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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?