Exploring Cancun Part 1: Xcaret

Two days after the family cruise around the Caribbean, KC and I left for Cancun. We’d plan our trip to Cancun last January, trying to explore more of the Caribbean while we were in the area. The first full day was spent around the resort, taking advantage of the pools, paddle boards, and other resort activities. We spent the next day at Xcaret, an amusement park that blew my mind. This park was mostly natural (no mechanical rides) and had the following attractions:

  • Three underground rivers (you float down them),
  • Accessible beach and bay (for swimming and snorkeling),
  • SNUBA and SCUBA diving,
  • Archeological Mayan sites,
  • Aquarium,
  • Dolphin and shark shows,
  • Zoo,
  • Gardens,
  • Operating cemetery, chapel, and church, and
  • Cultural shows, including their big night show, the “Mexico Especial”.

Below are pictures taken around this amazing park. Unfortunately, we couldn’t photograph one of the best experiences in the park: SNUBA diving. In SNUBA diving, a helmet with an attached air hose is placed over your head and positive pressure air is provided through the air hose. With the helmet, we walked along the bottom of the bay, about twenty feet under water. I have never dived before and walking underwater in the bay was a beautifully surreal experience. The bay was open to the ocean and we were able to see many types of wild fish swim around us and by us in schools. Near the end of our SNUBA dive, a wild sea turtle swam within five feet of my head, close enough for me to touch it, if I had been brave enough to stick my hand out. Seeing a wild sea turtle, to me a foreign creature I have only seen in tanks, swim by my head while I was exploring the bay under water was a magical experience.

The river heads into the cave

Floating down the river, towards the tunnel

A cenote, or opening in the cave's ceiling

A cenote in the cave’s ceiling provides light to the underwater river

Looking up into the cenote from the underground river

Looking up into the cenote from the underground river

KC approves of this selfie

KC approves of this selfie

At the opening of the cave, there is another waterfall... and a Sarah!

The rivers had some waterfalls

The underground river flowed past a music stage

The underground river flowed past a music stage and we were treated to live music as we lazily floated by

Around Xcaret, there were remains of an ancient Mayan Village

Around Xcaret, there were archeological remains of an ancient Mayan Village to view and learn about

One of the many sea turtles on display

One of the many sea turtles around the park

A shark, as seen through the glass of the shark tank

A shark, as seen through the glass of the shark tank

Jellyfish in the Aquarium

Jellyfish

Jaguars!

Jaguars!

Cemetery, Chapel, and Church

As KC and I wandered around the park, we came across a honeycomb-shaped hill that had graves aligned in rings around the hill.

Cemetery in the park

Cemetery in the park

Cherubs decorating one of the graves

Cherubs decorating one of the graves

We approached the cemetery and walked around, looking at the artwork on the graves when we noticed an opening that led to the center of the hill. To our surprise, underneath the graves was a chapel.

Inside the chapel, under the cemetery

Inside the chapel, under the cemetery

The cross in the middle of the chapel

A cross in the middle of the chapel

After we left the chapel, we continued to wander around the park and came across a Catholic church, which was preparing for a church service.

The Catholic Church in the amusement park

The Catholic Church in the amusement park

Mexico Especial

At the end of the day, the park has a final show, called the Mexico Especial. The first half of this two hour show was a musical history of Mexico, starting with Mayan history and moving through time, showing the conquer of Mexico by the Spanish Conquistadors and the Mexican Revolution. Where the first half of the show tells the story of Mexico, the second half is a musical and visual experience of the different regions across Mexico with live music and dancers, attired in traditional clothes. It was a very well done show that made me proud of my Mexican heritage (on my mom’s side).

Along the path to the "Mexico Especia" were costumed characters of the show holding still as statues

Along the path to the “Mexico Especial” were costumed characters of the show holding still as statues

A scene from the Mexican History section of the show

A scene from the first half, after the Conquistadors

One of the many beautiful dances from the "Mexico Especial" show

One of the many dances from the “Mexico Especial” show

A cultural dance

A cultural dance

 

Even though we started exploring the park when it first opened in the morning, we couldn’t see everything, though we tried. There was too much to see and too much to do. At the end of the Mexico Especial, we dragged ourselves from the theater back to the bus to take us to the hotel, tired but content from the fun day at Xcaret.

 

You can see more pictures from our time in Cancun on our Cancun Fun Photo Journal Page.

3 responses to “Exploring Cancun Part 1: Xcaret

  1. Pingback: Exploring Cancun Part 2: Chichen Itza | Little Moon Adventures·

  2. Pingback: Exploring Cancun Part 3: Seeing Cancun on Our Own | Little Moon Adventures·

  3. Amazing! I loved the entire experience, as if I was there. Your great, great , great Uncle, was President of Mexico, President Modero!

    Like

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