Exploring The Underground Rivers of Xcaret

Without a doubt Xcaret is one of our favourite places on Earth. It is a natural wonderland with an endless amount of things to, and we have never been anywhere like it before.

I don’t even know where to start, I just want to fall back into these crystal clear waters and soak up the beauty of Mexico.

xcaret parkxcaret park

Let’s start by saying one day was not enough at Xcaret. Not by a long shot.

There is simply so much to see and do and we didn’t get to spend nearly enough time around the park. We didn’t even know about Xcaret when we set off for Mexico and the United States.

It was something we blissfully stumbled across online and then couldn’t stop thinking about. We were looking for cenotes around the Yucatán and Playa del Carmen, when Thom stumbled onto a page about the underground rivers of Xcaret and we were instantly obsessed.

How To Choose An Xcaret Adventure

underground rivers xcaret

Xcaret Underground Rivers

There are literally hundreds of things to do at Xcaret, everything from underground rivers and tunnels to white sand beaches, and tropical flamingos to jaguars. Our first stop was exactly what we had come for – swimming in the underground rivers of the Yucatán Peninsula.

It was one of the most relaxing and beautiful experiences you could imagine. The river runs underground from one side of the park to the other, with just enough light seeping into the tunnel through cracks in the rocks.

The water was crystal clear, so clean and refreshing, and lightly pushing you along so there was no actual swimming required. We happily and peacefully bobbed along the river slowly, soaking up every moment.

Check out the best places to stay around Xcaret

xcaretpalm trees

When we got out at the other end of the park we were greeted with probably the most beautiful beach. White sand beaches, the beautiful deep blue water of the Caribbean, hammocks hanging from every tree, and the tallest most perfect palm trees we have ever seen. It was literally paradise.

The only place where we have actually wanted to stay and relax and stop moving for a few hours. But there was too much to see and too much to do, and with the limited time we had at Xcaret we just didn’t want to miss out on anything.

When we make it back to Xcaret, we will definitely be dedicating a whole day to this beautiful place.

xcaret beachxcaret beachxcaret beach

We continued following the park around to where they kept their marine life. There were so many beautiful animals here including Coral Reef Aquarium, Marine Turtle Sanctuary and Manatee Lagoon.

There were even pools full of baby turtles as part of their conservation program. They were beautiful. Every inch of Xcaret made me fall head over heels, deeply in love with Mexico.


After our morning adventure – swimming in underground rivers and finding the white sand beaches of Xcaret we wanted to explore the rest of the park. You could easily walk around Xcaret for hours and always see something new.

There are dozens of jungle trails to explore, different animals to see, and different restaurants to experience. You could go to Xcaret five times and have a completely different experience every time.

We didn’t even get to experience everything. There were things we missed only because we didn’t have enough hours in the day. That being said, we did spend 12 hours at the park and it still wasn’t long enough. Here are some of our other experiences at Xcaret.

xcaret parkxcaret park

Hacienda Henequenera

Hacienda Henequenera is where the story of Mexico unfolds from its corridors and murals. One of the most historically interesting attractions at Xcaret, this nineteenth century mansion allows you to immerse yourself in exquisite architecture and the hidden legends of its spaces and gardens.

Mexico is full of historical stories of legends and secrets, and Hacienda Henequenera is a great place to learn about some! This is also the gateway to other attractions, such as the Folk Art Museum, the Gran Tlachco Theater, and the Fiesta Charra.

Check out all the day tour options to Xcaret

xcaret equestrian show

The Equestrian Show

Where the Mexican charros and adelitas exhibit surprising moves on fine horses.

The show combines the elements of Mexican horsemanship with the typical music and colours of Mexico and a true display of talent.

Exploring the Island of Isla Mujeres

paradise river xcaret

Paradise River

Paradise River offers a beautiful view of the underground rivers and the surrounding nature from the view of a small raft. Sail along the beautiful water channels that run through the deep jungle of Xcaret Park and see what you can spot on the land.

There are lots of deer, monkeys and macaws running around the banks of Paradise River.

Find the best places to stay in Playa del Carmen

xcaret flamingo sanctuaryxcaret flamingo sanctuary

Xcaret have a brilliant Flamingo Sanctuary and dedicated conservation program to ensure the protection of these beautiful exotic birds. You can see flamingos in many different places around the park, but the sanctuary is definitely where there are the most.

The conservation program works to rescue eggs and hatchlings and provides an on-going breeding program to promote the growth of the flamingo population in Mexico.

xcaret ruins

Xcaret Park, which means ‘small inlet’ in Maya, was originally called Ppolé and was an important archaeological site dedicated to maritime trade.

This ceremonial centre was a shipping port to other communities along the coast, and its inlet served as a starting point for Mayan oasmen that rowed to the island of Cozumel to worship the goddess of the moon, Ixchel.

Check out the best hotel deals around Xcaret Park

xcaret plus

Xcaret Plus

Xcaret Plus costs a little more than regular admission prices, but gives you a whole range of extra around the path. As well as exclusive access to the Xcaret Plus headquarters, you are given free locker hire, shower access and free meal options.

Plus also offers helpful facilities, for example when you’re jumping in the underground river you can put all of your belongings and clothes in a lockable bag, that then meets you at the other end! So much easier than having to walk all the way back to your locker to get your towel and thongs!

xcaret showxcaret show

México Espectacular

Xcaret’s México Espectacular offers a journey through Mexico’s history, going all the way from the pre-Hispanic times and reaching up to the modern days.

The show includes more than 300 actors with original costumes and are displayed in a spectacular atmosphere of light and colour, showing typical dances, performances of history, legends and all the festivities of the different cultural regions of Mexico.

This was a truly exceptional show, and if you are spending the day at Xcaret you should definitely stay for the show. The show starts at 7pm each night and goes for about two hours. If you have come with a tour, buses don’t leave until after the show so you don’t have to worry about making your own way home.

You are also able to book a table to have a candlelight dinner during the performance, with a three course meal option available in prime seating for the show. You should definitely book this early in the day – as soon as you get to the park to avoid missing out, places fill up fast!

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We booked a tour to Xcaret, which included return transfers to the park and a buffet lunch at a restaurant of our choice within the park. We honestly can’t say it enough, if you have the time spend more than one day here.

Explore more of our adventures around Mexico

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom and daughter Macey, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Camera
Ultimate Weekends Australia
La Tan Coconut Sunscreen
Nikon Z fc Mirrorless Camera
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone
Frank Green Insulated Drink Bottle
Manfrotto Tripod
Lonely Planet Australia Travel Guide
Will & Bear – Calloway Fawn Hat
Sony RX100 VI Camera
Bushmans with Sunscreen
Havianas Slim Thongs in Rose Gold
Australia Planning Map
Casetify Tropical Palm Neon Sands iPhone Case