The 5 most kid-friendly places in Mexico

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From its postcard-perfect beaches to its pre-Columbian archaeological sites, there are so many reasons for families to vacation in Mexico — and so many unique things to do.

Does your child dream of becoming a marine biologist? Try a family snorkeling trip in Puerto Morelos or watch humpback and gray whales from a tour boat in Los Cabos. For future Indiana Jones, there is Merida with its Mayan ruins.

Plus, with its delicious cuisine, vibrant culture, and kid-friendly mega-resorts, Mexico deserves a spot on your list of family vacation ideas.

Here are our five favorite vacation spots in Mexico for families:

1. Mérida: best place to explore Mayan ruins

The famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, pictured here, and Uxmal are easily visited on day trips from Mérida.

Mérida’s Spanish colonial architecture is as colorful as a box of crayons, and the city’s tree-lined Plaza Grande is its vibrant heart. Every Sunday, the sound of mariachi and marimba bands attracts visitors to the Merida en Domingo festivities. The streets are closed to traffic during this cherished Sunday tradition of music, dancing and merriment.

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Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is close to one of the largest Mayan populations in the world and their legacy can be explored at the interactive El Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya. A rich collection of artifacts and high-tech multimedia exhibits help weave the past into the present. The famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal are easily visited on day trips from Mérida, as well as many other lesser-known archaeological sites of interest.

Lucas de Gálvez Market is a cheerfully chaotic ode to Mexican commerce. Vendors sell everything from treasured handicrafts to dime store souvenirs. Street food was practically invented in Mexico, and you’ll find plenty of tangy options to snack on too.

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Start your Yucatan trip in the cultural capital of Mérida.  An active life revolves around the town square and its crown jewel, Merida Cathedral, one of the oldest in the Americas.  The thriving downtown with its large central plaza surrounded by quaint alleyways is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Yucatan.

The weather in Mérida can be scorching. Fortunately, deep sinkholes called cenotes dot the outskirts of town, providing refreshing swimming options. For a day by the sea, the beaches of Progreso are less than an hour away.

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The best place for a family stay in Mérida: Within walking distance of Mérida’s top attractions, El Palacito Secreto is a luxury boutique hotel that caters to all ages. A gorgeous pool, hearty breakfast, and shady interior gardens make it a great pick for families.

2. Los Cabos: the best place to observe marine life

At the southern end of Baja California, Los Cabos includes the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, as well as the tourist corridor that connects the two. With a dramatic coastline, sapphire-colored water, and cruise-fueled tourism infrastructure, it’s no wonder this area is considered one of the best places to visit in Mexico for families.

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Cabo’s beaches have remained relatively untouched even as tourism has proliferated. And although many beaches here are not suitable for swimming due to choppy waves and strong undertow, families can head to famous Medano Beach, where the fresh water is safe and the soft sand is pleasant to swim in. barefoot.

Visit Los Cabos between December and March and you may spot humpback whales and gray whales playing in the warm water.

Los Cabos is a migratory stopover for Pacific whales, some of which come to give birth to their young in the warm water. Whale watching season typically peaks from late December to late March, attracting animal lovers from around the world. Book a boat trip through one of the many local companies and you’re likely to see humpback and gray whales frolicking, along with shoals of mothers and their adorable young.

A glass-bottom water taxi is a great way to see a colorful assortment of marine life any time of year. The landscape-studded journey features magnificent views of the famous Natural Arch and Land’s End.

The best place to stay with the family in Los Cabos: The newly opened Villa La Valencia Beach Resort and Spa is an all-inclusive resort with the longest lazy river in Los Cabos, a kids’ club with fully trained staff, a poolside taco bar, and spacious suites with up to four bedrooms.

3. Puebla: Best place for families with teens or tweens

Zócalo, Puebla's public square, is a great place to people-watch.

An inland city 85 miles southeast of Mexico City, Puebla is home to many institutions of higher education. It’s one of the best cities in Mexico for families with teens or tweens because of the infusion of youthful energy that all those college students bring.

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The Zócalo is Puebla’s green public square. Here you can stroll, people watch and listen to an impromptu concert while soaking up local life. Climb aboard La Estrella, a massive Ferris wheel, for sweeping views of the cityscape. Channel your inner Willy Wonka and head to Calle de los Dulces (“Candy Street”), a bustling street lined with dozens of sweet shops. Sample sweet delights like Puebla’s famous sweet potato camotes and Santa Clara’s irresistible tortitas, a delicate shortbread cookie topped with pumpkin icing.

The best place to stay with the family in Puebla: In the center of Puebla, the Palacio San Leonardo hotel is a restored historic structure with 21st century service. Rooms come with family-friendly amenities like free cribs and cable TV. An outdoor pool and on-site restaurant enhance the guest experience.

4. Puerto Vallarta: The best place for a beach vacation

Puerto Vallarta is popular with LGBTQ+ families and kids.

The popular Puerto Vallarta is a resort town surrounded by green hills. Its breezy beaches attract visitors from around the world, while its accepting attitude has helped make it popular with the LGBTQ+ community, including LGBTQ+ families. Kids especially love Puerta Vallarta’s Aquaventuras Park, a giant water park with slides, a zipline, and pools.

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Between swims in Banderas Bay, take time to walk or cycle on the waterfront promenade. It’s lined with shops, restaurants, and contemporary sculptures big enough for kids to climb on.

Local is the watchword at the Olas Altas Farmer’s Market, held seasonally every Saturday at Lazaro Cardenas Park in the Romantic Zone. Everything sold is grown, cooked, or made by vendors who live within a 50-mile radius. Watch weavers and basket weavers in action as you are serenaded by live musicians.

The best places to stay with the family in Puerto Vallarta: Set on 10 oceanfront acres, Velas Vallarta is an all-inclusive resort with an all-female mariachi band and sea turtle conservation program. At the kids’ club, the little ones can indulge in face painting and treasure hunts, freeing up parents to relax by the water or at the spa.

5. Puerto Morelos: the best place for family snorkeling

Puerto Morelos is a sleepy fishing village with a tilted lighthouse that locals say is their version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Drive a few dozen kilometers south of the tourist town of Cancún and you’ll come to Puerto Morelos and the start of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This coastal strip is growing rapidly but retains enough of its understated flavor to feel authentic. Puerto Morelos is a sleepy fishing village with a tilted lighthouse that locals say is their version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Take a walk on the pier, buy a hammock at the outdoor market and let the children have fun in the sunny playground.

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The region’s Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest reef in the world. There is excellent snorkeling very close to shore, perfect for novices. At Croco Cun Zoo, you won’t just see animals, you can touch, hold and feed a variety of reptiles and mammals. An English-speaking guide accompanies you to help you organize a personalized experience.

The best accommodations for families in Puerto Morelos: A short walk or bike ride from the village, Grand Residences Riviera Cancun features multiple pools, spacious suites with private terraces, and exceptional service. Multilingual staff at the kids’ club teach youngsters about Mayan games and piñata making. A delicious meal is the icing on the cake.

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