Xcaret is a combination eco-park, zoo, and amusement park on the Caribbean coast south of Cancun. At night, they have a dinner and show that is like a Las Vegas extravaganza. As you enter the dinner theater arena, you are greeted by people dressed in native costumes and body paint.
The procession of the actors in the dinner theater show give a glimpse of the scale of the entertainment to come. The show is a re-creation of Mexican history, ranging from a demonstration of the Mayan ball court games to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, missionaries, followed by Mexican independence and the development of modern Mexico. Some of the scenes are acted on horseback.
Part of the show demonstrates the tradition from Veracruz of people who climb a tall pole, tie themselves to ropes twisted around the pole, and then spin through the air upside down.
At the end of the show, the crowd lights candles and sways to the music. Each of the lights in the photo above is a candle held by a person in the audience.
During the day, there are many activities at Xcaret, including exploring the gardens and wildlife. There is an aviary to walk through that allows visitors to get close to colorful birds. While we were walking along one path we did a double take because we kept hearing a clicking sound. It turns out a mynah bird near by was imitating the sound it heard most often -- clicking cameras.
A black jaguar moved stealthily amidst its enclosure, as we watched from the safety of an overlook.
Visitors can walk amidst the flamingos. Xcaret has a flamingo breeding program that has rescued flamingos in distress in the wild and nursed them to health, and has led to 55 flamingo hatchings in the park.
There is a butterfly pavilion that is 37,000 square feet in area, with netting 50 feet high. It holds more than 20 different butterfly species at each stage of their life cycle. Capturing photos of butterflies is a challenge, even when they are in captivity.
Xcaret has elements of Mayan and Mexican culture amidst the trails in the park, including this recreation of a cemetery. Mayans did not have cemeteries, but Xcaret has a cemetery that shows traditional Spanish colonial decorative features and that also incorporates Mayan touches.