realistic Mayan village to the colourful tropical birds at the aviary, we cover the attractions that are highly rated by everyone that visits. We’ve also included a few personal favourites.
Read on for a list of the best things to do at Xcaret Park that you can’t miss off your list. Once you’ve seen these, you have plenty of free time to check out everything else on offer. 😊
The first stop on our list of the best things to see and do at Xcaret park is to float through one of the three underground rivers (Blue River, Mayan River, and the Manatee River). Each of the underground rivers offers a unique and relaxing experience, where you’ll swim through a maze of caves and tunnels. Admire stunning rock formations, waterfalls and tropical jungle scenery as you float along the lazy river… This is widely regarded as the best thing to do at Xcaret Park so arrive early to beat the crowds!
- The underground rivers will each take approximately one hour to swim through from beginning to end. They all have various stop off points, for those who want to take a break or get out and finish the underground river earlier.
- You’ll need to pick up your life jacket before entering the underground river and drop these off at the station when you’ve finished.
- Keep an eye out for the various photo spots along the river where you can scan your photo-pass wrist band.
Bridge to Paradise (Mexican cemetery)
A large part of Mexican culture is celebrating the lives of the dead, usually through lots of colour, decorations and positive energy. Day of the dead, or día de los Muertos in Spanish, is a time where everyone gets together on the 2nd of November to remember lost ancestors. Girls dress up in colourful dresses, and the guys get suited and booted with floral detailing and skeleton-painted faces.
The bridge to paradise, also known as the Mexican cemetery, gives you an idea of what a real life cemetery might look like in Mexico. It’s incredibly colourful and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. In addition to this, if you visit the park around November, then you’ll definitely see lots of día de los Muertos activities and events happening in the park! Don’t miss the underground crypts, which are lit up with hundreds of candles.
The Mayan Village
If you’re looking to get a real taste of what Mexican culture is really like, then the Mayan Village at Xcaret park has it all. This diverse village area is proudly showcases Mayan culture, arts, food and activities. Whilst exploring the Mayan village, you’ll have the opportunity to see a show that takes place on an evening, which you simply can’t miss.
For those of you who are looking to get first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a true Mayan for the day, you can have a look around the quaint villages and take part in some of the workshops they have available, such as wood carving and embroidery. We personally loved the architecture of the village.
Aviary: Sanctuary of Birds
The next stop you’ll want to take at Xcaret, and the most impressive part of the park in our opinion, is the vibrant aviary. If you’re a lover of birds and fancy seeing them roam freely in the park, then it’s not to be missed. The aviary boasts hundreds of species of birds, from slightly cheeky and loud parrots, to the majestic bright-beaked toucan. How about seeing some forever hungry vultures? The interior of the aviary is occupied by a huge waterfall. It really makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the amazon jungle and the surround scenery will blow you away!
It’ll take you around 30-40 minutes to explore the entire aviary, depending on how many stops you take along the way. There are some excellent photo spots amongst the waterfalls and birds, with the ground floor waterfall being a prime photo backdrop.
P.s. Don’t miss the toucan! We were incredibly fortunate to see the king of birds when we visited. He was parked up on a branch having his afternoon snack.
Next up on our list of the best things to see and do at Xcaret park is the natural pools. After exploring the park in the morning, you’ll want to relax for a bit and soak up the Mexican sunshine before continuing on with your day. Xcaret is home to a number of freshwater pools that are located on the seafront, right next to the snorkelling lagoon.
The freshwater pools are generally a little quieter than the main beach area of the park and are a good place to relax. There are 2 freshwater pools, with one of them having a water slide. Adults can kick back on the hammocks with a drink whilst the kids have fun splashing about in the water. Lifeguards are on standby just in case. When we visited, this area of Xcaret was very quiet, providing a welcome retreat from the busy attractions.
The snorkelling lagoon / inlet
The snorkelling section at Xcaret park is an absolute must see attraction, especially for those underwater explorers out there. The snorkelling pool is home to some amazing tropical fish that you’ll see swimming beside you as you venture under water. To enjoy this activity, you’ll need to wear a life jacket. If you haven’t brought your own snorkelling gear, you can rent them from the equipment booth right next to the lagoon for a small fee. Snorkelling equipment is free for Xcaret Plus Admission ticket holders.
- The snorkelling area can get very busy, especially during the afternoon. Therefore, we recommend arriving in the morning to avoid the crowds. Heading here straight after exploring the underground river is your best chance to beat the crowds.
- Don’t forget to bring a pair of water shoes, as the rocks and the steps to get into the pools are quite slippery.
Coral Reef Aquarium
Whilst we’re on the topic of sea life, you must pay a visit to Xcaret’s Coral Reef aquarium. It’s home to some stunning tropical fish in their hundreds. You’ll be able to get up close and personal as you explore the dimly lit aquarium floor, marvelling at everything from jellyfish and eels to vibrant clown fish. You’ll see species of fish that you didn’t even know existed!
After exploring the indoor section of the aquarium, you can head outside to the highlight of the aquarium attraction… You’ll encounter many baby turtles swimming around in their little pools waiting to be fed, so if you didn’t get the chance to see some sea turtles at your resort’s beach, then you needn’t worry! There’s also several giant sea turtles swimming happily up and down the river. We have never seen anything like it and were truly amazed by their size!
Xcaret’s aquarium isn’t just any standard aquarium and you’ll be glad you paid it a visit.
Ceremony of The Voladores
We’re almost coming to the end of our guide on the best things to see and do at Xcaret park. Before we finish, we can’t forget about the tantalising and extremely tense ceremony, Dance of the Flyers, otherwise known as, ‘Danza de los Voladores’ in Spanish. This traditional Mayan performance is an ancient ceremony that’s said to ask the gods to end a severe draught.
Located near the Xcaret Plus area of the park, the ceremony takes place at an outdoor theatre where you’ll have the chance to get sit and comfortable for the show. The ‘Voldadores’ climb up a pole that’s 30 metres in height, with four out of the five participants tying their feet to the pole itself. They’ll then hang and swing in mid-air, whilst the other plays a traditional Mexican instrument. It’s a fantastic show to witness and will definitely have you on the edge of your seat!
The best optional paid activities at Xcaret Park:
Whilst most attractions at Xcaret Park are free, there are several optional activities that you can pay an additional cost for. There’s no way you can do them all, so we’ve hand selected some of the best.
Xcaret Mexico Espectacular evening dinner show
One of the top things to do at Xcaret park in the evening, after a long day of exploring the park, is to watch Xcaret’a Mexico Espectacular show. It’ll give you a true taste of the rich Mexican culture and is filled with pre-Hispanic dances, horse exhibitions and drummers, amongst many other performances. Be prepared for lots of face paint, colourful costumes and vibrant Mexican music!
The show is included as part of the standard Xcaret Park admission ticket. However, if you’re looking to make enjoy your evening to the fullest, you can also dine at the show, going all out with a 7-course meal as you watch the spectacular show. It’s well worth the additional cost! Tickets are limited so be sure to book the dinner show as soon as you arrive at the park, or online the day before.
Snuba Underwater Adventure
The final activity on our list of the best things to see and do in Xcaret park is for all you explorers out there who thrive off adventure. Snuba is an activity you may have seen before in other destinations. It’s a combination of both snorkelling and diving that provides you with a comfortable and secure experience under water. It’s a great choice for experienced adventurers, but also beginners, as there are qualified instructors to help and support you. Spend just over an hour walking across the floor of the huge aquarium pool, looking up at an array of tropical sea life. It’s immersive for all ages and a cool thing to do if you haven’t experienced it before.
We recommend booking in for the early morning slot if possible, as it’ll give you a better chance of seeing more fish, and perhaps some sea turtles! As the activity takes just over an hour, you’ll have plenty of time to see the park afterwards.
For a full list of all attractions at Xcaret Park and a map of the different attraction routes, check out the official Xcaret website here.
We made it! We hope you enjoyed reading through our list of the best things to see at Xcaret park. We know opinions are subjective, but we personally loved these attractions and they’re highly regarded by everyone we’ve talked to. If you think we’ve missed any attractions off our list, then please let us know in the comments section below, as I’m sure we’ll be back for some more Xcaret fun in the future!
For more insider information, check out our Top tips for visiting Xcaret Park post.
I’m a passionate traveller that loves a sunny beach holiday, but also appreciate the cultural side to a trip and checking out undiscovered destinations. I’m the go-to Toucan Traveller for great holiday stories, cool photos and foodie recommendations.