I got nailed! damn mosquitos..

Xcaret Travel Blog

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One of the "Dos Playas"
It's hilarious, throughout the entire trip, my mom and Veronica got nailed by mosquitos left and right, whether or not they had insect repellent on. I was pretty much mosquito-bite free. I think partly cause I smoke so they aren't as attracted to me and partially because I'm fairly sensitive to light touches so I would catch them and kill them before they could really get me. But Xcaret just did me in. I got like 5 bites in 1 day from some seriously nasty mosquitos!!

This morning was really ominous. It was the first time we woke up and it was POURING RAIN nonstop from the minute we opened our eyes to the moment we arrived at Xcaret. And Xcaret proved to be pretty consistently really terrible.
2nd tier of the butterfly pavilion
At least for the first 6 hours or so! Things changed rapidly after a lovely massage at Xpa. But from the first minute we arrived... what do we see but this strange looking water-buffalo looking thing, a sad little horse and a donkey. All of them cordoned off from each other and looking unbelievably miserable. Until practically the end of those 6 hours.. Veronica and I decided to run around by ourselves due to my mom's increasingly bad mood due to the stock market crash. But left to our own devices, for some freaking reason everytime we tried to follow the signs we would get horribly lost and end up wandering around in circles.

There were at least 6 things in the park that we wanted to see and no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't find ANY OF IT. We ended up at the lame "Dos Playas" where a bunch of large people were waddling around in inner tubes.
lonely Leopard
We went to Jaguar Island and didn't see a single freaking cat. And then we finally found the manatees and they looked SO CRAMPED and depressed as they were sectioned off from each other. So each one was in a very small, murky pool making me and V almost want to leave.

This place was so unbelievably different from Xel-Ha, atmosphere-wise and layout wise. The feeling of Xel-Ha was very natural and fun well-maintained. I felt like Xcaret was old and unkempt, plus the paths kept shooting off on wild tangents into nowhere and we kept going in circles trying to find stuff and it was maddening!! Plus, all the amenities that came with "Xcaret Plus" was garbage.

They give you a complimentary towel, snorkel equipment and locker, but you can only exchange your stupid coupons at one spot near the entrance.
can't communicate with the lonely jaguar
Considering V and I didn't want to get into the water immediately and didn't want to lug around all that garbage, we didn't even use our amenities. The all-inclusive meal was 1 restaurant at 1 time, whereas in Xel-Ha you could eat whever you wanted, anywhere you wanted as many times as you felt like, so you didn't end up stuffing yourself trying to last the day in the park. Xel-Ha was very obviously built with comfort and convenience as a huge priority while Xcaret seems much more.. bureaucratic-feeling. Come on, what is this coupon shit?!

During the first 3 and a half hours of walking around at a pretty frantic pace all we were able to see was the butterfly pavillion which was actually pretty cool as a lot of butterflies flit about you, an insane looking graveyard with very catholic-themed headstones/statues, and some sad looking dolphins that flitted to the surface for a spell as they were sick of being watched via an underground window.
strange looking water-buffalo looking thing when you enter the park..


We felt like we were walking for HOURS, which we probably were. The one cool thing we got to do was rest our poor feet chillin' in hammocks for a little bit and then we went to these protected reef-wall things next to the ocean. They were like walls that the ocean came right up to, but they were only 5 feet deep-ish so they were essentially child proof. V and I were so hot and exhausted from the interminable walking and frustrating lack of ability in finding anything decent to look at, play with, or partake in so we went into the freezing pools just behind the ocean that were fashioned so that they came right up to the breaking waves. Imagine inifinity pools but really rough and made of rock and lots of rocks and pebbles underneath your feet making it difficult to walk.
which are in front of this sign.
That was.. interesting.

We were about to go eat when we spotted a spa in the middle of a freaking river. It was so beautiful. As V does massage for a living she really wanted to get a massage so we inquired about prices and waited. It looked so awesome she got a 1 hour deep tissue massage and I got a 25 minute relaxing massage but the guy ended up working on me for almost 45 minutes! Woohoo! It was the singular most relaxing and comforting experience I have had this week. My feet and calves really needed it after a week of non-stop walking. Afterwards we went to the "best" restaurant at Xcaret to have lunch and there was a huge line as it was after 2pm. The lady at the front told me something about the other side and pointed in that direction but I didn't understand what she was saying.
Flamingos!
She repeated it again and I realized she was telling me that my mom was already seated and waiting for us! Yay!!

I was really happy to see my mom as I hadn't seen her all day and was feeling super guilty about leaving her on her own. But her being my one and only mom, she managed to 1) have an amazing time without us tagging along with other people and 2) seeing literally 10x the amount of stuff that we saw as she has some really great sense of direction and intuition that I failed to inherit. I don't like the way she rushes through things but I let her brag about all the wonderful things she saw and let her gloat over me and V's misery. The world was in balance once again and that was a Very Good Thing.

Our luck seemed to have changed for the better after our 2:30pm lunch.
sad and lonely dolphin
My mom went off by herself again and we promised to meet her at 6pm at the gift shop so we could see the night show "Xcaret Espectacular!" This time V and I asked for help as the signs were totally throwing us off again! We finally saw 1 jaguar and 1 leopard on Jaguar island, we saw the flamingos while illegally using the exit path to go on the river boat ride, which sucked a lot except for having caught sight of a little black pig-looking thing running through the forest. And we saw a whole grip of huge turtles being fed and played with in the turtle lagoon. FINALLY. And on our way out, we heard a sound in the trees and saw a family (mom, dad and baby) of spider monkeys!! That was totally cool. =) The last time I saw monkeys was in Africa! =)

We still couldn't find the stained-glass house, or the orchid greenhouse, or the animal breeding farm, or the Mayan village.
spider monkey sighting!
But there were two positive things that night. The night show was AWESOME. You walk in through about a 1/4 mile of path and arches and the actors and people from the show have taken their places in this environment - whether on platforms in the bushes or on pedastals or under arches, pretending to be people from a village long ago in which you are now entering. In the glow of the fire, its a very surreal and engaging experience. Then we enter the arena with tons of seating.

So we have been hearing about Mayan basketball/soccer ever since the excursion to Chichen Itza but it was HERE that they actually showed us a game being played live. My goodness it looked HARD.
big turtles!
After the Mayan basketball/soccer and the fire-hockey, there were some tribal ceremonies and fights and stuff. Then there was a 15 minute intermission after which they preformed extensive musical/dance numbers from every region of Mexico and it was FABULOUS!! LONG, but definitely fabulous. The show went from 7pm to nearly 9:15pm but for some reason it felt like a lot lot longer. This was definitely the highlight of the day and I therefore recommend seeing just the night show if possible because everything else seems to pale in comparison.

The second wonderful thing was that Veronica bought me cotton candy! I LOVE cotton candy, it is one of the best things ever invented =) It always makes me happy as it is fluffy and sweet and changes texture in a flash! Apparently cotton candy in Mexico is made with honey instead of sugar! At least that's how it tasted and it was WONDERFUL =) I ate my whole cotton candy within 10 minutes and was soooo happy and sugared-up! =D Sadly I think that was the highlight of my day at Xcaret.
I have to show you this bathroom..
Sigh.

It's hard for me to recommend this place as I obviously didn't like it and found things frustrating and sad. I have to share an example of the most convulated, Escher-like structure at Xcaret.. THE BATHROOM near the entrance. I could have seriously killed someone. There is this spirally building with niches built into its side winding up. Each niche had a door on the right and left. These were bathrooms. So you walk up to the first niche, and if people are in them, you have to walk up the winding walkway to the next niche, and so on and so forth. There is NO WAY to easily guess whether or not there is someone in the freaking bathroom unless you walk into each freaking niche and poke your head left and right. I wanted to kill someone. What freak of nature designs something like that?! And that, my dear friends is the epitome of this park.
I want a headdress like that!!


So if I had to do it all over again, I'd just buy tickets for the night show which is really well done, but LOUD and the sound quality is a bit blare-y. I can't in good consciousness recommend handing over $140 for a day in this park.
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One of the Dos Playas
One of the "Dos Playas"
2nd tier of the butterfly pavilion
2nd tier of the butterfly pavilion
lonely Leopard
lonely Leopard
cant communicate with the lonely …
can't communicate with the lonely…
strange looking water-buffalo look…
strange looking water-buffalo loo…
which are in front of this sign.
which are in front of this sign.
Flamingos!
Flamingos!
sad and lonely dolphin
sad and lonely dolphin
spider monkey sighting!
spider monkey sighting!
big turtles!
big turtles!
I have to show you this bathroom..
I have to show you this bathroom..
I want a headdress like that!!
I want a headdress like that!!
climbing to the graveyard
climbing to the graveyard
headstones
headstones
waterfall in the butterfly pavilli…
waterfall in the butterfly pavill…
butterfly open!
butterfly open!
Butterfly closed..
Butterfly closed..
waterfall on Jaguar Island
waterfall on Jaguar Island
resting for a bit on the hammocks.…
resting for a bit on the hammocks…
wonderful waterfall by Xpa
wonderful waterfall by Xpa
One of the massage tables you get …
One of the massage tables you get…
Where V and I got massages!
Where V and I got massages!
swimming around!
swimming around!
River raft ride
River raft ride
Xcaret Espectacular!
Xcaret Espectacular!
I eatz the cotton candy!
I eatz the cotton candy!
You can take my picture but I will…
You can take my picture but I wil…
Xcaret
photo by: hannajax