Xcaret Park: The Riviera Maya’s Easiest Attraction for Kids

If you’re planning a family vacation in the Riviera Maya, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the kid-friendly tour options available. No need to stress. When it comes to local activities, there’s one option that everyone will love, and it’s the most famous in the area: Xcaret Park.

Located near Playa del Carmen, what makes Xcaret Park great is that it has attractions and facilities for every age —  babies, kids and adults alike. In fact, Xcaret is also by far the most baby-friendly nature park in the Riviera Maya, with paved pathways for easy stroller navigation and baby changing stations throughout. Keep reading to discover the extensive attractions that children of all ages and adults alike will love during a day at Xcaret.

Children’s World at Xcaret

Designed for ages 0 – 12, the newer Children’s World provides adventurous fun created especially for kids. Be careful, or they might want to spend the entire day here.

A small ropes course of hanging bridges, water slides, waterfalls, a small bird habitat and beautiful cenotes takes bigger kids on a jungle expedition. Babies and toddlers can have fun with a wading pool, water jets, and a sandbox. Parents can keep an eye on the main swimming area from the relaxation area. Family-friendly restrooms come complete with family bathrooms, feeding rooms, showers, and dressing rooms for your convenience.

Activities for Water-Lovers

Xcaret park is set in a region surrounded by stunning Caribbean beaches and refreshing underground rivers, making it an ideal place for families who love a good swim.

The park’s famous underground river takes you along a calm, crystal-clear river between rocky cliffs as it traverses the park. Bigger kids and adults won’t want to miss this attraction. But we don’t recommend it for babies or toddlers simply because the water is too cold.

However, all ages can enjoy Xcaret’s gorgeous white sand beach areas. The coastal side of the park has inlets with pool-like waters for lounging and relaxing, along with a channel especially for snorkelers.

An Animal-Lover’s Paradise at Xcaret Park

Kids. Love. Animals. And to be honest, so do we.

During a day at Xcaret, you can’t turn any corner without being greeted by animals. Xcaret Park is also one of the region’s top conservation areas, with several programs for helping local species like sea turtles, macaws, quetzales, and more.

A massive outdoor aviary is a home to regional birds. Here, a safe path and hanging bridges take you around a waterfall-lined cliff face — from the top area which is home to canopy-dwelling birds, down to the bottom where you’ll find water-dwelling species.

The park’s lush, green butterfly pavilion provides a huge habitat for butterflies of all colors, letting you walk through a small jungle filled with these vibrant winged creatures. Kids will be mesmerized by Xcaret’s aquarium, where they can peer into large-scale recreations of the Riviera Maya’s famous coral reefs. Just outside is a sparkling bay that’s home to the region’s beloved and well-protected sea turtles.

Near Xcaret’s main entrance is the hacienda area, which houses its horse stables. During the day, families will love viewing the Mexican-style horse shows with the country’s traditional riders known as “charros” and “adelitas.”

As you head further into the park, you’ll come across numerous habitats that offer a home to local animal species like flamingos, monkeys, tapirs, macaws, deer and even jaguars.

Mexican and Maya Culture at Xcaret Park

A day at Xcaret park gives your kids (and you) the chance to learn more about local culture in many fun and fascinating ways during your vacation.

The Riviera Maya’s vibrant roots can be seen at the Maya Village area, where you’ll see how the ancient Mayas lived their day-to-day lives. Also, there are real Maya ruins found in the center of the park.

Mexican culture also thrives at Xcaret, with a colorful Mexican cemetery set around a hillside. Papantla flyer shows during the day showcase performers participating in a centuries-old ritual spinning from ropes off the top of a pole.

Of course, the park’s famed evening show, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular, takes place in the main theater at the end of each day. The first act reenacts ancient Maya history and its famous ball game. The second act of Mexican history features dance and music from after the arrival of the Spanish.

Tips for Visiting Xcaret with Kids

Xcaret’s extensive facilities and fun-filled activities make it an easy and unforgettable experience for the entire family. Here’s a list of travel tips that we hope will make your day at the park even more hassle-free:

  • Xcaret only allows biodegradable sunscreen to protect the environment. At the park entrance, there’s a station where you can trade your regular sunblock for a free sample of their biodegradable sunblock (and your sunblock will be returned to you when you leave). However, we recommend bringing your own full bottle of biodegradable sunblock or purchasing one at the park, to make sure your family has enough to last the whole day.
  • The paths at Xcaret are smooth enough to make it accessible enough even for a simple umbrella-style stroller. However, a larger stroller with more storage (like cupholders and a basket underneath) will make it easier to walk around the park with diapers, snacks, extra changes of clothes, etc.
  • Typically you have to purchase all your snacks, drinks, and meals within the park (they have restaurants, and numerous snack stands throughout). However, Xcaret will let parents bring in their own baby food, milk, formulas, etc. We’ve even brought in toddler snacks and juices in our bags, but try not to pack too heavy as you’ll be carrying it around all day.
  • What to wear at Xcaret: You’ll be walking around for hours, so make sure everyone is wearing comfortable shoes. They don’t necessarily have to be sneakers; comfortable sandals are also a good option. Everyone will want to be in swimsuits most of the day, and you’ll want to consider a cover-up like a t-shirt or a sundress for when you’re exploring the non-aquatic areas of the park. We also recommend a change of dry clothes and undergarments for the late afternoon, before heading to the night show.
  • Purchasing the Xcaret Plus admission is worth it. The price difference above the basic admission price is roughly the same as what you’d pay for a meal at one of the park’s restaurants. But the Xcaret Plus plan also includes one buffet meal. In addition to breaking even on food, you get extra perks like free snorkel equipment rental and access to the exclusive Xcaret Plus area with showers, dressing areas, and lockers for storing items you don’t want to carry around all day (perfect if you’re going to change the kids into dry clothes in the afternoon).

Are you already planning your next Riviera Maya vacation with the kids? LocoGringo would love to help.

We can assist you with finding a family-friendly vacation villa in Riviera Maya destinations like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Akumal and more, plus help you find local activities and tours you’ll love. Just contact our concierges and let’s get started.

 

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