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Top 15 Tips to Have the Best Day at Xcaret Mexico

Xcaret Park is a must-see attraction in the Maya Riviera. Xcaret is a huge eco-park featuring over 50 amazing attractions, including the Xcaret underground river, Mayan archeological and cultural sites, Mexican wildlife exhibits and much, much more.

There are too many things to do at Xcaret in a single day. To help you make the most of your visit, we share our top Xcaret Park tips and tricks with you.

Make time in your xcaret itinerary to see the parrots and other tropical birds at the Aviary

We received some of the products mentioned below on a promotional basis. This post contains compensated links.

Top 15 Xcaret Tips and Tricks

If you are planning a visit to Xcaret Park with kids, here are our top 15 tips to make your visit easier and more rewarding:

1. Buy Xcaret Tickets in Advance to Save Time and Money

Xcaret is hands-down the best theme park in the Yucatan Peninsula and the ticket price reflects that fact. With so many things to do at Xcaret, you’ll still enjoy excellent value for your money.

So, how much does Xcaret Park cost? There are two types of Standard Xcaret Park tickets:

  • Standard Xcaret tickets cost $109.99 USD when purchased at the park. Standard tickets include most of the things to do at Xcaret including: the underground river, the beach, Butterfly Pavilion, Coral Reef Aquarium, the Aviary, Xcaret México Espectacular show, Children’s World, life jackets and inner tubes, the tropical jungle trail and much more.

  • Xcaret at Night Tickets cost $89.99 USD at the park. Xcaret at Night is similar to a Standard Xcaret ticket, but limits admission to after 4PM.
There are so many things to do at Xcaret Park, including the Sea Turtles

There are several ways to buy Xcaret Park discount tickets:

  • Save 25% with the purchase of tickets to three parks or tours
  • Save 20% with the purchase of tickets to two parks or tours
  • Save 15% by purchasing Xcaret tickets at least 21 days in advance
  • Save 10% if you buy tickets between 7-20 days in advance
  • Save 50% on Xcaret tickets for kids between 5 – 11 years old
  • Xcaret tickets for children aged 4 and under are free

Enjoy these discounted Xcaret tickets by purchasing your Xcaret tickets online. A family of 4 could easily save $33 – 49 USD on Standard Xcaret tickets alone.

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2. Add Food and Experiences to Your Ticket

Xcaret Park has two additional two ticket options which add extra value and experiences to your visit:

  • Xcaret Plus Admission tickets cost $139.99 USD at the park. Xcaret Plus tickets include all the things to do with the Standard Xcaret tickets plus you get one free meal from the buffet restaurant of your choice, free snorkel gear and access to the exclusive Plus area lockers, dressing rooms and private restrooms.

  • Xcaret Total Admission tickets cost $199.99 USD at the park. Xcaret Total tickets include all the benefits of an Xcaret Plus ticket plus one of the following activities:
    • Adrenalina: a high speed ride in the sea
    • Snuba Family: a combination of snorkeling and diving
    • Sea Trek: a walk on the seabed.
A visit to Xcaret with kids was a highlight of our month in Playa del Carmen

3. Get Free Xcaret Admission with HSBC

Xcaret Park offers a great deal for HSBC credit card holders. If you use your HSBC credit card to buy your Standard Xcaret or Xcaret Plus admission tickets, you will get a second day for free.

Ad for Xcaret and HSBC Second Day Free promotion

4. Save Some Pesos with Bundles

Bundling your tickets for all the Xcaret parks and/or tours to Mayan ruin sites you plan to visit is a great way to save money at Xcaret. Buy any two experiences online and save 20%, while 3 or more experiences will save you 25%.

Here are a few Xcaret ticket packages we recommend:

Xel-Ha

Xel-ha is a kid-friendly, water-themed eco-park near Tulum. We visited both Xcaret and Xel-Ha during our Mexico family vacation and had a great time at each. Read more about our day at Xel-Ha with kids.

If you plan on visiting both eco-parks, buying an Xcaret / Xel-ha ticket package will save you $48 USD per person.

Chichen Itza

You can’t visit Cancun without seeing Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Learn more about this must-see Yucatan Peninsula attraction.

Buying an Xcaret / Chichén Itzá tour package will save you $49 USD per person.

Delphinus Dolphin Swim

Swimming with dolphins is a bucket list item for many families!

Bundle your Delphinus dolphin swim experience with your Xcaret park admission and save $36USD.

Create Your Own Combo

There is virtually no limit to the parks, cenotes and archaeological sites you can bundle. Book online and you’ll save between 20 – 25%.

Get 3 Parks for the Price of 2

An additional Xcaret offer for HSBC credit card holders is the opportunity to buy a three park package for the price of two. The three park combo includes admission to Xplor, Xcaret Plus and Xoximilco.

5. Xcaret Park Equipment Rentals

Many people wonder what to bring to Xcaret. For example, do you need to bring towels to Xcaret?

Luckily, you don’t need your own outdoor gear as Xcaret Park has all the equipment your family needs for a fun day. Available Xcaret equipment rentals include towels, snorkel equipment, lockers and wheelchairs.

Parents can get an Xcaret stroller rental (single or double strollers). The Xcaret stroller rental service is located very near the main entrance and is open from 8:30 am until the park’s closing.

Standard and electric wheelchair rentals are also available at Xcaret.

Parents will find the Xcaret strollers near the front entrance of the eco-park

If you are going to use a wheelchair or stroller at Xcaret use this Xcaret map to find the stroller-friendly walking routes through the park. The map refers to them as wheelchair-friendly routes, but anywhere a wheelchair can go, so can a stroller.

TIPS FOR THE XCARET UNDERGROUND RIVER

You may be wondering if you need to bring a towel to Xcaret or where to put your stuff while you swim the underground river. No need to worry – the good folks at Xcaret Park have made it super easy.

Here’s how the Xcaret Underground River works:

6. Getting Changed for the Xcaret Underground River

Standard ticket holders can get changed in the shower room near the main entrance to the park. You’ll need to walk a few minutes from the public change room to the entrance to the underground river.

Xcaret tips and tricks - rental towels and a locker for your stuff

If you don’t feel like walking that far, while carrying all your stuff with a bathing suit on, you can upgrade to an Xcaret Plus ticket. One of the many features of an Xcaret Plus tickets is the use of the exclusive Plus Area change room right outside the entrance of the Xcaret underground river.

7. Where to Store Your Stuff for the Underground River

At the entrance to the Xcaret underground river, you put all of your personal belongings into a large duffel bag. Xcaret staff zip up lock your duffel bag and then give you the only key.

Keep the key with you as you float down the underground river. When you reach the far end of the river, use your key to pick up your bag with all your belongings. Easy!!

8. Underground River Swimming Gear

Life jackets are mandatory for the Xcaret underground river. Life jackets are included in all Xcaret admission tickets and can be picked up at the entrane to the underground river. Simply give hte life jacket back at the end of the river.

If you are visiting Xcaret with kids, they have life jackets for every age, including babies.

As for towels at Xcaret, if you bought a standard ticket you will need to bring your own towel or rent one for a small fee. Towels are included in the Xcaret Plus package.

We highly recommend renting flippers for the Xcaret underground river. We cheaped out and didn’t rent snorkel gear, which was a big mistake!

Our kids don’t swim on their own, so we had to swim while pulling them along. The underground river doesn’t have much of a current, so to swim while pulling a toddler was a big effort. I’d have killed to have had a pair of flippers!

Snorkel equipment rentals are $11USD or are free with the Xcaret Plus package.

9. Swimming the Xcaret Underground River

It takes roughly an hour to float the entire length of the underground river. If you, or your kids, are not interested in swimming the full length of the underground river, you can get out at several spots along the way (we didn’t finish the whole thing).

If you leave the underground river early you will need to walk to the end to collect your duffel bag. If you feel you only want to be in the water a short time, it may make sense to rent a locker for your stuff near the beginning of the river instead.

10. Swimming the Underground River with Small Kids

Xcaret Park made us sign a special waiver in order to bring our toddlers into the underground river as some small children find the water too cold.

If you are concerned about the underground river water temperature, we recommend stopping at the first underground river exit. Take a breather here and check to make sure your kids are handling the water temperature OK before continuing on.

Swimming the underground river at Xcaret with kids

11. Xcaret Food and Beverage

Can you bring food to Xcaret? All outside food and beverages are prohibited within Xcaret Park. The only exception is that parents visiting Xcaret with a baby can bring baby food into the park.

Most visitors to Xcaret Park will spend a full day, meaning you are likely to eat a meal during your visit. If you plan on eating a meal at Xcaret, the Xcaret Plus package will likely save you money.

The Xcaret Plus package entitles you to one buffet lunch, one beer and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages during your meal. There are 1-2 inexpensive restaurants which may be cheaper separately, but for most of the Xcaret restaurant options, the Xcaret Plus package will be cheaper than paying separately (especially with the 10-15% online discount). 

There was plenty of American food and Mexican food at the affordable La Orquidea breakfast buffet in Xcaret Park Mexico

If you are visiting Xcaret with kids, you may want to eat lunch a bit early, as we did. Most of the restaurants within Xcaret open at noon or later, but the following restaurants are open earlier:

  • La Orquídea Coffee Shop opens at 8:30am. Located near the Xcaret Park entrance, you can enjoy a buffet Mexican breakfast or lunch. We ate here and were lucky enough to catch the tail end of their breakfast buffet for our lunch. We loved it! It was also one of the most affordable places to eat in Xcaret.  

  • El Manglar Restaurant opens at 11am. Located close to the Natural Pools, at the exit of the Underground Rivers, this seafood restaurant specializes in the food of the Mexican Pacific.

  • La Península Restaurant opens at 11:30am. Located in the northern part of the Park, opposite to the Dolphin Swim area, this international buffet has a strong emphasis on seafood, including a sushi bar.

12. Use Xcaret Approved Sunscreen

To protect the natural balance of the water ecosystem within the park, Xcaret policy of requires the use biodegradable sunscreen (containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide).

Please take this Xcaret sunscreen policy seriously as it is for the health of the sea life within the park. We have been to other water-based attractions that felt like we were swimming in a bathtub of coconut oil from all the sunscreen coming off the tourists. This cannot be good for the sea life!

Please do your part for the fish and wear biodegradable sunscreen to Xcaret.

13. Bug Spray

We hardly noticed any mosquitoes at Xcaret, but we did end up with a few bites at the end of the day. This is to be expected given that Xcaret Park is set in the jungle.

We didn't need much insect repellent when we visited Xcaret Park with kids, but biodegradable sunscreen is mandatory

We expected the mosquitoes to be way worse at Xcaret and were pleasantly surprised at their absence. It’s worthwhile to have some non-toxic bug spray in your bag just in case.

14. Strategy for Xcaret Activities

We recomend saving your Xcaret water activities for the end of the day. This allows you to apply biodegradable sunscreen when you arrive at Xcaret and not have to worry about reapplying until after the water activities.

Plus it’s easier to deal with wet clothes at the end of the day when you are heading home vs. the beginning.

15. Stay at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico

If you want a really amazing Xcaret experience for the whole family, stay at the brand new, family-friendly Hotel Xcaret Mexico, where they literally redefine the term “all-inclusive”.

Hotel Xcaret tips

The Xcaret hotel All-Fun Inclusive program includes food and beverages, admission to all the Xcaret parks, transportation between the parks and an airport shuttle.

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See Our 1-Day Xcaret Itinerary

We had an incredible time at Xcaret Park with our kids. Check out our post, Have a Fun Day at Xcaret with Kids to see the fun your family can have too!

There are so many things to do at Xcaret with a toddler

Also, check out our 9 Reasons Parents Should Take Their Kids to Xcaret and Xel-Ha.

Xcaret Park – Your Questions Answered

What should I bring to Xcaret?

You don’t need to bring much to Xcaret Park. We recommend you bring a swimsuit, towel, a waterproof case for your phone, biodegradable sunscreen, non-toxic bug spray, a change of clothes, a hat and sunglasses, cash or credit card and your purchase confirmation voucher.

Do I need to bring towels to Xcaret?

There are tons of water-based attractions at Xcaret Park, including the underground river, a beach, natural pools, a lagoon, a high-speed boat ride, swimming with dolphins, stingrays and/or sharks, underwater walking, snuba and snorkeling.

With so many water-based activities, chances are very good you will need a towel at Xcaret. You should bring your own towel to Xcaret Park, or you can easily rent one at the park for a small fee.

What sunscreen is allowed in Xcaret?

To protect the natural balance of the water ecosystem within Xcaret Park, their policy of requires the use biodegradable sunscreen (containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide).

What is the best biodegradable sunscreen?

According to Consumer Reports, the best thing you can do to protect ocean life is to drastically reduce your usage of sunscreen by wearing beach clothing with ultraviolet protection.

After taking this important step, the only Consumer Reports recommended reef-safe sunscreen is which meets Xcaret sunscreen criteria is Badger Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream.

Note, the very popular Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock does not meet Xcaret Park sunscreen standards.

What sunscreen is best for Mexico?

Chances are that if you are visiting Xcaret Park, you will be enjoying lots of water based activities during your visit to the Riviera Maya. To protect the ocean ecosystem, consider using Badger Clear Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream. It ranks #8 out of 50 sunscreens by Consumer Reports.

If you also want a great sunscreen for the times you are not going in the ocean, currently the top 3 sunscreens per Consumer Reports were all manufactured by Alba Botanical.

How many days do you need in Xcaret?

How many days you need in Xcaret will vary from party to party, depending on your interests. We spent a full day at Xcaret with our kids and didn’t get to see everything we wanted to.

If you want a second day at Xcaret, there are a few options to consider:

1) HSBC Mastercard holders can get a second day at Xcaret for free.
2) Guests at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico get free admission to all Xcaret theme parks, so if you wanted to visit Xcaret twice, you can.

How do I plan my day at Xcaret?

Xcaret Park is a huge eco-theme park with a tremendous amount of activities. There are Xcaret activities for everyone including nature attractions, water-based activities, cultural activities and performances, plus a variety of kids activities.

We recommend getting familiar with the list of Xcaret activities and prioritize your day according to your interests. To get an idea of what is possible in a day at Xcaret, check out our day at Xcaret with kids.

Can I bring food into Xcaret?

Outside food is not allowed in Xcaret Park. The only exception is that baby food is allowed in Xcaret.

Does Xcaret have a beach?

Xcaret has a small, white sand beach near the inlet to the Caribbean Sea. Alternate between enjoying the Xcaret beach bar service and a dip in the calm waters of the well-protected Xcaret beach.

How many Xcaret parks are there?

The Xcaret Group operates five ecoparks in Mexico:

Xcaret Park
Xel-Ha
Xplor Eco Adventure Park
Xenses Park
Xoximilco

In addition, the Xcaret group offers day trips to swim in cenotes and Mayan ruins.

Which is better Xcaret or Xel Ha?

This is a tough question as Xcaret and Xel-Ha are both excellent eco parks. You will have an excellent day at either park, so which ecopark is better depends on your interests.

Xcaret is a well-rounded ecopark with many land-based, water -based and cultural activities, while Xel-Ha is largely a water-based theme park.

In my opinion, both parks are excellent, but Xcaret is slightly better than Xel-Ha. Industry experts agree – Xcaret has won the Travvy Award for “Best Park in the World” in 2016, 2017 and 2018!

Can you swim with dolphins at Xcaret?

There are three options to swim with dolphins at Xcaret:

Swim with Dolphins – Interax: Check another item off your bucket list with an incredible encounter learning about and swimming with dolphins.

Dolphin Ride: This unforgettable swim with dolphins which includes a fun ride on a dolphin!

Swim with Dolphins – Primax: This amazing swim with dolphins experience is the longest option available at Xcaret.

Does Xcaret have cenotes?

Cenotes are a natural sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Xcaret offers visitors a swim in one of three underground rivers, but there are no true cenotes at Xcaret Park.

If you are interested in swimming in cenotes in Mexico, the Xenotes tour visits four different kinds of cenotes.

How long is the underground river at Xcaret?

The full length of the Xcaret underground river is 656 yards.

How deep is the water at Xcaret?

The average depth of the Xcaret underground river is 5′. Keep in mind that is an average, so a lot of the time it will be deeper than 5′. I’m 5’9″ and my feet did not touch the bottom very often.

If you are not a strong swimmer, don’t despair as life jackets are both complimentary and mandatory.

Can you snorkel at Xcaret?

There are no traditional coral reef snorkeling opportunities at Xcaret Park. That said, Xcaret does offer an optional snorkeling tour to the famous INAH reef, just a short boat ride from the park.

What time is the show at Xcaret?

There are four different Xcaret shows to enjoy during your visit. Throughout the day you can enjoy several performances of the Papantla Flyers, Pre-hispanic Performances and Horse exhibitions.

The main attraction is the evening Xcaret México Espectacular, an epic performance of Mexico’s history with over 300 performers.

Get up-to-date Xcaret show times here.

Is Xcaret kid friendly?

Xcaret is a very kid friendly eco park. We have an entire post on visiting Xcaret with kids.

Are the ruins at Xcaret real?

The Mayan ruins at Xcaret are modest compared to some of the Yucatan Peninsulas most famous ruins, but they are indeed authentic. They date back over 1,000 years when it was a small, but important Mayan maritime settlement.

How much is admission to Xcaret?

Standard Xcaret tickets cost $109.99 USD when purchased at the park. You can save 10-15% by purchasing your tickets ahead of time.

Is Xcaret Park all inclusive?

Xcaret is not an all-inclusive park, but you can pay a little extra and make your Xcaret visit almost all-inclusive. Xcaret Plus Admission tickets include a free meal from the buffet restaurant of your choice, free snorkel gear and access to the exclusive Plus area lockers, dressing rooms and private restrooms.

How much is the unlimited Xcaret experience?

The best Xcaret admission package you can buy is the Xcaret Total admission package. In 2020, this package costs $199.99 USD at the park, but you can save 10-15% by purchasing online in advance.

What is included in the unlimited Xcaret experience?

The Xcaret Total ticket package is not truly “unlimited” by the strict definition of the word, but it is the best Xcaret admission ticket you can buy.

Xcaret Total includes one free meal from the buffet restaurant of your choice, free snorkel gear and access to the exclusive Plus area lockers, dressing rooms and private restrooms. In addition, you will enjoy one of the following activities:

Adrenalina: a high speed boat ride in the sea
Snuba Family: a combination of snorkeling and diving
Sea Trek: a walk on the seabed.

What does Xcaret mean?

The word Xcaret means “small cove” or “small inlet”. This name makes sense when you look at an Xcaret map and can see the small cove which is the centerpiece of many of the aquatic attractions at the ecopark.

Is Hotel Xcaret and Occidental Xcaret the same?

No, Hotel Xcaret Mexico and Occidental Xcaret are both very close to the theme park, but they are separate hotels.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico is owned by the Xcaret Group. Their “All-Fun Inclusive” concept is pretty amazing for fans of eco parks in Mexico. In addition to the usual all-inclusive food and beverages, you’ll enjoy full access to Xcaret parks, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xavage, Xoximilco, Xenses, and the Xenotes and Xichen tours.

The all-inclusive Occidental at Xcaret is owned by the renowned Barcelo Group. The Occidental Xcaret offers an “Unlimited Xcaret Xperience” package which includes Unlimited access to Xcaret Park during your entire stay.

A third option for a hotel near Xcaret is the very highly rated Hacienda Xcaret. It doesn’t include admission to Xcaret, but makes up for it with a significantly lower nightly rate than the other two Xcaret hotels.

Does Hotel Xcaret have a beach?

Hotel Xcaret Mexico does not have much of a traditional white sand beach on the Caribbean Sea. Instead, they have created a beach on a long salt-water inlet which parallels the Caribbean. The result is a tranquil swimming area perfect for kids.

The lack of a traditional Caribbean beach has not impacted the enjoyment of guests at Hotel Xcaret Mexico – in fact many raved about the beach set-up. At the time of writing, it had received an average review of 4.8/5 on Google.

Do you tip at Hotel Xcaret?

As with a typical all-inclusive resort, tips are ‘included’ at Hotel Xcaret Mexico and are not mandatory.

That said, I have stayed at all-inclusive resorts many times – sometimes I didn’t tip and sometimes I did. I can tell you that it doesn’t take much to make the day of your waiter or your room cleaning staff. In my experience, tipping staff at your all-inclusive leads to a more enjoyable stay.

Plan Your Mexico Family Vacation

If you are currently in the Mayan Riviera or are planning a family vacation, check out, Plan the Best Family Trip to the Mayan Riviera. It’s packed full of planning tips, exciting family activities and links to all of our Mayan Riviera blog posts. It’s sure to help make your family trip to Mexico a memorable one!

Best public beaches in Playa del Carmen

We hope our Xcaret tips will help you have an amazing day at the top eco-park in Mexico. Don’t forget to save up to 25% by purchasing your Xcaret tickets online.

Have a great time!

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