Family vacations provide experiences that educate our children about the world around them and create memories that last a lifetime. Cancun, once considered the “Spring Break Capital of the World” has evolved into a world-class vacation destination that offers tours and activities for all ages.
The whole family will love a day trip to Isla Mujeres, which includes a ferry ride and if you’re smart, a golf cart tour around the island followed by swimming and lunch on North Beach, where the water is calm and bright turquoise blue. A visit to Crococun Zoo is educational, economical and fun. At Dolphin Discovery, kids can get up close and personal with the ocean’s friendliest inhabitants.
Cancun is home to two water parks, All Ritmo, the smaller of the two, and Ventura Park, which also includes zip lines and a small roller coaster. All Ritmo is better for younger children while the whole family can enjoy Ventura Park. The Interactive Aquarium, located in the Hotel Zone in La Isla shopping mall, provides a couple of hours of fun after the beach and before dinner.
A day trip to Xcaret, located in the Riviera Maya, is an experience that the entire family will enjoy. Parque las Palapas, located in downtown Cancun, is the closest thing the city has to a town square. On weekend evenings there are activities for children and quite often, free performances. This gives kids an idea of what life is like for local children.
There’s no shortage of activities for kids of all ages in Cancun.
You’ll feel the excitement building during the boat ride from Cancun to Isla Mujeres as you gaze out over the crystal clear aqua blue Caribbean waters while sipping coffee and enjoying a light breakfast. When you arrive at Dolphin Discovery, the dolphins will greet you by leaping joyfully in the air. After you store your belongings in a locker and don your life jacket, you will receive a short orientation. Then it will finally be time to meet the dolphins. Depending on which swim you have chosen, you may receive a hug or even a kiss from your new marine friends, or be pushed on a boogie board by them. Either way, this tour will create magic memories (and photos) for you and your family.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Dolphin Discovery experience will provide treasured memories for the whole family.
Kristin’s expert tip: For the ultimate experience, book Garrafon Park with the Royal Dolphin Swim.
It’s not difficult to have a great day at All Ritmo Water Park. This family-friendly water park is actually part of All Ritmo Resort but is also open to the public. If you haven’t rented a car it would be best to take a taxi as it’s a bit complicated to find. There are water slides for every member of the family and lounge chairs and umbrellas around the edge of the park. Your all-inclusive entrance fee will buy you unlimited food and drinks, including alcohol. Food is typical snack fare… hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, etc. There are towels and locker rentals available.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: While the kids have a blast at All Ritmo Water Park mom and dad can relax and keep an eye on them.
Kristin’s expert tip: If you go on a weekend arrive 15 minutes before the park opens so you can get the best seats.
Sail the high seas on a replica of an 18th century Spanish Galleon for dinner, drinks, and an exciting pirate battle. This tour departs (right next to the big bridge in the Hotel Zone where the Oasis Palm hotel is) every evening at 7 pm. Your pirate hosts will welcome you aboard and the fun begins immediately with drinks, games and pirate silliness. After dinner, you’ll head back up to the deck and will notice that, uh-oh, another pirate ship is headed straight for yours! A battle ensues. The ship returns to the dock at 10:30 pm.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Captain Hook Pirate Dinner Cruise is the ultimate fantasy for kids.
Kristin’s expert tip: Check-in is at 6:30 pm but arrive early so you’ll have your choice of seats. There is a port fee that must be paid in cash.
Located inside La Isla Shopping Village, the aquarium is very easy to find. It is small and can be seen in an hour or two, but the optional activities (not included in the price of admission) make this place special. Not only can you opt to swim with dolphins, but you can also feed a shark. However, there is no charge to touch the sleek manta rays or the beautiful sea turtles that live in a large tank. There is a gift shop where you can purchase photos of your dolphin swim or shark feeding experience, as well as other souvenirs.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Interactive Aquarium is perfect for a couple of hours of entertainment before dinner.
Kristin’s expert tip: There is a restaurant at the aquarium that overlooks the dolphin enclosure. There are several dolphin shows throughout the day. Have a meal in the restaurant, at a table near a window, so you can see the dolphin show from your table.
Parque las Palapas is the main park in downtown Cancun and is located a short walk from Tulum Avenue. For much of Cancun’s existence, the park has been a central hub of activity. The city’s oldest Catholic church, El Cristo Rey, is located at one edge of the park so it’s especially busy on Sundays. There are food vendors in and around the park and shows are often held on the large stage that is the park’s main focal point. Local artisans sell their wares in the park during the evening. Families often visit the park to let their children play in the playground, drive small motorized cars or paint pictures.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: El Parque de las Palapas is a taste of the real Mexico in the heart of downtown Cancun.
Kristin’s expert tip: Try the authentic Mexican food from the vendors in the park. The food is delicious and very cheap.
Jolly Roger Pirate Show is a 3 1/2 hour family-friendly tour on a pirate ship which includes dinner, all you can drink, and a whole bunch of crazy pirate fun. Premium or regular menu options are available. Children ages 12 and under can choose between chicken nuggets, pizza and spagetti. Jolly Roger Pirate Show is available 365 days a year at 6:30 p.m. Jolly Roger Pirate Show departs from Playa Linda Pier, located next to the Cancun Theater (Teatro Cancun) in the Hotel Zone at kilometer 4 on Kukulcan Boulevard.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Jolly Roger provides pirate fun for the whole family.
Kristin’s expert tip: Book online for a discount. There is a port fee that must be paid in cash.
Crococun is an interactive conservation zoo located just 19 miles from downtown Cancun that began as a crocodile breeding farm. It was destroyed by Hurricane Gilberto in 1988 and as time passed the concept changed from breeding to protecting and promoting crocodiles. The tour, led by knowledgeable, friendly guides only lasts an hour or so but is a memorable experience that is great for families, a group of friends or couples. This is a fun way to learn about local flora and fauna. Highlights include feeding adorable spider monkeys, holding a baby crocodile and strolling through an area where 50 or so crocs roam free.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Crococun promotes conservation and lets kids get up close and personal with the animals.
Kristin’s expert tip: Even very small children will enjoy this tour. Children ages 0-5 are free.
Pronounced “Sh-car-ret,” this eco-archaeological park is filled with Mexican and Mayan flavor, color, music, nature and culture. Inside the park, there is a butterfly pavilion, an aviary, an aquarium, as well as places where you can view flamingos, manatees, spider monkeys, jaguars and more. If that’s not enough, you can also swim with dolphins, float down a lazy river, swim in underground rivers, climb a small Mayan ruin, visit the traditional cemetery, snorkel in the inlet, relax on the beach and more. For kids, visit Children’s World aka Mundo de Niños. There are performances throughout the day, but Xcaret’s night show, a celebration of Mexican and Mayan history, sport, dance and music, is an unforgettable experience and is not to be missed. The park holds amazing annual events like a Day of the Dead festival and the recreation of an ancient Mayan ocean crossing to the island of Cozumel.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Xcaret offers Mexican and Mayan culture, food and music and in natural surroundings that the whole family will enjoy.
Kristin’s expert tip: Stay for the evening show, Xcaret Mexico Espectacular. It is unforgettable.
It only takes a 15-minute boat ride to travel to one of the most popular day trip destinations near Cancun, Isla Mujeres. The island’s popularity is largely due to its dreamy beaches and laid-back island feeling. You can book a tour with one of several companies who provide lunch and drinks. Those willing to go it on their own can catch a water taxi or ferry to this tropical island paradise. The downtown area is a charming mix of shops and restaurants. Rent a golf cart, circle the island and visit Punta Sur, the easternmost point of the country of Mexico, then head to a beach club on North Beach for lunch, cocktails, sunbathing and swimming.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Isla Mujeres is a beautiful tropical island and the kids love the ferry ride over.
Susan’s expert tip: Stop by the Turtle Conservation Farm to see baby sea turtles. It’s a very small attraction, but worth a visit.
Formerly Wet ‘n Wild, Ventura Park is the only adventure park in the Cancun Hotel Zone. The park has something for every member of the family and is made up of different “worlds”, including Dolphinaris, Underworld, Grand Prix, Fun World, Aaaahventura and Wet n’ Wild. There are various packages available and some packages include food and drinks. There are kids areas for small children. Wet ‘n Wild rides include the Bubble Space Bowl, an elevated chute that you drop through at 30 mph into a giant bowl below, the Kamikaze water slide, the Wave Pool, where the waves are up to 3 feet high and the 320-meter lazy river. Other activities include a small roller coaster, zip lines, go-karts and gaming. The park is open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm and is located at km 25 in the Hotel Zone.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Ventura Park provides an unforgettable day of fun in Cancun for the whole family.
Kristin’s expert tip: There is an extra charge for lockers and ice cream.