Deciding on your next adventure can sometimes be tricky, especially when keeping the children interested is a factor. But, worry not! Today I bring you a list of some of our favorite family trips that are great for both the young and the young-at-heart members of your party.
1. Flamingos in Celestún
Want a day to spot pink birds, swim in cool springs, and splash around on the beach? The kids will love this adventure. If you are visiting the small coastal port village of Celestún between fall and winter, specifically from December to March, that’s the best time to catch a glimpse of the flamingos. Located an hour and a half from Mérida, this is an easy road trip. Once there, start your trip at the Parador (tourist facilities); you’ll pay $2,200 pesos per boat (for up to six adults). Either way, you will have the chance to see the flamingos and explore the mangroves. The kids will be fascinated entering the paths and tunnels of the mangroves, and making it to the springs for a swim.
Boat: $2,200 pesos (max. 6 adults and 2 minors under 7).
Parador: $200 pesos (use of Parador, bathrooms, etc.)
Extra person: $400 pesos (one per boat)
After the tour, go to the beach for a delicious seafood lunch or try a local snack: Marquesitas.
2. Shoe-shopping in Ticul
Children love getting new stuff, and I do too. You just have to give us a chance. For this very reason, shopping in Ticul is a must. Additionally, you can kill two birds with one stone: treat the kids AND get them shoes that meet the good, nice, and cheap trifecta. The riskiest part is trying to choose between two pairs, but with prices around $200 pesos, you might end up buying two or three pairs per kid. Hire a Mototaxi (tuk tuk) at the square and tell your guide what kind of shoes you are looking for; they’ll take you to some seven shoe stores. When you are done, go to El Príncipe Tutul Xiu for a wonderful Yucatecan meal. I can’t recommend them enough.
3. A day at the beach
If you are short on time, Progreso is your best option for a dose of beach fun for the kids. The water is tranquil, not deep, and has no tides or big waves. Still, be safe and do not take your eyes off of them ever. You can enjoy a day by the Malecón (on the beach there are Palapas, umbrellas, and sunbeds for rent) or at a beach club. Near the piers you will find structures for climbing, sculptures, a merry-go-round, and a Ferris wheel that operate in the early evening. What else can you do? Thirty minutes away you’ll find Xtampú, where the lagoons sometimes turn bright pink, and a few minutes further down the road, the Maya port of X’cambó.
4. Camping at a Cenote
Have you ever considered this experience? Our friend Cassie Pearse took her family and they all enjoyed it so much that I had to put it on this list. They went to the Suhem cenote, just outside of Pixyá (less than an hour from Mérida). It is the perfect place to be in contact with nature and swim in the dark cenote waters at night. During the day the water is a wonderful clear blue. As far as the camping part goes, remember to assemble your tent before it gets dark. It is easier to do in daylight! These are true words from a former girl scout. At night, roast some marshmallows and enjoy the night sky. As for food, if you don’t feel like cooking on the campfire you can order food ahead at reasonable prices. Here’s a tip, though: bring plenty of insect repellent.
5. A day at a Hacienda
Spending the day at a Hacienda is sure to be an exciting day for the kids. The day pass at Hacienda Noc Ac, for example, includes the hacienda buildings and a “respectful sanctuary”(a place that protects wild animals from poachers and also helps with breeding in captivity so the population doesn’t become extinct), horseback riding, use of the pools, bicycle riding in the area, and the ample gardens. Here, kids of all ages can play freely, rest, and learn about the restoration and preservation of the flora and fauna. You can also savor a snack or a three-course meal at the Oro Verde (Green Gold) restaurant.
6. Quasi-extreme adventures in Tekax
Tekax is Yucatán’s adventure capital: here you will find any number of options for outdoor activities to enjoy nature. This area boasts a great number of caves and caverns—more than 200 to be exact!—for all tastes and levels. There are kid-friendly ones, also suitable for the claustrophobic. This eco-park is made up of four caves, but you don’t have to visit them all; there are a variety of tours. Another stop in Tekax, which you can do on the same day, is the Kaalmankal Park: adults get to play like kids! And kids get to overcome their fears in adventures like rappeling, a giant swing over the hills, a swimming pool, a pendulum, more caves, ATVs, and much more!
Las Sartenejas II
FB: Grutas Las Sartenejas II
FB: Parque Ecoturístico Kaalmankal Tekax
Editorial by Olivia Camarena Cervera
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Cassie Pearse, Hacienda Noc Ac, Olivia Camarena Cervera, and Natalia Bejarano for use in Yucatán Today.
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