Grupo Xcaret’s Xibalbá Nature-Based Theme Park Headed to the Yucatán
A unique and exciting theme park is on the horizon for Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Xibalbá, located near the city of Valladolid, will include an underground circuit of cenotes featuring natural scenery.
The new park is owned by Grupo Xcaret, which began in 1990 with the opening of Xcaret Park in the Riviera Maya, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Grupo Xcaret now manages several nature-based theme parks and other attractions in the Mexican Caribbean region and employs a workforce of 8,000.
Xibalbá will offer spectacular experiences to guests, including zip line journeys and a floating tour of eight of its stunning cenotes. The limestone sinkholes are created when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. The resulting hole fills with rainwater, creating a network of underground rivers. Traditional Mexican music and cuisine will entertain guests in one of the cenotes.
“One of the most distinctive characteristics of cenotes in Yucatan is their monumental size and their structural stability. This allows for activities like staging performances where visitors will be able to enjoy Mexican tradition in all its richness, while tasting emblematic dishes of the region,” says David Quintana, vice president of strategy and development for Grupo Xcaret.
Xibalbá will also offer guests activities ranging from canoeing and snorkeling to hiking, bird-watching, regional food tastings, and culture-centric workshops led by local Mayan community members. The Xibalbá Reserve is also home to a Mayan village where traditional local artisans will display and sell their art and lead workshops in stone carving, embroidery, herbalism, and hammock-making.
Grupo Xcaret says there will be an architectural display called “The Sculptured Church,” featuring “breathtaking dimensions and beauty” that will be home to an impressive bell tower. There will also be an aviary with several different species.
Xibalbá was scheduled to open on Dec. 12, 2020. The park’s debut is still to be determined, depending on delays caused by the coronavirus. When the Xibalbá park opens, it will have a capacity of around 2,000 persons.
Planning for the park, which costs 1 billion Mexican pesos, began four years ago. Only 50 hectares of the 254-hectare site will be developed for guest use. Xcaret is also creating a nursery for native ornamental and reforestation species and has set aside 50 hectares of secondary vegetation as a conservation area.