Adventure awaits in Cancun, where magical Caribbean beaches, mysterious jungle forests, and ancient Maya ruins are all at your fingertips. If you’re embarking on your tropical vacation with kids in tow, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to stick to the resort to find fun for the whole family. Check out our list of favorite kid-approved things to do in Cancun that also pack plenty of thrills for the grown-ups in your group.
Escape to Isla Mujeres
Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, Isla Mujeres offers an island retreat with idyllic beaches, fewer people, and a variety of land and water activities to keep everyone in the family happy. A day-long excursion from Best Day Tours drops you off at the ferry dock, where you have the freedom to rent kayaks and bikes, pick up snorkeling gear to explore the turquoise waters, or lounge it up in hammocks on the white-sand shores. If your kids are 8 or older, you can book a dolphin encounter with Dolphin Discovery that gives curious ocean lovers the chance to get up-close and personal with a few of the island’s friendliest mammals.
Sail the seas like Caribbean pirates
For a lively family evening, step aboard the Jolly Roger and set out on a Caribbean cruise that promises a swashbuckling good time for landlubbers of all ages. A rambunctious and friendly pirate crew welcomes you onto an authentic wooden galleon for a rousing sea voyage filled with tasty eats, live entertainment, and picture-perfect views of the Yucatán coastline. The buccaneer show, complete with thrilling swordplay and smoking cannons, caters to both adults and children, and the merry festivities even include an exciting treasure hunt for the little ones.
Soar high above the jungle treetops
There’s no more exhilarating way to discover the dense tropical forests that surround Cancun than with a zipline adventure that sends you flying above the tree canopy. Join the guides at Selvatica for a high-speed tour in Puertos Morelos featuring 12 thrilling lines and unforgettable views of the wild jungle beneath you. Traveling with pint-size explorers? Not to worry—harnesses come in small sizes so that kids 3 and up are safe to ride. Once you’re back on the ground, your guides take you even deeper into the jungle to a secret cenote, where you wrap up your outing with a cool swim in its oasis-like waters.
Snorkel in an aquatic paradise
Cancun is world-famous for its warm, crystal-clear waters and pristine snorkeling conditions, so no trip would be complete without a dip beneath the surface. Leave the planning to the pros and hop on a kid-friendly snorkeling tour offered by Chichen Itza Sightseeing to check out 2 spectacular spots on the barrier reef located offshore from Puerto Morelos. If the kids are up for a longer outing, head out with the expert guides at EcoColors Tours on an excursion that brings you nose-to-nose with the world’s largest fish—the whale shark. As you glide through the grazing grounds of these gentle, plankton-eating giants, these amazing animals let you venture up close for a friendly and unforgettable encounter.
Discover the mysteries of an underground river
Head to the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve for a cave expedition that’s guaranteed to inspire little imaginations. After donning headlamps, life vests, and special water shoes, follow a guide into a series of semi-sunken caverns to navigate a turquoise river known as the Rio Secreto (“secret river”). As you walk, swim, and wade your way through the water-filled caves, the kids are sure to be in awe of the thousands of stalactites and stalagmites that adorn nearly every inch of the walls. The river is still and shallow, and the tour route is just 0.4 miles (600 m), making it so smaller adventurers will have no problem keeping up. At the end of your otherworldly journey, take time to kick back in the jungle in a hammock before heading back to the resort.
With so many family-friendly things to do in Cancun, how will you be spending your sun-soaked getaway?