Thursday, May 7, 2009

Xcaret – Crowds + Corona = The Best Time

By TravelGirl --

Ah, 89 degrees at Xcaret today. It felt like we had the park to ourselves. As each day goes by, we are more and more thankful that we decided to continue with this trip rather than reschedule due to the U.S. Travel Advisory. The park fully re-opened yesterday as Mexico’s government allowed government offices and establishments (holding 80 people or more) to re-open to the public. Still, it was evident tourists are not flocking back to Mexico quite yet…which makes more availability everywhere for us!

If you’ve never been to an eco-park in the Yucatan, imagine part beach, part jungle, part zoo. If you’ve been to Xel-Ha, just imagine a larger version of the park with animals in their habitats EVERYWHERE.

After entering the park, we strolled along several of the walkways to view howler monkeys, spider monkeys, a pig-like swine thingy, iguanas, parrots, manta rays, pumas, bats, flamingos, manatees, a shark, dolphins, turtles, ducks, and a kitty cat…yes, a sweet and loving kitty who obviously had made a home at the park. The cool thing is that the animals were not kept in cages. Instead, they lived in habitats that were separated by lagoons. The lagoons were a simple way to keep the animals from drifting over to the people population, though dumb tourists could easily have hopped into the lagoons to get into the animal areas. Oh how refreshing it is to be in an eco-park void of railings and walls to keep people from falling into water tanks or in with the animals. It just makes for a more natural environment.

Xcaret is built around a series of underwater rivers, and we took advantage of our extra buoyancy this week (yes, we have really enjoyed the cocktails and tacos the last few days) by floating down the 1/3 mile river, partially in the sun, partially underground in the caves. While we have been accustomed to 80 degree Caribbean water, the cave water temperature was a refreshing 75…still nothing to snivel about. It was a refreshing and relaxing boost to the day. Following the river float, we found some beachfront palapas and, you guessed it, we plopped ourselves down for the next 4 hours – Alex in the shade, me in the sun – with an occasional dip in the water to simultaneously view the dolphin show about 100 feet away. Upon our exit from the park, I spotted a pyramid of Coronas. Having consumed mostly Dos Equis the past few days meant I was yearning for the pure taste of that freshly cut lime wedged into the top of a Corona. Quench my thirst it did.

The day’s activities ended with a stroll along the beach, each of us sipping some Mexican egg nog. Wow, that stuff is good! Not sure why it’s considered “Mexican” but the basic ingredients are eggs, milk, macadamia nuts, cane sugar, alcohol, and something else we can’t translate. Ha! The flavor is sort of a sweet caramel, milk nog of some sort, but all I can say is that it’s the perfect nightcap for a sunset stroll and an end to another blissful day in the Riviera Maya.

No comments:

Post a Comment