Things To Do in Cancun with Kids

Family Activities and Attractions in Cancun & Riviera Maya

Cancún is a world class vacation destination that offers a variety of activities, attractions, tours and cultural experiences that will appeal to families with kids of all ages. While the region is known for its absolutely beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, Cancun and the surrounding areas have so much more to offer.

Whether your family is looking to relax, go out exploring, do some water sports, get their adrenaline flowing, enjoy nature, learn some history or mix it up every day, this is the place to do it all. Below is our list of the best things to do in Cancun with kids.

Xcaret Park

Swimming Underground Rivers at Xcaret Park
Xcaret Park Paradise River Jungle Cruise

Xcaret is an ecological and archaeological site theme park that is one of the top attractions in Riviera Maya and Cancun. This huge eco park is built around the natural wonders of the area to give visitors a leisurely mix of pure nature, Mayan archaeological sites, cultural shows and attractions, animal exhibits and man-made activities.

Xcaret’s nature-based attractions are not to be missed and provide a unique and wonderful experience that you and the kids will not soon forget. At the top of our must-do list is swimming or snorkeling in one of the three natural underground rivers, which wind through caves, tunnels, a Mayan village and Mangroves. After you have taken in all of the natural wonders the park has, explore the park to experience the culture via the many shows and sites. For those visitors with toddlers, the park has a dedicated area, called Children’s World. This water park and playground are a perfect place for the young ones to play and explore.

Xcaret Park has so many activities, attractions, shows and events that it is just too much to do all in one day. Almost everywhere you go; there is a unique photo opportunity for the family. See our articles about Xcaret with kids or view our Xcaret photo gallery. Visit Xcaret’s web site for more information.

Top Activities and Attractions at Xcaret Park

  • Swim the Natural Rivers
  • Xcaret México Espectacular
  • Coral Reef Aquarium
  • Cenotes, Beaches, Natural Pools and Inlets
  • Paradise River Raft Jungle Cruise
  • Children’s World

Xel-Há Park

Xel Ha Park Rafting Lazy River
Xel Ha Park Inlet and Lighthouse

Xel-Há Park is one of the most beautiful places we have experienced in Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. This eco water park is built around a natural aquarium lagoon and inlet that is surrounded by lush jungles. Visitors will spend most of their day in the park’s crystal clear waters – snorkeling, swimming and rafting the inlet, rivers, cave and cenotes. There are a variety of zip lines, cliff jumps, and rope swings if walking into the water is too tame for you. Families that have toddlers and younger kids can enjoy the Children’s World area of the park, which has fun activities like water slides, wading pools, rope climbing, a playground and more.

Outside of the main water activities, Xel-Há has an almost 10-story scenic lighthouse that has amazing 360° views of the park as well as four water slides to bring you back down. There are bike and hiking trails, zip-bikes, jungle trails, a floating bridge and much more.

One of the great perks of Xel-Há is that it is an all-inclusive park. There are several restaurants and bars all around the park for you to stop by or sit and relax without worrying about bringing your wallet with you. This is one of our favorite parks and we think it should be on your things to do in Cancun with kids bucket list. Visit Xel-Há’s web site for more information.

Top Activities and Attractions at Xel-Há Park

  • Snorkeling
  • Ziplines (Salpichanga) into Water
  • Cenotes & Caves
  • Xel-Há River Tour
  • Scenic Lighthouse Waterslide
  • Cliff Jumps & Rope Swings

Xplor Park

Xplor Park Zip lines
Xplor Park Off Road Driving

Xplor is an adventure park that is situated in the jungles of the Riviera Maya and is for those families with a courageous side to them. This park is great for exploring and will have you and your kids’ adrenaline pumping with its crazy fun activities. While parks like Xcaret and Xel-Há have plenty to do for your little ones, Xplor might be for those with older kids – seven and up – as long as they are a bit daring.

One of the park’s main draws is its world class zipline circuits. Xplor has two circuits with seven ziplines each. The ziplines fly high and fast over the jungle canopy as well as having a water and waterfall landing on the last zipline. Pure adrenaline fun!

Another main activity at the park includes driving amphibious vehicles through two different jungle roads – one wet, one dry – that have hanging bridges, caverns, caves, waterfalls, hairpin turns and more. Xplor also features underground rivers that you can swim or paddle rafts through, hammock ziplines, cavern hikes and more.

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can do all of the same activities, but at night with Xplor Fuego. It is quite a different experience doing these activities in the darkness of the jungle. Zip line towards a lit up zipline tower, drive the off-road vehicles with only your headlights to guide you… Visit the Xplor web site for more park information.

Top Activities and Attractions at Xplor Park

  • Ziplines
  • Underground Rafting
  • Hammock Ziplines
  • Amphibious Vehicles
  • Swim Underground Rivers
  • Caves & Cavern Hiking

Xavage Park

Jet Boat at Xavage Park
River Rafting at Xavage Park

Xavage is a new adventure park in Riviera Maya that challenges visitors with exciting and unique activities you won’t see at other parks. The variety of adventures to be had at the park range from relaxing fun to challenging excitement and everything in between.

If you and your family are looking to challenge yourselves, Xavage has some activities that will put you to the test and give you an adrenaline rush at the same time. First up is an insane ropes course with four difficulty levels that range from 26 ft to 118 ft high with endless variety obstacles to traverse. Next up is river rafting where your rafting team learn to paddle and maneuver through class 3-whitewater rapids, down and under waterfalls and around various currents of the course. The park also has kayaks that you can paddle down the only water canals in Cancun.

If you still want your adrenaline rush with less effort, Xavage still has you covered. The jet boats are our favorite activity at the park and they will have your heart pounding as you race at full speed down the jungle canals at over 50mph and then pull 360° turns along the way. Another thrilling adventure is soaring six stories above the park on the ziplines that have you flying superman style (horizontal) for over 400 twisting and turning yards. Last but not least is off-roading through the wild terrain course with a massive John Deere amphibious vehicle.

This new park is great for those families that are looking to have fun while challenging themselves as well as those looking for unique adventures. Similar to Xplor Park, Xavage would be best for those with older kids, but those with toddlers still can have fun with their water park area. Visit the Xavage web site for additional information.

Top Activities and Attractions at XavagePark

  • Jet Boats
  • River Rafting
  • Horizontal Zipline
  • Off-roading
  • Ropes Course
  • Kayaking

Xenses Park

Xenses Park Bird Flight Zipline
Xenses Park Mud River

Xenses is a mind twisting park with very unique activities, optical illusions and attractions to experience. This half day park will have you scratching your head at times as reality can be warped and your body and mind will not always be in tune as usual. The park features two different circuits to follow with each bringing you through a unique journey.

At Xenses, the uncommon is pretty common, the abnormal is normal and your will find yourself being wowed around almost every corner. Make your way through a path that will have you feel like a tiny person and then a few steps later you feel like a giant. Walk through a Mexican town that will have you not knowing which way is up or down – your body feels like it is going downhill, but your eyes are telling you that you are going uphill. What? Yes!

All along each path, there are a lot mind bending photo opportunities and some fun one-offs, like a lemon tree that dispenses natural lemonade. There are also some activities that will excite you without you having to wonder what is going on. There is a water slide through the jungle, a zipline that has you in the flying position and has you soaring through a canyon, a salt water river and a muddy river that you slowly float down. If you and the kids are ready to have your senses put to the test, this is the place to go. Visit Xenses’ web site for more information.

Top Activities and Attractions at Xenses Park

  • Xensatorium
  • Salt Water & Mud Rivers
  • Jungle Waterslide
  • Bird Flight
  • Underground Caves
  • Town – Confusing Laws of Physics

Xenotes Tour

Xenotes Tour Rappelling into Cenote
Xenotes Tour Kayaking River

The Xenotes Tour by Xcaret is a small group tour of unique cenotes that are in the heart of the Mayan jungle. Your tour guide will drive you to each of the four private cenotes to spend some time doing various activities at each one as well as a midday lunch in the jungle.

While the tour might sound like you and the kids swimming in four different cenotes, there is a whole lot more going on than that. Each cenote of the tour is completely different and each one has new activities for the family. Rappel into a underground cavern cenote, kayak through a cenote surrounded by the jungle, snorkel the sapphire blue waters of a semi-open cenote, water slide into the calm waters of the open cenote, cliff jump into the ancient cenote and zipline at two different cenotes. This is the perfect family getaway for those that love nature, water activities and adventure. Visit the Xenotes Tour web site for more information.

Top Activities on the Xenotes Tour

  • Ziplining into Water
  • Cliff Jumping
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Rappelling
  • Waterslide

Selvatica

Selvatica Zipline Above Jungle
Selvatica Superman Zipline

Selvatica is an eco adventure park that will appeal to those looking for pure action and adventure for the whole day. The park is situated in the jungle and resembles the surroundings you would see in an episode of Lost – airplane in the trees included. The park is visually impressive with the huge towers poking up through the jungle canopies. One could tell that they were in for an adrenaline filled day.

Selvatica has an impressive 10 zipline circuit that has various ways to fly high over the jungle. Unlike most other parks, you control your own speed and braking and can ride the ziplines in the traditional sitting fashion, in a prone superman position or upside down.

Other thrilling activities that are unique to this park are the bungee swing, jungle coaster and a roller coaster that has twists, turns, dives and climbs. Even though that seems like plenty of action for a day, Selvatica also lets you drive an ATV or Polaris through the jungle road and take a dip/jump/swim it its beautiful cenote. A day at this park is an exciting and unique experience that adventurous families will love. If you’re a thrill seeking family, then put this park on your things to do with Kids in Cancun must-do list. Visit Selvatica’s web site for more information.

Top Activities at Selvatica

  • Jungle Ziplining
  • Bungee Swing
  • Jungle Coaster
  • ATV or Polaris
  • Swimming in a Cenote
  • Zipline Roller Coaster

Aventuras Mayas

Aventuras Mayas Underground Cenote
Aventuras Mayas Rappeling

This tour company and eco adventure park has some great combination tours, so when our family wanted to combine some adventure with some cultural and archeological exploration, we turned to Aventuras Mayas. Why just spend a half day at the Mayan ruins, when we can do that and throw in some exciting activities.

Their park that is nestled in the jungle has 7 ziplines and a rappelling platform. The zipline circuit has a variety of ways to head down the lines – regular, prone, upside down or in a hammock. After ziplining all week, I finally had enough courage to zipline upside down and it was quite the adrenaline rush. We also rappelled ourselves down 6 stories from the rappelling platform and this was a first for our family. After that, we had an amazing swim in a beautiful underground cenote with our guide educating us on our surroundings.

Once we were done at the Aventuras Mayas park we had a great tour of Tulum with our guide getting us in quickly and then gave us time to explore the ruins by ourselves. Aventuras Mayas tours are small group tours that have a personal touch, vary in activities and locations and do a great job of avoiding the crowds. It was a great way to mix up the day with excitement, exploration and education. Visit Aventuras Mayas’ web site for more information.

Top Activities at Aventuras Mayas

  • Ziplining – 5 Varieties
  • Underground Cenote Snorkeling
  • Inlet Snorkeling
  • Rappelling
  • ATV Riding & Tour
  • Tulum Tour

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a beautiful and popular island that is just 8 miles off the coast of Cancun, which makes it an easy day trip with a quick ferry boat ride from the hotel zone or other locations. This tropical island is fairly small and visitors can rent golf carts to drive around and explore the island on their own. There is plenty of shopping areas, restaurants, historical sites, water sports and places to relax by the Caribbean Sea. Below are our three main recommendations for families visiting Isla Mujeres.

Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Garrafon Natural Reef Park Zipline
Garrafon Park Aerial View

As the name of the park suggests, Garrafon is built right next to the gorgeous natural reefs and aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. This eco park uses its natural beauty and location to offer its guests a mixture of activities, relaxation and leisure.

The park has a relaxed atmosphere of a beach club with plenty of places to lounge around and relax as you take in the beauty of the sea. Garrafon has a spectacular infinity pool that has panoramic views of the natural reef and its blue waters as well as a paddling pool for the smaller kids. You will also find lounge chairs, hammocks and other places to relax as you soak up the sun.

For those guests looking to get off those lounge chairs, Garrafon Park has plenty of wonderful activities for the whole family. The park has three zipline runs – one that runs down the cliff side of the park and the other two shooting over the crystal clear waters. They have single and two-passenger kayaks that you can take out to Garrafon’s waters. Since there is a natural reef at the park, you and the kids shouldn’t miss snorkeling along the reef to see all of the tropical fish around the area. See our article about our family visit to Garrafon Park or view our Garrafon park photo gallery.

Top Activities at Garrafon Park

  • Zipline Over Water
  • Kayaking
  • Natural Reef Snorkling
  • Swimming Pool

Playa Norte

Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres
Playa Norte Beach in Isla Mujeres

Playa Norte or North Beach is a very popular place for beachgoers and is one of the main draws on Isla Mujeres. The beach has gained its popularity by having soft white sand and warm blue waters that are shallow and calm enough for swimming. There are a variety of beach clubs on the long stretch of sand where visitors can grab (or rent) a chair under umbrellas and order some food and beverages. If your family is looking for a great kid friendly beach, then Playa Norte will easily fit the bill.

Tortugranja

Baby Turtles at Tortugranja Isla Mujeres
Turtles at Tortugranja Isla Mujeres

Tortugranja is a turtle sanctuary that shelters, raises and releases sea turtles. Visitors pay a small entrance fee to tour the indoor and outdoor pools that house the young turtles. There is also a sandy hatching area where turtle eggs are relocated to for safety. You will see newborn turtles all the way up to year old turtles before they are released back into the sea. Tortugranja also has a variety of other sea animals, like horseshoe crabs. It’s worth a stop if you are cruising down the west coast of Isla Mujeres.

Chichen Itza

El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza Mexico
La Iglesia at Chichen Itza Mexico

If your family is looking to visit any of the Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza should be on the top on your list. It is Mexico’s most-visited archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This important archaeological site is home to one of the most important cities of the Mayan culture and it is the also one of the largest. Visitors touring the city will see one of the new seven wonders of the world, the Kukulkan Pyramid a.k.a. El Castillo. Other notable sites in the city include the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors, the Venus Platform, the Sacred Cenote and much more. Chichen Itza is quite impressive and well worth the visit.

We chose to take the Xichen Tour, which brought us to Chichén Itzá, the town of Valladolid for a buffet lunch and a visit to Cenote Zací.

Tulum

Pyramid El Castillo in Tulum Mexico
Tulum Coastline Beach

Tulum is another popular archaeological site that is close to Cancun and other tourist hubs in Riviera Maya. This Mayan city differs from the other ruins of Quintana Roo, as it was built on the coast as a seaport and has walls protecting the rest of the city. The coast of the city has a beautiful beach that visitors can use during their visit and the views from the 40 foot cliffs overlooking the ocean are spectacular. Tulum is a well preserved ruin site due to it being one of the last Mayan cities to be built. Noteworthy structures include The Castillo, the tallest and most prominent building that overlooks the cliffs and the Temple of the Frescoes, which tracked movements of the sun.

Coba

Nohoch Mul Pyramid In Coba
La Iglesia Pyramid in Coba

The Maya ruins of Coba are located in the lush jungle and are less frequented by tourists than Chichen Itza and Tulum, which is one of the reasons that you can still climb up the Ixmoja pyramid – something that is prohibited at other archaeological sites. Coba has one of the biggest chains of white stone roads, which is why its nickname is the City of White Roads. The site is more rustic than other excavated ruins, so there is a little less feeling of it being a tourist spot. The pyramid is almost 140 feet tall and has a rope to aid climbers up and down the structure – but please take caution when climbing, especially with the kids. Coba is a nice family adventure and the rustic jungle environment gives it an explorer feel that you don’t get at some other archaeological locations.

Croco Cun Zoo

Posing with Crocodiles at Croco Cun Zoo
Touching a Lizard at Croco Cun Zoo

The Croco Cun Zoo started as a crocodile farm, but has flourished into an interactive and hands-on zoo that is 100% conservationist project dedicated to working with many local species of animals that are within their natural environment. As they name suggests, there are plenty of crocodiles to see, but the zoo offers a great variety of animals to see and some to interact with. Our guided tour had us holding baby crocs and snakes, feeding deer’s, petting Mexican hairless dogs, watching monkeys swing from the trees above us and walking through the (full-size) crocodile enclosure. Croco Cun Zoo is a fun and educational zoo that is well worth stopping by for an afternoon. See our articles about our tour of Croco Cun Zoo or view our Croco Cun Zoo photo gallery. Visit Croco Cun Zoo’s web site for more information.

Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines Beach in Cancun Mexico
Delfines Cancun Beach

Playa Delfines is a public beach on the south end of the Hotel Zone that is a favorite of the Cancun locals. The beach has white sand, blue waters and is not as touristy or crowded as most beaches along the strip. The beach also houses the famous Cancun sign that is a must photo opportunity. It is a great place to enjoy a beach day with the kids, especially if you are not staying in a hotel that is on the beachfront. Please pay attention to the signs posted regarding the swimming conditions.

Playa Ballenas

Cancun beach on the Caribbean side
Playa Ballenas in Cancun Hotel Zone

The beaches on the Caribbean side of the Hotel Zone or Zona Hotelera, have some of the prettiest beaches in Cancun. The sand is soft and white, the waters are warm and turquoise blue and there are waves to play in. The north side has calmer waters, which are better for those families with younger children, but the east side beaches offer a little more fun for those looking to play in the waves as long as you pay attention to the flags indicating the surf conditions. Playa Ballenas is a great public beach area that offers all of the wonderful features as the beachfront hotels in the Hotel Zone. It has changing rooms, a convenience store, restrooms and is close to other resorts. If you are looking for a beautiful beach with waves, this beach will be a great fit for your family. If you are looking for very calm waves, head to the North beaches of the Hotel Zone.

Best Things To Do in Cancun with Kids

Photo Credits: Coba Ixmoja Pyramid by dronepicr, Coba La Iglesia Pyramid by Dennis Jarvis and Delfines Beach by
Tristan Higbee and David Stanley via license





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