My husband will tell you I have a problem with not being able to just sit still and relax on vacation. I’m working on it, I really am, but in the meantime….
We are huge fans of the Xcaret Parks in the Riviera Maya, Mexico! In the past we had visited Xcaret, a beautiful eco-park where we learned of the beautiful Mexican history, including the Mayans, as well as playing in the jungles and swimming in an underground river. You can read about our Xcaret adventure here.
On this trip we were staying at the Paradisus Cancun. We were enjoying being spoiled by our butler, and playing on the white sand beach everyday. Or lazing in our Bali bed by the pool gorging ourselves on chips and the freshest, most delicious guacamole. A few days into this luxury, I could feel my antsiness starting to creep in. I try to get control of it, but most of the time, I let it lead us to some kind of adventure. This time was no exception. Before we knew it, we had booked our tickets at the concierge office of the resort and were heading out early the next morning. This time we decided to visit Xplor.
Xplor is about 5 minutes from Playa del Carmen and 45 minutes from Cancun. It is an adventure- lovin’ families paradise. There are ziplines, amphibious vehicles, underground rivers and caves to swim, paddle, and hike throughout. They are also an all-inclusive park. That means that all of our very abundant food (Lots of well-marked, gluten free choices!!) and drinks (non-alcoholic) were included in the price. That was a very good thing because with all of that swimming in underground caves, and ziplining across the top of the jungle, a family really works up an appetite!!
We were picked up at our resort in Cancun and taken to Xcaret’s bus depot. When we pulled up, I was worried how we would figure out where we were going because there were TONS of buses and people everywhere, and all headed to different parks. Let me tell you, it went like a well orchestrated dance. They have that process figured out. In no time, we were on our very lush and comfy bus and heading to Xplor.
Upon arrival, we checked in and were all given these very stylish, very yellow, hard hats to be worn the whole time. We were also given a locker to put all of our things. It was a two-person locker, so we had to shove and squeeze four peoples stuff in there, but we got it. Fortunately, two of our little adventurers were just that….little. We were given a Velcro bracelet to keep our locker key in while we were exploring the park. You don’t have to bring anything with you other than that. They have cameras set up throughout the park that recognize you when you swim, fly, or walk by. At the end of the day, you can buy a USB stick that has all of the pictures they took. It was sooo nice to not have to worry about keeping track of a camera. We could just play!! We were ready for our first adventure…..
Adventure #1: Swimming in the Stalactite Rivers
We were all given life jackets, and then, off we went for a 400 meter swim in these gorgeous caves. The water was comfortable and we got to swim through some amazing underground caverns. My kids weren’t great swimmers at the time, but they did just fine with the life jackets. However, if you get down there and your little adventurers get nervous, or you get nervous, No Worries!! There are emergency exits all along the way.
Adventure #2: Hiking Through the Caverns
As you’re exploring and hiking through the caverns, there are well-marked spots where you can have your picture taken. It became a game with our kids about who could spot the next camera, and who got to press the button. We have a lot of really silly pictures from that fun day, including a whole series where our oldest daughter decided she was a pirate. It definitely brought out the sillies.
Adventure #3: Paddling the Underground Rafts
There are two different underground circuits you can paddle your raft through the underground caverns. The water isn’t very deep at all, so no need for life jackets. I’m sure if you felt more comfortable with a life jacket, they would be happy to get one for you.
Adventure #4: Zip-Lining!!
At this point in our adventure, we had to break off from my husband. He was so excited to zip-line, but with the requirements, our girls were too little to go, so we had our own adventure while Micah went flying over the jungle on 14 zip-lines. On a side note, we didn’t realize how long it would take him to get through the circuit (about 2 hours and no way to get off at any point until the end) so give yourself plenty of time for this one. I would love to go back here when our kids are a little bigger because I know they would LOVE it!! The minimum requirements are: you must be 4-1/2 feet tall and 88 lbs, and maximum of 300 lbs.
Adventure #5: Cruising Through the Jungle in the Amphibious Vehicles
This was definitely a highlight for all of us!! What better way to end our adventurous day than speeding through the jungle, across suspended bridges, and into flooded caves in an amphibious vehicle!!! The pictures say it all….Such crazy, messy fun!! After all, it’s not an adventure unless you end the day wet and muddy and smiling ear-to ear!!
A few little things to know:
- Children between 5 and 11 are half price. The minimum age is 5 years old, and after spending the day here, I definitely think you want your kids to be a little bigger and stronger so you can all have fun together.
- You will want to bring a towel since they’re aren’t provided.
- We wore bathing suits and board shorts and that was perfect. It was even sprinkling off and on in January and we were plenty warm. Also, make sure you have water shoes or sandals that won’t fall off your feet.
- You need to use a sunscreen that is free of chemicals in order to protect this incredible place. Don’t use anything that contains: Benzophenone, Butil methoxydibenzoilmetane, Octyl metoxycinnamate, Octyl salicylate, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Ethylhexyl or Homosalate.
- If you have special dietary needs like we do, just inform the host/hostess at the buffet restaurant and the chef will walk you through the food line and show you what is available to fit your specific needs. Even better, give them a heads up before you get there, [email protected], and they will be prepared to help you, or, if you prefer, they will prepare food ahead of time just for you. Everyone was very kind, helpful and knowledgeable about our dietary needs.
- And if you want to be even more adventurous, they offer Xplor Fuego where you do all the above things at night by torch light. FUN!!!
But most important…..
HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!!!