Cancún and the Riviera Maya are excellent family destinations, with plenty to see and do for kids and parents, and good hotels and restaurants to help take the stress out of traveling en masse. Here are some recommended spots.

Cancun. Photo © Irina Moskalev/123rf.

Cancún. Photo © Irina Moskalev/123rf.

Cancún

Isla Mujeres: Super-calm water, a turtle farm, an ecopark plus a ferry ride there and back—what’s not to love?

Parque Las Palapas: Downtown Cancún’s main plaza, where kids can run around and munch on chocolate-filled churros.

El Rey Archaeological Zone: Hundreds of beefy iguanas make this a fun stop for kids, even if they’re lukewarm about piles of old rocks. (Hint: The iguanas love bananas!)

An iguana sunning himself in El Rey Archaeological Zone. Photo © Amber Earnest/123rf.

An iguana sunning himself in El Rey Archaeological Zone. Photo © Amber Earnest/123rf.

La Isla Shopping Village: An easy place to cool off and recharge, whether at the Interactive Aquarium or movie theater.

Isla Cozumel

Playa Chen Río: This protected ocean beach on Cozumel’s east side is deserted midweek and busy with local families on weekends.

Parque Punta Sur: A scenic natural reserve with a nice beach and fantastic snorkeling, plus a maritime museum and a lighthouse you can climb.

The Riviera Maya

Xcaret: This huge ecopark is an all-day excursion, with snorkeling, tubing, an aquarium, and a fun evening show.

The coastal area of Xcaret ecopark. Photo © Konstantin Kulikov/123rf.

The coastal area of Xcaret ecopark. Photo © Konstantin Kulikov/123rf.

Croco Cun Zoo: Charming little zoo near Puerto Morelos where you can see, pet, and even hold animals (including babies).

Dos Ojos Cenote: Great cenote snorkeling for all ages, either with a guide or on your own.

Tulum and the Costa Maya

Cobá: Renting bikes or bicycle taxis makes visiting these ruins especially fun for kids, while the thick forest provides cool shade and a chance to spot birds and insects.

Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Reserve: A great family outing, where you’ll spot not only spider and howler monkeys, but a slew of birds, tropical vegetation, and more.

Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá: Impressive ruins with several family-friendly hotels nearby. The Ik Kil cenote just east of town is a sure hit.

The Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá. Photo © manganganath/123rf.

The Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá. Photo © manganganath/123rf.

Valladolid: Charming midsize city, with three impressive cenotes nearby for swimming.


Excerpted from the Twelfth Edition of Moon Cancún & Cozumel.