The big family vacation you’ve probably been counting down for months is finally here! Sure you are excited to spend time with your family without worrying about being late for work, school duties or home chores. A family vacation is all about balance and it’s important for parents to also have time for yourselves. Here are some ideal activities for the whole family including the kids, “We Time”, and some perfect “Me Time” activities just for mum and dad.
If you travel to Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya in general, you sure want to spend some time at the beach. But with so many gorgeous beaches, which one should you go to? Take the quiz to find out!
Holbox is a small island, located 8 miles off the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula between the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. If you want to spend a day or two far from the crowds, this is the place for you. Candles were replaced with electric light less than 30 years ago and there are no paved streets on the island. Time seems to have its own pace. You come for the remote beaches, breathtaking sunsets, wildlife, and to relax, relax and relax some more!
Your vacation in Playa del Carmen doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 10 free and low-cost ways to enjoy the spectacular Riviera Maya.
1 5th Avenue
If there is one place in Playa del Carmen that never gets boring, it’s the 5th Avenue. The eclectic pedestrian street is one of the main attractions of the city. 22 blocks of shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers.
Enter an underwater world for only $15 USD! Nature lovers will enjoy the beautifully displayed tanks, exhibiting more than 200 species. The entrance is at the Plaza Corazón, between 12th and 14th Street, just off 5th Avenue. Opening hours are daily from 11 am to 9 pm.
3 Parque Fundadores
This park between the 5th Avenue and the beach, just next to the Cozumel ferry, is a very entertaining place. Watch the famous “voladores de papantla” fly, Mayan dancers performing under the “Portal Maya” statue, or just watch the beautiful Caribbean Sea. There’s also a playground for kids, and vendors sell snacks and fruits.
4 Playacar Ruins
You don’t need to play for a tour or drive far to see Mayan ruins. In Playacar, about 20 – 30 walking minutes from Playa Palms Beach Hotel, there are 2 small Mayan structures. The ruins are close to the entrance of Phase 1 in Playacar, across the street from the Fisherman’s Village Hotel. And the best thing is, you can visit them for free!
Did you know you can go to Cancun for as little as 36 pesos one way? That’s what a colectivo charges you. They leave from 2nd Street on the corner with 20th Street and between 20th and 25th Avenue (these are called Playa Express) and leave whenever they are full, usually every 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t want to eat at an expensive restaurant, we recommend you walk further away from 5th Avenue. Between 10th and 30th Avenue you find plenty of places! Try for example Nativo on 30th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th Street.
7 Playacar Beach
Playacar has beautiful beaches, which usually are less crowded than the ones downtown. You can easily get there by taxi or walking, just pass the ferry to Cozumel.
There are also colectivos that bring you to Tulum, for about 40 pesos one way. They leave from the 2nd Street too, between 15th and 20th Street. Just listen to the guy shouting “Tulum! Tulum!”. They also take you to the ruins, if you don’t want to take a tour.
Just outside of Playa del Carmen are 3 gorgeous open cenotes next to each other: Cenote Azul, Cristalino and Jardin del Edén. Enjoy swimming in their crystal clear, cool water! Entrance fee is between 100 – 150 pesos, and they are open until 6 pm. You can take the colectivo to Tulum to get there, just let the driver know that you want to get off at Cenote Azul.
10 Laguna Yal-ku
This beautiful little lagoon in Akumal makes for a unique snorkeling adventure as well as for a relaxing afternoon in its calm waters. It’s an inlet from the ocean, where the salt and fresh water mix. Watch sea turtles, tropical fish and manta rays in their natural habitat! Entrance fee is 200 pesos (130 for kids), and they are open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.
Mexico is a special place, extremely diverse with a whole lot more to offer than just tequila and good parties. You find the most beautiful beaches at the incredible 9330 km of coastline, volcanoes, 67 national parks, an extremely rich culture and don’t even get us started on the food… Each region has its own charms, and there sure is a reason why the Riviera Maya is so highly ranked among international and national travelers.
Picture perfect beaches
The Riviera Maya has not only some of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico but in the world. What makes them special apart from the azure water and the palm-tree-framed beaches, is that the powder white sand is not burning hot. Since its composed of crushed coral, the sand stays cool to the touch regardless of how hot the day is. Look forward to not burning your feet, lay back in a hammock, sip on an ice-cold drink and simply enjoy life. These are the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.
Discover a magical underworld of turquoise pools! Cenotes are spectacular spots to swim, snorkel or dive. They are natural pits that developed over millions of years by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed groundwater pools. For the ancient Mayan civilization cenotes where the only source of water in the jungle. They were considered sacred, and portals to communicate with the underworld.Plunge into the crystal clear, fresh, and cool water in a cave or cavern, or swim under a jungle-framed sky! Check out the best cenotes of the region.
In Mexico, you find plenty of pre-Columbian ruins. Many of them on the Yucatan peninsula, like Chichen Itza or Cobá. They are all beautiful in their own way. But none of them has a breathtaking scenery like Tulum. Mayans weren’t really fond of beachfront properties. This makes Tulum’s setting unique, built on a spectacular cliffside, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. There is a reason why Tulum is the 3rd most visited archaeological site in Mexico! Learn all about Tulum.
Every summer, these peaceful giants make a stop in the pristine waters around Isla Mujeres and up north in Holbox. There are only very few things in the world that compare to swimming with whale sharks, and the Riviera Maya is one of only a few destinations where you can live this unforgettable adventure. Peak season is in July and August. Here’s all you need to know to swim with whale sharks.
Cultural Theme Parks
Yes, of course, there are great theme parks wit big names all over the world. But Xcaret and Xel-ha have their own unparalleled magic. The eco-archaeological park Xcaret highlights the best of Mexican and Mayan culture and the natural beauty of the region. More than 40 different attraction await you, like a Mayan village, forest trails, underground rivers, or even swim with dolphins! When the night falls, head to the on-site theater for a spectacular show featuring the best in Mexican culture, dance, and history.
Xel-ha, composed of lagoons, inlets, and cenotes, is known as the world’s largest natural aquarium. It has an enormous estuary with hundreds of tropical fish, featuring some archaeological remains of the Mayans, as well as caverns and cenotes.
Playa del Carmen’s nightlife
Sure, there are great parties in Cancun any many other Mexican cities too. But there’s something special about Playa del Carmen’s nightlife. Besides of the big and famous clubs like for example Cocobongo or Mandala, there are many special events and festivals and quirky places. One of our favorites are Playa del Carmen’s many beachside bars, to enjoy a tasty cocktail with a view. Here’s a guide to Playa del Carmen’s nightlife.