AAA Editor Notes
Xcaret is about 6 km (4 mi.) s. of Playa del Carmen at Mex. 307 Km marker 282 (follow the marked turn-off). At Xcaret (ISH-kah-ret), preserving the natural environment is as important as showcasing it, and equally important is this water park's dedication to educating visitors regarding Mayan history, culture and traditions.

One of the most popular activities for swimmers, snorkelers and divers is paddling through interconnected cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) and two natural underground rivers. There also are beaches and inlets for swimming and snorkeling, along with educational programs that include interaction and swimming with dolphins. For a more adventurous outing board Adrenalina, a boat that zips over the open Caribbean while making high-speed twists and turns. Snuba (a combination of scuba diving and snorkeling) and Sea Trek (an underwater helmet) activities allow visitors to view marine life around an offshore coral reef.

In addition to water-based recreation, Xcaret offers a living coral reef aquarium; jaguar, deer and monkey island habitats; an aviary; a bat cave; regional wildlife exhibits, including tapirs, flamingos, manatees and sea turtles; a nature trail through tropical jungle; a bromeliad and orchid greenhouse; and a Butterfly Pavilion. Several small archeological sites are on the grounds.

A replica of a Mayan village (Pueblo Maya) depicts how life is still lived in many rural Yucatán towns. The re-created village cemetery, with colorful grave displays and catacombs running underneath, has a hilltop setting. Entertainment features performances of the ceremonial flying pole dance by the Papantla Flyers and the rousing evening show “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular,” with traditional music and dance performances and an overview of Mexican history as seen through the eyes of a young girl.

Note: Using suntan lotion is not permitted in the lagoons and other waterways because of its effect on the marine habitat. Visitors are not permitted to bring food, beverages, audio devices or sunblock lotions into the park. Allow a full day.

Food is available.

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