The best ways to get to Xcaret Park in Mexico

Boasting winding underground rivers, Mayan ruins you can climb, outstanding snorkel spots, and more, you’re in good company if you want to visit Xcaret Park. In fact, Xcaret welcomed its 50 millionth visitor in 2019. 

Because of Xcaret’s popularity, it’s easy to arrive there from many destinations in the Riviera Maya. So, whether you want to know how to get to Xcaret Park from a cruise ship or mainland, I’ll share must-know travel details so that you can get back to the fun stuff—like planning your day within Xcaret. And trust me; the park is so big you’ll need a plan!

Getting to Xcaret Park from destinations in the Riviera Maya

I took an ADO bus from Cancun to Xcaret Park and will share details about it shortly.

For now, let’s talk about the travel logistics from five popular areas in the Yucatan.

How to get to Xcaret Park from Cancun

Taking a bus from Cancun to Xcaret Park is an economical and comfortable way to get there. ADO runs two morning departures per day from their downtown bus station, so it’s a great option for people who are staying outside of the Hotel Zone. 

Given their limited schedule, I recommend purchasing your ticket in advance if you choose this option. The downtown Cancun bus station is large and spacious, with plenty of snack stands and seats while you wait for your ride.

Travel time: Approximately two hours.

How to get to Xcaret Park from the Hotel Zone or Cancun airport

If you’ll be traveling to Xcaret from the Hotel Zone or the Cancun airport, booking a minivan shuttle is a solid choice for people on a budget. You’ll spend time picking up your fellow passengers, but the van runs hourly and picks you up directly from the airport or your hotel. 

You might be wondering—how far is Xcaret Park from the Cancun Hotel Zone? Once you get on the road, you can expect the drive to take around one hour. Alternatively, you can hop in a private car and enjoy a one-hour direct ride.

How to get to Xcaret Park from Playa del Carmen

Ready for some great news? Xcaret Park is in Playa del Carmen. So, if you’re already in Playa, you won’t have to tackle as many potential traffic jams as those traveling from farther away. 

The ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Xcaret Park leaves twice per day. Alternatively, you can take a minivan which runs once every morning.

Travel time: Approximately 15 minutes.

How to get to Xcaret Park from Cozumel

Whether you’re on a cruise ship stop in Cozumel or booked a resort getaway there, taking a day trip from Cozumel to Xcaret is possible. You’ll need to start by booking a ferry to Playa del Carmen. From there, take a bus or minivan, per the information I shared above. 

As a heads up, weather-related cancellations on the ferry between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen can happen. That could potentially put a large kink in your plans, depending on a storm’s duration. Cruise ship goers need to be especially careful with their planning, as thunderstorms most commonly pop up in the afternoon. The last thing you want is your cruise to leave you behind! 

Travel time: An approximately 30-minute ferry ride followed by a 15-minute bus or minivan transfer.

How to get to Xcaret Park from Tulum

At the moment, ADO doesn’t run a bus from Tulum to Xcaret. So, if you’re on a budget, I recommend taking a colectivo (a shared, local van) from Tulum to Playa del Carmen and asking them to drop you off at Xcaret’s entrance. Otherwise, you can book a private transfer.

Travel time: Approximately 50 minutes.

All about the ADO bus to Xcaret

You may not think of taking a public bus in Mexico as something to look forward to, but I’d be willing to bet that ADO will change your mind if you give them a try. They offer the following amenities:

  • Large, reclining seats
  • Free WiFi
  • Restroom onboard
  • USB charging port
  • Television
  • Air conditioning 

That said, the WiFi can be slow or spotty at times. Also, they play a movie that everyone can see and hear—keep your fingers crossed that it’s a good one!

Window watching and drop off locations

You’ll be on a highway the entire way to Xcaret, so there’s really nothing notable in terms of the views. However, if you take a minivan shuttle from Cancun’s Hotel Zone, try grabbing a seat on the driver’s side, as you’ll be able to get some glimpses of the ocean.

Like the minivan shuttle, the ADO bus to Xcaret Park drops you off by the park’s entrance. 

If you end up taking a colectivo from Tulum, your van will drop you off at a bus stop on the side of the road. From there, you’ll need to wait for a Xcaret bus transfer to the park entrance. The bus is free and runs every 20 minutes.

Is taking private transportation to Xcaret Park worth it?

Yes, it absolutely is! As much as I love ADO, they have limited departure times, as do the minivan shuttles. Furthermore, the schedules they offer have you arriving at Xcaret in tandem with the massive tour busses—I spent over 30 minutes waiting in line for the mandatory park bracelet, and that was with me already having purchased my online ticket.

That said, public transportation is a great fit for those on a budget. You know your situation best, so you’re the best judge here.

Timing your Xcaret visit

As the local saying goes, the best time to go to Xcaret Park is 365 days a year. Although the sun helps make Xcaret’s rivers look bluer and its flamingos pinker, in reality, this is a bathing suit kind of park.

So, don’t worry if it starts to rain—you’ll still get to enjoy Xcaret’s wide range of activities that operate rain or shine.

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