Enjoy an unforgettable family day out on your 2020 vacation. Here is a look at some of the options that await you in the Riviera Maya, the Cancun area and beyond.
After days on the beach and in the Grand Residences pools it’s time to do some exploring and there’s one thing in the Mexican Caribbean that is popular with the whole family, snorkeling. If your children can swim they’ll soon be ready to put on a mask and flippers and go exploring. Shallow water reefs in the Cancun-Isla Mujeres area, Puerto Morelos and Akumal are great snorkeling spots offering sightings of angel fish, trunk fish, pork fish, sergeant majors and sea turtles.
Or take them to Xel-Ha Park for the day. This chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and cenotes is a snorkeling paradise offering face to face encounters with a variety of colorful reef fish. And there are plenty of other fun activities on offer like zip lining, giant inner tubes for floating across the lagoon, leaping off a cliff into a cenote, nature walks and more. Families can also swim with dolphins, manatees and stingrays for an additional fee.
For a panoramic view of the park’s inlets and cenotes and the Riviera Maya coast, climb Xel-Ha’s latest attraction, a lookout tower that is also a huge water slide that your children will love.
On the outskirts of Cancun Hotel Zone, Ventura Park has also fun pools, water slides and rides that will keep your children happy all day.
A day at the park
Spending the day at the Riviera Maya’s parks is a top family vacation activity and one that everyone will enjoy.
Heading the list is world-famous Xcaret Park just south of Playa del Carmen.
Spending the day here is as much about fun in the water as it is about you and your children discovering the country’s rich traditions and wildlife.
Relax on the beach, take the children for a swim in one of the park’s underground rivers (life jackets mandatory) and go snorkeling. You can see more marine life on a visit to the aquarium or the turtle nursery. Manatees swim in the lagoons and there are dolphins too (additional fees for dolphin swims and encounters).
The huge walk-through jungle aviary is home to 90 species of birds from southeast Mexico, from hummingbirds to parrots, macaws and toucans. The park also has a butterfly pavilion and regional wildlife enclosures where you can watch spider monkeys, coatimundis, deer and jaguars.
The Children’s World area of Xcaret offers pools, water slides and cenotes for children under the age of 12 to swim in. As the little ones have fun in the water, their parents can relax in a shaded rest area.
Be sure to pace your children with an afternoon nap and treats like gelato so that they are ready to stay on for the unforgettable evening gala performance that showcases Mexican history, music, dance and song. It takes you from the days of ancient Mayan rulers and the ancient ball game, the coming of the Spaniards to the sights and sounds of a Mexican fiesta, complete with a mariachi band. Your children will soon be shouting “Viva Mexico” with the rest.
Younger children will enjoy Crococun, a small park located just to the north of Puerto Morelos. They’ll see crocodiles, spider monkeys, parrots and toucans and can stroke white-tailed deer and other tame creatures.
For a fun morning out, Xenses Park might appeal to older children. It is a world full of illusions and what you see is what you don’t. There are two circuits with 17 different attractions that take park goers into a fantastic realm where nothing is what it seems.
After a visit to Xenses, head to Playa del Carmen for lunch and more optical illusions at the 3D Museum of Wonders where you can literally walk into 3D drawings on the walls, floors and ceiling. Not tired yet? Take the children to L’Aquarium, Playa del Carmen’s huge new aquarium.
How about a day of jungle adventures? This is a fun choice for older children who will soon find their adventurous Indiana Jones spirit. They can fly through the jungle canopy on thrilling zip line circuits at Xplor Park, Selvatica or Aktun Chen, all in the Riviera Maya. South of Cancun, the new Xavage Park has an adventure playground for children with rope bridges, tunnels and zip lines. Other tours are a whole day of adventures: zip lining, abseiling down a cliff, kayaking, snorkeling in a cenote or sinkhole, biking and nature walks and ATV drives.
Taking the family to Xenotes Oasis Maya gives you the chance to explore the jungle and spend the day at four different cenotes on the Ruta de los Cenotes inland from Puerto Morelos.
If all the members of the family like horseback riding, there are several ranches offering rides through the jungle to a cenote where you can cool off with a swim.
If you want your children to learn about nature, how about a trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve? A trip from Muyil to the south of Tulum combines a visit to the archaeological site of Muyil with a fun boat ride across the lagoon into the mangroves where you’ll float-swim through a canal. There’s even time for the beach and of course you’ll see plenty of wildlife along the way. Other Sian Ka’an options include visits to Mayan communities where you’ll have the chance to meet local people and learn about their lives and traditions.
Discovering the world of the Maya
A day trip to the Yucatan’s famous archaeological sites is always an option if you have older children, and can combine it with time on the beach, cenote visits and promises of gelato. Tulum and Coba in the Riviera Maya are good sites to start with before heading to Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Always plan early trips to the archaeological sites so that you can beat the midday heat. If you do decide to go to Chichen Itza, the colonial town of Valladolid is a good stopping off point for a break and lunch and there are cenotes en route to Chichen where you can cool off.
Plan your family adventure
Your Concierge can help you plan a family adventure and book snorkeling trips and tickets to area parks.