Xcaret is located roughly 45 minutes south of Cancun, Mexico. The park is advertised as an ecological and archaeological Disneyland. While there is a definite back to nature feel to the place, it is expensive and crowded with more than a slight overtone of commercialism.
Pronounced “esh…car..it”, Xcaret is an extremely popular tourist resort, perhaps the biggest one in Mexico. At first glance, the overall impression is extremely impressive. The park contains beaches, snorkeling areas, hiking areas, horseback riding, botanical gardens, captive dolphins and so on. The park is essentially a jungle and beach play area for adults and kids.
Unlike Disneyland, a must see at Xcaret is the re-enactment of Mayan games. In a game resembling basketball, “Mayan” park staff plays Pok-Ta-Pok for visitors. For some reason, the park staff fails to take the game to its historic conclusion which involved the losers being killed. So much for authenticity!
My biggest gripe with Xcaret is it to similar to Disneyland. First, you can’t walk five feet in Cancun without someone sticking a brochure in your hand. Once you cave in and go to the park, you can expect to pay $40 to get in. After that, the giving just keeps on going. You can expect to pay for practically everything. Want to go snorkeling? You better have your own gear with you or be ready to pay. Need a beach chair? That will cost you. Horseback riding? Well, you get the idea.
Should You Go
Deciding whether to go to Xcaret is a personal decision. If commercialism bothers you, Xcaret may be a place to pass on. One visit was good enough for me. My bank account can’t take another!