We try to inspire our kids to love nature. Everywhere we travel with our kids we look for opportunities to take them outdoors to see how beautiful the world and all its creatures are. While in the Mayan Riviera we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Xcaret with our kids (aged 2 & 4). We knew they would love a visit to this beautiful oceanfront nature & cultural theme park.
We had so much fun at Xcaret Park with our kids. On a normal vacation day with our kids, they start dragging their heels around lunch time and our toddler is ready for a nap. Not at Xcaret though…
During our visit to Xcaret, our kids were were full steam ahead all day, never showing signs of boredom or being tired. Of course, they both crashed in the car minutes after we got on the highway!
Xcaret with Kids
This post contains compensated links.
Thank you to Xcaret for hosting us on our visit. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Things to Do at Xcaret For Kids
To help you plan your day at Xcaret Nature Park with your kids, here are the fun activities we did during our family visit:
Immediately upon entering Xcaret Park, our kids were greeted by some beautiful parrots. This made them so excited and set the tone for the rest of the visit.
If you are wondering if you should visit Xcaret with your kids, just look at the excitement on our daughter’s face… You can expect that from your kids all day long.
Exploring the Xcaret Caves
We began our visit to Xcaret with kids by heading towards the cluster of animal exhibits on the White Pathway (Ruta Pueblo Maya). Getting there was a fun adventure in-of-itself!
First we ran through the Caves to the Mayan Village. Yes, we literally ran through it – the kids were so excited they were bursting with energy. Thankfully we arrived at Xcaret Park right at the opening time of 8:30 and it was empty enough that they could run wild without issue.
Xcaret Cemetery and Mayan Village
The Xcaret caves lead you to the beautiful Mexican Cemetery, located atop a circular hill with colorful tombstones. Our daughter really enjoyed walking around the pathways looking at all the brightly colored tombstones. I could tell she was interested in the Xcaret cemetery as she actually slowed down to look and ask questions along the way.
The Mexican cemetery leads to a beautiful reproduction of a Mayan village. As beautiful as it was, we didn’t stop at the Mayan village for long, as the kids were too excited to see the Xcaret birds, but we were impressed by what we saw.
See the Birds at the Xcaret Aviary
The Xcaret Aviary was our first nature stop of the day. This is a truly beautiful complex holding an impressive number of birds and species. It is surprisingly big and it took us a long time to make our way through it all.
The Xcaret Aviary is many stories high, with the trail spiraling downwards along the edge. The aviary features a towering waterfall, which makes the whole place feel like a tropical paradise.
The kids enjoyed walking along the suspension bridge at the top and seeing the tropical birds stopping at the feeders along the way.
And of course, the kids loved the very colorful Xcaret birds. There were so many brightly colored parrots, smaller tropical birds, ducks etc., but it was the pelicans they loved best.
Next up was the Xcaret Butterfly Pavilion, which is an equally impressive enclosure.
Your journey through the Butterfly Pavilion begins with a display featuring a series of small trees. Each subsequent tree shows the gradual transformation from caterpillar to butterfly a little further until the transformation is done.
This introductory display at the Butterfly Pavilion is very cool and really helps kids understand the butterfly transformation process.
The intimate encounters with many beautiful butterflies was so unique and fun, it was definitely one of our kids favorite things to do at Xcaret.
Getting to see so many beautiful, colorful butterflies flying all around and up close was so exciting for them. We had to watch our very excited toddler and preschooler closely to make sure they didn’t touch any butterflies (they didn’t).
We were happy to see lots of Blue Morpho butterflies flying around as it brought back amazing memories of a pre-children trip to the Amazon jungle. If you haven’t seen a Blue Morpho butterfly yet, be sure to visit the Xcaret butterfly pavilion as you simply won’t believe the bright iridescent blue color.
Mexico Family Vacation idea: If your kids love butterflies and you love family trips to Mexico, check out Valle de Bravo. Every winter millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to Mexico and congregate in protected areas nearby. Seeing the butterflies here was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in nature. Best of all, Valle de Bravo is an easy side trip from Mexico City.
Our next must-see Xcaret attraction for the kids was the sea turtles. On our way to the turtles we stopped at the Xcaret Jaguar Island exhibit. We were lucky enough to see the jaguar awake and walking around his little island. What a beautiful creature!
Next we descended some stairs into the Xcaret Park Bat Cave, but all the bats were gone. This happens with nature sometimes – no big deal!
While in the bat cave, we got to see a glimpse of the Xcaret underground river, which made the kids excited for what was to come.
Next up was the Manatees. This large pool contained several manatees, including a super-cute baby manatee!
The Xcaret manatees were eating lettuce at the time, so we were lucky they were quite active, sticking their noses out of the water quite a bit. It’s easy to get a feel for how big the graceful manatees really are!
Xcaret Sea Turtle Exhibit
It’s safe to say that the Sea Turtle attraction was our kids favorite thing to do at Xcaret. Our daughter actually asked, “Can we watch the sea turtles forever?”
The Xcaret Sea Turtle exhibit features a big open pool of crystal clear water with an amazing number of huge sea turtles. There were so many sea turtles, it seemed like there was always at least one really close to us.
The kids were captivated – they sat still and watched the sea turtles for a long time. There are no guard rails, so watch your kids closely.
After a long time watching the sea turtles the big pool, we were happy to find a series of smaller pools filled with insanely cute baby turtles.
See the Fish at the Xcaret Aquarium
The kids loved the Aquarium at Xcaret, which features an impressive amount of local tropical fish.
Aquariums are always one of our kids favorite things to do while traveling. They get super excited and they literally run from tank-to-tank, so we typically don’t really get to see anything for very long.
There was one exhibit at the Xcaret Aquarium which stopped our kids dead in their tracks – the two jellyfish tanks. Our kids stopped and watched these mesmerizing sea creatures for quite a while, especially our toddler.
Strange Wildlife at Xcaret
On our way to lunch we stopped and looked at the Tapir – a large pig-like animal, closely related to horses. Tapir’s are pretty weird and are worth a quick look. We had an action packed morning at Xcaret with our kids and we were all pretty hungry, so we didn’t stay long.
A Kid-Friendly Xcaret Restaurant
For lunch, we walked back to the Xcaret main entrance to have lunch at the kid-friendly La Orquídea Restaurant. We were super excited to see they were still serving breakfast. The breakfast buffet included unlimited coffee and fresh fruit juice. The coffee is always so good in Mexico and the kids really liked the fresh strawberry juice!
The breakfast buffet at La Orquídea Restaurant had an egg station, a quesadilla station and Mexican stews. The kids loved the huge selection of fresh fruit, and they made several visits to the fresh breads and pastries.
We worked up a huge appetite seeing the top Xcaret attractions all morning and we ate a ton of food. La Orquídea Restaurant was a great Xcaret dining option for families with small kids!
Xcaret Children’s World
After lunch we rewarded the kids for a great morning with a visit to the Xcaret Children’s World. I was so impressed with the Xcaret Children’s World, it was actually hard to leave as the kids were enjoying themselves so much.
Upon arrival at Children’s World, our daughter grabbed a kid-sized life jacket and jumped straight into the little lake, which has a surprisingly beautiful cascading waterfall flowing into it. I love the effort by Xcaret Park to make the kids play area beautiful too.
There was a little wading pool next to the lake which our toddler enjoyed playing in. He started to “swim”, which was a huge confidence boost for him. You could see how proud he was!
From there, our daughter went up to the Xcaret splash park, where she quickly made some new friends, while our son dug for buried Mayan treasure in the large sandbox.
Our daughter’s favorite thing to do at the Xcaret Children’s World was the Secret Adventure, which she was able to do with some help from Mom.
The Secret Adventure is a long pathway with jungle gym-type obstacles to navigate, ropes to climb, bridges to cross, waterslides to go down and bird houses to walk through. Our daughter simply loved it!
Swim the Xcaret Underground River
Our last activity of the day was the Xcaret Underground River. Our toddler built off of his “swimming” success at Children’s World and eagerly got into the underground river with Celine!
He’d barely gone into the water at our swimming pool at our 3-bedroom Playa del Carmen condo vacation rental and there he was going into the underground river – amazing!
Don’t miss our list of the Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Playa del Carmen.
The water temperature of the underground river was quite cool and the kids teeth started to chatter a little bit. The first little stretch of river goes through a really beautiful tall canyon, lined with waterfalls and trees at the top.
Before long the river enters a dark cave with high ceilings. It got pretty dark in there, but there were light holes in the ceiling every so often which allowed us to see just enough. It was a little scary for our kids, but we had some fun with it.
There are 4-5 exits along the Xcaret underground river in case you want to get out before the end. We ended up getting out at the first exit as we ate too much at the buffet and we weren’t feeling great swimming with such a full stomach.
We wanted to keep the underground river experience fun for the kids and if we stayed in too long, they would likely start to fuss, etc. So we ended it at the first exit and everyone walked away with a great memory of the Xcaret underground river.
Xcaret Underground River Tips:
- Xcaret park policy requires guests wear biodegradable sunscreen to help protect the hydrological system.
- There are some helpful, but somewhat complex logistics associated with your belongings and equipment for the underground river. We share the full details of how this works on our Xcaret Tips & Tricks blog post.
Xcaret Park with Kids was So Much Fun!
That’s our day at Xcaret with our kids! We focused on the many nature attractions, but that is not all Xcaret has to offer. Xcaret Park has an equally impressive number of cultural attractions, including Mayan ruins, museums, shows, chapels, etc.
There was so much to do at Xcaret with kids that we could have easily spent another full day at Xcaret to take it all in. But, in the end we decided to spend a super-fun day in the water at Xel-Ha, another excellent park by the Xcaret Group.
Also, check out our 9 Reasons Parents Should Take Their Kids to Xcaret and Xel-Ha.
How to Save Money on Xcaret Tickets
Visiting Xcaret with kids can get pretty expensive. There are several easy ways to save money on your family visit to Xcaret.
Stay at 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”.
The Xcaret hotel All-Fun Inclusive program includes admission to all the Xcaret parks, transportation between the parks, food and beverages and an airport shuttle.
Planning a Mexican Family Vacation
If you are currently in the Mayan Riviera or are planning a trip there, don’t miss our blog post, 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 a memorable one!
More Mexico with Kids
- 6 Awesome Eco Parks in Mexico
- How to Easily Visit the Best Mayan Ruins
- A Day of Exciting Family Fun on Isla Mujeres
- The Best Public Beaches in Playa del Carmen
- 9 Amazing Family-Friendly Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
- Beware of These Scams When Renting a Car in the Yucatan Peninsula
- What You Need to Know About Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula
- Are you Afraid of the Food & Water in Mexico?
- Traveling to Mexico with a Baby or Toddler
- 4 Family-Friendly Riviera Maya Cenotes
- Baby-Friendly Mayan Riviera Beaches
- Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas with Kids
- All-Inclusive Beach Vacation Family Packing List
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