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Why Mayan Riviera Family Vacations and Playa del Carmen are Ideal

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Mayan Riviera family vacations

Hotel Marina El Cid – Mayan Riviera

Why are Mayan Riviera family vacations the ultimate peaceful retreat in Mexico? This area is just south of Cancun bordering a thick jungle and  lies 120 km of pristine beach. This relatively new resort area is the perfect place to get away from it all. Snorkel in clear waters, dive offshore and play a round of golf.

Hotels are located along beautiful Playa del Carmen and just south in the new resort area of Puerto Aventuras. The waters are calmer than in Cancun where the surf can sometimes be intimidating for smaller chidren. Families will enjoy many hotels that offer all-inclusive fun.

And when it’s time to explore, the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza await.

The Riviera Maya is one of the regions of Mexico – and the world- which offers the richest variety of landscapes and archaeological treasures. It is also a place where the world’s biological diversity seems to have been concentrated, so that a visit to one of its many parks – veritable habitats for many of the world’s unique species of plants and animals – is a must.

Outstanding among these is the Sian Ka’an reserve, an extensive area that provides an enormous geographical and climatic diversity, with an abundance of wild birds, reptiles, mammals and marine wildlife.


The kids will love the Jaguars at Xcaret

Snorkellers will love the reserve of Xcaret. Just six miles from Playa del Carmen, this 150-acre ecological park features snorkel lagoons, botanical gardens and a sea turtle nursery – all in a magnificent jungle setting. And if you ever feel like changing the pace of your Mexico family vacations, the shops and clubs of Cancun are an hour away.

Playa del Carmen

This small town on the Yucatan coast and part of the Mayan Riviera is enjoyable for what it is, but perhaps more for what it’s not. It’s not Cancun, the major resort area that’s about an hour north. For those who find Cancun too large and glossy and too lacking in local character, Playa is the cure: cosy, funky and quite Mexican. Windsurfing, jet skiing, or a full day of big-game fishing is available.

If golf is your game, the Playacar Club de golf offers a spectacular par 72 championship course designed by world-renowned Robert Von Hagge. Ferries to Cozumel Island, one of dive capitals of the world, leave from Playa del Carmen just about every hour and the town’s centers proximity to some of the greatest ceremonial centers of the ancient Maya make ‘ruin hopping’ one of the town’s chief attractions.

Find out more about Playa Del Carmen for your family Mexico vacations

Find out more about family vacations in Mexico in Cancun, Mexico family vacations in Cozumel, Mexico vacations in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Mexico family vacations in Los Cabos, Mexico family vacations in Mazatlan, and family vacations in Puerto Vallarta


Mayan Riviera Family Vacations  – Related Articles and Resources

Mexico’s Riviera Maya: A Beautiful Beach Resort Destination for Mexico Family Vacations
The Riviera Maya is for travelers who are looking for a fantastic all-inclusive resort destination that is priced below most tropical destinations.

What is there to do in the Mayan Riviera?
If you are considering a Mayan Riviera vacation, Playa del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera have an exceptional array of attractions and activities, here are some of the most popular ones…

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Eva March 21, 2014 - 5:48 am

(Seattle, USA)
Seeking accommodation with childcare for 6-month-old in Playa

Hi, my husband & I are planning on traveling to Mexico. We also have a 6-month-old son, and have been tearing our hair out trying to find accommodation that has a kids’ club, child care or nanny service that caters to a child as young as our’s. We won’t be needing child care all day every day – just a couple of mornings or afternoons and maybe one evening.

Any suggestions of places in Playa del Carmen (first choice) or Cancun that could accommodate our wish?

With thanks.

From the Editor:

Most of the family resorts in this area offer babysitting for a fee. AZUL Beach Hotel by Karisma is one all-inclusive that you should also check out. It includes a variety of restaurants, a beach butler service, kids’ programs, baby/toddler gear, 24-hour room service, various activities like Spanish or yoga lessons, and water sports in the lodging fee.

This all-inclusive is located just 20 minutes from the Cancun airport and specifically caters to families with younger children. Babies and toddlers up to age 3 stay free and lodging for kids up to age 12 is 50% off. The AZUL Beach Hotel has a partnership with Fisher-Price and even offers a toy lending program.

Lesley March 21, 2014 - 5:49 am

Reef Club Playacar

With being an International Travel Consultant I am usually pretty picky with destinations and resorts that I stay in. i went down to this beautiful part of Mexico and must admit it was one of my best vacations ever. This destination has something for everyone from seniors to familes to singles. Whether you want history, shopping, beach, water sports or land activites of all sorts this is the place to go to. I stayed at the Reef club playacar and this superior resort is beautiful. it is very lush and jungle like and the beach is gorgeous. you are also a 5 minute cab from playacar for shopping or to catch the ferry to cozumel. you are also close to mayan ruins and ecological parks and 40 minutes from Cancun. invest in this destination, it is so worth it !!.

TravelonJo March 21, 2014 - 5:50 am

Riu Tequila

My family, consisting of myself, husband and 9 year old son Matthew, just got back from a week’s stay at the Riu Tequila. It was my first stay at a Riu property and visit number six to the Cancun/Mayan Rivera area of Mexico.

The Riu Tequila is located a one hours drive from Cancun and about 10 minutes from Playa Del Carmen. The resort is not beach front but it does have a beach club with a restaurant on the beach and use of the facilitities at the sister property, the Riu Yucatan. Even though my preference usually is for beach front, it did not bother me to be further away at this resort. The 8 minutes or so walk to the beach is pleasant and a shuttle is provided almost continuously throughout the day.

The beach area is very nice, long beach to walk on, beautiful white sand, picturesque turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. There are lots of chairs provided, good mix of sun or shade areas available. The beach was quite busy most days, if you are looking for beach seclusion you will not find it here, with many resorts located next to each other, there are a lot of people milling around. It is unfortunate that there are so many “water toys” allowed, the drone of the jet skiis and the smell of diesel does spoil the atmosphere somewhat.

When you walk into the lobby of the Riu Tequila, it is quite stunning. Open air with high ceilings, it gives you a feel of elegance. The resort is quite lush with the rooms located in smaller buildings along pathways weaving through the resort. There are lots of palms, and trees and flowers and it provides a wonderful tropical feel. We saw lots of birds, iguanas and other interesting creatures around the resort. Our room was centrally located so we were pretty close to everything, an advantage when you have to go back to your room for something.

The room was a decent size with two double beds, balcony, TV, phone, hair dryer, minibar and the signature liquor dispenser on the wall. With two adults, and a child, I found the drawer space a little lacking but we managed. It also would have been nice to have a bathtub and not just a shower, apparently the suites do have tubs.

The pool area was great, two large pools with a restaurant and pool bar in the middle, very handy if you needed a drink, a snack or needed the bathroom! It was tough however to get decent pool loungers. It seemed that one side of the pool got the majority of the sun and chairs were “reserved” very early in the morning, even though there were signs posted to not do so, this policy was not enforced. Fresh beach towels were provided everyday at the pool area.

The facilities at the Riu Tequila were good. There is the main restaurant in the Lobby area that was open for breakfast and dinner and the pool and beach restaurants that were open for lunches. There were also two themed dinners that required reservations. This would be the Rui Tequila’s downfall in that you needed to reserve for these theme dinners in the morning for that evening and often they would get booked up by 8am. It took us three attempts over three days to get a reservation for one of them. I think there must be a better way to do this! The restaurants have a good variety of foods and the food quality is good and fresh. None of us went hungry that’s for sure. The service was pleasant and quick, especially the bar service.

The entertainment provided every evening was better than I have seen at some resorts. Matthew really enjoyed the different shows and they had a full house most nights. They had various activities during the day for those who wanted to participate. Having just been a cruise last winter, we were disappointed in the kids mini club. They had some kids activities but not really a true “kid’s club” where kids could be left with the staff. The playground area was for very young children and there never seemed to be any staff around except when doing one of the activities. All was not lost however, Matthew made some friends his age and they had blast playing in the pool.

You do not feel too isolated at the Riu Tequila because you have the use of the facilities of the other sister resorts. There is also a small shopping area about a 5 minute walk from the resort but we found the prices and selection a bit better in the closest town of Play del Carmen. We walked to there one day, a nice 20 min walk along the beach. There is a lot to do in the Mayan Riviera, we also did a day trip to Xcaret, it was only a $10USD taxi ride and we bought our tickets once we got there, it was cheaper than doing a package tour and more flexible for us. (If you want to do any special events like swimming with the Dolphins, I would suggest booking ahead).

We had a great time and I would recommend the Riu Tequila as a family beach vacation!

Hasta la vista,The Larsen family

Judith Raffles March 21, 2014 - 5:51 am

(Casper, Wyoming, USA)
I Love Playa Del Carmen

During our Christmas vacation, we went to Playa Del Carmen. We thought we should go there because we would like to feel the warmth of the sun rather than staying in Minnesota for Christmas.

When we arrived there, we stayed in Palace Resorts. The place was really great. Their food was totally yummy. Their rooms were exceptional and of course, nothing beats the ocean view especially when you wake up in the morning.

What we enjoyed most are their water sports activities. I definitely love Playa Del Carmen.

Amanda Chester March 21, 2014 - 5:52 am

(Bismarck, North Dakota, USA)
Our Mayan Riviera Getaway

We love to travel. It is like we work hard so that we could travel harder. Besides, we can only live once, so we need to see how beautiful the world is.

One of the places we have been to was the Mayan Riviera. our family loves that place. We got this all-inclusive package where everything is paid for even before we got there. So we practically enjoyed every second of our stay without actually worrying about the cost of our vacation.

We did a lot of fun-filled water activities such as snorkeling, diving and swimming. If given a chance, I would love to go back there with my family.

Is there any place that you can suggest that we can go to next time? Thanks.

Regina (Austin, TX) March 21, 2014 - 5:53 am

Best Family Beaches in Playa del carmen

I will be traveling to Playa del Carmen in a few months via cruise ship and would like to know what are the best beach clubs (beaches) for me an my family to enjoy for the day?
One other concern I have is about topless women. Should I be concerned about this? A few people tell me they did not see much of this and then I have had some tell me just the opposite

Best Family Beach Vacations March 21, 2014 - 5:54 am

Hi Regina,

You have two options; you can get off the ship and explore on your own or do one of the excursions from the cruise line.

Some cruise ships arriving at Playa Del Carmen will use smaller boats to tender passengers to the ferry terminal, which is located near the town’s central plaza. After they drop off their passengers, the cruise ships often continue to Cozumel. Passengers who stop at Playa return to their ship by taking the ferry from Playa to Cozumel.

Those disembarking at Playa will find taxis, restaurants, shops, bars and places with Internet access from where they stepped ashore. A tourist information kiosk is two blocks away, across the town square.

Some cruise ships dock at Puerto Calica, a deepwater port about 5 mi/8 km south of Playa. There’s not a lot to see around Puerto Calica, but there are buses and taxis waiting outside the terminal. Expect to pay about US$20 for a taxi ride into Playa.

In Playa Del Carmen I would recommend The Kool Beach Club and Mamitas Beach Club. They are located Playa del Carmen are located between street 26th and street 30th.

Both have chairs, umbrellas, sun – beds, restaurants, bars and bathrooms.

Rental Rates Mamitas beach club:
chairs $ 2 USD
umbrella $ 2 USD
bed $ 5 USD / $10 USD (depending on the season)

Rental Rates Kool beach club:
chairs $ 2 USD
umbrella $ 2 USD
bed $ 10 USD

Or if you wish to remain in Cozumel, Paradise Beach is a popular option.

Or you can always consider one of the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the sights, but you won’t have to waste your limited time making arrangements yourself—and you won’t have to worry about missing the ship. Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Typical tours may offer snorkeling or golf in town, or trips to Cancun, Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Tulum, Coba or Chichen Itza.

Topless Beaches in Mexico
by: Jolana

This really does vary depending on the resort, the beach etc. There is more topless bathing in Mexico than you would see in the USA or Canada however, it is usually restricted to specific areas of a beach – or at a resort – they may make one pool area for topless bathers for example and it is clearly marked.

I have been to Mexico with young children many times and have not had any problems with that.

I have been to this area many times with my family and love it, have a great trip!



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