Active families who like to combine beach time with more energetic pursuits in nature will love this 10-day tour of Mexico's Riviera Maya. Divide your time between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, which allows you to delve into the countryside surrounding these popular spots. If you and your kids enjoy swimming in hidden cenotes, cycling through the countryside, and touring around ancient ruins and culture-rich cities, this idyllic tour on the Yucatán Peninsula's Caribbean coast is for you.


  • Splash and play in pristine cenotes 
  • Float down the Río Secreto underground river
  • Explore ancient Maya ruins and archeological sites
  • Spend plenty of time on sun-drenched Caribbean beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cancún, Transfer to Tulum, Mariachi Dinner Tulum
Day 2 Chemuyil Cenotes Tour Tulum
Day 3 Visit the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Tulum
Day 4 Guided Tour of Cobá, Nuevo Durango, Punta Laguna & Chichén Itzá Tulum
Day 5 Free Day in Tulum, Puerto Morelos Reef National Park Snorkeling Excursion Tulum
Day 6 Tour Tulum Archaeological Zone, Transfer to Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
Day 7 Río Secreto Underground Tour Playa del Carmen
Day 8 Day Trip to Valladolid Playa del Carmen
Day 9 Free Day in Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
Day 10 Transfer to Cancún, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cancún, Transfer to Tulum, Mariachi Dinner

Welcome to Mexico!

Welcome to the Mexican Caribbean! Upon your arrival at the airport in Cancún, you'll meet your driver to be transferred to your hotel in Tulum. Known for its white sands, turquoise waters, and clifftop Maya ruins, it's the base to start your exploration of the Riviera Maya. Spend the rest of the day as you wish, depending on your time of arrival. After a long flight, kids and parents alike will be happy to chill out on the beautiful beaches or burn off some energy with a swim. As evening falls, celebrate your first night in Mexico with a family feast, complete with the soundtrack of a live Mariachi band. 

Day 2: Chemuyil Cenotes Tour

Swim in sparkling cenotes
After a good night's sleep, get ready for your first adventure in nature. Head to the small beachfront town of Chemuyil, where you'll meet your guide for a tour of four local cenotes (natural swimming holes). Cycle between the cenotes, some open and some enclosed. Kids will love cooling off with a swim in the refreshing waters. Each cenote is surrounded by lush forest, alive with the endemic birds of the Yucatán Peninsula. All of the cenotes are part of a system fed by the largest underground river in the world. To the ancient Maya, these bodies of water were sacred and represented the entrance to the underworld.

Day 3: Visit the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

Dolphins in Sian Ka'an Reserve
Spot dolphins in the Sian Ka'an Reserve
Today you'll visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, where you'll start today's eco-tour from the Muyil Community Center. Your first stop will be the little-known, mysterious archeological site of Muyil, which you will reach at the end of an interpretive trail surrounded by the 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. Enjoy a swim in the water, and ask your kids to be quiet to listen out for the soft sounds of birds and animals. Return to the community center for a short walk and a traditional meal.

Day 4: Guided Tour of Cobá, Nuevo Durango, Punta Laguna & Chichén Itzá

See the spectacular Nohoch Mul 

Start today's full-day adventure with a visit to the spectacular archaeological site of Cobá. Take a guided bike or bicycle taxi tour through the sacbé (a paved, raised road built by the Maya). These roads connect each settlement to the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul — the Yucatán Peninsula's largest pyramid. If you and your kids have the energy, climb the stairs to the top. Your efforts will be rewarded with an extraordinary view of the beautiful jungle surrounding this impressive site.

Continue to Nuevo Durango, where you will enjoy a traditional meal and meet Don Manuel and his family. Don is a member of the community that operates an Environmental Management Unit, a project for the conservation of endangered animals in the region. As you learn about Don's work, you'll see and meet some of the endemic species of the Yucatán Peninsula. Kids will love getting an up-close look at the birds and animals. There are more animals to spot at your next stop as you continue to the Punta Laguna Natural Reserve and board a boat in search of the adorable and raucous spider monkeys that live here.

Plan your trip to Mexico
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Finally, it's on to Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. 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. Children can let their imaginations run wild as they learn about the life of the Maya through their architecture, accompanied by your guide's fascinating stories. At the end of the day, you'll head back to Tulum for a well-earned dinner and rest.

Day 5: Free Day in Tulum, Puerto Morelos Reef National Park Snorkeling Excursion

Take a snorkeling excursion to explore the colorful world of the Caribbean Sea 

After a few active days, your family might welcome a more relaxed day in Tulum today. With beautiful beaches, clear waters, and delicious international cuisine, there's plenty to keep parents and kids happy. Swim at the beach, try out some of the many watersports on offer, or head inland to experience the thrill of ziplining above forests and cenotes.

If you're looking for more adventure, opt for a guided trip up the coast to the pristine waters of the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, where a two-hour dive will introduce the whole family to a colorful underwater world of tropical fish, sandbanks, and coral reefs. 

Day 6: Tour Tulum Archaeological Zone, Transfer to Playa del Carmen

Kids will love the stories and myths surrounding these ancient sites

Today you'll visit the UNESCO-listed Tulum Archaeological Zone, one of the most famous archeological sites in Mexico. Explore the area with your guide, who will explain why these ruins played a particularly important role in the area's maritime and terrestrial trade. You'll also learn about the site's function as an astronomical observatory and defensive system. Imaginative children will love these ancient structures that hold so much history. From the archeological site, head down to the Playa Ruinas ("Ruins Beach"), which looks directly up at the Maya ruins, and round out your visit with a refreshing swim.

Then it's time to meet your driver and hit the road north up the Caribbean coast to Playa del Carmen. Your base for the next four nights, this famous seaside resort sits at the heart of the Riviera Maya. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day as you please. Hit the soft sands, swim in the warm Caribbean Sea, or wander the bustling resort city for street food and shopping.

Day 7: Río Secreto Underground Tour

Rio Secreto
Underground adventures at Río Secreto
Get ready for an otherworldly adventure today at the Río Secreto. After donning your helmets, life jackets, and headlamps, you'll descend into a world of turquoise water, soaring caverns, and shimmering stalactites and stalagmites. Explore one of the most beautiful underground river systems in the world, where natural history is evident in the geological formations. Float along the clear underground river as you learn more about its geological wonder from your guide. This is a great introduction to caving for adventurous kids and sure to be a highlight of the trip.

Day 8: Day Trip to Valladolid

Take a guided tour of Valladolid

Enjoy a change of pace today with an above-ground adventure in Valladolid. Take a walking tour of one of Mexico's Pueblos Mágicos ("Magical Towns"), and soak up the atmosphere of its rich colonial-era history. Visit the Valladolid Cathedral, the regional museum, the market, and other beautiful corners of the city. For a traditional culinary experience, head to Canton Parque Francisco to enjoy typical Yucatecan dishes. Kids will have plenty of time to get active and burn off energy before refueling with tasty local treats.

Day 9: Free Day in Playa del Carmen

Spend some time building sandcastles on your free day in Playa del Carmen

Today is yours to spend however you like in Playa del Carmen. Choose an activity to suit your family's interests and energy levels. Options include visiting the Cirque du Soleil JOYÀ, a show that combines culinary and performing arts; checking out the sustainable ecotourism project at Nativa Natural Park; swimming in various cenotes, including the family-friendly Cenote Azul; relaxing on Playa Xpu-Ha, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the region; or more snorkeling at the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park. Finish your last night in Mexico with a special dinner in the cosmopolitan city center.

Day 10: Transfer to Cancún, Depart 

Tire out the kids at the beach before this morning's transfer

Your family adventure has come to an end, and it's time to depart the Riviera Maya. Depending on the time of your flight or other connecting transport, there may be some time to enjoy a last dip in the ocean or walk on the beach before you leave. Safe travels!

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Map of Mexico's Riviera Maya: Adventures in Nature for Active Families - 10 Days
Map of Mexico's Riviera Maya: Adventures in Nature for Active Families - 10 Days