Xcaret Experiencias Parks with Kids #MurphysDoXcaret

xcaret parks xel ha park xenotesDuring our recent stay at Hotel Xcaret Mexico with kids, we were able to make full use of the unlimited Xcaret Experiencias Park access that came with our stay. To me, this is the most attractive feature of the hotel (well, the food at Hotel Xcaret Mexico was pretty amazing too). It was like having unlimited access to a Mexican Disneyland, one filled with adventure and our transportation to and from was also organized! Keep in mind that our kids were 5 and 7 years old during our December 2018 visit and so that is something we had to keep in mind when we chose the activities we were going to do during our stay in the Mayan Riviera with kids. Many friends have since asked us which park was our favourite, but in all honestly it is hard to choose because each of them offered something different as you will soon see. That said, the unique one, Xenses, is on my list as one every family should visit! For each park I will share some tips for visiting with young kids and our experience as guests staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico. Please note that some of the items highlighted were part of the hotel’s package and may not be on offer to those individuals looking to visit the parks on their own (and aren’t hotel guests). I should also note that while we visited 4 parks, Xavage was not open during our visit and we did not do the Xenotes and Xoximilco Tours but received some tips from other families who have visited the latter two. Xavage is not open yet.

 

Xcaret Xepriencias Parks Playa Del Carmen with kids

As always we filled our reusable water bottles at the hotel and spotted safe drinking options throughout all the parks so we stayed hydrated throughout our visits. Also take a wet bag for the swimsuits if you plan to change into dry clothes for the return!

Every park and the resort has life vests for kids and adults of all ages and sizes however only Xplor offered life jackets (with the headrest). We feel safest with our kids in life jackets so we took our own once we realized that.

Please remember that these parks are part of nature and so take care of what chemicals you release into the waters through your sunscreens, perfumes and creams. We took a bottle of reef safe sunscreen with us on this trip.

Each of the parks offered a photo package and they have fun photo stations throughout the parks. I regret not buying the package, so it’s something to think about as you plan your trip. You flash your bracelet at various stations and they will take your pictures for you!

 

Xcaret Park

Xcaret park with young kids

This is one massive park and to do it justice you really do need two full days to get a good feel. However, we decided to only go in for half a day and still managed to see a few animals, walk through the Mayan village (albeit, once the artisans  had packed up), have lunch and a Cerveza at the buffet (included with our hotel stay), and see a performance. We know we missed quite a bit here and would love to return but it wasn’t one of my favourites. That said, this park does a lot to educate visitors about Mayan culture and I do hope that the animals on display are well looked after.  With over 50 natural and cultural attractions, the park is the easiest to navigate with a baby because most things are displays and shows. It’s also the best park for kids who like to do things beyond swimming.

Things to Bring with you to Xcaret Park

Xcaret park with young kids

  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring water shoes. The kids wore theirs in the water and didn’t complain when we had to step in and out to walk between attractions
  • Bring reef safe sunscreen or they will give you a small pack at the park. Reef safe sunscreen needs to be re-applied often so we recommend bringing your own
  • You definitely need a swimsuit and can walk around in it all day if you want but we all wore board shorts so we could swim and then threw on a tshirt when we were out exploring the rest of the park and attractions
  • Bring a towel with you so you don’t have to rent one at the park
  • Take your own life jackets if you’d prefer not to use the park’s life vests

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xcaret Park 

Xcaret park with young kids

  • Remember that you can take the free bus from the Hotel Xcaret Mexico resort to the park OR you can take the free boat that leaves near the spa and gym area of the resort
  • Once you arrive, if you’re staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, there is a dedicated entrance so you don’t have to wait in line
  • You will want to spend a full day here and perhaps even plan a return trip!
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico guests are given free lockers but keep in mind that these are in one particular area and extra large bags won’t fit in them. Bring a small backpack but not a large one, if you can. Also, it was easy to go in and change once we finished with the river swim and wanted to explore the rest of the park but there is another set of lockers by the beach as well, if you plan to head that way
  • This is a park you can visit with babies and young kids as there is a lot to see and do without height restrictions
  • A stroller is definitely helpful here and if you didn’t bring one from the resort, you can rent one  (20US + 40US deposit) at the park if you want (our 5 & 7 year olds are out of strollers and so we didn’t need one luckily!)
  • There are life VESTS everywhere in all sizes (including babies). If you want a life JACKET for kids bring your own
  • For a traditional Mexican meal La Coccina’s buffet was the best and it was included with our Hotel Xcaret Mexico stay. Peninsula Buffet had the best views and don’t worry about the charge, just flash your bracelet if you’re staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico and you’re in for free! We also enjoyed free beers at the restaurant.
  • There is a kids park area (Children’s World) for those aged 6 to 12 and our 5 year old went with his 7 year old sister with no issue. Kids can swim in shallow cenotes and wading pools designed for them (parents aren’t allowed inside and have to watch from across)
  • There are hammocks and beach chairs if you want to lounge but the actual beach was very rough during our visit
  • Some not to miss free attractions at Xcaret Park : Butterfly conservatory, Aviary, Theatre show at night, River Swims, Ocean tide pools, Mayan Village (there’s a chocolate making experience if you time it right), Cemetery (especially after sunset). Here’s what is included at Xcaret Park. I will highlight that the river swim provides the option to hop out and walk to the end point. Our 5 year old needed help along the entire way as he wasn’t a strong swimmer (he didn’t enjoy it either) and Chris opted to get out and walk with him for the last quarter. There were ropes to hold on to at certain parts, making it easy for kids (and adults) to pull themselves when they got tired.
  • If you want to experience the following there is an additional fee and some aren’t available to young kids: Snuba, Stringray Encounter, Sea Trek, Spa, Dolphin Swim, Shark Adventure, Dinner theatre (show is included but not the dinner). Click here for more information and latest pricing.
  • When you walk through the gift shop keep an eye out for an egg hatching contraption that allows you to see chicks being born!

 

If you are staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, here’s our favourite restaurants! 

Xel-Ha

xel ha mexico with kids xcaret

This park is located about a 40 minute drive away and if you’re staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, you will want to reserve a spot on one of two daily departures. This Mexican park is super fun for those who enjoy snorkeling and spending most of their day in the water. We did most of the activities with our 5 and 7 year old but spotted many with babies enjoying the beachy areas (didn’t see anyone going on the River Swim with a baby though).

Things to Bring with you to Xel-Ha

xel ha mexico with kids xcaret

  • Wear comfortable shoes or better yet, bring water shoes. The kids wore theirs in the water and didn’t complain when we had to step in and out to walk between attractions
  • Bring reef safe sunscreen or they will give you a small pack at the park. Reef safe sunscreen needs to be re-applied often so we recommend bringing your own
  • You definitely need a swimsuit and can walk around in it all day if you want as you’re going to spend most of your day in the water
  • They provide towels for guests of Hotel Xcaret Mexico,so you don’t have to bring one
  • If you’re picky about snorkel gear, bring your own
  • Definitely bring a waterproof case for your phone or a water camera
  • Take your own life jackets if you’d prefer not to use the park’s life vests

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xel-Ha

xel ha mexico with kids xcaret

  • Remember that you can take the free bus from the Hotel Xcaret Mexico resort and you do have to pre-book it. That’s what we did but if you want to go on your own schedule or if the bus is full for the day you want to go, it costs about 570 pesos each way if you take a taxi
  • Pack some snacks from the hotel to ensure kids don’t get hungry on the way there (or the way back!)
  • You definitely need the entire day to explore Xel-Ha (we caught the last bus at 6:00 p.m)
  • Once you arrive, if you’re staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, there is a dedicated entrance so you don’t have to wait in line
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico guests are given free lockers. Use the red locker area if you want to keep your things central
  • All guests receive free snorkel gear
  • This is a park you can visit with babies and young kids as there is a lot to see and do without height restrictions
  • A stroller is definitely helpful here and if you didn’t bring one from the resort, you can rent one  (20US + 40US deposit) at the park if you want but I didn’t notice any stroller parking for when you’re swimming
  • There are life VESTS everywhere in all sizes (including babies). If you want a life JACKET for kids bring your own
  • All food and drink are included for all park visitors, regardless of which hotel they’re staying at. For a traditional Mexican meal La Cocina del Pueblo Restaurant’s buffet was the best and we kept grabbing beers and boozy slushies at various bars throughout the park.
  • There is a sandy kids area with a splash pool, lounge chairs, slides and more
  • There are lounge chairs and hammocks throughout the park so you can relax by the beach or in a sandy area
  • Some not to miss free attractions at Xel-Ha Park : We started out by snorkeling first and then went to the lazy river so by the time we got to the slides, it was quite busy. It might not be a bad idea to head towards the slides first as they are popular with young kids. Chris and 7 year old Little Monkey spent 20 minutes waiting in line and climbing all the way to the top to slide down. 5 year old Baby Boy wasn’t tall enough and they do ask that you be able  to swim on your own, so he and I splashed in the water while waiting for the other two to come down. Keep in mind that no cameras, shoes or bags are allowed up to the top even for non riders. The views from the top are great and there are lockers at the entrance to the slides so you can store your things away. There is a free train that takes you to the various sections but we opted to walk and that’s how we ended up crossing the floating (swinging!) bridge and walking through a jungle trail. Kids didn’t want to swim in the cenote so in the end we didn’t do much on that end. The lazy river I mentioned at the start is where we spent about two hours. You could swim through or take a tube. They have two person tubes which is how Chris and I split up with a kid each. It took FOREVER to go down to the end as I wasn’t able to navigate the tube that well but they do have many free activities along the way. Our 7 year old could have done the water ziplines and cliff jumps but we didn’t think our 5 year old would be up for it so none of us ended up going on what looked like very fun pit stops along the way. They also had similar paid activities to Xcaret Park (Snuba, Dolphin swim, Manatee swim, Zip Bikes, Spa). For more information and latest pricing click here.

 

Xenses

xenses with kids xcaret

Definitely the most unique park we’ve been to and one that our 5 year old says is his favourite of the four we visited. Chris and I both enjoyed how trippy the place was and how well everything was executed with little surprises. This park only needs 4 hours so you could easily do this in the morning and then Xplor Fuego in the evening but we opted to go back and enjoy the hotel amenities because our kids were too young for the Fuego portion. Those with babies will be able to walk through the cute upside down village but will need to leverage the parent swap options easily available for the wet course. Our 5 and 7 year olds did everything except for the very first activity (a water slide) in the wet section.

Things to Bring with you to Xenses

xenses with kids xcaret

  • You definitely need a swimsuit for the wet course (I was glad I was in a pair of board shorts vs. a regular swimsuit) but there is a dry course where we were fully clothed and in our regular shoes
  • Take towels from the hotel
  • This was one park that I missed out taking pictures and videos at because I couldn’t take my waterproof phone cased device on some of the muddy rides
  • No food and drink is included with your visit so pack a few snacks if you don’t want to buy food at the park. I packed some fruit and bread from our hotel to keep the kids happy

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xenses

xenses with kids xcaret

  • Remember that you can take the free bus from the Hotel Xcaret Mexico resort
  • Once you arrive, if you’re staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, there is a dedicated entrance so you don’t have to wait in line
  • All guests are given free lockers. Keep your phone on you for pictures for the dry section and put it away for the wet section
  • A stroller is NOT helpful here as you’re in and out of attractions so I would highly recommend baby wearing here
  • We started off by doing the  sensory experience which was very unique. You’re barefooted, in the dark and walking without knowing what’s in front of you. We split up 1 adult 1 child and were allowed to guide our child but you’re not supposed to talk (Chris attempted to explain what was going on so Baby Boy wouldn’t be scared but was shushed). If it gets too much you can wave your hands and get out but our 5 and 7 year olds made it. If you have a child who is afraid of the dark, avoid this one.
  • The lobby/entrance have some special sections to experience, we kept that to end when we wanted to be indoors and cool down
  • We started off by doing the dry section first but ended up coming back because we didn’t take our camera the first time around. Definitely hold on to your phones for the dry section.
  • Keep an eye out for a lemonade water tap because our kids loved that
  • We missed the first slide in the wet section because both kids were too short for it but we did the rest of it. The only thing 5 year old Baby Boy couldn’t do was the soar like a bird, but there is a parent swap so Chris and I took turns. 7 year old Little Monkey was able to do it. Both kids were able to do the rest of the stuff like the swims, mud baths and saunas.

 

Xplor

xplor with kids xcaret

This adventure park looked very cool but we were hesitant to visit and ALMOST didn’t but then I figured you guys would ask us about it and I couldn’t NOT go. So we did and boy are we glad! Our 5 year old went on half the rides and our 7 year old went on ALL the rides! Some of us enjoyed flying across the sky on zip-lines and we all went through the jungle on “amphibious vehicles” and swam in underground rivers created millions of years ago. There is a day time version, which is the one we went on and in the night the park remains open (Xplor Fuego) so you can zipline in the dark! If you have older kids you could easily come later afternoon and then stay for sunset so you could end with the night time ziplines because this park only took us 3.5 hours to explore.

Things to Bring with you to Xplor

xplor with kids xcaret

  • You definitely need a swimsuit here for the entire time but I highly recommend swim shorts because you will be walking around a lot and there’s an ATV ride too
  • Take towels from the hotel
  • Water shoes are very helpful here as you are walking around in the under ground caves as you go from one activity to another

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xplor

xplor with kids xcaret

  • Remember that you can take the free bus from the Hotel Xcaret Mexico resort (resort is closed on Sundays)
  • As soon as you enter your receive a hard hat so be sure to tell the kids they cannot remove it at any time (you’ll be walking through caves)
  • All guests are given free lockers
  • Activities at Xplor Park are recommended for children 5 years and older (must be accompanied by an adult at all times). Note: the Zip-line activity requires a minimum height of 3.6 ft and a minimum weight of 88 lbs. We saw families with babies who took turns going from one activity to the next.
  • There is a heart at the centre of the park and I felt like we kept going in circles as we tried to go from one activity to the next. Look at a map and plan out your lunch so you don’t backtrack like we did! Right by the heart is a soda and juice machine so the kids were hydrated each time we got lost!
  • Lunch is included for all park guests and keep in mind that there is no alcohol at this park due to the nature of the activities
  • They offered life vests and life jackets here!
  • There are two circuits with seven zip-lines each (2.4 mi total distance) which include the tallest in Riviera Maya.  During the day they have the taller red course and the shorter green course. The green course has a water slide halfway through that goes from one tower to another. This is not open at night. The red course has several swinging bridges. If you do the green course you can go in pairs together on all of the towers except for the last water splash down. Chris and Little Monkey went on this green one and it’s the one they recommended for her age. It’s great that they allow people to go together – fab for those with young kids. While they went on the ziplines Baby Boy and I were able to watch them for a bit from the tower.
  • We all went on the very bumpy ATVs/Amphibious vehicle ride with Chris driving. There are regular seat belts and that’s what the kids used. We also went on the rafts and the Stalactite River Swim inside ancient caves (Little Monkey wasn’t a fan of the river swim as even the short version was “too long” and you have to swim through a heavy downpour/waterfall).  For those aged 6 and above there is a Hammock Splash  (there is a waiting area to parent swap).

 

If you are planning to stay at Hotel Xcaret Mexico with young kids, here are our tips! 

Xenotes Tour

Xenotes Tours Xcaret

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

We did not go on this tour because the minimum age to enter is 6 and Baby Boy was only 5 during our Mexico trip with our kids. I have heard that younger kids have gone with no issues but the swims here are long and we struggled with the river swims at Xplor and Xcaret so I wasn’t going to subject us to additional whining. However for those with teens, this would be amazing as even our bartender at Ha’ said this was his favourite park.  For those families who love water activities, I feel like this would be an amazing experience. Unlike the others, this one will see you in the water for the entire day. There’s no non-water activities or shows. The Xenotes Tour includes transportation to four cenotes, a certified guide, a photographer, food and beverages. assisted rappel, zip-lines, kayaking, and swimming. The Xenotes Tour is also conducted in small groups and you are escorted in a van between each of the four cenotes where you partake in various activities. This tour does require a reservation if you’re a guest of Hotel Xcaret Mexico and keep in mind that it is only offered on certain days.

Things to Bring with you to Xenotes

Xenotes Tours Xcaret

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

  • The water is cold here but apparently you get used to it quickly. If you have young kids, a wet suit might be a good option on cloudy days or a rash guard top instead of a regular swimsuit
  • Plan ahead and bring an extra towel as the one they give you will be soaked by the time you get in and out of the van between the cenotes
  • Bring reef safe sunscreen or they will give you a small pack at the park. Reef safe sunscreen needs to be re-applied often so we recommend bringing your own
  • Water shoes are helpful but not necessary
  • Take your own life jackets if you’d prefer not to use the park’s life vests

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xenotes

Xenotes Tours Xcaret

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

    • This park might sound daunting but it isn’t as there are many seniors who visit Xenotes and have a great time with no injuries
    • No one minds if you get the van wet as everyone will be soaking as they get in and out between the cenotes
    • For the zip-line activity a minimum height of 4.5 ft (1.4 m) and a minimum weight of 88 lbs (40 kg) is required.
    • Each zip line and rappel has a “swing seat” option so if you aren’t comfortable hoisting yourself up or have zero upper body strength like me, this will be your best bet!
    • If you don’t feel comfortable on the ziplines or rappel, there are stairs to get you down into the cenotes
    • Snacks and beverages are provided for you along with a build your own salads and sandwich picnic lunch. It also includes soft drinks, beer, and wine.
    • This is an all day tour so you will be returning to the hotel only around 5 p.m. depending on traffic

 

Xoximilco Tour

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

When I first heard about the Xoximilco Tour it was actually at the top of my list because we all love a good party. As you guys know our kids see us drinking on a regular basis and they come to parties with us often, so I wasn’t worried about the party vibe here. However in the end we didn’t actually experience this one for a couple reasons. This is an evening tour with a 45 minute bus ride and even though our kids usually stay up late, after a busy day of park hopping and pool swimming, they were crashing by 8 p.m. (shocking, I know!) so a midnight return would have been gruesome.  The other reason is that I heard that the food wasn’t so great on this tour and I was adamant about dining at every restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Mexico. For those two reasons we didn’t partake in this traditional Mexican booze cruise. A friend of mine took her kids who are a bit older (8 and 10) and they had a great time. So we are definitely going to do this on our next visit!

Things to Bring with you to Xoxomilco

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

  • Dress comfortably, this is a floating fiesta so no one is getting wet but there are mosquitoes so long pants and long sleeves will be good. Some water does splash into the boat so your shoes may get wet.
  • Biodegradable insect repellent can be found near the bathrooms but you may want to bring your own and not rely on theirs
  • If you get cold easily, a shawl or a hoody would be good to have with you
  • For picky kids you could bring a few snacks in your purse but there’s food throughout the tour

Tips to Keep in Mind When Visiting Xoximilco

Image source : Xcaret Xperiencias

  • You will be partying and playing games all night long. Get ready to celebrate and get social!
  • In addition to fruit juices, water and sodas, there is unlimited tequila and beer (no wine or hard spirits but they can be purchased for an additional fee from a shop at the entrance)
  • There is a children’s menu
  • Bathroom breaks only happen at the start, middle and end. Line ups can be long so you want to be the first to disembark your gondola

 

 

As I mentioned Xavage wasn’t open but I foresee Xcaret Xperiencias designing more parks so we’ll keep updating this list with tips we hear about. The parks we visited were all entertaining and it can be a struggle narrowing down which ones you should visit. My advice is to focus on what your family enjoys doing (attractions, swimming, soft adventures, shows e.t.c) and then narrow it down from there. Just ensure you spend some time relaxing at the resort, or else you’ll need a vacation from your vacation!

Xcaret Xepriencias Parks Playa Del Carmen with kids Xel Ha All inclusive Mexican DIsneyland Park Xenses All inclusive Mexican DIsneyland Park