Suggested route through Xcaret for animal lovers

Nature in Xcaret

Look closely: Mexico’s wildlife

 

Xcaret Park is a really big place: it has water activities like underground rivers, inlets, beaches, natural pools etc, it also has cultural activities such as shows, museums, dances and interactive workshops; and finally, another great attraction is the variety of wildlife that can be admired closely.

For all the nature lovers who want to seize their visit to Xcaret Park to interact and observe closely the wonderful Mexican wildlife, we prepared this suggested route. We promise that if you follow it step by step, you’ll see more than 190 different species.

 

1.- Anselmo the donkey and Tequila the zebu

There are two guys who have won the hearts of many visitors with their cute looks: the donkey, Anselmo and the zebu, Tequila. You can find them between the Horse Show esplanade and the Main Plaza, don’t hesitate to go to say hello, if you are lucky, they will let you pet them.

 

xcaret donkey and zebu

 

2.- Sheep in the Mayan Village

After passing through the Main Square and its surroundings, go directly to the Mayan Village where besides seeing many Mexican handicrafts being made directly by the artists, you’ll see next to the Wool Workshop, a pair of sheep in a pen. Nearby there’s also the Chocolate Workshop.

xcaret-mayan village

 

3.- More than 1,500 birds in the Aviary

In its short time, the Aviary has become one of the visitor’s favorite spots. To get here you must be in the Mayan Village and follow the arrow signs through the white line on the floor. Enter with your eyes wide open and prepare your camera or cell phone in hand because from the first step you take here, you’ll see birds of all sizes and colors very close through gazebos, bridges, rivers, waterfalls and aging rooms.

 

aviary-xcaret

 

4.- Butterflies and cocoons in the Butterfly Pavilion

Not every day we have the fortune to see thousands of colorful butterflies flying around us and able to hold one in our hand: seize your visit to Xcaret to do it. As in the Aviary you will find waterfalls and streams that make it a very relaxing place. The Butterfly Pavilion has an area of 37,673 ft2 and 15 ft high, which makes it one of the largest in the world. It’s located between the Aviary and Mayan Village.

 

xcaret-butterfly

 

5.- The kings of the Mayan jungle on the island of Pumas and Jaguars

Leaving the Mayan Village, the first thing you will see are two huge islands, observe well because they are home to a pair of pumas and a pair of jaguars: the darlings of Xcaret. The jaguar in the Mayan culture was a supernatural entity called “Balam”, symbolizing leadership, power, and war; it was also linked to the underworld and night, watch it closely in Xcaret.

xcaret-jaguar

 

6.- The darkness owners in the Bat Cave

After seeing the big cats, it’s time to walk to the beach area. On the way, near the lagoon, you will find a mysterious cave that is home to hundreds of bats, do you dare to enter? Go deep into this cave and find them hanging between cracks and holes.

xcaret-bats

 

7.- Peace and tranquility in the Manatee Lagoon

Very close to the beach area is also the Manatee Lagoon: a quiet space for this friendly species. There are two ways to watch the manatees at Xcaret, either walking between bridges and special viewpoints, or under water, through the underwater viewpoint in the Manatee Underground River.

 

xcaret-manatee

 

8.- Macaws flying in the Platforms

Probably at this point, it’s already noon, which means it’s time to head to the Platforms to witness the majestic flight of the macaws. Every day from Monday to Friday, you can participate in the “macaw release”, where you can hold one in your hand and, with the assistance of  the staff, send it to a free flight: a unique experience.

 

xcaret-macaw flight

 

9.- Baby, young and adult sea turtles

Sea turtles, like macaws, are representative icons of Xcaret: you must see them during your visit to the Park. There are different points where to look for these ancient species, one of these is in the Sea Turtle Lagoon located next to to  the Snorkeling Inlet: there you’ll see adult turtles of different species. If you walk towards the beach, next to the Hammock Island, you will find a large pond where Olive Ridley turtles live. If you walk to the aquarium, you will find smaller ponds where baby turtles inhabit temporarily.

 

xcaret-sea turtles

 

10.-  Walk near crocodiles without fear

These wonderful reptiles are popular inhabitants of mangroves and lagoons of Mexico; in Xcaret, you’ll look closely at two of them near the Sea Turtle Lagoon. If you’re lucky, they’ll be out of the water sunbathing, if not, look for their eyes peering out on the surface.

xcaret-crocodile

 

11.- Coral Reef Aquarium

The blue path on the floor will lead you straight to the Aquarium, a must-do during your visit to Xcaret Park. Here you’ll observe different species of marine ecosystems arranged according to their depth: mangrove, lagoon reef, reef crest, shallow reef and deep reef. Seize your visit to observe species that only divers have the fortune to see, and to interact with species such as sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

xcaret-aquarium

 

12.- Sharks and Rays

Once out of the Aquarium, walk heading to the beach area, you will find a large pond with nurse sharks and rays: very popular (and friendly) species in Mexico. A fun way to interact with them is through the activities Swim with Sharks and Stingrays Encounter: you will feed them, pet them, swim with them and learn a lot about these wonderful marine species.

swim with sharks-xcaret

 

13.- One road, five playful species.

Right in the middle of the Park, there is a road well traveled by visitors and not by chance, since there are five -loved by all- inhabitants. The first ones are the agile and charismatic spider monkeys: always playful and posing for photos with unique style. Then, there are the mysterious and cute raccoons: stirring up visitors with their hands and long whiskers.

xcaret-racoon

 

On this road there’s also one of the flamingo ponds, the difference is that here there is also a group of ducklings that will captivate you with their plumed tails. You can’t miss one of the cutest: the deer, which are almost always seen quietly walking and grazing in their garden. And finally, the big and tender tapir: who’s usually seen immersed in its private pool, or on the shores of its habitat greeting visitors with its long trunk.

 

xcaret-tapir

 

14.- Flamingos, peccaries and more through the jungle trail

An unforgettable journey to connect with nature in Xcaret Park. To reach the start of Paradise River, you will have to walk along a path in the Mayan jungle, where surely you’ll encounter coatis, agoutis, birds and even some monkeys in the treetops. Halfway you’ll find a flamingo farm in which, if you’re lucky, you’ll see babies!

xcaret-flamingos

 

Paradise River is different from the rest of the underground rivers because it’s traveled by raft, during this, you will see deer, macaws, howler monkeys, freshwater turtles, peccaries and many species of birds that inhabit the Mayan jungle.

xcaret-river

 

15.- The fancy and smart horses

Surely all visitors see them during the Horse Show and the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular show, but if you are a true animal lover, you’ll want to see them up close in their stable. There are two places where you can find them during the day: one is next to the Chapel of Guadalupe, there are usually females with their young foals; the other place is behind the restaurant La Cocina, where there is a large barn where you can see the rest of the horses.

 

xcaret-horse

 

What do you think of this tour? Would you like to do it on your next visit to Xcaret? Leave a comment.

Deborah Iruegas
Writer, editor & photographer seeking inspiration in nature and music.