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Xcaret: Discovering Old Mexico – Part One

When I traveled to Cancun this past September, I had no idea what to expect. Driving to my hotel from the airport I stared at the miles of shopping malls, ritzy resorts, and glossy billboards and confess I was a bit disappointed. I know all those things can be fun, but I was hoping for a bit of “real” Mexico, something that didn’t feel like I was still in America.

Much to my delight, our hosts from Royal Holiday took my fellow bloggers and I to such a place a mere 60 minutes from Cancun: Xcaret.

The 12-acre site in the Mayan Riviera was originally intended to be the home of  architect Miguel Quintana Pali. But as he began clearing the land he discovered natural sinkholes known as cenotes and beautiful underground rivers. Pali then decided to create a park where everyone could enjoy the natural wonders and learn about the history and culture of Mexico.

Xcaret was opened in December 1990 as an eco-archeological park and is a place of exquisite beauty and stunning history. I couldn’t stop smiling all day as I ambled past tropical flowers, clambered over Mayan ruins, and gasped in wonder at the brilliant performances of Mayan dancers and historical re-enactors.

Our first adventure was taking a boat ride down this gorgeous turquoise river. It led us between towering cliffs, by cascading waterfalls, and lingered by the river-side homes of black wild boar and graceful deer.

We bobbed along through dark caves and stared up at the thick canopy of trees blotting out the sky, listening to the chatter of hundreds of birds and the patter of warm rain trickling down through the leaves.

I loved it. 🙂

When our boat tour was over we made a pit stop at the most stunning bathroom I’ve ever seen.

It was so magnificent you wanted to keep guzzling water just to have an excuse to see it again. What especially delighted me were the hand washing facilities. How marvelously Swiss Family Robinson are those seashell faucets?!

In Part Two I’ll tell you more about this wonderful place, and hopefully figure out how to share some video I took of some crazy brave Mayan performers. 🙂

Do prefer “bright lights, big city” or do you like getting out into nature? Or maybe a bit of both?




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LindyLouMac - These photos are glorious and far more appealing than bright lights and big city, although I do like that some times.

Malin - Thanks!!

So beautiful pictures!! Looks like a wonderful place. 🙂

Anna Johnston - Awesome Krista. Looking forward to knowing more about this place.

Andi - Droooool, what an incredible place! I want that seashell faucet in my bathroom PLEASE!!!

RamblingTart - Thank you, Lindy Lou! 🙂 I just loved it there. 🙂

RamblingTart - It really is, Malin! So peaceful and beautiful and fascinating. 🙂

RamblingTart - Thanks, Anna! I can’t wait to show you more. 🙂

RamblingTart - Isn’t it fabulous, Andi?!! I was so delighted. 🙂

MaryAnn Hardwick - I could just imagine myself putzing along on those beautiful turguoise waters looking and listening to such wonder….I can’t wait to learn more! Thank you.

Xcaret: Part 2 – A World of Jellyfish » Rambling Tart - […] Part 2 – A World of Jellyfish After our gorgeous boat ride through Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park in the Mayan Riviera, we spent many happy hours wandering at our […]

Tuula - I’ve heard so many great things about Xcaret Krista, and your photos & lovely description confirm it’s a must-see when down in the south of Mexico.
Love getting out into nature myself – tend to be a city gal, but there’s nothing like a natural escape to help you appreciate the beauty of our world 🙂

Sarah, Maison Cupcake - This place looks so beautiful, I haven’t been to Mexico but friends of mine have and have told me how great it was. We saw some parrots like that in Dubrovnik recently but the rest of the surroundings were not quite as exotic!

bellini - We went to a place close to there called Xel Ha, absolutely gorgeous, snorkelling,relaxation. It was close to Christmas so pretty quiet too.

Chaya - I know, I always say it and I mean it, and I will say it again. I love your photos. They are beautiful.

I am having difficulty with my computer and have not been able to get here or many other places. It just worked so I figured, I had better let you know, I have not forgotten you. I am hoping, we will find a solution.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my blogs.

tasteofbeirut - These parrots are too much! I love the shell faucet.

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