Xcaret is an ecological theme park, located just six kilometers south of Playa del Carmen. It offers a wide range of natural and cultural activities such as swimming with dolphins, admiring unique animal life and snorkeling through an underground river.
My visit to Xcaret, however, was for one reason only, to see the ‘Mexico Espectacular’ show that had been recommended to me by a Mexican friend. I figured that if a local thought the show was worth seeing, it would have to be something special!
On entering the park I was greeted by these amazingly colorful flamingos and parrots and just had to stop for a photo with these beautiful creatures.
The ‘Mexico Espectacular’ show begins every evening at 6 pm, so after a quick tour of the park, we made our way to the impressive open-aired theater. Despite being so large, it was already filling up, so we secured some seats near the back with a clear view of the stage. Shortly after, the lights fell and the large crowd was hushed into silence, holding flickering candles which shone through the darkness.
To our left, high up in the seating area, a group of musicians dressed in traditional Mayan costume began drumming and playing music, setting the scene for the performance. The stage was bathed in light and the first performers took to the stage in impressive tribal dress.
Next came the highlight of my evening, a reenactment of an ancient Mayan ball game. I have visited a few ancient sites such as Chichen Itza, but could not imagine how the players would have successfully moved the ball through the stone rings on the outer walls of the court without using their hands.
But there on the Xcaret stage, right before my eyes, the ball was skillfully passed back and forth between the opposing teams using their legs, hips, shoulders and heads, but not their arms or hands. When the first team got the ball through the ring, the crowd went wild, including me as I was so impressed that it was actually possible!
The ball game was worth the ticket price in itself, but that was just the beginning. Over the next couple of hours we were treated to a visual and musical spectacular; a smorgasbord of traditional Mexican dance, music and colorful costumes.
The crowd must have consisted of many Mexicans as well as tourists, because they clapped and sung along with their favorite songs, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.
My mind boggled at the sheer number of performers that rotated onto the stage throughout the night. Either it was a very large cast or they were extremely efficient costume changers!
Either way, I was so impressed by the quality of all the performances, as well as the wonderful live music played throughout the show.
Even our very own Caribbean coast was represented!
It really was a magical night that surpassed any expectations I had. A celebration of Mexican culture and history, from the ancient Mayan era to the modern day, I can thoroughly recommend Xcaret’s ‘Mexico Espectacular’ show to any visitor to Playa del Carmen. A theatrical extravaganza in a world class venue, it’s hard to believe that it runs every single night of the year… but it does!
Tip: The Mexico Espectaular show is included in the price of all Xcaret tickets, and runs every evening from 6 pm. The ‘Xcaret at Night’ ticket allows entrance to the park from 3pm and costs US$59. Full day passes start at US$79.