With the preventive measures and the 360º Xafety Model
The experience in Xcaret is still amazing
Xcaret opened its doors again after a three-month break and we were determined to explore how the experience in the largest park in the Riviera Maya is enjoyed with all the new safety and hygiene protocols. Keep on reading for details on this travel experience under the “new normal” reality.
Before entering the park
We arrived at 8:30 a.m., the time when the park opens its doors (from Monday to Saturday, because on Sundays it will remain closed for now). We found a moderate influx and a very well-organized welcoming staff. From the parking lot, ticket booth, and the entrance through the turnstiles we were received with clear instructions on the distance we must respect between visitors, both with signs and staff who kindly directed us to where we should go in every step of the process.
We found several modules such as the one in the photo where one can learn the correct way to wash and disinfect your hands, accompanied by a bottle of hand sanitizer that is operated with a pedal, to avoid contact.
Upon receiving us at the ticket office, in addition to the fact that all the staff had a face mask, I noticed that they disinfected everything that was going to have contact with us, such as bracelets, cards, IDs, etc.
Is the use of face masks mandatory inside Xcaret park?
Right there at the ticket booth, while they were placing on our bracelets, we were widely suggested to wear face masks throughout the visit, they told us that we had three options:
- Use one that we had brought from home.
- Acquire one inside the stores within the park.
- Ask for a free disposable face mask right there at the ticket booth.
Important: We asked if the use of face masks was mandatory to enter the park or do the activities and they said no, however, they highly recommended it to us accompanied by a friendly explanation that emphasized our safety and that of other visitors.
Once with the bracelets, we headed towards the turnstile area where we noticed some changes. A small gap was created with what appeared to be water to disinfect the shoes before entering the park. Also, there’s no longer contact with the turnstile, instead, a staff member scans the bracelet with a mobile device, and it’s him or her who gives you access once the code is verified. In addition to that, the temperature is taken with a non-contact thermometer to all visitors.
New products for sale for the visitor’s protection
Once inside Xcaret, after admiring the beautiful macaws and flamingos, the first thing one sees when entering the Main Plaza is a variety of products for sale that are specially designed to reinforce our security: face masks and personal bottles of hand sanitizer gel. See some photos and their prices below.
- 1-piece face mask: MXN 59.00 / USD 2.68
- 7-pack face mask: MXN 399.00 / USD 18.13
- 1-piece mask: MXN 249.00 / USD 11.31
- 2-pieces masks: MXN 399.00 / USD 18.13
- Bottle of hand sanitizer gel: MXN 69.00 / USD 3.13
Although we already had our face masks, we decided to buy new ones since they seemed very beautiful. To our surprise, we realized that in addition to the design being very striking and Mexican, they also turned out to be more comfortable and fresher than all the ones we had previously used.
We were so satisfied with them, that before we left the park we went to buy more. We were very happy to see the Mexican-style cloth face covers, it’s very inspiring to see how the Mexican uses its folklore to beautify everything they do!
Important: The shopping process in stores, just as the ticket booth, was very safe and clean. We saw how everything is disinfected every time there’s contact, all the staff wears face masks and respects the distance. There are signs on the floor indicating the correct distance to be taken during the wait in line to pay.
Activities in Xcaret under the new normal
All set and ready with our new colorful cloth face masks, we went to enjoy the activities of the park with the curiosity of knowing how much the experience was going to change.
The Mayan Village
The first thing we did was follow the white line to go to the Mayan Village and walk through its cultural and natural attractions. In this part of the park, there’s a wide variety of attractions such as handicrafts shops from artisans who come from different parts of the region, cultural workshops, the Mexican Cemetery, the Aviary, the Butterfly Pavillion, the Tortilleria and more.
After walking through the beautiful natural landscapes, we focused on touring the Aviary, one of Xcaret’s main attractions. To our surprise, this experience didn’t change a thing! Beyond disinfecting our hands before entering and after leaving, everything is still as amazing as always.
We had the opportunity to see beautiful specimens of different bird species up close, the vegetation was very well preserved and as the influx of people was much lower, we managed to feel a real connection with the sounds, the colors, and all the nature that creates this space.
How are the water activities in Xcaret under the new normal?
After having enjoyed many of the land attractions using the face masks, the question arose whether it would also be necessary to use it during aquatic activities such as underground rivers, beaches, inlets, natural pools, etc. As we weren’t sure, we decided to approach the Visitor Support staff to ask.
As in the rest of the park’s activities, they told us that it was up to us whether we preferred to use them or not. In the case of underground rivers, they explained to us that it can be enjoyed without submerging our heads in the water, so if we felt safer with the face mask, we could enter it.
We opted to do the underground river activity without the protection equipment, simply respecting the distance between ourselves and other visitors, so the experience didn’t change anything from how it is usually enjoyed.
We were reassured to see that they changed the way the life vests are delivered. They disinfect one by one before handing it to the visitor. We also noticed changes in the process of storing our things in the river bags (to receive them at the exit of the activity), the registry is now made digital and everything is carefully disinfected.
Xcaret has three beautiful underground rivers: the Blue River (the one in the photo), which is the one with the most caves; the Maya River, through which you visit the Mayan Village and other natural scenarios; and the Manatee River, in which you can see the manatees underwater.
They told us that, for the moment, due to social distancing measures, only the Blue and Mayan river could be traveled. If you want to see manatees, you can do it in their lagoons by following the green line if you are in the beach area, or by following the black line if you come from the park entrance.
Beach area, cove and natural pools
Unlike underground rivers, the experience in the beach area is very different. While we were enjoying these beautiful tropical spots, we decided to use the cloth face mask only while we were out of the water, for example, in the beach chairs, hammocks, etc. When entering the water to snorkel or just cool off a bit, we did it without using it.
I must confess that before arriving in this area, I felt a little nervous because it’s a spot in which many people usually accumulate. However, it was very relaxing to see that changes were made to respect physical distancing. Loungers and beach tables were reduced so that at least 1.5 m (6 ft) remain between them. I was happy to see how these areas were constantly disinfected. I felt no risk at all.
In summary, all the water activities in Xcaret can be enjoyed without limits.
The assisted buffet experience
After changing into dry clothes, it was time to eat so we went to the Mexican restaurant called La Cocina, which is located near the equestrian area. Upon arrival, I noticed that they had installed a sign at the entrance in which the new safety and hygiene protocols are explained very well.
This, probably, was the only moment that caused us a little discomfort from using the face mask, however, we did consider it necessary to use it for our safety and that of the rest of the visitors. Use it only while you are going to order your food and when you return to your table, remove it.
The assisted buffet service is comfortable, and the kitchen staff always wears face masks. In reality, the only thing that changes is that instead of serving the food by yourself, you ask the staff for the food you want, regardless of the quantity, they serve it on your plate as many times as you prefer.
Other observations: Tables were reduced to ensure the ideal distance between each table, waiters constantly offered you hand sanitizer gel and we saw how all surfaces of the restaurant were constantly cleaned while we were there.
How do you enjoy cultural presentations in Xcaret with a healthy distance?
In the afternoon, after all the activities, we dedicated to seeing the cultural shows that represent an essential part of the Xcaret park experience. In all cases, it was interesting to see that all the artists were presented with face masks and the necessary protection equipment, depending on their functions.
I loved seeing that the designs were different depending on the outfit that each one wears, in such a way that it is seen as part of it. In the Xcaret México Espectacular presentation, the dancers’ masks showed their huge smile and that left me a warm message of optimism.
This show was enjoyed as it has always been, with great joy and pride in our national sport: the charrería. As I mentioned before, all the charros and escaramuzas showed up wearing a face mask with a smile drawn on top of it, like the one they would normally show to the public.
Before going to the stands where we sat to see it, they offered us hand sanitizing gel and explained that there were blocked places between the rows to respect the distance between visitors. There was little influx, so we never felt very close to other visitors or at risk.
Xcaret México Espectacular
Finally, the jewel of the place: the Xcaret México Espectacular presentation. The stage and space for visitors inside the Tlachco theater, where this presentation takes place are very wide and allows to respect the healthy distance between visitors without risk.
We were able to enjoy this wonderful show that presents you with the best of Mexican culture and folklore in complete safety and comfort.
The safety and hygiene protocols at Xcaret México Espectacular are the same as in the rest of the artistic presentations: application of hand sanitizing gel before entering and leaving, temperature taking, full rows of the stands were blocked to ensure the distance between visitors and all the artists appear with face masks.
Finally, I will answer the following questions about my general experience:
Did you feel safe during your visit to Xcaret?
Yes, there was not one single moment when I felt too exposed or surrounded by many people. I brought a mask with me to use in case that happened and fortunately it wasn’t necessary. There’s a very moderate influx of visitors and the park is very large, so I practically felt that we were alone in almost all the activities we did.
I felt that the Xcaret park staff took care of all the necessary measures so that visitors didn’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying their vacation.
Was the use of the face mask uncomfortable?
The truth is that it is a little uncomfortable due to the hot weather in Riviera Maya, on several occasions I felt the need to remove it to rest a little. The one I bought at the park stores is much fresher and more comfortable than the one I was wearing; it was a relief and therefore I bought a seven-pack to use later.
Did you enjoy your visit?
Yes, a lot. I already knew Xcaret and the truth is that I barely noticed the differences and limitations in the activities. I really enjoyed being in contact with nature again and refreshing myself in the underground rivers, it was something that I really needed. The artistic presentations made me feel a joy and folklore that I needed after having lived through such complicated months.
What else would you like to know about my visit to Xcaret under the new normal? Write a comment and I will gladly reply.