ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR ENJOYING PLAYA DEL CARMEN WITH KIDS
Playa del Carmen is a beautiful beach town in the Riviera Maya that has something for everyone, especially if you are traveling with kids.
There’s a Mayan archeological site at Chichén Itzá where you can explore ancient ruins and learn about the fascinating history of this region.
For animal lovers, Xcaret Eco Park will amaze visitors with its beauty and diversity.
Snorkeling on Playa del Carmen’s beaches allows people to observe sea life up close. This blog post will give your family all the information you need to plan the perfect family vacation in Playa Del Carmen with kids.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN WITH KIDS: ALL THE FUN THINGS TO DO
After living in Playa Del Carmen for nearly the last year, we’ve learned the best things to do in Playa Del Carmen with kids. It one of the best places to travel in Mexico with kids, especially if they love the outdoors.
Before moving here I had no idea how family-friendly Playa Del Carmen can be, especially if you like to explore.
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The best part about Playa del Carmen with kids is that there’s so much to do and see, you won’t find yourself bored or without things to do.
Whether it’s the cenotes, the beaches, or exploring the Mayan ruins nearby…you’ll have so much fun you’ll never want to go home.
Xcaret Eco Park
Xcaret Park is an enormous eco-park; many people think of it as the Mexican equivalent to Disney. Here is where you can see animals, swim in underground caves, watch shows, check our archeological sites, snorkel, and so much more.
There is so much to do at Xcaret Park, so you have to get there early to beat the crowds. Our toddler enjoyed seeing the turtles we had to fight to keep him from jumping in the water (you know how toddlers can be).
My favorite thing about Xcaret Mexico is the shows. The shows and rituals give you a better understanding of the Ancient Mayan culture.
Since you will be here with kids, I’m sure they will want to spend most of their time in the children’s section. This part of the park is dedicated to kids with a mini cenote,
Be sure to stay to watch Xcaret Mexico Spectacular. It’s an amazing show of the history of Mexico, starting with pre-Historic Mayan roots to colonial times, gaining independence, and to Modern-Day Mexico.
Trust us; you’ll be blown away by this performance. It starts at 7 pm and lasts for two hours so it will be a long day, but I promise it’s worth it.
Tip: If you want to visit all of the parks, the most cost-efficient way is to stay at Hotel Xcaret. Reservations at the hotel include entrance to ALL of their PARKS & TOURS, plus transportation and food are included at the excursions.
Xel-Ha Natural Aquarium
Xel-Ha has to be one of the best water parks we’ve been to in the world, and we’ve been to quite a few. There is so much to do, even with kids. We spent the entire day here, and our one-year-old at the time loved it.
For someone that doesn’t spend a lot of time in the water, the snorkeling was amazing. My wife swam with the stingrays while I was on baby duty (a little jealous).
We spent a lot of time chasing our energetic one-year-old around the park. I was able to participate in some activities such as zipline, the lighthouse waterslide, and caves.
Related Post: Tips for Visiting Xel-Ha with Kids
Xplor Adventure Park
If your family likes adventure, then they’ll love Xplor Adventure Park. It’s the ultimate place to get your heart pumping, especially while flying through the sky. I guess the name tells you everything you need to know.
You can walk through caves, zipline across the jungle, swim in a cave, zipline on a hammock, drive an amphibious vehicle, and float on a raft. There is enough adventure here to keep your kids busy the entire day.
What I love is the restaurant, so you don’t have to leave the park to eat.
If you have the courage, head to Xplor Fuego, which is the nighttime version of Xplor. You can do all the same activities, but with the light from the fires throughout the park.
If you have adventurous kids, they will love exploring this park at night. We were able to do most of the activities before they closed, but I’ll be back to conquer the zip line.
I was too scared to zipline, but I did take the zipline hammock, which hands over a very deep cenote.
Related Post: A Day at Xplor
Note: This is one of the few parks with an age restriction due to how strenuous the activities are. Kids under 5-years-old are not allowed to participate in the activities, but there is a small kid play area. I do not recommend bringing toddlers to this adventure park.
Xenses is a wacky place that’s hard to explain. There is a waterslide, zipline, mud bath, relaxing spa, an upside-down town, a cave, and so much more. Xenses is the most unique place to take your kids to in Quintana Roo.
You’ll get in touch with all of your senses as you make your way through the park, experiencing different activities along the way.
All of your senses will be put to the test as you make your way through this amazing maze of interactive activities and take a few fun pictures along the way.
Note: I do not recommend taking toddlers under 4-years-old, as some of the activities may be too advanced for them.
If you want a truly unique experience in Playa Del Carmen with your kids, you have to tour the Rio Secreto. The Rio Secreto is a natural underground river system that can only be accessed by rappelling down the side of a mountain.
On the tours, you’ll walk and swim on a guided journey. This is your chance to explore an underground cave that’s completely silent. There is no light available you’ll have to rely on tour headlamps, making it even more thrilling.
Rio Secreto is a visual phenomenon. You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for fossils, primordial stalactites, and stalagmites. Plus, there is an array of unique cave-dwelling fish. A fun fact is the fish are completely blind becuase there is no natural light inside the caves.
It’s truly a phenomenal experience that your kids will talk about for years.
Note: Kids under four years old cannot participate in this tour.
Stroll 5th Avenue
Since we only live 10-minutes away from 5th avenue, we spend a lot of time strolling down the main tourist area in Playa Del Carmen.
It’s the perfect place to run into street performers, buy souvenirs, people watch, and get cheap drinks.
What we love about 5th avenue is how kid-friendly it is. Our toddler can run around without us having to worry about him getting hurt.
There are some areas that cars drive through, but the majority of the street is pedestrians only, which is perfect for kids to run around. If you want to shop, this is the most popular place to shop for souvenirs.
You’ll see shops everywhere as you stroll along the avenue. One of our favorite places to stop is the Mayan market, it’s in a little hidden area, but there are some cool souvenirs there.
As a general rule, we do not eat on 5th avenue. The food is overpriced and quite frankly not that good. Check out some of the best local spots to eat in Playa Del Carmen with kids.
As part of our private tour, we went to Cenote Tankach-Ha and it was breathtaking. It’s amazing how these natural wonders are created.
There are over 6,000 cenotes in Mexico, with the best ones being in the Yucatan. That’s why we recommend visiting a cenote as part of the private tour with My Quest Concierge.
Although we had to take over 25 stairs to get to the bottom to see the underground cenote, it was well worth the effort. Our 2-year-old wasn’t a fan, so he screamed the entire way down and up.
Luckily, we were able to divide and conquer, so my wife swam with fish in the cenote, while I stayed up top and played in the rocks without a toddler.
I was able to snap a few quick pictures before having to get back to the top to tend to our little one.
I’m a little jealous she got to hang out underground and relax in the clear water with schools of fish swimming around. I guess that’s part of what comes with traveling with a toddler, but she thought the experience was amazing.
The Jungle Place
How cool would it be to interact with spider monkeys ethically and safely? The Jungle Place is one of the few animal rescues that are 100% dedicated to their rescue animals.
This couple is in it for the love, and you can see it when they talk about their monkey sanctuary. You can see their passion, and their work is helping orphaned and mistreated monkeys that have fallen victim to the illegal pet trade.
The donation is a little steep, but every dollar goes towards to care of the animals. With this tour, you have the opportunity to interact with the monkey, learn more about their history, take a tour of the sanctuary, and learn how you can help combat the illegal animal trade.
Note: For their safety, children under 8-years-old cannot interact directly with the monkeys.
3-D Museum of Wonders
One of the best places to get some air on a hot day in Playa Del Carmen with kids is to head to the 3-D Museum of Wonders. Your family can get a break from the heat and enjoy a few hours taking hilarious and sometimes frightening pictures that come to life.
We had the honor of having the entire place to ourselves, so our toddler could run around until he couldn’t take it anymore.
What made this place a lot more fun was the guide. He helped us pose, take pictures, and gave us a lot of information on the artist that painted the entire museum.
This is a must for families in Playa Del Carmen. It’s the perfect time for you to disconnect and have fun with one another, isn’t that what vacation is all about?
What better way to spend time together than taking crazy photos, that come to life. The perfect IG family photos.
- $30 Adults
- $25 Kids (3-11)
- Free (Kids under 3)
Click here for discounted pricing.
One of our favorite and free things to do in Playa Del Carmen with kids is explore street art. There is so much art around Centro Playa Del Carmen.
To find some of the most creative art, you have to walk around the different neighborhoods. Some of our favorite street art is on 10th ave, 25th ave, 30th ave, and 40th ave. You can find street art everywhere; it’s so much fun.
Tip: Remember, the avenues are the main streets and run north to south. The streets run east to west, and if you get lost, ask someone how to get to Juarez. That is the main street in Centro you can always find your way from there.
Ancient Mayan Ruins
You can’t come to Quintana Roo without visiting the Ancient Mayan Ruins. While you are on vacation in Playa Del Carmen with kids, it’s the perfect time to visit one of the Modern Day Seven Wonders of the world; how could you pass that up?
There are ruins scattered throughout the Yucatan, so you can make a road trip out of it. Many people spend a few days having fun in Merida while exploring smaller Ancient Mayan Ruins throughout the city.
I can’t imagine a more fun way to spend time as a family. The kids will be amazed by all the history and culture of this region, plus it’s a great exercise!
Chichén Itzá is an ancient Mayan city located in Mexico.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people living there over 1,000 years ago. But it’s not just for adults! Kids will love exploring this site and learning about how the Maya lived long ago – from their homes to their food to their games.
This historical masterpiece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. After living in Playa Del Carmen for nine months, we finally took a tour of Chichén Itzá, and we are glad that we did.
Our day started early, but we got to the ruins before the large tour buses. We had the chance to explore the Mayan Ruins without crowds, plus it wasn’t too hot.
Another advantage of arriving when the site opens is the vendor tables aren’t set up. If you don’t want to buy anything, you won’t be stopped along the way. We were able to explore the entire site before 1030 am, so it wasn’t too hot.
If you want more details on how we explored Chichén Itzá with our two-year-old, check out this post.
Tip: Do yourself a favor and take a private tour of Chichén Itzá and Coba. The group tours are long and make too many unnecessary stops. For families traveling with kids, especially young ones, a private tour is the best way to go.
Cobá Zona Arqueológica
Coba is not as famous as Chichén Itzá, but it’s just as cool. Honestly, it’s my favorite Mayan Ruin of the two. There is more shade, you can ride a bike, the ruins are larger, and there is something to see everywhere.
There are three ways to tour Coba. You can walk the site (which is very large), ride a bike, or take a tricycle.
If you are traveling with a toddler, I highly recommend taking a tricycle. For families heading to Coba with older kids, I highly recommend renting a bike and riding around the historical site.
We weren’t able to hike to the top of the ruins because of the health measure taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Even without being able to climb to the top of the ruins, there is something magical about this place.
Fun Fact: There are trade routes that lead to Chichén Itzá from Ancient Mayan Times. The different tribes would trade with one another, so they’d make the over 100 km trek to trade well with one another.
Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Chichen Itza & Coba with Kids
DAY TRIPS FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN WITH KIDS
There is so much more to do in Playa Del Carmen than just going to the beach.
This place is a natural wonder, so if you want to take your family vacation to the next level, day trips are the way to go.
These are some of our favorite day trips from Playa Del Carmen with Kids.
Cozumel is only located 20 minutes away from Playa Del Carmen, but it feels like it could be a world away. If you have been to Hawaii, this island will remind you of Oahu.
The relaxing island vibe and the beautiful blue waters will make your stay on Cozumel a memorable one. If you want to snorkel and explore sea life, this is the place to be.
Unlike in Playa Del Carmen, the beach clubs are run by locals and provide an authentic experience for visitors to enjoy while soaking up the sun.
Related Post: Cozumel with Kids
Tulum beach offers some of the most beautiful views you will ever experience in your life, with white sand that stretches for miles and clear blue water. Since it is only 20 minutes from Playa Del Carmen, it is the perfect day trip with kids.
In my opinion, Tulum is overhyped and way too expensive. Admittedly, there are some beautiful spots, but I do not think it warrants the price.
Note: There are A LOT of mosquitos in Tulum, so be sure to pack a very generous amount of mosquito repellent.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach destination without the hassle of large crowds, Isla Mujeres is the perfect place.
This island has a laid-back atmosphere, plus it’s easy to explore by foot or bike with your kids.
The locals are friendly and welcoming, making it an ideal spot to have some fun while also catching up on some much-needed R&R.
If you want more excitement, there are tons of activities available like diving excursions or zip-lining through the jungle canopy – all waiting to be explored!
Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve
Sian Ka’an is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and National Park in the Riviera Maya.
It was established in 1987 to protect the fragile ecosystem of this region, which includes one of Mexico’s last remaining stands of old-growth tropical rainforest and over 10,000 species of plants representing about 60% of all Mexican flora.
The Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve is the largest protected area of mangrove forest in North America. It’s also one of the last remaining areas with coral reefs and a variety of marine life.
The reserve is home to an unusual amount of endangered species, such as jaguars, sea turtles, and black howler monkeys.
To conserve this beautiful land, we do not advise exploring the nature preserve on your own. There are tours offered that give you the best experience. Since group tours are limited to six people, so it does not get overcrowded.
There are different tours available, depending on what you would like to see.
You can go snorkeling in the world’s second-largest coral reef, explore the Ancient Mayan routes, see tropical birds, go fly fishing, or watch the sunset. The possibilities are endless at one of the most unique places in the world.