Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
May 25, 2021
What is Xcaret Park? It’s a man made enhanced ecological park incorporating natural features of the land such as underground rivers. The park is dedicated to the preservation of the natural habitat and also a nature preserve of sorts for the rescue of wildlife and native plant species. Or, it’s Disney’s Jungle Cruise on steroids.
Originally the land was a 12 acre parcel of land owned by Miguel Quintana Pali for his personal residence. While clearing his property the owner, who was an architect by trade, discovered remnants of Mayan ruins along with underground rivers and lagoons. After contacting the INAH (Federal Institute of History and Anthropology) the land was found to be situated above an ancient Mayan city. Sr. Pali then decided the area would be better suited for public use and envisioned a venture creating an ecological park with a historical and cultural center.
Construction on Parque Xcaret began in 1984 and opened to the public in December 1990. The park now encompasses approximately 200 acres and is the first in a series of 6 parks between Cancun and Tulum in Quintana Roo.
We had planned on visiting 3 of these different parks on our stay in Playa del Carmen, but instead spent our entire time exploring Xcaret Park.
There are maps and colored pathways throughout the park which I found confusing at first.
The best way to visit the park is to choose the activities or things you want to see and then stay on the colored pathway that best corresponds to your choice.
For example, if you want to visit the aquarium stay on the blue line. If you want to see the aviary stay on the white. Swimming activities your thing?…. stay on the black line and so forth. Remember the park is huge and if you start crisscrossing you’ll end up chasing your tail!
In the beginning we didn’t have a game plan and only had a vague idea of what to do or see. With each visit we had new discoveries and as the days progressed we got this park down and came to appreciate what a jewel in the jungle this place is.