Mexico: Riviera Maya
Fly in/out: Cancun International Airport (CUN)
Recommended ages: 3 and up
Ball Park Price: $1,000/person for up to five travellers (airfare not included)
Best Season: December-May
Currency Peso, US Currency widely accepted
DAY ONE: Arrive in Cancun International Airport, rent car and go to vacation rental booked through LocoGringo. Rent in the Akumal area centrally located in Riviera Maya.
DAY TWO: Take a full-day trip and drive to Chichen Itza, an archaeological site rated among the most important in the Mayan culture spreading over 6 square miles. Make a stop at Cenote Ik Kil (Swimming and snorkeling) located 3 km from Chichen Itza.
DAY THREE: Go beach-hopping and explore Akumal beaches for turtles, and at Playa del Carmen and Xpuha Beach for snorkeling offshore. Visit nearby cenotes and caverns.
DAY FOUR: Drive to Xel-Ha adventure water theme park and spend the day doing water activities.
DAY SIX: Take a day trip to Aktun Chen Natural Park with a guided walk through a spectacular dry cave and sprawling sink hole for snorkeling and swimming.
DAY SEVEN: Depart for Cancun International Airport and head home.
- We found this area of Mexico a relatively easy place to get around and easy to get to destination with so many options to explore balancing beach time with adventure.
- We loved the educational exploration around the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum mixed with the variety water activities, beaches, caves, and cenotes.
- There were so many wonderful family-friendly activities within a very reasonable driving distance. This area of Mexico is well-prepared for tourists and yet, it never felt overcrowded.
- Our full day trip to Chichen Itza was a great day. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s main pyramid was named one of the new seven Wonders of the World.
- Xel-Ha Eco-Water Adventure Park: Try the “Cliff of Courage,” Rope Crossing, Kayaking across the Black Lagoon.
Places to stay
- There are many all inclusive family-friendly resorts in the Riviera Maya that are highly rated. The write-up for Grand Palladium Riviera Maya and Fairmont Myakoba detailed on Ciaobambino.com lists these all inclusive-resorts as very family-friendly for all ages.
- We chose to book a villa through LocoGringo because we wanted the flexibility of going off the resort for multiple days. We stayed in a central location in Akumal.
- Many of the vacation rentals provided in the Riviera Maya area provide a personal chef at reasonable prices.
- The beach front restaurants don’t require reservations and are small, friendly and casual. We did not attempt any fine dining options on this trip. For a comprehensive list see Riviera Maya tourism restaurant list.
- Overall, it’s easier to rent a car as the roads are in good condition, easy to navigate and all key landmarks are within reasonable driving distance.
- Don’t drink Mexican water and use bottled water for everything to play in on the safe side. Bring your own water bottles with you on the key excursion days.
- Bring good water shoes for both the cenotes and the beaches because both are quite rocky and not your typical great sandy beach. Also, it’s helpful to remember a beach towel and a drawstring water resistant bag to store your extra supplies.
- Sharing a home rental with another family on spring break cuts down on costs significantly and there are a lot of nice rentals in this area.
A valid passport, with at least six months remaining before expiration, is required to enter Mexico.
Waterproof sandals a must in Mexico.