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The Mayan Riviera lends itself to family vacations. With a temperate climate year round, amazingly beautiful beaches, fun things to see and do around every palm tree, and a family-oriented culture, you will find plenty of activities to keep all ages busy and happy!
CENOTES AND CAVES All over the Yucatan peninsula are natural water pools called cenotes. Some are underground or partly sheltered by rocks, others look like rocky, shallow ponds. You can explore the cenotes by scuba diving, kayaking or swimming, both above and below ground, on our your own or via guided tours, but be prepared for very cold water.
SNORKELING The coast of the Yucatan peninsula runs parallel to the 2nd largest reef system in the world, so it is certainly worth the effort to go snorkeling! Just about any location along the coast will provide plenty of adventure, but Akumal Bay has resident turtles all year round and is a definite crowd-pleaser. Equipment is available for rent at the dive shops, as are guided tours in the water.
Yal-Ku Lagoon is a wonderful place for both adults and children. With no ocean waves and several easy entry stairways with railings that lead straight into the lagoon, even an inexperienced snorkeler or swimmer will be right at home. There is a great variety of gorgeous fish that are not intimidated by humans, but the water can become murky when the ocean water mixes with the fresh water of the lagoon. It is requested that visitors wear biodegradable sunscreen to protect the underwater wildlife, and it's a good idea to wear a t-shirt for sun protection as well. An enjoyable place to spend all or part of the day, Yal-Ku has beautiful grounds with great flora and fauna, garden sculptures, and places to sit and take in the beauty.
MAYAN RUINS There are several small archeological close to Akumal, including a small structure in the Akumal Pueblo, Xel Ha ruins, and a few other off the beaten track sites. The nearest large site to Akumal is in Tulum, a collection of structures right on the coast about a 20-minute drive south. Tulum is definitely appropriate for school-age kids who are able to handle a 45-minute tour, and fine with a baby if you have a career and can protect him or her from the sun. If you need to cool off, there’s a small beach below the ruins where you can swim in the waves. For more information about other ruins within driving distance, check out our Mayan Ruins page.
Playgrounds In Playa del Carmen there is a shaded playground at Calle 22 and Avenida 40. If the weather is rainy or too hot, there are indoor playgrounds in the Burger King at Calle 15 and Juarez and also on 20th Avenida. The McDonalds near the Chedraui grocery store on Calle 1 Sur and the Highway also has an indoor playground.
Movie Theaters The two movie theaters in Playa del Carmen are Cinemex and Cinepolis. Both are extremely reasonably priced, comfortable, clean, and have a good selection of movies --- most in English with Spanish subtitles. Cinemex is located in the Centro Maya Shopping Center on the south end near McDonald's and the food court. On Wednesdays, there is a special price of 35 pesos per adult ticket, which is well below what you pay in the U.S. or Canada! Cinepolis is located in the ejido of Playa del Carmen at the Plaza Las Americas Shopping Mall on the corner of the Arco Vial (Avenida 115) and Calle 46 North.