xcaret mexico cenote
Travel Tips, Trip Reports

Tips for swimming in Xcaret Underground Rivers

Xcaret is an incredible cultural, eco park located in Riviera Maya.  If you are visiting Riviera Maya for any length of time, it is totally worth it to include a visit to Xcaret in your itinerary.  The park offers a bounty of activities for visitors including an opportunity to swim in the cenote rivers weaving through the park.  We decided to give cenote swimming a try on our first visit to Xcaret and it was quite and adventure!  We compiled a list of tips that should help you plan well for your swim through the rivers at Xcaret.

xcaret mexico

Plan to do the river swim early in the day

Xcaret is an immense park filled with so many activities that your head might spin.  Besides the water activities like cenote river swimming, dolphin encounters, and the beach you’ll have a variety of cultural and nature oriented exhibits to wander through.  Planning to do the swim earlier in the day will help to ensure that you aren’t tired from walking around the park when you start the cenote river adventure.

xcaret cenote river

You can view the cenote rivers from the stone walkways as the rivers wind their way through the park..

Research the river course before starting and choosing your course

There are 3 underground rivers that your family can choose from but they are each slightly different.  The rivers run throughout the park and finally lead to the oceanfront area of the park.   The scenery is beautiful along the way as you pass through lush foliage and different areas of the park.  There are some caves or tunnels along the course of the river that can be quite dark (pitch black actually).

xcaret cenote river

Stow your belongings in lockers and in large bags provided

The locker and restroom area at the head of the river entrance is expansive and well run.  The staff provide very large duffel bags that you can fill with a change of clothes, shoes and other non valuables.

xcaret cenote river

You watch as they lock the bags and provide you with a tag that you present to claim your bag. These bags are transported for you to the end of the river course for you to pick up.  This is important to note, especially if you exit the river early.

THE BAGS ARE HUMONGOUS AND EASILY HELD ALL OF OUR CLOTHING, SHOES AND TOWELS. WE KEPT OUR MOST VALUABLE ITEMS LOCKED IN THE PROVIDED LOCKERS.

xcaret mexico cenote river

THERE IS A BOUNTEOUS SUPPLY OF LIFE JACKETS AND STAFF TO HELP WITH PROPER SIZING.

Use the life jackets and flippers!  River has no current.  Let me say that again.  The underground rivers have no current.  And they are deep.  This is not a lazy river type of activity which we falsely assumed it would somewhat replicate.  Life jackets and flippers are available and I would HIGHLY recommend them.

Xcaret cenote river life jackets

HERE WE ARE, ALL SMILES BEFORE WE LAUNCHED INTO THE CENOTE ILL PREPARED WITHOUT ALL IMPORTANT FLIPPERS!

We all outfitted ourselves with life jackets but hubby and I declined the flippers.  Our oldest daughter took flippers and she had the easiest time maneuvering through the water.  I struggled to keep up a good pace of movement as I was tugging my youngest along who was a little anxious with the whole endeavor.

xcaret cenote river swim

STEPS AND HAND RAILS LEADING INTO THE OPENING OF THE CENOTE HELPED US ALL EASE INTO THE COLD (VERY COLD) WATERS.

Look out for automated photo ops throughout the river course

One thing I loved about the park in general was the easy, automated photo ops available throughout the park, including on the underground river course.  They are clearly marked and there is even a small ledge under water where you can stand and pose for the pic!  This is an easy way to capture memories on your adventures even if you don’t have a Go Pro or waterproof case for your phone.

xcaret cenote

SELFIES TAKEN ALONG THE WAY….

You can exit at several intervals but be prepared to walk to end of the river near the beaches.

Along the way there are also signs pointing to the nearest or upcoming exits that you should pay attention to.  These signs came in handy for us in alerting us to the exits and letting us know how far the next exits were.  When we exited halfway through the course we had to walk to the end to pick up our duffel bag; it was a long walk but definitely shorter and easier than if we had swum the entire course.  We did have to walk barefoot which was not very comfortable so if you forgo flippers, plan to wear water socks or water shoes.

xcaret mexico

i LOVE THE DESIGN OF THE BATHROOM AND SHOWER FACILITIES AT XCARET! WE FOUND THE BATHROOMS CLEAN AND WITH PLENTY OF SPACE.

We absolutely loved our time at Xcaret and next time we will be better prepared for a swim down the underground rivers!  With these tips, hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes we did and you’ll be better prepared for your adventure!

Have any of you done a cenote river swim?  Any tips you’d like to share?

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply Kiwi August 25, 2017 at 11:59 am

    What a beautiful family excursion! I would love to do an excursion like this you took some beautiful photos and great memories!

  • Reply Sara August 25, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Oh my goodness, I have never even heard of this place but it sounds and looks fascinating! What an experience – would love to try this out as a family one day!

  • Reply Marie August 26, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Ghis is such a lovely thing to do with
    the family,or even a bunch of friends. I’m so into it. It’s far from me but I will research to find similar places near me.

  • Reply Deepa August 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This looks like so much fun. I have never experienced this before but I am sure my girls would love it.

  • Reply sonali jain August 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Beautiful family excursion, All the pictures you took looks awesome and cool. Thanks for sharing !

  • Reply Erin R Creeks August 26, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    This sounds like so much fun and quite an experience for the whole family. Looks like y’all also had some great weather to add to your perfect day! 🙂

  • Reply Alicia P August 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    That looked like so much fun! And so tranquil and beautiful!

  • Reply Elena August 28, 2017 at 3:06 am

    This is the perfect place for a family to hang out and enjoy the beautiful nature.

  • Reply Ana Ojha August 28, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    What an adventurous excursion! My hubby is going to love this! Your pictures speak for itself how fun it was!

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