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Vacationing in Cancun is nothing new. People usually go to experience the white sand beaches, drinks, turquoise water and simply just to relax, but have you truly experienced Cancun? I know a lot of you have gone to see the Mayan Ruins and Chichen Itza, but have you experienced the underground rivers of Xcaret?
Xcaret means “small inlet” in Mayan. Its name comes from the river being situated next to a small inlet that served as a strategic location for navigation and commerce for the Maya. The original name of the site was p’ole’, from the root p’ol that means “merchandise” or “deal of merchants.” This gives an idea of the economical relevance of the site. The Underground Rivers at Xcaret Park are part of a natural network of channels which circulate under the Yucatan Peninsula, driven by freshwater streams! You have a choice as to which river you want to go swim in. You can either go to the Blue River, Maya River or Manatee River. All three rivers flow to the ocean. Normally you would have to be an expert diver to undergo cave challenges like this, but here you can swim and/or snorkel through caves filled with marine fossils, inhabited by pink flamingos and various exotic wildlife with no experience at all. The underground rivers at Xcaret are 5 feet deep and they feature exits along the way, where you can stop and relax in the warm sun rays. Everyone will be provided with a lifejacket, allowing you to float gracefully down the underground river. This an activity that the entire family can enjoy!
Furthermore, you can experience the Cultural Heritage there, such as: the celebration of the Day of the Dead, the Ritual Ceremony of the Voladores (flying men), the traditional singing Pirekua, traditional Mexican cuisine and the famous Mexican Mariachi, string music, and trumpets, while enjoying the dance presentation.
If you are into nature, you can visit Xcaret Nature Park to witness one of the greatest Butterfly Pavilions in the world. There are countless butterflies flying among waterfalls, streams and breathtaking vegetation; this conservation area is home to a very important species since pre-Hispanic times, when the ancient Aztecs believed that the fragile butterflies represented the souls of warriors fallen in battle. The Butterfly Pavilion has an area of 3,500 m2 and 15 m high, which makes it one of the largest in the world. This exhibition showcases the species of the region in their natural habitat and produces over 20 different species.
The Lagoon is between the jungle and the beach of Xcaret. In the Lagoon, you will experience calm-water with small islands that serve as home to bird species from the Yucatan Peninsula. Immerse yourself in its waters and be prepared to undertake an exciting exploration among passages and caves.
Xcaret is located in the Mexican Caribbean, 30 miles south of the Cancun International Airport. It is open 365 days a year from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. You can drive there (free parking) or take a taxi from Cancun. The estimated cost is $80 to $100 USD one way, the journey takes about 70 minutes from Cancun, or 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen at a cost of about $15 USD. You can also take a bus from the station in Cancun (Av. Uxmal) or Playa del Carmen (5th Avenue). Although, I recommend taking Tour Xcaret, luxury transportation service from your hotel.
Always remember: It’s not just about where you go… it’s about what your experiences are while you’re there! Create memories!