Touting of resorts
Following the positive vfd of Xcaret, it would appear that a lot of touting information is being added to this article in its stead. I'm tempted to delete it all, but don't want to throw out the good with the bad. --Peter Talk 23:00, 17 September 2009 (EDT)
Xcaret is a ecoarcheological park located in Riviera Maya, just in front of the Mexican Caribbean. Its name means ‘little inlet’, since one of its attractions is a quiet and small bay, suitable for swimming and snorkeling. As a theme park, Xcaret has focused on the promotion of Mexican culture, particularly the heritage of the Maya civilization. Various events like the show "Xcaret Mexico Espectacular" let the tourists see a colorful mosaic of traditions and most representative dances of Mexico. In addition to the recreation of a Mayan village and cemetery, there is an archaeological site in Xcaret restored by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Likewise, there is a Mexican wine cellar and a replica of an hacienda henequenera, a typical building of the Yucatan Peninsula during the Porfirio Diaz time.
For the Maya, Xcaret was an important commercial harbor called Pole. It was also the starting point of a pilgrimage that made the Maya to the island of Cozumel to worship Ix Chel, goddess of fertility and the moon. In 1984 the architect Miguel Quintana Pali bought five acres of land in the municipality of Solidaridad, Quintana Roo for private project of household. When he was clearing the land he discovered cenotes and underground rivers of great beauty. So he changed his mind and sided with the Oscar, Marcos and Carlos Constandse to develop the idea of the park which finally opened in December 1990.
Due to its location, Xcaret is home of many flora and fauna species. In addition, the park's ecological vocation is manifested in preservation programs for endangered species like sea turtles, manatees and jaguars. The park has specific spaces which have been adapted for the care and display of the typical species of the southeastern Mexico. These are:
REGIONAL WILDLIFE BREEDING FARM. Xcaret houses some 44 species of tropical birds, most from Mexico's southeast. To date, we have successfully reproduced the Scarlet and Military Macaw, Yucatan Green Parrot, Lilac-Crowned Amazon, White-Fronted Parrot, Yellow-Naped Parrot, Yellow-Headed Parrot, Pichichi Duck, Keel-billed Toucan, Aracar Toucanet, Ocellated Turkey, Great Currasow and Crested Guan.
JAGUAR ISLAND. Jaguars, the largest felines in America, were sacred to the ancient Maya and especially venerated for their superb strength and beautiful pelts. Today is an endangered species. Xcaret shows some examples of pumas and jaguars in two large islands.
DEER REFUGE. White-tail and Brocket deer are endemic to this region and are part of Xcaret's animal, protection and breeding programs.
BUTTERFLY PAVILION. Xcaret's Butterfly House is the first butterfly breeding facility in Mexico. The structure is 49 feet high and has nearly 38,000 sq. ft. of free flying space, the largest such facility in the world.
In addition to these spaces, there is one crocodile farm in Xcaret, a "territory of the tapir ', a cave of bats, a manatee lagoon and an island of spider monkeys and howler monkeys.
MARINE TURTLES. Since 1990, sea turtles have been protected in Mexico by federal law. Xcaret, in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP), the National Institute of Fisheries (INP) and the National Institute of Ecology (INE) protects the two species that nest on the beaches of Quintana Roo: the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the loggerhead (Caretta caretta). During the summer nesting season, Xcaret sets up turtle camps and patrols 100 km. (60 miles) of coastlines, on the look out for nests and possible predators or poachers. After 60 days, the little turtles hatch and many of them are handed over to the Conservation Program in our Aquarium. When they arrive at the Park, the hatchlings are marked by a graft technique that allows us to study their migratory routes and identify them when they return to nest 25 years later.
Until they are released into the wild at the end of a year, they are part of the Park's Environmental Education Program to teach visitors about sea turtles' life cycle and the measures taken to protect these endangered species. During the season, Xcaret and a group of enthusiastic amateur conservationists release an average of 300,000 hatchlings from the Park's turtle camps and neighboring beaches. Some ecological tours invite Park visitors to participate in the turtle release activities.
CORAL REEF AQUARIUM. The only one of its kind in the Americas, the coral reef aquarium transports visitors to the depths of the Caribbean Sea. It exhibits the biodiversity of the ocean's underwater gardens, with different ecosystems thriving at distinct depths. Very few aquariums in the world have been able to exhibit long-term healthy samples of these delicate and complex ecosystems. More than 300 corals have been planted successfully on the artificial reef structures, thanks, in part, to the unfiltered sea water continuous pumping system that allows free flow of plankton directly into the exhibit tanks, along with sponge larvae, corals, mollusks and algae that start natural colonization processes. This Xcaret marine exhibit includes more than 5,000 living organisms.
FLORA. The forest in southeast Mexico is home to numerous species of tree and bush fruits, timber, ornamental, medicinal, for construction or for rituals. In the Xcaret ecological tours visitor have some products that are derived from regional plants: gum, sisal fiber, coconut candy, cinnamon, vanilla, achiote, among others.
Twenty-five hybrids and 89 of the 105 orchid species found in the region are cultivated at the Xcaret's Orchid Greenhouse.
About 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretacean Era and the beginning of the Tertiary Sub-Era, an asteroid some 6 miles in diameter struck the Yucatan Peninsula at a speed of 150,000 miles per hour, bringing that Era to an abrupt end. The dinosaurs, incapable of surviving in a completely changed world, disappeared forever and extraordinary new life forms began to populate the Earth. Changes were also happening underground: the crater formed by the enormous asteroid began to fill with water that filtered underground, carving giant caverns as it eroded the limestone bedrock. Thay is how fantastic grottos and subterranean rivers were designed by nature for thousand of years. Now, Xplor gives to the visitant the experience to live an adventure in those fantastic sceneries.
Visitors will discover an underground world at Xplor, a world where they find amazing rock formations thousands of years old, drive Amphibious Vehicles on top and under the earth, row rafts through subterranean chambers, fly through the treetops on 11 zip-lines and swim through caverns and grottoes.
During the hike along Xplor's jungle paths, visitors may observe a great variety of animals, including some species thousands of years old that played an important role in the area's ancient civilizations.
The Park offers four activities for your enjoyment, each lasting approximately 45 minutes:
Amphibious vehicles: It's a thrilling, 3-mile trek along which visitors can discover the million-year-old secrets of Xplor's grottoes and caves. Inside the caves, the water level rises on parts of the trip, but there's no need to worry—these vehicles are equipped with floaters that don't affect the motor.
Underground Rafts On this ½ mile trip, Xplorers will row a raft with their own hands through fascinating grottoes and be awestruck by the extraordinary rock formations that have taken millions of years to form.
Zip-lines In this thrilling, 1.8-mile long adventure, Xplorers zip through the treetops for a bird's eye view of the Park's natural wonders as adrenaline pumps through their veins.
Stalactite River Here's where Xplorers go floating along in life jackets as they delight to the crystal-clear water and impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The river run is 437 yards long and the average water temperature is about 72° F.
Open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Xplor is next to the Xcaret entrance, at Kilometer 282 on Federal Highway 307.
Reference points: Just 56 km (34 miles) from the Cancun International Airport. Only 6 km (3.6 miles) south of Playa del Carmen. 55 km (33 miles) north of Tulum.
Although I haven't located a source, I feel almost positive that the above images are copyrighted brochure photos, and the last two probably violate our recognizable people in photos policy. Texugo 00:10, 18 September 2009 (EDT)