Keeping the little ones entertained during a Cancun vacation is rarely difficult. After all, most kids love swimming in resort pools and taking part in fun kids’ clubs. But the time may come when you want to leave the resort and see more of what the Cancun area has to offer.
To help you decide where to go, here are some of the best suggestions for families looking for a memorable day trip from Cancun.
Grupo Xcaret parks are famous in Mexico for their eco-tourism credentials, offering families of all kinds a super fun day out near Cancun. There are 8 parks in the Xcaret brand, each offering something slightly different. For example, Xenses focuses on tricks of the eye and clever design to puzzle the senses, whereas Xplor’s main focus is its thrilling zip-lines.
For families, we’d recommend the original park, Xcaret, although any Grupo Xcaret attraction makes for a great day out. Xcaret park has over 50 activities, each celebrating the natural and cultural Mayan world. There are underground rivers, exciting trails, caves to explore, animals to spot, and entertainment productions to enjoy.
Visit A Cenote
Cenotes are sunken limestone swimming holes and there are believed to be over 6,000 in the Yucatan Peninsula. Some are almost entirely underground, only having tiny holes letting in sparks of light to the pool underneath. Others are open swimming pools, encircled by tropical vegetation. It’s up to you to decide which your family would prefer, but if you’d like to sample a few types, here are some suggestions near Cancun:
- Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul, or Blue Cenote, is around 1 hour and 15 minutes south of Cancun. It’s an open-air cenote and a good place to begin your family’s cenote exploration. Swim in the cool waters of the multiple pools and if you’re feeling brave, take a leap off the cliff jump,
- Ruta de los Cenotes
Consider visiting the Ruta de los Cenotes, or Route of the Cenotes, a group of around 30 limestone swimming holes located in and around Puerto Morelos, which is only a half-hour from Cancun. There’s an underground cave cenote, an open-air cenote with zip-lines, and even a cenote you can combine with an ATV ride. Find out more in this Cancun Sun article.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an is an important nature reserve in Quintana Roo, filled with thousands of plants and animals, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site over 35 years ago. Around a two-hour drive from Cancun, it makes for a longer day trip, but it’s well worth it to see this hidden gem.
Kids will love becoming explorers on a tour of this precious reserve, seeing up close the Ka’an canal, which was built by Mayans over 1,000 years ago, perhaps snorkeling a coral reef, and there’s also the chance of spotting crocodiles in the reserve’s mangrove canals.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Swimming with sharks may not sound like the most family-friendly activity, but whale sharks – the world’s largest fish – are actually gentle giants. They’re only interested in feeding on plankton, which makes a swim with them a safe but exhilarating experience.
Organized trips are the best way to experience swimming with whale sharks. Why not try this tour, which includes a small group snorkeling trip, followed by a boat-based lunch overlooking the waters you’ve just explored.
Take the Ferry to Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast of Cancun. It’s full of day-trip-worthy activities that will keep the whole family enthralled. The entertainment begins with live music on the ferry that whisks you straight across the water from Cancun’s Hotel Zone to the island.
Disembark the boat and you’ve got plenty of options. Head for Playa Norte, the best beach in the region, to enjoy the gentle waters and powder-soft sand. Sample some of the best restaurants on the island. Head south to experience Garrafón Natural Park where you can try out snorkeling, kayaking, and even some zip lining. Then return to Isla Mujeres Centro for some unique souvenir shopping before taking the ferry back to your resort in Cancun.
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