Cirque du Soleil plans its first theme park, chooses Mexico site

Cirque du Soleil performers in "Totem" at the Port of Los Angeles on Oct. 13, 2013.
Cirque du Soleil performers in “Totem” at the Port of Los Angeles on Oct. 13, 2013.
(Christina House / For The Times)

Cirque du Soleil plans to create and operate a major theme park that promises an immersive “entertainment experience” in Nuevo Vallarta on Mexico’s west coast.

It’s a first for the Canadian company known for its elaborate circus-style shows that tour the world.

Details in the announcement Wednesday were scant, except to say that ideas for the theme park near Puerto Vallarta are in development. Cirque is partnering with Mexican resort developer Grupo Vidanta on the project, which is expected to open in 2018.

“Grupo Vidanta is offering us an amazing sandbox in which we can unleash our creativity,” Cirque’s founder, Guy Laliberte, said in the statement.


Renderings of ideas show sections called the Village of the Sun and the Village of the Moon, similar to different “lands” at other theme parks. Each experience will be based on a storyline and will be performed by Cirque artists, and could include a water park, nature park and an outdoor area that holds 3,000 to 5,000 visitors for evening shows, officials of the two companies said.

They also are partners in a new Cirque show called “Joya,” which is set to open Nov. 21 in Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula. A custom-made dinner theater with design elements that reflect the area’s jungle habitat was built to house the show described as “a theatrical and culinary experience.”

Earlier this year, Cirque announced plans to create a live “Avatar” show based on the 2009 movie. It’s being developed with the film’s creator, James Cameron, and is expected to open next year.