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Vacation Made Simple at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination

The beach area of the Hotel Occidental at Xcaret Destination in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The moment you step into the lobby at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination in Riviera Maya, Mexico, you can tell this is an enormous resort. But just how enormous doesn’t become clear until you take a few more steps into this gorgeous haven in Playa del Carmen.

The cavernous lobby–draped with hanging plants and tropical vines–opens around a manmade river that flows through the property. In the mornings, the river carries guests to the nearby private entrance of the Xcaret ecopark. In the evenings, it ferries in elaborately-dressed Mayan characters for the nightly show. Once outside, walkways wind past hotel rooms, beside pools, around groups of monkeys and birds, carrying you past restaurants in the direction of the beach. Occidental at Xcaret Destination is massive and tropical and relaxation at its best.

Check current prices for the Occidental at Xcaret Destination here

A river runs through the lobby of the Occidental Xcaret Riviera Maya
The river that runs through the property

The true beauty of an all-inclusive resort like the Occidental Xcaret Mexico is that it requires almost nothing of you. The biggest decisions of the day are whether to visit the pool or the beach and where you want to have dinner. This type of low-maintenance vacation was a new and welcome surprise for us, since we’re usually doing more involved travel in Mexico like scuba diving in Cozumel or snorkeling with sea turtles in Akumal.

At the Occidental Riviera Maya, the day is yours. You can sleep in, enjoy brunch, and have a cocktail at the beach. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take part in any of the hotel’s activities, venture out to a nature park like Xel-Ha, or tour the cenotes.

Purchase discounted tickets to Xcaret and Xel-Ha here.

Circular pool next to the ocean
The fabulously remote adults-only pool

Occidental at Xcaret Destination Review

Formerly known as the Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort, the all-inclusive complex is located just six miles south of Playa del Carmen, adjacent to Xcaret and a stone’s throw from Xplor adventure park. Its 700 rooms are perched in an eco-friendly setting on the coast where you have the feeling of being far away from everything but the convenience of being close to the parks and the city.

The Hotel

The Restaurants

There are 11 restaurants at the resort. Two buffets are open for breakfast and lunch, serving standard buffet fare. In the mornings, there is a wide assortment of fruits, pastries, breakfast meats, and an omelet station. In the afternoons, you can find everything from pizza to burgers to salad and quesadillas.

The main buffet opens again for dinner, and the buffet at the Beach Club becomes the a la carte seafood restaurant El Pescador in the evenings. In addition to El Pescador, there are specialty restaurants focusing on Mexican, Asian, and Italian food, along with a grill restaurant that serves a little of everything.

Food from the restaurants at the Barcelo Xcaret resort
Some of the offerings from the buffet and a la carte restaurants

At the Occidental Riviera Maya, the a la carte restaurants are definitely the way to go when you have the option. The service was prompt and attentive, the cuts of meat were higher quality, and the flavors were more refined. Even the margaritas at the Mexican restaurant were far superior to those made in the rest of the hotel. I visited in low season, so making reservations was not a concern, but if you’re visiting Mexico during a busier period, make sure to get reservations for the specialty restaurants as soon as you arrive.

The Concierge

The hotel posts representatives at each building and at Guest Services to assist guests in booking local tours or diving excursions.

Cocktail overlooking the ocean

The Bars

With nine bars at the Occidental Xcaret resort, you’ll never lack for a place to relax or grab a drink. Among others, there is a swim-up bar, a beach bar, a sports bar, and a lobby bar. It’s all-inclusive, so you can drink to your heart’s content from the extensive menus pretty much anywhere. It’s also possible to upgrade alcohol choices for an additional fee depending on the product.

The Pools

Oh, the pools. They seem to stretch forever, winding through the massive resort, passing under bridges, and ending in swim-up bars. It’s hard to count them (the website says there are five) because they really do seem endless. And extremely awesome.

Beach area with lounge chairs and palm trees in Mexico
The beautiful beach area flanked by a restaurant and bar

The Beach

Built into the rocky coastline on the south side of the Occidental Grand Xcaret resort is a small man-made beach that is absolutely perfect. It is constructed as an extension of the ocean, but its positioning means there’s great water and pretty fish to watch without having big waves or steep drop-offs.

Guests with small children seemed to absolutely love the beach because it was calm and easy for families to play without any real risk. Heck, I absolutely loved it, too. It would be easy to spend the whole day here–there are great lounge chairs and cabanas, a beach bar, and a restaurant within just a few steps.

The Spa

The spa, located in the heart of the resort near the lobby building, offers a variety of treatments and massages.

The Sports Facilities

Tennis, mini-golf, archery, and other activities are available for adults and children.

Pelican, birds, and turtles, at the hotel
Just a few of the animals around the resort

The Room

Buildings (10-22) at the Occidental Mexico are spread across the resort. I was on the second floor of building 21 near the quiet and selective Royal Club in a standard double room overlooking an area populated by deer.

The room featured a large armoire that was home to the minibar, which was refilled daily with water, beer, and soft drinks. There was also a very large closet, desk, chair, and a small balcony with two chairs. Outlets are limited, so bring a power strip if you have multiple devices to charge.

Standard room at the Occidental Grand Xcaret near Playa del Carmen
Standard room, full of light

One thing to note: while the guests were not loud or disruptive, there were a few noises. The doors can be a bit loud when closing, and I could hear my neighbor’s phone ringing. Also, wildlife sometimes makes noise, and I was awakened a couple of times by birds outside my window. Overall, not terribly disturbing, and nothing that can’t be fixed with a cheap pair of earplugs.

Bed: With ample pillows and a soft duvet, the bed was quite comfortable.

River running along the edge of the hotel lobby

Wifi: High-quality WiFi is available at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination. Unfortunately, guests only get 60 minutes free daily in the hotel lobby. WiFi is available in the rooms for $17 for every 24 hours.

Television: Each room is equipped with a flat screen TV. English channels are limited.

Safe: I had no safety concerns at the hotel, but each room has a safe for valuables, if needed.

The Bathroom

The spacious bathroom featured a large, tiled shower.

Bathroom sink and counter next to shower stall

Bathroom amenities: Eliminating the small bottles that can lead to lots of waste, shower gel and shampoo were kept in dispensers on the wall of the shower. Conditioner and lotion are not provided, so bring those with you if you need them as antidotes against the sun and seawater (I was glad I had brought my own). A shoeshine kit is also available.

The Final Verdict

I was sad to leave the Occidental at Xcaret resort. From the awesome beach area to the delicious Mexican food, there was everything to love about this property.

Staying at Occidental at Xcaret Destination

The Cost

Rates vary significantly depending on the season and number of guests since the fees include not only the room but all food and drinks (including alcohol). In low season, a standard room for 2 adults runs about $190/night, and a junior suite is $210/night. In high season, those prices can be nearly double. Fees for the Royal Club are also higher.

The Location

The Occidental Riviera Maya is about an hour south of the Cancun International Airport and about 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It could not be more convenient to the Xcaret eco-archaeological park (there are two entrances just for hotel guests) and Xplor adventure park.

Rocky coastline of the ocean
The coastline on the south side of the resort

How to Get to the Hotel

A cab from the Cancun airport will run approximately $50. Since the resort is all-inclusive, most other transportation will be via a mini-van included with any tours you might book.

See prices, read other reviews, or book a room at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination here

Visiting the Xcaret Parks

Many people select the Occidental at Xcaret Destination because it is close to several of the Xcaret theme parks. We have been fortunate to visit all of them and have written in detail about our experiences.

If you’re still trying to decide what parks to visit or are just interested in more information, you may find these reviews helpful.

I were the guests of the Occidental at Xcaret Destination all-inclusive. Opinions of the comfortable and relaxing are our own.

Have you been to an all-inclusive? What was your experience like?

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Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Hey i have a few questions. if i book to stay at the occidental resort, do they have an option there to go to chichen itza? or do i have to find that before hand?

Lance Longwell

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Don't know if the hotel offers something, but you can always just been your own day tour: Pick you up from anywhere along the Riviera Maya, take you there and back.

Paul Alexander

Thursday 11th of August 2022

Is it worth paying extra for a room with "private pool"?

Laura Longwell

Thursday 11th of August 2022

I didn't have one, so it's hard to say. I guess it depends on how much that idea appeals to you. The public pools and beach were nice enough for me.


Thursday 4th of August 2022

We were a family of three traveling with a teenager and double amputee full time wheelchair user. I will breakdown a full review of the property in hopes it answers questions.

PROPERTY: The property is expansive and has beautiful tropical plants all over. There are monkeys, deer, and other animals on property. All that we encountered are friendly and wonderful to watch. We were even able to pet a deer. They also have a couple of Mayan ruins on the property. The property is about 90% wheelchair accessible. They have ramps and elevators to get around, if you are traveling with a stroller, wheelchair or walker you will be able to get around the property. You will need to walk out of the way to get to where you need to go but its accessible. With this property being expansive depending on the building you are in you will be doing some walking or taking the golf cart to one of the designated stops. The golf cart was not able to accommodate my husbands electric chair so we had to walk everywhere. In addition the walk from your room to the restaurants is not covered so there is one umbrella in each room incase it rains. The beach area is very nice. The hotel did a great job of providing a swimming area and keeping the seaweed out. HINT: You can bring bread from breakfast or bring some fish food from home and the fish will swim up to you. Someone gave us some fish food and we handed it out to some of the kids around us they really liked it. There is also a round area open to the ocean you can see in the pictures this is adults only so be aware of that. There is a ramp down to the beach and the round beach pool area but no access to get in. My husband (double amputee) had to craw from the bar area to the water. There is a boat that will take you from the hotel to Xcaret. If you are in a wheelchair you will not be able to use the boat however the walk is not very far. You will be able to fold up a stroller however if you use a walker this might be very difficult to get in the boat you will need to step down on the seat then down in the boat.

POOLS; They really only have 3 pools for everyone to use. They have one at the kids club, sorry but I can't really talk about the kids club. They have one at the first class section that you have to be part of their vacation club to use and one at the Royal section which is for their higher tier vacation club. The main 3 pools look like one pool but are separated by a bridge you walk over. One pool does not have music but does have a bubble pool (similar to a hot tub) with a zero walk in. There is another pool with a zero walk in and a nice shallow area for babies to sit and play. This pool is by the activates center and does have music. The third pool is where most of the activities are and the swim up bar is located. This is the pool where most adults want to be. This is also the area that is lacking in my opinion. There is only 1 set of steps and one pool ladder that are both on the same side of the pool so if your stuff is on the other side of the pool you will have to walk all the way around. In addition there are steps to get to theses areas with no hand rails. An elderly person or person with disabilities will need assistance. The only other way to get in and out of the pool is to jump in or jump out by lifting yourself up off the side. There is no lift for someone that might need assistance to get in and out of the pool. My husband is not letting this stop him so he did quite a bit of crawling on his knees to get out of the pool over to his wheelchair from the steps since he was not able to touch the bottom of the pool to lift himself out. This was a big inconvenience since he had to crawl on hot concrete. All the pools are salt water pools.

ACTIVITIES: This was also another area I feel they were lacking. Talking with other guest we were not the only ones that felt this way. The beach was nice but there is no music or activities in this area. I was told they only have 10 sets of snorkeling gear to loan out and can be used for 1 hour then will need to be turned in. We ended up buying our own, bring your mask and snorkel if you have them. Archery is only done one time a day (1600). You will need to meet at the fun club at the pool. When we went there were about 11 people that wanted to do it so we only got to practice once then do a tournament. Needless to say I didn't hit the target so after my go in the tournament we left. We wish this was offered more times through out the day or if they had a person stationed there it would be great if you could come and go. The activities center is where you get the basketballs or the tennis rackets and balls. You can also get the mini golf equipment there but the course is far away so I never saw anyone there when we went by. They did have the activities list you could download on your phone but we didn't carry our phone with us to the pool. They do have a board on the wall of the tennis courts with the activities but that is not right next to the activities center. It would be nice if they had an activities board in front of the activities center hut, on the dj booth at the swim up bar pool, and on the towel hut at the bubble pool, so everyone can see what will be next because sometimes it's hard to hear them on the speaker. The game room has about 8 games in it and they all cost money. Your looking about 1.00-1.50 to play a game. The night club is closed and I was told they don't know when they will reopen it. Most of the shows where great only one for us was lacking. The shows start at 2130 and go for about 45 mins. I believe karaoke started at 2100. After the pool closed there was not much to do after that. They had a person singing and playing the keyboard in the main area every night (he was great), dinner, then the show after that there was nothing to do. They did have a small sports bar open but you have to be 18 and up to get in. If you are not in to sitting at a bar drinking or playing pool on the one pool table there isn't anything to do. If you have a teenager there is nothing for the kids to do after the pool except watch the show and go to bed. The hotel was pretty dead by 2300 most people have retired to their rooms.

Food: I thought the food was pretty good for an all inclusive resort. The restaurants, men will need long pants except for the seafood restaurant and the buffet. I failed to read this on the website so I we didn't bring any. We are on vacation and who wants to where pants in the heat so we brought nice shorts. The hotel was nice enough to loan us a pair of pants for the week. I really think they should relax this policy people want to relax and most people don't get dressed up to go to dinner at home. We ate at the steak house, mexican, seafood, and oriental. Our least favorite was the seafood. The shrimp was not deveined and still have the head and eyes on it. This was not real appetizing. All are handicap accessible but the mexican restaurant. You have to go up 2 steps and down 2 steps to get to the table. The staff was great and offered to lift my husband in his electric chair up and down the steps. I don't think they realize how heavy that would be. My husband declined and crawled up and down the stars while they lifted the chair for him. I will say the Melted cheese was unbelievable. You have to get this. Soooo Yummy! The buffet was good no complaints they had a variety of food every night. Be advised you will need a mask in all the restaurants so make sure you bring it. All the main restaurants are located in the main building that you check in at except the seafood restaurant that is located at the beach.

People: The people were fabulous. Diego the concierge was exceptional. He did his best to try and make our stay a great one.

Rooms: Ok here is where I believe there is room for improvement. They don't assign the rooms till 30 days in advance. I was told by Costco to call a month out to ensure we get a handicap room. Which I did call 30 days out, a week out, and 2 days out. I wanted to upgrade to a Jr. Suite but Costco was unsure if we would be able to get one due to our handicap needs. I wanted two separate beds since we were traveling with out son. Upon checking in I found out the handicap rooms are only located in the main area in buildings 10, 11, and 12 which are in the main area. We were given a king bed with a roll away bed. I will say the bed was not like a cot it was a bed and comfortable according to my son. This room did not allow my husband to go out on the balcony. There was a giant curb that you need to step over. The bathroom was very small for a wheelchair. You have to roll in the shower in order to close the door to get to the toilet. The shower was only equipped with a portable shower chair which is very hard for a full time wheelchair person to transfer. I would double check the chairs for rust. The refrigerator was stocked with bottle water, soda, and beer. There is no liquor in the room. In addition room service is not free and very expensive. We were later moved to another handicap room that had two beds but my husband could roll out on the balcony. This room the bathroom was also way too small for full time wheelchair use, again he had to roll in the shower to get close the door to get to the toilet. I will say each of the rooms did have a magnify mirror for makeup which was nice. Also the room key was on your bracelet so you didn't have to worry about carrying around a key card. The rooms we were in were ok and could use a little update.

Miscellaneous: The cost for a cab from the hotel to Playa del Carman is 17.00 USD. Xcaret you can cover the whole park in 2 days including seeing all the shows. My son and I did the Xplore tour and it was great, we really enjoyed it. There are a few shops at the hotel to get souvenirs if you don't want to leave the property including a small pharmacy. If you need a towel for a tour make sure you get it the night before.

Laura Longwell

Monday 8th of August 2022

Thank you so much for your detailed thoughts. It's helpful to have the perspective of someone viewing the property through the lens of disability accommodations.


Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Hi! I just had a question, did you have to pay extra to visit the different parks while staying at Occidental at Xcaret? If so, how much did you pay? Thanks so much! I am so excited to go in August!!

Laura Longwell

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Each park has its own admission fee, so the costs vary depending on which parks (and, in some instances, which package) you choose. You might find the discounted tickets in this article helpful, or we link to all the other articles we've written, which include information on costs and options.

Theresa Rollin

Saturday 8th of February 2020

Hello Laura, We are a couple in our seventies and were thinking of booking a last minute vacation through our travel agent at this resort. I have some mobility issues, and cannot climb stairs. Could you tell me if there are elevators in the buildings? If there are no elevators, could you tell me what buildings are closest to the restaurants and pools, so that I can put in a request for accommodations close to these services? We won't be visiting the park, because we have visited all the ruins and swam in the cenotes several times. We are just looking to relax and recuperate after some medical problems. Thank you,

Laura Longwell

Sunday 9th of February 2020

There were no elevators in my building. If the stairs are problematic, it is possible to get a ground level room, though you may want to bring earplugs if you also want to be near the pools. Sorry, I don't know the building numbers at the Occidental, but I imagine your travel agent could assist with that. Enjoy your vacation.

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