Xcaret

This weekend, I made the quick trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen with Jorge’s family to visit one of my favorite places in the world: Xcaret.

Xcaret is an immense ecopark filled with unbelieveable attractions. I’ve been there 4 or 5 times already, and I still haven’t seen everything! The park has Mayan ruins, an underground river, a Mayan village, an hacienda, greenhouses, a huge butterfly pavilion (my favorite part), stunning beaches, dolphins, jaguars, sharks, a lookout tower, amazing restaurants, an aquarium… and the list goes on. All this is surrounded by lush jungle and winding paths, making you feel as if you’ve stepped into another world.

This park isn’t just about nature, though. It’s about Mexico. Combining Mexican culture, Mayan roots and the stunning jungle setting of the Riviera Maya, Xcaret is heaven on Earth. (Except for the snake that slithered across my foot at the entrance… sent that thing flying with a high kick and a scream!)

We started the day wandering around the hacienda near the entrance, with beautiful courtyards and unique colonial artwork, followed by amazing views of the Riviera Maya from the lookout tower. Then, we stopped by the orchid greenhouse (WOW) and took a turn on a riverboat.

A few of us jumped into the underground river, where we swam through caves and vine-covered cliffs, exiting into a beautiful enclosed jungle filled with vibrant butterflies. We walked past jaguars, tapirs and monkeys on our way to explore some Mayan ruins, then stopped by Xcaret’s large aquarium.

After a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea in one of the park’s crystal clear inlets, the family grabbed a quick dinner and headed to Xcaret’s famous show. Mayan warriors greeted us along the fire-lit path to the immense theater, where we sat back and watched the Mayan ball game, Papantla flyers and traditional dances from all over Mexico.

The evening ended with the show’s final song, “Mexico en la Piel” (Mexico In Your Skin), which brings tears to my eyes every. single. time.

Exhausted, I took a little cat nap on the car ride back to Cancun, thinking how much I’m dying to go back already.

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You can follow Xcaret on Twitter via @XcaretPark

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Xel-Ha

For my birthday this past weekend, we decided to go with some friends to Xel-Ha.

Xel-Ha is a huge ecopark set on in inlet in the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen. It has a great All Inclusive plan (all you can eat buffets and all you can drink bars), and it’s perfect for snorkeling, exploring and just relaxing. It has cenotes, lagoons, a mile-long river you can swim through, cliffs, ziplines, a floating bridge, and the list goes on.

One of the highlights was floating down the river, but I didn’t get any pictures because I don’t have a waterproof camera. I saw lots of fish and a barracuda!

Other than that, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The dolphinarium

Its hard to get the full effect from this picure, but under this bridge were HUNDREDS of fish. Later, Jorge and I snorkeled through there... Ive never had such an amazing experience. Then someone threw fish food on top of me and I was attacked by hundreds of fish. Good times haha

Jorge and Juan trying to look cool by the floating bridge

The man of my dreams, taking a much-needed nap.