This family-friendly adventure starts in Mexico City. You'll take a walking food tour through the center, ride the carousel at Chapultepec Park, and experience the wonders of ancient Teotihuacán from the birds-eye view of a hot air balloon. Then, it's off to the Yucatán to dive into the blue waters of cenotes, spot pink flamingoes at Ría Lagartos Reserve, and stroll the beaches of Holbox Island. End your tour with a once-in-a-lifetime swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world.


  • Soar across the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacán via a hot air balloon
  • Dive into the blue-green pools of a natural cenote
  • See pink flamingoes and equally pink beaches at Ría Lagartos Reserve
  • Swim with gentle giant whale sharks off the coast of Holbox Island 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 2 Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon Ride, Tour the City of the Gods Mexico City
Day 3 Streets & Sweets Food Tour, Downtown Walk & Muralism Tour Mexico City
Day 4 Transfer to Valladolid  Valladolid
Day 5 Cultural Immersion in Yalcobá Valladolid
Day 6 Boat Tour of the Ría Lagartos Reserve Valladolid
Day 7 Ferry to Holbox Island Holbox
Day 8 Free Day on Holbox Island, Bioluminescence Kayak Tour Holbox
Day 9 Swim with Whale Sharks Holbox
Day 10 Transfer to Cancún, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City

The carousel in Chapultepec Park

Welcome to Mexico! Upon arrival at the airport in Mexico City, you'll be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel. Once you've had a chance to relax a bit, it's time to step out and see some of what Mexico's capital city has to offer. Founded in the 16th century under Spanish rule, Mexico City is now the largest metropolis in Latin America and has become a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. Known for its art, food, and rich cultural history, the city is also very family-friendly, with plenty of things to see and do for kids of all ages.

Start with an immersion into local life with a stroll through neighborhoods like Roma, where you'll find Art Deco architecture and excellent restaurants, or San Ángel, with its cobblestone streets, art galleries, and sidewalk cafés. You can also head to La Ciudadela market for artisan goods, crafts, and colorful souvenirs. And if you're looking for green spaces to relax in, take a walk through Chapultepec Park, one of the largest city parks in Mexico and a favorite for locals and visitors alike. You'll find tree-lined paths, ponds, and a children's carousel. 

Within the park, you'll also see a castle that houses the Museo Nacional De Historia ("National Museum of History"), where you can learn about the history of Mexico and its people. Nearby is the Museo Nacional de Antropología ("National Museum of Anthropology"), which has exhibit rooms dedicated to Maya and Oaxaca, as well as exhibitions of various archeological scenes. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant tonight.

Day 2: Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon Ride, Tour the City of the Gods

A hot air balloon over Teotihuacán

Get an early start on the day with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacán. Your guide will share the process of setting up the balloon while you enjoy morning coffee and cookies, then you'll ascend into the skies! Take in the unforgettable views of the valley as you soar toward the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Teotihuacán. Once there, your guide will take you over the majestic Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and you'll get a bird's eye view of the famous Avenue of the Dead, alongside other important landmarks. After your flight, a delicious breakfast awaits upon landing. 

For a more up close and personal experience of the wonders of Teotihuacán, take a guided tour. Explore this amazing archaeological site, starting with a walk on the wall known as Calzada de los Muertos, then climb up the Pyramid of the Sun, which offers breathtaking views all around. See the Pyramid of the Moon and stop in at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, where curious kids can learn how obsidian crafts are made and how people of this era lived. Have lunch at a nearby local restaurant where you might be able to catch some mariachi performers or live dance exhibitions. 

Day 3: Streets & Sweets Food Tour, Downtown Walk & Muralism Tour

Churros are the sweetest treat! 

Discover the cuisine of Mexico today with a guided family food tour into the vibrant downtown district of Centro Histórico. Your expert guide will take you on a journey of some of the best foods in the neighborhood while you learn about Mexican culture from a culinary perspective. Sample Mexican candy and fruit, seafood tostadas, tortas, and crunchy cooked crickets! The tour provides a children's activity book that the kids can color in along the way, and stops in at a local playground to help them burn off some energy before ending at a historic churrería for churros and ice cream. 

Later, take a self-guided walking tour of the downtown area. Older kids or teens who are artistically inclined might especially enjoy visiting the Diego Rivera Mural Museum, which showcases Mexican history as portrayed by the artist. In addition to Rivera's works, you can stop at the Ministry of Education building to better understand the work of other muralists, such as Siqueiros and Orozco, and learn more about how Muralism became an important part of Mexican culture. 

Stroll through nearby Alameda Central Park, one of the oldest public gardens in Mexico, where you'll find shaded pathways and lots of green space–perfect for little ones to run and play. The park also often has live music and performers, as well as food and souvenir vendors. Stop by to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a stunning Art Nouveau masterpiece built to celebrate Mexico's independence, then continue on Madero and Cinco de Mayo streets, ending on Constitution Square, where you'll see views of the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Government Palace

Day 4: Transfer to Valladolid 

Family swim at a local cenote

The adventure continues as you say goodbye to Mexico City and head to the city of Valladolid, located on the Yucatán Peninsula. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport, where you'll take a quick, two-hour flight. Upon arrival, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel for check-in before you start exploring the city. 

Located just 30 minutes from the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá and about two hours from the popular resort area of Cancún, Valladolid is considered a bit of a hidden gem and has been listed by the Mexican Tourism Board as one of Mexico's most beautiful cities. Here, you'll find sights such as the historic Convent of San Bernardino de Siena, an ex-convent built in Colonial times, beautiful plazas, and cobbled streets, with the biggest draw being the town's cenotes, which are underground caves or sinkholes filled with water. 

While the whole region surrounding the city is abundant with these natural swimming spots, you don't have to go far to enjoy them. Instead, head to the center of town, where you'll find Cenote Zaci. Take the whole family for a refreshing dip in these luminous blue-green pools, which are about 100 feet (30 m) deep in some places and much deeper in others. There are steps that go down to the water, and adrenaline junkies can try the rope swing or even dive off one of the nearby cliffs! Zaci also has an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy a meal after your swim. 

Day 5: Cultural Immersion in Yalcobá

Traditional foods of the Yucatán

Visit the Maya community of Yalcobá and enjoy a guided tour that explores Maya culture, history, and food. Your morning starts with a visit to local farms, where you'll learn about the traditional milpa system used to grow maize, squash, and beans—kids will love seeing how the food is planted and grown and might even get to help a bit!

Afterward, head into the forest for some cave exploration and a refreshing cenote swim, then visit a handicrafts workshop, where artisans create jewelry made from bull horns and weave intricate hammocks. And for those foodie families, kids can learn how the food grown at the farms transfers to the plate with a hands-on gastronomic workshop, where you'll learn about, help prepare, and (most importantly!) taste the region's traditional foods. 

Day 6: Boat Tour of the Ría Lagartos Reserve

Flamingoes at Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve
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Río Lagartos, a town located within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, is home to the Yucatán's famed pink salt ponds, as well as being a primary nesting area for flamingoes. With a local guide, enjoy a fun-filled and educational day with a boat ride through this natural reserve. See pink flamingoes foraging in the waters and learn about the biodiversity of the mangrove ecosystem.

The tour includes views of Las Coloradas, the beautiful salt ponds with a pinkish hue due to their salt concentration, and a chance to enjoy an exfoliating Maya mud bath. You'll disembark on the beach and apply the white clay that is extracted from the sand, which contains minerals, salts, and algae–all very beneficial for the skin, and of course, the kids will love playing in the mud! Afterward, rinse off in the ocean waters and enjoy free time on the beach before returning to your hotel. 

Day 7: Ferry to Holbox Island

Colorful streets of Holbox Island

Your driver will pick you up this morning and transfer you to the town of Chiquilá, a drive of approximately two hours and 15 minutes. From there, you'll take a 25-minute ferry ride to Holbox Island, a rustic and peaceful island with blue waters and white-sand beaches. A private driver will transport you to your accommodations, where you can relax or head out to see the island. 

Located just north of the Yucatán Peninsula, Holbox is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve. The island is abundant with both marine and birdlife, with flamingoes, pelicans, whale sharks, and sea turtles. The ocean waters are exceptionally clear, which makes for excellent swimming and snorkeling. And no cars are allowed here, so be prepared to walk, hop on a bike, or rent a golf cart for your stay!

Start your visit with a walk through the town's colorful streets, resplendent with murals by local artists. Grab a delicious seafood lunch at a local restaurant, and take the kids for ice cream or churros (or both) afterward. You can also make a visit to the beaches of Playa Holbox, known for its warm and calm kid-friendly waters. Rest up this evening at your hotel before continuing your island exploration tomorrow. 

Day 8: Free Day on Holbox Island, Bioluminescence Kayak Tour

A golf cart is the way to travel on Holbox Island

Today, you're free to spend your time on Holbox Island however you'd like. Choose one of the many beautiful white-sand beaches to soak up the sunshine, swim in turquoise waters, and recharge your batteries. Or, consider renting a bicycle or a golf cart to travel around and explore the less crowded areas. If you're ready to get out on the water, book a boat tour to Cabo Catoche, a small island located approximately 15 miles (24 km) from Holbox. This is a great spot for an afternoon of snorkeling, swimming, or just playing on the beach. 

Later tonight, take a guided kayak tour just off the shores of Holbox as you go in search of bioluminescence in the water. This easy journey is suitable for all levels of experience, taking you through calm ocean waters while you enjoy views of the night sky overhead. See constellations, planets, galaxies, and maybe a shooting star or two, then notice the gentle glow emanating from the water itself—caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton, which glows when it is disturbed.

Day 9: Swim with Whale Sharks

Swimming with the whale shark.
Swimming with a whale shark

Experience the swim of a lifetime alongside a whale shark today. These incredible animals are considered the largest fish in the world and can reach upwards of 45 feet (14 m) in length. Despite their formidable size, whale sharks are slow-moving, gentle giants and quite harmless. The early morning snorkel tour takes you to where they congregate, and you're also likely to see turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and other wildlife along the way. 

Once you arrive, you'll receive instructions from your guide prior to getting in the water, the most important one being that you are there to swim with and observe the whales and shouldn't touch them. Each swimmer must wear a vest for safety, and oils or sunscreen are prohibited, so wearing a UV-blocking rashguard swim shirt is a good idea, especially for little ones. Keep in mind that whale sharks are considered an endangered species, and this activity is highly regulated, with restrictions on the number of times you can enter the water and how close you can get to the sharks. 

Day 10: Transfer to Cancún, Depart 

Goodbye Mexico! 

It's time to say adios to beautiful Mexico and your awesome family adventure today. You'll take the ferry back to Chiquilá, and your private driver will transport you to Cancún, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Make Family Memories in Mexico City & the Yucatán Peninsula - 10 Days
Map of Make Family Memories in Mexico City & the Yucatán Peninsula - 10 Days