Mexico's Costa Maya region is an ideal destination for families, whether your kids are tiny, nearly grown, or somewhere in between. The combination of beautiful beaches, outdoor attractions, plentiful wildlife, delicious food, and fascinating culture will appeal to kids and adults alike. This two-week itinerary provides ample opportunities to relax and rejuvenate as well as get active and make the most of the destination—as you snorkel, kayak, cycle, and swim together along the spectacular Caribbean coast.


  • Swim in crystal-clear cenotes (swimming holes)
  • Learn how to cook local food with family-friendly cooking classes
  • Tour ancient Maya cities and pyramids by bike 
  • Sail and snorkel in the sparkling Laguna Bacalar

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Chetumal, Transfer to Mahahual Mahahual
Day 2 Snorkeling in Mahahual Mahahual
Day 3 Transfer to Chunhuhub, Mystical Bonfire Experience Chunhuhub
Day 4 Maya Community & Jungle Tour Chunhuhub
Day 5 Transfer to Tulum, Free Time & Cooking Class Tulum
Day 6 Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site Tulum
Day 7 Cenotes & Handicrafts in Yalcobá Tulum
Day 8 Caving at Río Secreto Tulum
Day 9 Cobá by Bike, Punta Laguna Hike Tulum
Day 10 Chichén Itzá Tour, Yokdzonot Cenote Swim Tulum
Day 11 Transfer to Bacalar, Muyil Sian Ka´an Reserve Ecotour Bacalar
Day 12 Bacalar Lagoon Sailing, Free Time Bacalar
Day 13 Sunrise Paddling Tour, Stone Carving Workshop Bacalar
Day 14 Transfer to Chetumal, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Chetumal, Transfer to Mahahual

Welcome to the Costa Maya!

Welcome to Mexico! Upon your arrival at Chetumal International Airport, you'll be met by your private driver and transferred to Mahahual. This peaceful, beachfront town is located in the heart of Mexico's stunning Costa Maya, a paradise of white sands and Caribbean waters on the southern Yucatán Peninsula. Depending on your time of arrival and how tired you and the kids are after your trip, you can get out and explore the small fishing village on your first day. In the evening, enjoy a candlelit dinner under a starry sky, as most restaurants here are outdoors. 

Day 2: Snorkeling in Mahahual

Go snorkeling in clear waters

Mahahual is located in the center of three important marine ecological reserves: Sian Ka'an, Banco Chinchorro, and the Xcalak Marine Reserve. Explore the region's colorful reefs and spot interesting marine life, including turtles and manta rays, on today's snorkeling tour. The water is clear and crystalline, and a few feet from the coast, you can see the reef line that divides the reef lagoon from the open sea. A guide'll accompany you and will be able to adjust the activity to suit your kids' needs.

Day 3: Transfer to Chunhuhub, Mystical Bonfire Experience

Enjoy a mystical evening experience

Transfer two hours northwest today to Chunhuhub, a small Maya community rich with archaeological wonders. After settling in, you'll meet our guide for a mystical experience that will teach you and your kids more about the local culture and customs. Connect with the local community's sacred tree, recharge your energy, and receive purification from the village grandparents. According to popular belief, they have the ability to cure illness with herbs. Listen to their stories, enjoy a sacred drink, and appreciate the atmosphere around the bonfire.

Day 4: Maya Community & Jungle Tour

Breakfast and Mayan traditional culture
Breakfast and Maya traditional culture

Start the day with a traditional Maya breakfast, a great way for you and your kids to get energized for the day. Visit an ecotourism center run by a local family to learn about the region's biodiversity, then stop at a traditional house to see how the ancient Maya lived. Lend a hand making tortillas, or learn how to weave a hammock the traditional way. All ages will love getting creative and hands-on during this interactive experience.Later, take a tour through the lush jungle with the grandfather and local guide of Chunhuhub. Discover how the Maya ancestors found their food, water, and shelter in the thick jungle. Reach an area of lush chicozapote trees that are over 50 years old, and learn how the chicle (gum) is extracted from the tree and then produced into a usable product. Kids will enjoy seeing how people in this area have traditionally coexisted with nature.

Day 5: Transfer to Tulum, Afternoon Cooking Class

Enjoy free time in Tulum

It's back to the coast today as you transfer two hours northeast to Tulum, where you'll get checked into your accommodations and then have some free time to chill out and explore. This destination has become very popular in recent years thanks to its beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, dramatic clifftop ruins, and delicious international cuisine. Everyone in your family will find something to interest them. Visit some of the many nearby beaches or the lively central avenue with lots of restaurants and boutiques.

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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Later on, try your hand at cooking some authentic local food in your instructor's kitchen, and learn tips and tricks that you can replicate later at home. Start the lesson with an introduction to Mexican culinary history, learning about Mesoamerican cultures and traditions and the main ingredients used. Then, learn to cook some recipes from the chef's family collection. Enjoy eating your creations after. Your kids can feel proud of their efforts and may be inspired to cook once they return home!

Day 6: Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site

Explore ancient history in Tulum

Today, enjoy some more active adventures, starting at the community of Chemuyil, a small beachfront town with white-sand beaches and shallow waters. Meet your local guide and pick up a bicycle to cycle to three different cenotes (natural swimming holes): the enclosed cenote of La Cuevita, an open cenote where you may be able to see some of the endemic birds of the Yucatán Peninsula, and a final open cenote where you can swim. These cenotes are part of a system fed by the largest underground river in the world. Both kids and adults will enjoy the physical bike ride followed by a refreshing swim.

Next, visit the ruins of Tulum with a guide. This is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old Maya city sits in the middle of a mangrove ecosystem, on a cliff facing ​​the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy views of the forest and open water, and check out the Playa Ruinas ("Ruins Beach"), where you can take a dip at the beach to round out your visit.

Day 7: Cenotes & Handicrafts in Yalcobá

See how traditional Maya crafts are made on today's excursion

Experience more cultural immersion today in the Maya community of Yalcobá in Valladolid. Take a guided tour through farms that use traditional farming methods. It'll be fascinating for your kids to see where their food comes from. Then, head into the forest, where you can explore caves and swim in gorgeous cenotes. Back in town, visit a handicrafts workshop, where artisans create jewelry out of bull horns and weave intricate hammocks. You might like to pick up a few souvenirs for your family here. Later, participate in a culinary workshop to learn more about the region's food.

Day 8: Caving at Río Secreto

Making your way through the underground waterways
Making your way through the underground waterways
Río Secreto is a natural reserve near Playa del Carmen, in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Today, you'll have the opportunity to explore it up close as you don lifejackets and helmets and dive into one of the largest underground river systems in the world. Experience millennia of geology while swimming in clear freshwater. As you make your way through the caves, your guide will explain the history of the features and formations of this marvelous geological wonder. This adventure is best suited to older kids/teens and is sure to be a highlight of the trip for the adventurous.

Day 9: Cobá by Bike, Punta Laguna Hike

Spot spider monkeys overhead on today's jungle hike

Travel back in time today with a visit to the Cobá Archaeological Site and the sacred Maya roads. Start with a guided 3-mile (5 km) bike or bicycle taxi tour through the sacbé, a series of ancient white roads that connect each settlement to the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul, the Yucatán Peninsula's largest. Next, visit a Maya community to share a meal and refuel for your afternoon adventure.

After lunch, you'll visit the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve independently. Hike through the jungle, going at your own pace and stopping whenever your kids need to. If you are lucky, you'll spot plenty of spider monkeys and other wildlife. Cool off with a refreshing swim in a cenote, and even go ziplining through the tree canopy if you're feeling adventurous. Your kids should be well and truly ready for bed by the end of the day!

Day 10: Chichén Itzá Tour, Yokdzonot Cenote Swim

Chichen Itza's towering pyramid of Kukulcan
Chichen Itza's towering pyramid of Kukulcan

There's more ancient history on the agenda today as you meet a local guide to explore the magnificent archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, a place that is sure to capture the imagination of kids of all ages. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this pre-Columbian Maya city was once the most revered center of worship and pilgrimage in the Yucatán Peninsula. Its most iconic attraction is the stepped pyramid of Kukulkán (El Castillo), built in honor of the feathered serpent god, an important deity to the Maya.

Later, enjoy some more refreshing time at the peaceful Yokdzonot Cenote. Cenotes were the main water supply in the middle of the jungle in ancient times and a vital part of developing early cities and settlements. They were also considered symbolic spaces for rain, life, death, rebirth, and fertility rituals and served a sacred function for the Maya. This quiet cenote is not busy with tourists, so your family can enjoy some peaceful time together.

Day 11: Transfer to Bacalar, Muyil Sian Ka'an Reserve Ecotour

Spot dolphins in Sian Ka'an Reserve

Get back on the road today with a transfer 2.5 hours south from Tulum to Bacalar, a Pueblo Magico ("Magic Town") near the Belize border known for its beautiful lagoon. Upon arrival, you'll check out the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Kids and parents will love this excursion's mix of culture, nature, physical activity, and relaxation. Start at the Muyil Community Center and learn about the community-based ecotourism cooperative that focuses on the conservation and preservation of ecosystems.

Your first stop will be the little-known, mysterious archaeological site of Muyil, which you'll reach at the end of an interpretive trail surrounded by thick jungle. Walk until you reach the edge of the turquoise Chunyaxche Lagoon, where you'll take a small boat through a channel surrounded by mangroves to arrive at a small dock. There, enjoy a serene dip in the water and float through the channels, listening to the soft sounds of the birds and animals. End the excursion with a hearty meal. 

Day 12: Bacalar Lagoon Sailing, Free Time

Bacalar lagoon
Sail on Laguna Bacalar 

Gorgeous Bacalar, or Bakhalal in Maya, is known for its seven-colored lagoon, which you'll see on today's boat tour. Sailing is a great alternative to motorboats as they don't pollute the water, helping to preserve the natural beauty of the place. Plus, you can enjoy the peace and quiet and appreciate quality time with your family.

Begin by visiting the Pirates' Channel, where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. Kids will love learning the history of this place: for hundreds of years, it has been the territory of travelers, treasure hunters, and pirates! Continue to the Cenote de la Bruja, also called "Black Cenote," where you can dive into the water and enjoy the colors at different depths. Finally, visit the Isla de Los Pájaros, where you can go bird watching and enjoy the different shades of blue of the Laguna Bacalar.

Later, spend some free time exploring the town of Bacalar, choosing sites and activities that will appeal to the kids. Visit Fort San Felipe to soak up the history, or check out the little-known but very interesting archaeological site of Chacchoben

Day 13: Sunrise Paddling Tour, Stone Carving Workshop

Paddle on the Laguna Bacalar

If you're a family of early risers, make the most of your last full day in Mexico with a sunrise paddle tour of the Laguna Bacalar. Accompanied by a great instructor, discover the treasures of the Bacalar ecosystem and see the locations you explored yesterday from a different vantage point. Check out the Grand Cenote, over 968 feet (295 m) deep. Admire the sunrise from Cenote de la Bruja while observing the blue gradation of the lagoon. Finish at the Pirates' Channel, where you'll likely be alone and will be able to enjoy a well-deserved morning swim. 

In the afternoon, make your own souvenir at a stone-carving workshop at El Veinte de Noviembre, a small Maya village surrounded by nature. Famous for its handicrafts, El Veinte stands out as the only community in the region to highlight the past and present through handicrafts, which fuse the traditions of the community. Under the instruction of Doña Guadalupe, make a design with a rough stone and turn it into a design. In the end, keep your carving as a memento of your trip. Your kids can proudly wear their own Mexican designs.

Day 14: Transfer to Chetumal, Depart

Enjoy one last play on the beach before departing

Depending on your time of departure, enjoy a final beach walk or swim before transferring from Bacalar to Chetumal International Airport for your return flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Family Adventure on Mexico's Costa Maya - 14 Days
Map of Family Adventure on Mexico's Costa Maya - 14 Days