Xcaret by night: a real mexican treat

Filed under: Things to Do - by Louise Hennessy

Xcaret by night – Ever got the feeling you are walking the opposite way to everyone else?

Crowds of people, all heading in the direction from which we had just come, reminiscent of a stampede of eager buffalo. And their target?

El Gran Tlachlo Theatre

Like ourselves, you may be fooled into thinking a day out at Xcaret is over once the sun starts to go down. Intriguingly, as dusk falls, the atmosphere is transformed, with gently lit pathways all the way to the theatre, accompanied by the enticing aroma of incense sifting in from the surrounding jungle.

The nighttime show, “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular”, flows from scene to scene at such a beautiful pace that you do not even realize where the time has gone. So much has happened by the time you come out that it is mentally exhausting, whilst thoroughly exhilarating.


Dance of Pueblo Maya – Photo courtesy of Experiencia Xcaret


For those of you who (like us) prefer to learn about history through a visual representation rather than through a book, the whole affair commences by demonstrating ancient Mayan life and traditions, along with the incredibly difficult-looking ball game (juego de pelota) where two teams of very supple “Mayans” have to shoot a heavy ball through the opposing team’s stone hoop using only their hips. This is followed by something involving what looks like a football on fire, hockey sticks, and a small goal post at opposing ends of the area of play, so strange in fact, that it leaves you really wanting to play it!

The captivating journey continues with the arrival of the Spaniards, the ensuing conquest, and its consequences for the Maya, which leaves you with a feeling of sadness, but somehow also hope; perhaps due to the slant on the conquest which demonstrates the beautiful mix of both cultures which appeared through the birth of the following generation…


Photo courtesy of Experiencia Xcaret


Suddenly, the whole theater is filled with colour and music, as the show takes on a change of pace. We are led by the hand through various states within Mexico, their traditions, dances and costumes, all unique in their own way. A particular favorite of ours was the Dance of the Old Men (Danza de los Viejitos), its immaculate, fast-paced tapping and (slightly creepy) old-men-faced masks on the selection of dancers.

And the surprises do not end there. When the turn comes for the state of Veracruz to proudly show us its roots, the spotlight falls upon a towering structure at one end of the theatre. It’s difficult to make out exactly what is happening at first, but once your eyes home in, the cross-legged figures of Los Voladores de Papantla (the flying men of Papantla) can be perceived at the very top, prior to their somewhat “original” form of descent.

Xcaret by night

Los voladores de Papantla – Photo courtesy of Experiencia Xcaret


With the added appearances of the random horse, macaw, and the strange-looking Xoloitcuintle (a hairless breed of dog native to Mexico), Xcaret by night comes to its climax with a touching song which draws upon the allure of Mexico and its people, “Mexico en la Piel” (Mexico in your skin). And for Mexican spectators or otherwise, the pride and love for this wonderful land is transmitted so vividly through the melody that there is not a dry eye in the house…

Remember that your concierge can provide you with info on options for visiting Xcaret, by day, night, or both!

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