September 19, 2012

near Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico: Xcaret; things to do

(pronounced “ISH-kah-RET”)  Puerto Juarez Hwy., 3 mi. S of Playa, 984-206-0038.  Tours.   Free parking. 

This eco-archeological park displays sea life as well as scale models of the area’s major ruins.  You can see local wildlife up close, snorkel and swim in a manmade lagoon and underground river, and sunbathe on a child-friendly shallow beach.  Swimming with dolphins or sharks is available at additional charge.  The park also has a botanical garden, a mushroom garden filled with pods that bring to mind those seen in the film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” a butterfly enclosure, a Maya museum, and a replica Maya village.  Inside Hacienda Henequenera, a folk art museum is set up as if a family is living there. 

Food is good, especially at the buffets.  The evening folklore show in the Grand Tlachco Teather is very well done and includes a Maya ball game (called pok-ta-pok); dining while watching is an option.  Vino de México Wine Cellar promotes the culture and history of Mexican wine.  Here you can taste wines from the first winery in Mexico, which is also the oldest in America.  (Mexico had the first winery in the New World, in Baja California—Casa Madero, opened in 1597.  There are 87 wineries in Baja, and 3 wineries in Guanajuato.)

More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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