Playa del Carmen’s palm-lined beaches and calm Caribbean waters make the perfect destination for a family beach vacation. There’s a fun-filled adventure for everyone in the family, from snorkeling and wildlife watching to water slides and eco-park excursions.
Read on to discover our top picks for the best things to do with kids in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Xcaret Eco Park
The first stop on your Playa del Carmen vacation with the family should be Xcaret Eco Park—an alluring nature park with more than 50 natural and cultural attractions. A great option for families traveling with toddlers and babies, this mega-park has offerings like underground rivers, an aquarium to Mayan ruins and an aviary. Spend your day rafting the picturesque rivers, watching beautiful winged creatures flutter around you at the Butterfly Pavilion or exploring living displays at the Natural Museum of Orchids and Bromeliads.
Catch one of their exciting shows, including the Charro (cowboy) show with horses and Papantla Flyers. The Xcaret Mexico Espectacular is a big production that highlights Mexican culture through song, dance and elaborate costumes.
L’Aquarium is the third-largest aquarium in Mexico, boasting three floors of exhibits that showcase more than 200 species of marine life from the Riviera Maya. Not only will you have the chance to observe local wildlife like reptiles, sharks and jellyfish, but you can also learn about marine conservation and ecological sustainability. Browse the aquarium’s 45 themed exhibitions—including the Jellyfish exhibit that offers insight into its history with prehistoric oceans—then visit the colorful Beach exhibit that raises awareness of respect for the ocean and its flora and fauna.
If you little ones are fans of creepy crawly creatures, step inside the Terrarium exhibit. Discover abandoned Mayan ruins home to a variety of reptiles, from geckos and dart frogs to Russian turtles and Burmese pythons.
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Xel Ha Park
Take a short 30-minute drive outside of Playa del Carmen to reach Xel Ha Park—an attraction-filled oasis perfect for water-loving families. Kids will delight in swimming in this natural aquarium—where they can come face-to-face with colorful schools of fish—while those who prefer relaxation can tube down the lazy river. Little ones can explore the kid’s park, where a tree house and splash pad will keep them busy for hours.
Traveling with a baby? Sign up for the glass-bottom boat tour.
Want a birds-eye view of the area? Climb up to the Scenic Lighthouse, where you can plunge down a 98.5 foot water slide.
For a vacation memory you won’t soon forget, bring the entire family to the Crococun Zoo. Take a 60 to 75-minute tour for a chance to observe animals native to the area like monkeys, macaws, lizards, turtles, snakes and Mexican hairless dogs. You’ll be able to touch, hold and feed some of the animals, then take a scenic walk through the 30-minute path to tropical vegetation.
Be sure to look up, you might even spot a family of spider monkeys in the canopy above!<
Have your picture taken with a colorful parrot or macaw on your shoulder, then visit the crocodile area for a chance to hold a baby crocodile.
Cirque du Soleil Joya
If you’re looking for evening entertainment, snag tickets to the captivating Cirque du Soleil Joya show. Designed for kids age 5 and older, this mesmerizing family-friendly show tells the story of a girl and her grandfather on a quest to uncover the secrets of life. Watch as the granddaughter gets into mischief and meets talented creatures along the way, such as the swinging Noctura, ballet contortionist Aquatik and dynamic duos Botanik.
Feeling hungry? Families can add dinner to their Cirque du Soleil Joya tickets, which includes a bonus pre-show before the main event and features spectacular musical talents.
Best for adventure-loving families with ‘tweens and teens, Xplor offers an array of exciting outdoor activities. Start by gliding through the sky past jungle landscapes on the two-mile-long zipline, then take the wheel on board amphibious vehicles across hanging bridges inside caverns and caves. Next, sign up to paddle past ancient rock formations with your hands. Ready for the ultimate adrenaline-pumping activity? Visit Xplor at night when the same outdoor activities are available with paths ignited by fire.<
At the end of the day, you can swim, float and submerge in beautiful underground rivers, while those looking to keep the adventure going can hop on hammocks made into a zipline and glide over a cenote into the water.
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3D Museum of Wonders
One of the biggest 3D museums in the world, the 3D Museum of Wonders is an illusion art museum where you’re completely immersed in the artwork. Take pictures in funny poses and watch as the 3D paintings seemingly jump out at you, making you question everything you see. It’s a perfect rainy day activity, where both kids and adults alike will be lured in by the astonishing optical illusions.
Some of the best photo exhibits here allow you to envision your wildest dreams, like facing a lion, becoming a Formula 1 race car driver or sitting beside a Greek sculpture.<
Ventura Park Cancun
Ventura Park Cancun is a short ride away, but it’s well worth it to see your kid’s eyes light up on arrival at this 18-acre park. Not only is it a great place to beat the heat, but the entire family can experience an ocean of fun racing down huge water slides, swimming in refreshing pools and plunging down enclosed tubes. Prefer a more laid-back experience? No problem. Head to the wave pool with shallow entry or kick back in the lazy river while soaking up the Caribbean sunshine. You’ll get unlimited meals and non-alcoholic drinks included in the price.
Grab the family and hop in a giant inner tube at Bubba Tub, where you slide down six floors with surprising dips, twists and turns.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is an enthralling natural attraction, as the UNESCO World Heritage site boasts 1.3 million acres and a variety of ecosystems, from lowland forests and savannah grasslands to mangroves and coastal barrier reefs. There’s a wealth of activities for families here—walk through the jungle marveling at Mayan ruins, boat through mangroves and go wildlife watching to spot hundreds of bird species, sea turtles and dolphins.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a great place for kids to learn about the history of ancient Mayans through enthusiastic guides and exploration of historic landmarks.