Our spring break trip to Mexico got a little adventurous. We took a day trip to Xplor park, an adventure destination in Playa del Carmen, Mexico (outside of Cancun) and totally stepped out of our comfort zones! We were given free admission to the park so I could share our experience with you.
I knew before we even got there that I would need to be brave so I could experience all the fun activities with my family. I always like to know what I’m in for so I thought I would put together all the info to help you plan your Xplor visit. I’m so glad we went but I feel I could have been a little bit more prepared.
I only share things I love and think you’ll love too. This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase through one of these links, I am compensated. I was also given park admission for my whole family.
I’m indoorsy but I do like sitting on the beach in the shade with someone bringing me drinks. So when my friend Laura, of Connect Her Media, asked if my family would like to visit this park on our vacation, I was a little bit hesitant. I’m not much for adventure. I’m not extreme in any way except for how many liquids I tried to take in my carry on at the airport (they confiscated my leave-in conditioner!)
But it sounded like something fun to do with the family and a way to see a little bit more of the Riviera Maya area. So I said yes. And then got nervous. I did a tiny bit of research before we left and then chatted with a few blogger friends who had been recently. I’ve combined all this info into this post so you can know what you are getting yourself in for.
What is Xplor Park?
Xplor is one of the activity parks created by Xcaret. Driving through the Riviera Maya area, you come to realize that Xcaret owns a handful of parks throughout this part of Mexico. And while you may not be familiar with the name, just know that Xcaret is big on being environmentally friendly, safe for families and fun.
It’s reductive to say that the Xcaret parks are like Disneyland, but in all the best ways, they’re like Disneyland. The facilities are super clean. The service is amazing and the food is delish! While each of the parks have a different focus and age limits, all of the parks are intended to give you amazing experiences that you probably haven’t had before.
They also opened a Hotel Xcaret last year, which after having visited a few of the parks, makes me want to stay there so bad! I’ve heard it’s amazing! And it’s adjacent to a few of the parks making your family vacation super easy and activity filled.
Why go to Xplor?
Xplor is full of adventures for the family. It has the tallest zip-line circuits in the area where you soar above the Mayan jungle. It has amphibious vehicles that you drive with your family through the jungle track. And so much more! As with all of the parks, there is a fair amount of water involved so you can cool off and enjoy the Riviera Maya area of Mexico.
How Much Does it Cost?
You can buy admission tickets right from the website. Xplor is like an all-inclusive resort, which means your admission gets you the activities and food. It’s not inexpensive, especially if you have a large family. But when you think about being there all day, with meals and so many fun activities included, the cost makes sense. Plus it’s a great way to spend a full day on vacation.
At the moment, the ticket prices on the site are $125.99 for adults and $62.99 for children 5-11. There are a few additional costs you might want to plan for, like the photo package and transportation.
How to Get There
We stayed at a hotel in Playa del Carmen and were picked up right at the front door. It can be hard to know what is safe or reliable in Mexico. I highly recommend that you add on this transportation option. The shuttles are run by Xcaret and not by a 3rd party company.
The shuttles pick you up at your hotel and take you to the front door of the park. You may have to make stops at other area hotels to pick up more guests before you get to the final destination.
The buses are super comfortable, remarkably clean and a great way to learn more about the parks from the informative park representatives who ride with you. Before getting off the bus, they give you information about when and where to find the bus for your return trip home.
While you should plan to be there all day, there is a taxi stand at the park’s entrance, with rates posted in dollars and pesos, so that everyone is on the same page in terms of cost to your final destination. Use at your own risk.
What is the Age Limit?
Ok, let’s get into the nitty-gritty stuff. The Xplor site says kids have to be 5 to visit the park. After experiencing it, that sounds really young. My youngest is 10 and he did ok. But this park is no joke. There is tons of walking. And the activities are pretty adventurous and many are water related.
While some of the things can be done in conjunction with a parent, I remember my kids at 5 and they would have complained about all the walking and been too nervous to do many of the activities.
Xcaret does have other parks (I’ll be sharing about our visit to Xel-Ha) which might be better suited to young visitors. You know your family best and this would not have been right for my kids at age 5.
There also aren’t a lot of areas to just hang out if you don’t want to do what the rest of your group is doing.
What to Wear to Xplor Adventure Park
- Women – Like many women, I don’t love being in a bathing suit but you will be wet throughout the day. I wore a one-piece suit with board shorts over it (which were on the shorter side and I was a little uncomfortable walking around feeling like I had no pants on). I also wore a long-sleeve rash guard to help protect against the sun.
- Men – Swim trunks and a rash guard are perfect. We did long sleeves to make sure we were protected from the sun. This is the rash guard I got for the boys.
There were people who just walked around in bathing suits (including thongs which is not cute in a zip-line harness…) and people who wore shorts and a t-shirt. Do you.
- Water Shoes – Water shoes were suggested by several people and I highly recommend getting them. I did see people in flip flops or sneakers but they make you hold your flip flops for most of the activities and I can’t imagine being in wet sneakers! While I didn’t want to spend the money, they were such a great purchase. Plus if you are visiting any other parks you’ll be able to wear them again.
We bought ours in the Xplor gift shop (about $30 each) since we knew that they would have the right type of sole to prevent slipping. There is water everywhere and I’m guessing certain surfaces can get slippery.
Your shoes should fit snug (if they are a little loose, you could lose one in the water when you finish the zip line circuit. It happened to my son but someone took a snorkel and found it for him).
There is a lot of walking so having a shoe on makes a lot of sense. Flying over the jungle means you don’t want to worry about what is on your feet. I can’t imagine doing this park without water shoes. And mine ended up glowing in the dark which made me feel super cool.
What to Bring
I’m a planner so I tried to do my best with finding out all the info ahead of time but still felt unsure as we were leaving the hotel.
Here are the things I think you need:
- Cash – not a lot, but it’s always good to have a little bit of cash for tipping (not needed at the park but you never know when it will come in handy) or taxi rides, etc.
- Credit Card – we only brought one with us because we knew we would need it to buy the water shoes. We took an Amex since I think it has a little more protection when traveling. If you are adding on any extras, like the photo package, you’ll need it for that too.
- Change of clothes – We were mostly dry when it was time to leave but it felt really nice to be in real clothes again. They have plastic bags available for the wet items!
- Flip flops – you will be happy to get your feet dry at the end of the day.
- Waterproof phone case – this is the phone case I brought and really liked it. Having one that goes around your neck would also be a good idea. Trust me. You’ll take a ton of photos! And there is water everywhere. You can’t not protect your phone.
- Rubberband – you have to wear a helmet at all times so if you have long hair, you’ll probably want to tie it back. I tried to do a cute side pony. It wasn’t that cute.
- Deodorant – for when you are done for the day and want to feel a little fresh. It’s a long day in the water and whatever you put on in the morning will wear off quickly…Plus it is hot and humid and you are very active.
- A Towel or two – We took 4 towels with us and really didn’t need them. We finished our water activities and then hung out for a bit before leaving. It was plenty of time to dry off and not be dripping wet. But if you walk straight from the cave swimming to the lockers at the end of the day, you may need a towel.
- Sunglasses – I can’t go anywhere without sunglasses but just know that they can get broken or lost. I never felt like they were going to fly off my face or anything but I did see someone get their real glasses broken on the zip-line…
What Not to Bring
- Sunscreen or bug spray – the parks have a place where you can check these items if you’ve brought them with you. They only want you to use their reef safe products. So just don’t bring it. They sell good options in the gift shop if you need to reapply during the day. With the rash guards and the shade we were usually able to find, we didn’t need to buy any.
- Hats – You have to wear a helmet pretty much at all times. My husband and sons wore hats underneath but they really didn’t offer that much more shade.
Checking in is really easy. You are issued a helmet for each person and 2 lockers (one locker for 2 people). The lockers fit our shoes and a backpack with no problem, but they aren’t huge so only bring what you need! We brought 4 towels and put them in the other locker but really didn’t need the towels at all.
You get around the park with a series of trails. There are maps and signage, throughout, that help you find the activities that you want to do. As I said before, there is a lot of walking. Most of it is flat. And it’s gorgeous since you are walking through a jungle. The zip-line towers are steep and high and require a lot of stamina.
If you are staying in Playa del Carmen, you’ll get in the park about an hour earlier than the people coming in from Cancun or Tulum. Which means you get to do some things without the crowds and it is nice and quiet.
Things to Do at Xplor
It was suggested by an employee to head to the amphibious cars first since the park was still quiet and sometimes you have to wait for them later on in the day. We did and we were the only people there!
You must be a licensed driver to drive these cars and there are 2 track,s a dry and a wet side, which you can do one time each. We went right for the wet side and went for a fun drive through the jungle. The track takes you down into dark caves (there are headlights on the car) but TAKE OFF YOUR SUNGLASSES! So dark! I made my hubby slow down a bunch of times in the cave.
There are areas that fill with water and drench you when you speed through them. I think this was my favorite attraction! It was the perfect way to get started at the park where you could look around and take it all in. And then the first time you get splashed you’re like, OK – I’m ready!
Of course, you are going to do the zip-lines. But this really tested our family. I knew that I would have to put on a brave face and do this. But I was totally unprepared.
We thought you just got in the harness (they help you to make sure it’s safe) and did it once. But NO. This is a circuit. Which means, when you do your first zip-line, you are now somewhere out in the jungle. And the only way to get back to the main part of the park is to finish the circuit.
None of us have a fear of heights but it’s so much more than that. The ending of every zip-line track is jarring. The kids and I didn’t love or really get used to it but my husband loved it. In talking to the kids now, they just don’t think our family is adventurous enough for this park and I agree with them. But we still had a good time!
Make sure to pay attention to any instructions they give or videos they play so you know what to do. Somehow my son and I missed information about the landing and so we didn’t really know what to do which made us feel a little out of control.
If your kids are on the smaller side, they will zip-line with you. My husband and youngest went together and on our 3rd zip-line, they didn’t make it all the way to the tower and ended up moving backward and stopped, hanging over the jungle. Needless to say, my son was not happy.
A park employee rigged himself up and crawled out to them on the zip-line and pulled them the rest of the way in. We thought it was probably time to throw in the towel and be done.
But they basically told us no. Which I totally get it. At this point, you are out in the middle of the jungle. For someone to come and get you would be a very long time. So we all took a deep breath and kept going.
I am SO proud of my son. He could have had a meltdown and refused to go on. But he took a minute to calm down and kept it moving. We had to do it 6 more times before we could be done!
In the image above, you’ll see one of the zip-line towers. Keep in mind that we are coming from another tower so you aren’t walking all the way up from the ground. Once you land on a platform, you usually have to climb up some more levels to start your next circuit.
This tower, in particular, had a bridge to cross from the tower you landed on to get to the next one (said to be the tallest in Mexico). Look at how tall that tower is! And it’s fairly steep in places. So much walking and climbing even while zip-lining!
To finish the zip-line circuit, your last ride has you zip through a waterfall and lands you right into the water. It’s intimidating but wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and much shorter than all the other times.
We aren’t adventurous. But it was still an amazing experience that I am glad that we did. It was amazing to do it as a family and we had so many great learning moments that taught us we can get through anything. But like I said, I like to be on a beach with a margarita.
The Hammock Splash is zip-lining, but you are sitting, chair-style, in a mini hammock (you can go single or double!) and you land in water. It is a pretty short distance and is probably the zip-line we should have started on since you just do it once and it would be great preparation for a full circuit.
We had a fun time on the rafts. It was a lot of work to steer the rafts (they give you paddles to put on your hands) and since I went with my 12-year-old, I did most of the work. My arm muscles were burning! But again, it taught us teamwork and we were really proud of ourselves when we were finished.
There is a start and end to the course. Xplor park seems very goal oriented. This is not the place for leisure or trying things out. Once you are in, you’re in and you finish it.
One of the things that is really amazing is that you find yourself in such quiet spaces throughout the park. It might just be you and few other people. You feel lucky to get to be in the space and it’s cool to just take it all in for a minute.
Stalactite River Swim
I sat out the Stalactite River Swim but my husband and my youngest enjoyed it. They saw a few fish and so many cool stalactite formations. I’m not an avid swimmer so I knew this wouldn’t be my cup of tea.
My youngest (again, 10 years old) got get tired, and while there are emergency exits, they finished the swim. He also complained that the water was too cold for him. You do wear a life-vest but it’s a bit of a swim for a kid.
What to Eat
There is one restaurant, El Troglodita, on the property and it was delicious! A hostess finds a table for your family (seating is shared but when we went we had our own table since it wasn’t packed). The tables have hooks to hold your helmets while you eat.
This buffet style set up has things everyone in your family will love. My youngest filled up with a hot dog, Jello and ham slices. I went straight for the fajitas and the grilled chicken (I was starving, y’all – you put in some WORK at Xplor). Everything was so tasty and every person in my family got something different and loved it.
I also ate all of my son’s guacamole. Sorry, not sorry. There were several beverage options to choose from and I was really surprised at how delicious everything was.
In another spot in the park, you could try fresh juices or get a smoothie (also included in the price of admission). I feel like the park does a great job of keeping you hydrated. Aside from the lunch buffet and this juice counter, there is a drink station located in the center of the park with water, lemonade and hibiscus punch. YUM!
And if you need it, there is another stop where you can grab a mango or banana. This was a highlight for the family.
Do you Get to Rest?
There are a few places to stop and rest around the park. A few of them included hammocks and I greatly appreciated that. This is where I waited with my oldest while the others were swimming. This was exactly what I needed. Aside from hammocks, they also have wooden chairs (sort of like Adirondack chairs) to rest in.
I was truly grateful for these areas. If you are looking for somewhere inside to rest, there are benches in the locker room areas or the restaurant, although it might be hard to find a spot during busy meal times.
What Does the Non-Adventurer Do at Xplor?
Suck it up and do it. It’s helpful to know what to expect. This isn’t a relaxing place, even though there are some relaxing areas. Know when you go that you will be there all day and you will be doing things all the time. It’s a good idea to save one of the amphibious car rides until the afternoon as it is the least amount of work you put in, especially if someone else is driving.
While it might not sound like this was a very good experience. It totally was. And I can think of so many families we know who would think this place was a dream come true.
While you will feel like you are exercising all day long, the setting of this park is magical. It’s so cool to be among the trees and hear the birds (and the whizz of people zip-lining above you). You’ll see iguanas and parrots. You will marvel at how clean the bathrooms are. And come to realize that Xcaret knows how to create experiences like you can’t get anywhere else.
See More Reviews for Xcaret Parks
- Fun activities to do in Riviera Maya from Happy Mess Mom
- Things To Do in Cancun with Kids from Family Vacation Hub
- Experience Xcaret in Mexico’s Maya Riviera from Dandelion Women
So was the park grueling? No. Do you work hard? Yes. Would I do it again? Maybe. Did we make priceless family memories that we will always have? Absolutely.
This photo doesn’t even do it justice. It’s breathtaking, really. Was I glad that I finally got to take the helmet off? You betcha.
I really can’t speak highly enough about the service and cleanliness of the park. The setting is truly remarkable and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.
More Fun Family Travel Ideas to Check Out
- Where to Go For Spring Break in Orange County
- Take Your Family on The Train
- The Wild Life Movie and Overnight at the San Diego Zoo
- Legoland Hotel
Pin Info About Xplor For Later
Your family, if they are adventurous, will love this park. If you are like me and are a bit of a sissy, you’ll like it ok. :)
Xplor park was a day full of adventure for the whole family. Boy, did we sleep well that night! I also woke up a little sore the next day, but again, I’m a lightweight. If your family likes to try new things and is active and into adventure, you will LOVE Xplor. And even though it wasn’t a huge hit with my family, I would totally recommend this park to anyone who thinks their family is up for it! It’s a pretty cool adventure!