We recently spent a week in the Riviera Maya – south of Cancun and just a little bit north of Playa del Carmen, and it was one amazing vacation! The Hubby and I have spent many different vacations touring around Mexico visiting Acapulco, Nuevo Vallarta, along with several vacations in Cabo – one of my faves! But – this all happened over 10 years ago….this time was different, now we had kids!
While searching for the perfect vacation spot in Mexico, we wanted to make sure there were lots of activities that our kids would love. We decided to go with another family (also with 2 boys in tow) and it worked out perfectly.
I wanted to share some of our experiences in case you are looking for a getaway in Mexico with your kids (or even without!) and give you some ideas of what you can expect during your visit to the Riviera Maya.
For our lodging, we stayed at The Grand Mayan – Riviera Maya which is through Vidanta Resorts. We have stayed at a couple of other Grand Mayan properties and knew how amazing they were. Each family had their own 2 bedroom 2 bath unit with a full kitchen, patio, and even a “cooling pool” outside to refresh your body at the end of the day.
The resort was beach side, had an amazing pool, and offered lots of activities. The staff would come around and round up kids to play a game on the beach or to make piñatas poolside. Fortunately, our kids were always game! We enjoyed several meals onsite during our stay – the service and food quality were both excellent.
A couple of different days we headed into downtown Playa del Carmen to walk along “5th Avenue” to do some shopping. My oldest was certain he needed a giant sombrero – he found the perfect one and wore it every chance he could. While there we ate at Mi Pueblo and La Casa Restaurant and Art Gallery.
During our visit, we also enjoyed 3 excursions. The first was to Chichen Itza – this was a fairly long day due to the distance of the Mayan Ruins from our resort, but it was well worth it. Granted, it was crazy hot with WAY more humidity then we are used to – but the tour made it worthwhile. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, we had headsets to hear him while at the ruins, then we had time to walk around on our own. We were also offered umbrellas to provide shade while walking around. There were TONS of vendors there selling just about everything you could imagine. Once we headed back to the tour bus, we were given cooling towels, beer, and water.
From there, we headed to the very quaint town of Valladoid where we were able to walk around, shop, and enjoy dinner. After enjoying drinks and a massive buffet filled with favorite dishes of the Yucatan, we headed back to the resort.
Another excursion we enjoyed was a visit to Xplor – this was a fun-filled adventure park that we all loved. We did 2 zip line courses, rafted through caves, swam through caves, walked through caves, drove amphibious vehicles through 2 different circuits approximately 3 miles each that went through both dry and wet caves – it was amazing. Most of the zip lines required each child to be with a parent – and for the 1st one, that was a good thing! I’m pretty sure that once we were high up in the trees, none of the boys thought that this would be the experience of the zip line! Once on it though – they loved it! Some of them were lower and ended in the water so they were able to go by themselves for those.
Xel-Há was pretty cool too. Snorkeling, tubing down a river, obstacle courses over the water – it was amazing. All built around an inlet, this park is made for families! We paid extra to take the kids swimming with the dolphins (although my little one would only partially participate in this activity) and the adults took turns doing Sea Trek. Being claustrophobic, I thought I’d flip out during this – but found it to be a really enjoyable experience!
Overall, this was a fantastic vacation – I was hesitant at first to take the boys to Mexico – but I finally relaxed, only checked my email while at the resort and we had WiFi and had a very enjoyable time!