During my stay at Hotel Xcaret in Riviera Maya, which you can read more about in the February print issue, I took advantage of the new property’s “all-fun inclusive” motto and headed for a day at the Xcaret park, which falls under the Destino Xcaret umbrella and is complimentary with guests’ stay at Hotel Xcaret. My day started off with the “lazy river,” which I’ll admit was not lazy by any means. The Underground Rivers excursion at the Xcaret park has a few areas where the current pushes you through the stream—with a life jacket helping you move through comfortably; in others areas the current isn’t much help and you have to swim or doggie paddle (as I did) your way through. Even my fear of sealife, dark caves and bats didn’t hinder me from enjoying this experience. Though the excursion included all three (darkness, sealife and bats, oh my!), it was still relaxing taking in the natural beauty that surrounded the freshwater cenote, and stopping for pre-marked photo-ops along the way. The hotel’s digital access wristband can be used throughout the park to access photos back at the hotel in guests’ room. This river excursion is an activity the whole family can enjoy together, and is included with guests’ stay at Hotel Xcaret.
After we worked up our appetites, it was time for a traditional Mexican buffet lunch in the park followed by a stroll in its butterfly garden, and later through the mock Mexican cemetery—complete with 365 humorous gravestones to explore. But, there’s lots more to do at Xcaret—guests can also explore a Mayan Village, enjoy the cenote rivers on a small raft, take in archaeological sites, or enjoy a cultural Maya show, among much more.
During our stay at Hotel Xcaret, we learned there’s a lot more in the works for Destino Xcaret, a project that is expected to take a few years to complete, so we took the opportunity to get more details of what the project entails from Marcos Constansde, CEO of Destino Xcaret.
Michelle Marie Arean (MMA): What are the next steps for Destino Xcaret?Marcos Constansde (MC): Planning for Destino Xcaret formally began nine years ago and we started designing Hotel Xcaret. We already have a total of three parks and two hotels (Hotel Xcaret and a property managed by Grupo Barcelo), and in the next couple of years we plan to consolidate our hotel brand and open further hotels. Our goal is to open 6,000 rooms in the next 10 years. A convention center, an arena and a shopping mall are also part of the Destino Xcaret plan.
MMA: What’s the next property under development and when is it expected to be open?
MC: We are currently focusing on the final stages and elements of Hotel Xcaret: the Xpiral Pyramid, which will have a Catholic church for weddings, a multi-purpose room with a capacity of up to 400 people, and the sales floor for our Vacation Club. These final three developments will boast spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea and will further enhance the already magnificent property. Two thousand eighteen is a crucial year for us as we will strengthen our brand throughout key global markets as we continue to grow the Destino Xcaret project.
MMA: What’s the end-goal for Destino Xcaret?
MC: We want to be a leading and complete destination within Riviera Maya itself and we want to be one of the key reasons why people leave their home countries to come to Mexico. We aim to fulfill the needs of niche segments such as MICE, leisure travel, weddings and honeymoons, and multigenerational travel, through our ALL-FUN INCLUSIVE® concept and added amenities and services.
MMA: What type of guests are you hoping to attract once Destino Xcaret is complete versus who your current guests are now?
MC: In the long run, we expect the same kind of travelers that visit us now. Our guests are primarily from the U.S., Canada and Mexico (in that order). We are seeing an increase in guests from Latin America and Europe, and the surprise has been that we are getting more and more Mexican visitors, something we did not anticipate prior to the hotel’s inauguration.
MMA: In your opinion, what’s the one must-do or must-see attraction at Destino Xcaret or any of the Xcaret Parks?
MC: Narrowing the list down to one is a challenge; nonetheless, I’d invite travelers to stay at Hotel Xcaret as guests receive free access to all of our parks and can pick and choose what parks to visit depending on their own personal preferences. From Xcaret’s signature night show, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular, to ziplining at Xplor, from an immersive experience at Xoximilco’s traditional Mexican pueblo to diving into cenotes at the aptly-named Xenotes—we really do offer the best of the Mexican Caribbean!
MMA: Which is your personal favorite?
MC: Although each park has its distinct offering, I always recommend Xcaret because it is our most emblematic park, it was the first park we opened, and it holds sentimental value for me.