Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Fri March 18 2016

Get to Know the Best of the Riviera Maya with Experiencias Xcaret

Hotel & Resort | Experiencias Xcaret | Kristina Rundquist | March 18, 2016

Get to Know the Best of the Riviera Maya with Experiencias Xcaret

PHOTO: The wonder and the beauty of Chichen Itza (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

With Spring Break in full swing and summer not too far off, many Americans will be heading to Mexico to kick back, soak up some sun and explore the many attractions and archeological sites that dot the country.

Cancun and the Riviera Maya – home to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, laid-back Playa del Carmen and Xel-Ha, a natural aquarium renowned for its amazing biodiversity – are particular favorites thanks in part to the range of activities for visitors or all ages and the scope of accommodations to fit any budget.

The area is so popular – and not just among Americans – that it welcomes more than 6 million visitors annually.

Experiencias Xcaret, a tour operator specializing in sustainable and socially responsible tourist recreation, is a leader in excursions throughout the Riviera Maya with excursions to such nearby attractions as Xplor, an underground world of grottoes and Stalactite rivers, and Xoximilco, a system of water canals that have been around since pre-Hispanic times when lagoons made up most of the Valley of Mexico.

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Two of the most popular tours allow travelers to explore both Mexico's natural beauty and history by packaging trips to Xcaret and Chichen Itza.

Xcaret: An eco-archeological park where visitors are introduced to Mexico’s colorful traditions through shows and activities, Xcaret is a fantastic destination in its own rite. There, guests can swim in underground rivers and stroll through a jungle all in a single afternoon, or for those who dare, a visit to the Island of the Jaguars might be the way to go. Those looking for something a little tamer can explore the Butterfly Garden and the Coral Reef Aquarium. Xcaret isn’t just about biodiversity, however, and stages multiple shows and exhibits to showcase Mayan culture, as well. Among the most memorable are the Presentation of Xcaret Mexico Espectacular which boasts more than 300 artists on stage, the equestrian show and the Voladores de Papantla.

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Chichen Itza. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is one of the most important examples of Mayan-Toltec civilization in the Yucatan and the second most-visited archeological site in Mexico. This complex of Mayan ruins features the pyramid known as El Castillo, as well as the Temple of the Warriors, the Wall of the Skulls and the ball court, which is lined with stone carvings that lay out the rules of the game. There's no better way to end a day of exploration than with a swim in the Ik'Kil cenote, widely recognized as being among the most beautiful in Mexico, (which is saying something given that there are 7,000 cenotes in the Yucatan). Here, vines dripping with water create mini-waterfalls as they drop 85 feet into the chilly water. Diving is allowed and platforms have been set up around the edge to let the more daring show off their moves, and to sate any hunger that visitors might work up, there's a restaurant at ground level.

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