A Cultural Adventure at Hotel Xcaret Arte

The following is a guest post by Passport and Pen client, Natalie, who chronicles her week at the new Hotel Xcaret Arte in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Hotel Xcaret Arte opened its doors July 2, 2021, and Natalie and her husband were among its first guests. This adults-only property all-inclusive property has 900 guest suites and is dedicated to paying homage to the art, hospitality and sustainability of Mexico.

Welcome to Hotel Xcaret Arte!

A sister resort to the original Hotel Xcaret, the new Hotel Xcaret Arte has 9 restaurants, also known as gastronomic experiences, and boasts some of the most distinguished chefs in Latin America.

All guests of Hotel Xcaret Arte receive complimentary admission to the Xcaret Parks. These include Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xenses, Xenote, Xplor, Xplor Fuego and Xoximilco.

Read Natalie’s journal as she provides day-by-day details of her experience:

MONDAY–We were up and out the door by 4:10 AM to get to the Indianapolis airport for our 6:20 AM flight. We landed in Miami around 9:40 AM and had a connecting flight to Cancun left at 10:40 AM. We landed in Cancun at 11:30 AM their time. We found our Hotel Xcaret shuttle bus after getting through a lot of craziness. It was a two-hour bus ride to the resort. We got to Xcaret Arte around 2:00 PM.

They greeted us with cool towels for faces and Popsicles. We got our bracelets and checked in with the concierge. He ended up giving us a little tour and talked is into going to a loyalty program breakfast the next morning. We got settled in our room (Casa de Diseno #1526) and found the closest place to eat. We had lunch at Cantina Viapiy. That was interesting to say the least. The server did not speak English and there was no menu… They actually served insects on their guacamole! And, we both tried it. Yikes! She just kept bringing us food, and we had no idea what we were eating. Afterward, we went to check out the beach and pool. We had dinner at Mercado San Juan. It was a buffet-style. I stuck to what I know, salad and mashed potatoes. Cole is trying a new food at every meal. We went to bed early, a long day of traveling and getting up so early made us tired!

View from a suite at Hotel Xcaret Arte.

TUESDAY–I got up early to get to the concierge desk to reserve the show at Xcaret for the night. We got ready for the loyalty breakfast, but we were really only going because we were promised a massage and half off of the swimming with the dolphins. We were told it would only take an hour and a half of our time. We waited for 30 minutes and weren’t even started yet so we decided to leave.

We went to breakfast at Mercado San Juan and got ready for Xcaret. We were helped by a lovely girl that we could actually understand. She got us set up to swim with the dolphins at noon. We explored Xcaret for an hour to kill some time. We had a drink at El Manglar. The dolphin excursion was 50 minutes long. We got to pet, kiss them, play, give commands, and ride them. It was amazing! We walked back to the front of the park to eat lunch at La Cocina. We checked our backpack and got in the underground river. It took an hour and a half to swim, and it was freezing! Very pretty along the way, not too much to see besides fish and crabs, but it was unique. We rushed back to the hotel to shower to get back to Xcaret for the Mexican Espectacular show and 7-course meal. The courses were about two bites each and again we weren’t sure what we were eating. I opted for chicken for the main course while Cole stuck with the lobster, duck, and pork. The show was very cultural, lots of singing and dancing! We loved the sports they played – hockey with a fireball. We came back to the resort and went to Cantina Viapiy for a drink and chips and guacamole minus the bugs this time. We made our dinner reservation for tomorrow night and hit the sack.

WEDNESDAY–I got up early again to get to the concierge desk to make a reservation for dinner tomorrow night. We got ready and went to Xplor. The first activity we did was the amphibious vehicle. Cole drove, of course. It was basically a 15-minute gator ride through the jungle, water, and caves.

Next, we went ziplining on 7 different lines. It was so cool! We did another underground river. Again, it was cold but this one was only 30 minutes long in the caves. The circular waterfall at the end was the best! We went to lunch at El Troglodita, another buffet style. We went to the hammock splash next. It was ziplining on a hammock into the water. Pretty fun!! We had two things left to do and decided to only do one of them. We skipped the rafting in the underground river and did the underground expedition. We waded through water in the caves, did two water slides, and waded some more. We walked a lot today and saw our share of caves! We came back to hang out at the pool. We got ready for dinner at Tah-Xhi. It was a hibachi grill that we enjoyed with four other couples. We went back the room for the night with bellyaches.

Amphibious vehicle at Xplor Park.

THURSDAY–Once again, I got up at 6:45 AM to head to the concierge‘s desk to make a reservation for dinner for tomorrow night. I came back to the room and got ready and made a visit to the chapel. It was pretty, but the music was very loud and made it hard to pray. I went to the pool until Cole came down for breakfast. We went to Cayuco again. Our bellies needed something normal and American. We were both still hurting from whatever we ate yesterday. I made a reservation for us to do snuba at Xcaret for 12:45 PM. We hung out at the pool until 11:30 AM, grabbed a shuttle, and headed to the park. Shuttle rides end up being about 30 min long after you stop at all of the other parks and hotel. We got checked in, got instructions, and headed out on the boat. We’ve never done snuba before but it was very much like diving. We were down 21 ft, visibility was about 90 ft. We saw lots of fish, a barracuda, and a turtle! It was so fun!

Xcaret offers opportunities to see hundreds of tropical fish and wildlife.

We ate at La Laguna for lunch with the iguanas and coatis. They were scavenging for anything leftover, and the girl behind us kept feeding them. We took a walk to see the Jaguar, the aviary, the chapel, the cemetery, and the Mayan village. We came back to Arte and hung out at the Casa de Musica pool. You can hear the music underwater. Then, we went to the lagoon. It was freezing but we went across to try and slide down the concrete slide, but couldn’t make it down because it didn’t have any water flowing. We came back to the room to get ready for tonight. We ate at Xaax, a five-course meal with Yucatan cuisine. They made hot chocolate in front of us and served it in an interesting cup. They even gave us an orange sponge cake for our anniversary. We went to the jazz music show at the stage. We came back to the room panicking about a missing credit card and $300. I reported it missing and tried to find it in the lost and found. I had the concierge calling Xplor trying to find it. After 30 minutes of looking, I found it in my shoe. At least I can sleep easy knowing it was found!

FRIDAY–We got to sleep in today! We had Mercado San Juan for breakfast. We headed to Xenses around 11:30AM. We did lots of illusion pictures on the giant and dwarf walking paths. We did a sensory challenge in the dark. We had to go by ourselves, and it took about 15 minutes through different ecosystems. I wasn’t really scared but was excited to be done. Cole thought it was awesome!

Xenses is a nonsenical, whimsical town that challenges your five senses!

We walked dizzily through Pueblo town and took more Xelfies. We did a water slide, with a huge unexpected plunge at the end. We did a bird flight, which was ziplining on your belly. It was short, but fun! We sludged through the mud, it was warm and thick. Another fear of being dirty conquered! We showered through the rain and dried off in the sauna. We were back at the resort by 1:30PM and went to Cayuco for lunch. The rest of the day was spent at the pool. We got ready for 7PM dinner at Chino Poblano. We had caviar, duck, and bone marrow. We wrapped up the night watching Cruella on Disney+. I fell asleep 30 minutes in, we’ve got another busy day tomorrow!

SATURDAY– Today started off with craziness and ended with craziness. We had a snafu with the Covid test. They said we didn’t need a reservation so we went to get one before breakfast. With 20 people in front of us, we didn’t think we’d have time plus he said we needed our passports so we went back to the room to get them. We went back up, thinking he would hurry since he knew we had to leave in 15 minutes, and then he just told us the results were same day and we could go back tomorrow. So, we rushed to Mercado San Juan for breakfast. The line was forever long, so we went to Cayuco. We ate in 15 minutes and made it to the shuttle headed to Xel-ha. It was a 45-minute drive, another nice nap for me. We did the 800-foot slide first, it was fun! A big drop at the end that got the belly. We got our snorkel gear, checked our stuff, and headed to the river. We snorkeled through mangroves, saw lots of fish and a stingray in the open water.

Xel-Ha is a nature park that offers unlimited snorkeling and includes all food and beverages.

We stopped at each cliff jump. Cole did the first one. I did the second one. Not something I will ever do again. Got my belly big time. We were almost finished with the river when Cole discovered his watch was gone. After reviewing his cliff jump video, we could tell he had it on then. So, we walked back to the cliff and asked the lifeguard if anyone had turned it in. She said no, but got her mask on to check 24 feet down. Sure enough, she came up with it!! Hallelujah! And it worked, praise the Lord. Thank you, St. Anthony. We ate at one of the American buffets, thinking normal food may help my bellyache. Nope, just hurt more, had to take ibuprofen and sit down. Finally, I was able to walk, we decided to take it easy and see the cenotes and Mayan caves. We made it back to the lifeguard and tipped her $10 for finding the watch. My belly was finally feeling better so we went on to the Adventure World, which was lots of rope courses and ziplining. We did the first zip line, holding on to a bar with both hands and dropping in the water. Cole made it all of the way to the end, as I praised him, he turned around smiling with blood running down his face. He had hit the end of the cord and cut his forehead. After lifeguards and patron nurses helping, we finally got the blood stopped. The paramedic came and took him on a gator to the first aid station. I walked and met him there with the lifeguard. The doctor had to cut some of his hair to place the butterfly strips. He wasn’t allowed to get it wet for a couple of hours so we got dressed and shopped. We only had an hour to kill before the shuttle left. We went to Cayuco for dinner. They actually had a menu! But, it was pretty much just seafood so all I had was a cheese pizza. We showered and tried to finish Cruella, but fell asleep again. We did over 20k steps today!

When you stay at Hotel Xcaret Arte, you can visit the parks or just remain at the resort and relax.

SUNDAY– We got up early and headed to get our Covid test. After 30 minutes of waiting, we finally got it done. We went to the concierge to check our room charges. Turns out there were two charges on there for no-showing excursions that we already canceled. So, after 45 minutes, we got them refunded. We went to breakfast at Mercado San Juan. I went to mass at 10:30 AM. It was 38 minutes long, but was in Spanish the whole time. It was beautiful to watch mass with an ocean view. We got on the shuttle and headed to Xcarat for one last time. We shopped at the Mayan Village. We got mom a swimsuit cover-up, the boys bracelets, and me a bracelet. We tried to go to a different restaurant to eat lunch… We struck out at two places that were closed. So, we ended up eating again at La Cocina. We shopped a little more and went back to the hotel for pool time. It was a nice and relaxing afternoon. We went to Encanta for dinner. I tried veal and lobster. Not a huge fan of either, but this was my favorite restaurant experience. They had corn ice cream for dessert served with chocolate and caramel. It was so good! We went to check out the spa to shop. They didn’t have anything we wanted but it was a really beautiful sight to see! We headed back to the room to pack and finally finish Cruella.

MONDAY–We got up at 5:30 AM to check out and get on the bus. We left at 6:45 AM, another nice hour-long nap. It took us almost two hours to get through the Cancun airport. We still had another hour and a half to kill. We got breakfast and struck out finding one last thing for the boys. We flew from Cancun to Philadelphia from 12:50 to 5:30 PM. We had to go through customs, get our bags, go through another security, and run through three terminals to make it to our 6:50 PM flight to Indy. We walked on the plane at 6:42 PM huffing, puffing, and sweating. I’ve never had to do that in an airport. We really thought we were going to miss our flight. Thankfully, we made it home safe and sound by 10:30PM.

We had an amazing time! I did and tried things I never thought I would!

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your trip with The Passport and Pen community. Let’s plan your next adventure!

Where are you dreaming of traveling? From a gourmet all-inclusive in Mexico to an African Safari or European cultural tour, you can trust my expertise and experience. Contact me to create a custom trip for you!

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