There will always be a place in my heart for Mexico and it's correlation with unlimited piña coladas. I have visited many a times and due to some pretty sad crime rates, haven't wandered off the beaten path much. But with a resort like Occidental Xcaret, you can't keep me off that well beaten path!! After a year of hard work in INDIANA and school in freezing UTAH we were ready to get away from the cold at the first chance we had. We planned the trip for early December, during slow season. A few pros and cons about visiting el Yucatan peninsula during the winter months:
-the water was not the warmest but definitely refreshing and bearable.
-The beach is a small cove which means smaller waves, good for my relaxers.
-Because the beach is a cove and can feel somewhat small and crowded. Slow season was not bad but for my real crowd-haters out there, just know there are plenty of huge swimming pools and chairs to lay in and tons of beach front property to walk. **When researching the resort, we originally thought we could scope out another beach but be aware a lot of this beachfront property is rocky and would be dangerous to swim in.
-for my shutter bugs, this place is dreamy. Every turn you make is another photo op. Beautiful blend of architecture and nature.
-There is a man made, but beautiful river that runs through the resort. If you wake up early enough (not us) you’ll witness a traditional Mayan ritual take place on this river.
-Our favorite pool (which I still dream of to this day) is hidden towards the back of the resort, against the coast line on the south side of the beach. Amazing views, tons of tropical fish and because of the salt water, you can practically take a nap on top of the water without waves crashing on you. *another reason to choose slow season
- The resort even has some awesome ruins you can explore, without tickets, without notice, even go inside on your own if you like! We explored three or four and not once ran into someone else. *another reason to choose slow season (can you tell I hate crowds?)
Our number one reason for choosing Occidental Xcaret:
If you love wildlife, this is the place for you!!!!! Monkeys, deer, coati, agouti, flamingos, so many beautiful birds and more! Truly made this trip for our group. We were squealing left and right. So many of the staff and other guests staying at the resort were always helping others and tipping us off on the last location of monkeys or deer or whatever creature that might have wandered through the resort. We woke up to monkeys on our balcony almost every morning. ** I booked through cheapcarribean.com and most of the staff I spoke to were very knowledgeable about the resort and knew to put me in a 2nd or 3rd room to up our odds of seeing monkeys from our room. For my true animal lovers: don't forget these animals are wild, may carry diseases and as much as you maaay want to feed them or squeeze their little faces -- probably best not to...
I would not give the food 5 stars but as a foodie I am picky. You could always count on amazing fresh fruit and Paco's Tacos (which we stayed at almost every night, laughing our heads off until 2AM) Also, if you don't always drink alcohol a lot of the mixed drinks are quite tricky to perfect no matter how you ask for it. IDK could be a make or break it.
Location is great
The resort is close to many of the parts - Xel-Ha and literally has its own private entrance gate to Xcaret. There is also not too much of a drive from the airport. If you speak spanish you can get a good deal on a shuttle from the airport, otherwise I recommend booking a shuttle through Tripadvisor. Careful who you book because you could easily lose half a day while waiting for other passengers.
During this trip we also visited TULUM:
I have visited Tulum before, not as cool as it used to be in my opinion but could definitely be worth seeing if you haven't before. Guides are a hit and miss but for a city of ruins, this cite deserves a history lesson. I recommend finding a "mormon" guide as a lot of their tour describes common artifcats and symbolisms found in their scriptures, the Book of Mormon. That being said, I'd be perfectly happy saving $80 and sipping a coco loco inside of my own private ruins at the resort than standing 100 feet away squinting ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Xel-Ha never disappoints. So easy to spend all day here. The morning started off somewhat cold and we debated even changing out of our swimsuits, but within an hour we were cliff jumping, snorkeling, floating down the channel, exploring underwater caves and jumping in mass burial cenotes! The Yucatan peninsula, is riddled with the remains of the Mayan people. And Xel-Ha is no different. So many structures and even mayan traditions to try out while you're visiting. Also - they have the best virgin mixed drinks (only about 9000% of the daily recommended dose of sugar but worth it)
I've been to Mexico several times and this trip really set the bar. Cannot be topped.
I love you Xcaret!! <3