The heart of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun welcomes thousands of visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula, and with good reason. From fantastic weather to stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters to rich historical sites, you can’t beat this gorgeous region. Family-friendly activities abound, including many meaningful cultural activities near Cancun.
These activities permit you to step back in time in places such as Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Coba. Are you ready to learn more about the captivating experiences that will make your next vacation to Mexico with kids more meaningful? Keep reading as we explore must-see destinations near Cancun.
Family Adventures Abound in Tulum
Mexico contains roughly 5,780 feet (9300 kilometers) of coastline along the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Amid the Gulf’s white-sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, you’ll find one of Mexico’s most beautiful and popular destinations, Tulum. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, the city has evolved into one of the most incredible beachside destinations in Mexico. Best of all, you’ll find an endless array of kid-friendly excursions and activities ideal for a family trip.
Besides soaking up the sand and surf of the Yucatan Peninsula, a trip to the pre-Colombian Mayan site of Tulum will provide your family with unforgettable memories. The remains of a Mayan city built along the coastline, Tulum was a seaport that traded in jade and turquoise. Unlike many other Mayan cities, Tulum featured protective walls along all three sides. Today, you’ll find spectacular ruins punctuated by lazy iguanas basking in the sun. We recommend visiting in the morning to beat crowds and avoid the mid-day heat.
And if you’re looking for a unique way to see the site? Consider a tour of Tulum by sea. Not only does it provide an excellent way to see the ancient city, but you’ll also enjoy exciting opportunities. These include snorkeling the second-largest coral reef in the world and swimming in a natural cenote, where you’ll catch glimpses of thousands of impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Find out more about this unique experience.
Embrace Adventure in Coba and Punta Laguna
Channel your inner “Indiana Jones” at the ancient Mayan city of Coba before exploring the natural splendors of Punta Laguna. A significant Mayan city built at the height of the Classical Period (ca. 500 to 900 AD), Coba once contained more than 6,500 temples and covered an expansive territory of 27 square miles (70 square kilometers).
Fifteen hundred years ago, more than 50,000 people called this thriving capital home.
Today, you can still see noteworthy sites such as the so-called “Church” temple, the “Nohoch Mul” (literally “large mound”) pyramid, and the ball court. The “Nohoch Mul” is one of the highest pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula. Your family won’t want to miss the chance to scale its 120 steps. (Wear comfortable shoes!)
In Punta Laguna, explore a protected wildlife refuge where spectacular flora and fauna abound. You and your kids will love searching the emerald canopy for howler monkeys and spider monkeys. While on the lookout for these mischievous locals, participate in a local Mayan ceremony and then learn about its significance. And if you’d like to up the exhilaration factor? Consider canoeing the lagoon or ziplining over it. Either way, you’ll make once-in-a-lifetime memories. Explore this unique and culturally-rich day tour.
Discover Ancient Wonders in Chichen Itza and Cenote
If you’ve ever longed to see one of the seven wonders of the world, the 9th-century AD Mayan city of Chichen Itza is a must-visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichen Itza is also a fantastic place to visit with kids. You’ll find plenty of wide-open spaces where your kids can run around and let off a little steam. What’s more, your children will learn about the sophisticated history of the ancient city through its impressive, tangible monuments.
Your family will marvel at the remains of this once-vital pre-Hispanic American city-state. The site is divided into the Old Chichen and Chichen Itza. In the Old Chichen, you’ll find six Mayan ruins, and there are roughly 20 in Chichen Itza, making for a total of 26 ruins. The culmination of a visit to Chichen Itza remains its most impressive pyramid, El Castillo. But you’ll also want to check out other breathtaking ruins such as El Caracol or the “Observatory,” the Temple of the Warriors, and the Mayan Ball Game stadium.
The best tours to Chichen Itza culminate in a visit to a cenote. You’ll find these naturally occurring sinkholes throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. These cenotes offer breathtaking natural beauty and swimming experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. Does this sound like the perfect tour for your family vacation to Mexico? If so, check out this itinerary.
Cultural Activities Near Cancun Your Family Will Love
Family-friendly cultural activities near Cancun abound. They represent the ideal synthesis of history, adventure, and meaningful cultural activities. When you visit these ancient indigenous sites, you’ll open your children’s eyes up to a heightened understanding of New World history and indigenous cultures. In the process, you’ll gain significant insights into the Yucatan Peninsula’s rich heritage, and you’ll enjoy opportunities to interact with locals.
Is your family ready to travel?
At Our Whole Village, we encourage families to venture out beyond the resorts. Sure, there’s a time for lounging by the pool, but you can always mix that up with a fun and culturally-rich visit to nearby ruins followed by a typical lunch with a local family.
I’d love to help bring your next exhilarating and culturally-immersive adventure to life.