Xcaret Eco Theme Park
Xcaret Eco Theme Park is a showcase of Mexican and Mayan culture and Mexican flora and fauna, plus some water attractions that should please everyone in the family. The park is much bigger than you think. This was my 2nd trip to Xcaret and I still haven't seen it all. In the park is an aquarium, butterfly pavillion, an underground river that you can float through, lovely beach & lagoon for snorkeling, dolphin encounters, lots of other kinds of animals, an orchid greenhouse, a Mayan village and lots more.
I enjoyed the float in the river and Mayan demonstrations the best. Especially the Papantla flyers who worship the sun god by spinning their way down from the top of 30 meter a pole on ropes upside down. Also included in your admission is a night show which features a Mayan football game, field hockey with a flaming coconut, falconry, fantastic costumes and lots of music and dance. If you can stay late, the show is a must-see!
If you stay at the Occidental Grand Xcaret, admission is free for one day and it's just a 5 minute walk from the hotel shops. Just follow the canal. Otherwise, admission is about $56 USD. If you take the Xcaret bus, you'll pay more. See their web site for details.
My wife (24) and I (25) stayed at the Caribbean Village August 3-10 for our second anniversary. We had been to Cancun once before for our honeymoon, staying at the Beach Palace, which was an excellent vacation. Caribbean Village was substantially cheaper than the Palace was, so we were not expecting the level of service and quality that we had received at the Palace. Having read some of the reviews on here beforehand I was getting pretty nervous that this place might be a complete dump. However, here is an honest appraisal of our trip:
Arrival: We arrived on Saturday, the 3rd and were really surprised to wait in at least a 2 hour line to get through customs. We didnt remember that from our first trip and it was a bit frustrating, but we are patient people and young so it wasnt a big deal. Others werent so patient. Im just adding it so that you might expect it.
We booked our trip through Funjet Vacations. I thought they were far inferior to Apple Vacations who we used last time. Anyhow, we found our paid transfer to the hotel and it went relatively smoothly. The Funjet representative forgot to set us up for the orientation, so we never did find out about making reservations, etc. Its not a big deal, were grownups and can figure things on our own, but it was definitely nice when Apple did that for us before. They also werent as friendly.
We checked in and I could tell right away that the biggest problem would be friendliness of the staff. The front desk guys were not overly friendly. Aloof would be a good way to describe them. It wasnt a big deal, but a big difference from our previous vacation when everybody was tremendously friendly.
Food and Drinks: The buffet was, in our opinion, pretty good. The selection was varied, and I really enjoyed the food. I dont usually like buffets that much, so that was a great thing. The buffet service was also very friendly.
There were 3 a la carte restaurants and the procedure for getting reservations there is very complicated, so make sure you ask about this early on. The Italian place wasnt bad. The service was friendly and the place was pleasant to look at. We arent real picky, though. The Mexican place again was decent. Nothing too great. Our sever there was very friendly. Finally, the Brazilian place was ok. Its basically all meat, though, so if you dont like meat, I wouldnt even bother going there. I love meat so it was great for me. My wasnt thrilled, however.
There is one main bar by the buffet and there was a swim up bar and a tiny, almost invisible lobby bar during happy hour. I love to drink and was disappointed by the lack of friendliness by the bartenders. The drinks were very good, however, and we didnt really have any trouble getting what we wanted. The swim up bar was very nice. Supposedly, there is a disco, but we never could even find it. I was disappointed because I enjoyed the happy hour music, dancing, and conversation that the Beach Palace had. This place really didnt have anything like that.
Rooms: Small and nothing special. Completely does not matter to us, though.
Pool and Beach: The pool area was very spacious and nice. We definitely had the best time around there. The entertainment coordinators were pretty good. We like to do this kind of stuff, so we had a good time there. The beach area was also nice, though there is no bar area nor cocktail service down there. The Beach Palace had that.
Overall: We had a great vacation and it would be very difficult for a hotel experience to ruin it. Anyway, we have had two Cancun experiences and the first at the Beach Palace was a better experience overall. However, there is a substantial difference in price between the Palace Hotels and the Caribbean Village. If money is important to you, then the Caribbean Village is more than adequate to give you an excellent Cancun experience. If you are really concerned about quality, however, it might be worth it to spend the extra money and look elsewhere. Either way, for normal people it is almost impossible not to have a good vacation in Cancun. If anybody has any questions about it feel free to email me.
I'll give you an honest review -- please read
This is the most overrated place in Cancun!. I have stayed at Crown Paradise CLub previously and it was 50 times better. I dont know where my $4000 dollars went. When I arrived there the lobby was so pathetic and old I almost cried knowing how much money I spent on the trip. The air smelled somewhat like a sewer. The elevators had nothing wrong with them.
The room was small and the window was large and extremely dangerous if you have children. The shower pressure was excellent. The beach was very nice, I must say. The pool was old and the paint was all coming off. I t was absolutely disgusting!
When I went to play basketball in the pool I found that the hoop was all rusted and bent. All the sports equipment they had was pathetic!
The glasses and cups they had at the bars and restaurants were gross. They were hardly even washed! The food was not very flavorful and tasted like it had been outside for three days. I was sick with a terrible stomachache and had terrible diarrhea! Activities were well organized, but most of the staff took their jobs a joke.
It seems the staff tries to humiliate the guests. Whenever there are shows or activities they force you to get involved or make a fool of yourself. When I got involved with volleyball on my fourth day there, the director humiliated me in my face constantly. I wanted to leave so bad!
And GUYS listen up I am a guy too. I was absolutely disgusted by all the old women topless around the pool! I do not recommend this hotel.
Not So Great
I will give you an honest to God review of this place. I was dissapointed from the beginning. Below are topics for every area of the hotel...
OVERALL VIEW OF THE HOTEL-
Good location, older hotel. Gross at times. Staff is not so great. Facilities are old. Beach is nice. I went to Crown Paradise before and recommend it. I do not recommend Carribean village.
Staff can be rude they're slow but try hard. They sometimes take their jobs as a joke. Bartenders only make a good drink if you tip them. The staff put on a show every night. They try hard, but it is really pathetic. The show is all about humiliating guests so people laugh and have a good time. They made me get on the stage and make a fool of myself against my will. Waiters are good and do a good job.
Food is not so great. A lot of people felt the same way when I stayed there. It can be bland, or super spicy where you cant even eat it. I was sick with a terrible stomache ache every day.
Beach is nice, no one is there to save you if youre drowning. So you have to very careful.
There are many activities, but they end at only 5 o clock. They are the same thing every day so it's boring.You can rent equipment if you want to play things by yourself. The equipment is old, worn out and pathetic. The basketball rim was twisted, rusted and not usable. One day I played volleyball, the activity director humiliated me to my face many times because I made bad plays. I was so mad I wanted to leave.
The pool is old, the paint is peeling and gross.
The entertainment was terrible! It was absolutely perverted and disgusting! The show consists of bringing guests on stage usually against their will and humiliating them. It was extremely sexual in nature and extremely innappropriate. It was extremely offensive to different races, nationalities and myself.
WHAT I PERSONALLY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS RESORT-
It is extremely overrated, it's a dump! I dont recommend anyone going there. I have no clue how anyone could like this place. Those who recommend this dump have probably never been to another resort before.
I Don't Recommend It
I went to Carribean Village with my family from Sept. 17-Sept.24th. Not impressed! My family, wife (47), me (47), ands kids (7) and (16) all agreed with me.
Staff was rude, food was gross, i had diarrhea ever day there. Rooms smelled. Activites were the same every day. Entertainment was extremely perverted and explicit!
september 26, 2002
My husband and I stayed at the Carribbean Village on September 26, 2002. Our room was very clean every day, the staff was extremely polite and helpful, especially Adan at the pool bar and Alberto at the front desk. Time share people were bothersome, but we had a great trip. This hotel could use some a/c in their restaurants , but on a scale of 1-10 I'd say an 8.
Xcaret - Swimming with the Dolphins!
"Reunion of Friends"
Dave and I went to Xcaret to swim with the dolphins, yes! But, also to meet up with his college bud Mark, and his girlfriend Citlali! There's nothin' more relaxing than sitting here drinkin' from a coconut!
Xcaret is an eco park in Playa Del Carmen that offers tons of things to do: swim with dolphins, pet sting rays, snorkle, ropes course, zoo, underground river, and a show at night...just to name a few.
We just rented a car and drove there from Cancun for the day.
If we go back to that area, I would stay in Playa Del Carmen OVER Cancun...hotels are not piled on top of each other...it's more natural.
"Dave and the Dolphin!"
How cool was this! GREAT!
Dave says he wants to swim with manta rays next...I'm up for that, too!
"Missy and the Dolphin!"
I never imagined being able to swim and touch these magnificent, gentle, and intelligent creatures.
I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Occidental Grand Xcaret - Specific Question about this resort
I am going to Occidental Grand Xcaret in 3 weeks. I have one specific concern: the beach at the resort is small; it's an artificial lagoon formed by the water from the underground springs and the water from the Caribbean sea (which also makes it a bit cooler than the Caribbean sea). Based on pictures I saw online, seems that that most if not all of the beach at the open sea near this resort is very rocky, and is probably off limits for swimmers. The thing is, I would love to swim in the open sea. I am curious if there is a way to walk from the resort along to the beach to a part of the beach where I would be allowed to swim in the Caribbean sea, or any other part of this resort where I can swim in the "real" Caribbean water.
I am considering an option of taking a 15-min taxi ride to Playa Del Carmen and spend a few hours at the beach there. I wanted to know whether I have any alternatives/other options. Thank you!
Re: Occidental Grand Xcaret - Specific Question about this resort
HIGHLY suggest you go to TULUM. This is where the PYRAMID is on a bluff over the beach. You can swim next to the pyramid. There is a great beach 50 feet from it and great for swimming. Been there, done that, RECOMMEND IT.