Mexico Family Travel

Best 10 Day Mexico Itinerary For Families: 4 Ideas For The Perfect Mexico Family Trip

June 11, 2021
Astrid Vinje

A two week or 10 day family trip to Mexico doesn’t have to involve staying exclusively at a resort. In fact, there are plenty of sites and activities you can pack into a 10 day Mexico itinerary with your family without even setting foot in a resort! 

For families planning a family vacation to Mexico, here’s a compilation of four itineraries to help you make the most of your time in Mexico. Whether you love the beach life, or enjoy exploring the mountains, you can mix and match the right travel itinerary for your family. From old Mayan ruins to vibrant modern cities, there is so much that families can enjoy about Mexico! 


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A child on a pier in La Paz

Table of Contents

Things to know about traveling to Mexico

Before planning your 10 day Mexico itinerary, there is some basic Mexico family travel information that you’ll need to know. This includes information about money, how to get into Mexico, health, safety, and transportation.

Money matters for your 10 day Mexico itinerary

Mexico uses the peso for their currency. At the time of this writing, 20 pesos is roughly the equivalent of $1 USD. Many larger businesses will accept credit cards, but Mexico is still primarily a cash economy. 

Several banks allow foreigners to withdraw cash at their ATMs. Banorte and Santander will often have the best exchange rates. Keep this in mind as you're preparing your vacation budget

Take a look at more Mexico travel budget tips here.

Visas and Entry/Exit Requirements

All international travels require a passport to enter Mexico. There are around 99 countries and territories, including the U.S., Canada, and countries in Europe, where nationals of that country do not need a visa for stays of up to 180 days.

All travelers, including travelers from visa-free countries, need to fill out a form, called an FMM, before entering the country. Most inbound flights will provide this form to you before landing. Check the Mexican government website for specific entry requirements.

When flying out of a Mexican city, all passengers must fill out a mandatory health status form. This is a short health questionnaire that you’ll need to complete before going through security. All passengers, whether flying domestic or international, must complete this health status form.

There may be additional health requirements for citizens returning to their home country, such as a COVID-19 test requirement. Check with your airline and country’s travel requirements.

Mexico flag in Mexico City

Health and safety during your 10 day Mexico itinerary

In terms of COVID-19, the government of Mexico issues a color-coded system to alert the COVID status of each state. Green means everything is open as usual. Red means everything is closed, and families need to stay home. 

Check the color status of the state you plan to visit, as the statuses vary by state. The Mexican government currently requires people to wear masks in public places.

In general, there are many parts of Mexico that are perfectly safe for families to travel. Families who are planning a 10 day Mexico itinerary can refer to the Mexico Travel Advisory page on the U.S. State Department website to see which cities are safe for travel. The site lists out states with travel advisories, but also points out destinations that are safe to visit within those states.

Transportation

Getting around the country is relatively easy. Mexico has airports throughout the country. Popular domestic airlines include AeroMexico, AeroMar, Volaris, and VivaAerobus

There is also a fairly extensive bus system. Popular bus companies include ETN and Primera Plus in Central Mexico and ADO in the Yucatán Peninsula. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online. 

If you’re planning on renting a car, you should also purchase insurance along with the rental. For families driving into Mexico with their own car, you will need a Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit (TIP).

Buses in Puerto Escondido

How to prepare for your 10 day Mexico itinerary

When preparing for your 10 day Mexico itinerary, it's important to make sure you have the basic travel essentials. Here are some basic supplies you should buy before your trip:

Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage

Shacke Pak 5 Set Packing Cubes

KEEN Kid's Newport Sandal

Besides buying travel supplies, there are also other ways that you can mentally prepare for your Mexico family vacation. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your kids for a Mexico family travel experience.

Research places in Mexico you want to visit

The Lonely Planet Mexico guide book is a great resource to give you ideas of where to stay and where to eat during your 10 day Mexico itinerary. You can also use the basic phrases section of the guide book to learn a few helpful Spanish phrases.

Buy the Lonely Planet Mexico guide book here.

Include learning opportunities in your 10 day Mexico itinerary

There’s more to Mexico than purely entertainment. The country has a rich history that is worth learning about. Before visiting Mexico, take some time to learn about Mexican history with books.

Here are some great books you can buy to learn about Mexican indigenous history:

The Fifth Sun (Aztec history)

The Maya (Mayan history)

During your time in Mexico, plan to take some workshops or classes such as a Mayan cacao workshop or Mexican cooking class. You can also visit museums that showcase Mexican history and culture.

Don't forget to brush up on some basic Spanish phrases for travel before and during your 10 day Mexico itinerary.

Choose destinations the whole family can enjoy

A successful family vacation is one that every member of the family can enjoy, young or old. There is so much diversity in throughout Mexico. Some regions are mountainous and dry, while others are lush and tropical.

Explore the many regions of Mexico here to get more ideas for your 10 day Mexico itinerary.

As you plan your 10 day Mexico itinerary, choose destinations that the whole family can enjoy. Also remember to include activities that various family members can enjoy as well.

Visiting Uxmal with kids

Four itinerary options for enjoying Mexico with kids

The following 10 day Mexico itinerary options offer different ways to enjoy Mexico with kids. The first itinerary option showcases the best of what Mexico, while the other itinerary options focus on specific regions of Mexico.

Itinerary option 2 highlights Central Mexico, while itinerary option 3 focuses on the Yucatán Peninsula. Itinerary option 4 explores the beaches along the Pacific coast. For all of these 10 day Mexico itinerary options, feel free to mix and match, based on your family's tastes and needs.

10 day Mexico itinerary option #1: Mexico Highlights

This 10 day Mexico itinerary includes highlights of the best parts of Mexico: its vibrant cities, rich culture, and beautiful beaches. 

This itinerary takes travelers through Central Mexico and into the Pacific Coast. Travelers also have a chance to experience the Yucatán Peninsula before returning back to Central Mexico. The best way to get from city to city for this itinerary is either by bus or by airplane.

Day 1-2: Mexico City

Start your 10 day Mexico itinerary by arriving in Mexico City. The capital of Mexico, Mexico City is filled with historic architecture, museums, and cuisine from all over the country.

Spend the first day exploring Mexico City’s sites with an open top bus tour with Turibus. On the second day, head over to El Templo Mayor to see Aztec ruins in the city. Spend the second part of the day visiting Frida Kahlo’s House.

Day 3-4: San Miguel de Allende

Named the best city in the world by Travel + Leisure, San Miguel de Allende is full of beautiful colonial architecture. There are also historic ruins and natural hot springs nearby.

On the first day in San Miguel de Allende, take a walk through Centro and spend some time playing at the park. If you have time, visit the Artisanal Market and end the day at Mercado del Carmen. The next day, choose an excursion to one of the following: El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden, La Gruta Hot Springs Spa, or Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site.

Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in San Miguel de Allende

Day 5-7: Puerto Vallarta

Located along the Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is full of colonial charm, but also possesses a laid-back beach attitude. The city is a good mix of historical and modern elements. It’s also a popular tourist destination for families.

Start your first day in Puerto Vallarta with a walk through Centro and Zona Romántica. In between the two neighborhoods is Isla Cuale Flea Market, which is a great spot for buying artisan souvenirs. 

On day two, take a tour with Ecotours de Mexico to view wild dolphins. Or head out to nearby Yelapa with La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours. On your third day in Puerto Vallarta, take a cooking class with Cookin’ Vallarta, or take an excursion on a pirate ship.

Day 8-9: Playa del Carmen

Skip the craziness of Cancun and explore the laid back beach town of Playa del Carmen. This town has the amenities of a big city without all the traffic or people.

Start your first day in Playa del Carmen with a walk along Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian walkway lined with shops and restaurants. Be sure to walk down to Parque Los Fundadores, near the ferry terminal. On your second day, spend the day at the beach just at the end of Calle 38. End your day with tacos at El Fogón.

Day 10: Mexico City

End your 10 day Mexico itinerary back in Mexico City. Spend the day visiting the city’s many museums and attractions, including the Museum of Chocolate, Museum of Memory and Tolerance, and Kidzania.

Diego Rivera mural in Mexico City

10 day Mexico itinerary option #2: Central Mexico Tour

This itinerary explores the historic cities of Mexico and introduces you to Mexican culture. Visit pre-colonial sites, and also dive deep into Mexican colonial history. During this itinerary, you’ll visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The best way to experience this 10 day Mexico itinerary is to rent a car, so you can go at your own pace from city to city. You can also take a bus from city to city. 

Days 1-3: Mexico City

Mexico City was once the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. On your first day of your 10 day Mexico itinerary, learn about the city’s history at the Museum of Anthropology. Then take a walk through El Templo Mayor, the ruins of one of the main temples of the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan. 

During your second day in Mexico City, continue learning about Aztec culture and history with a trip to Teotihuacán. On your last day in Mexico City, head over to the ancient canals at Xochimilco, built by the Aztecs. You can rent one of the colorful boats to explore canals. At the time of this writing, renting a boat costs 500 pesos per hour.

Days 4-6: Guanajuato

The old silver mining city of Guanajuato holds a strong historical significance to Mexicans, and it’s a great place to visit during your 10 day Mexico itinerary. Guanajuato played a role in the Mexican War of Independence, where many of the indigenous people working as miners rose up against the Spanish in protest.

During your first day in Guanajuato, explore the city’s Centro, including taking the funicular up to the Pípila Statue. Be sure to take a nighttime tour with the Callejoneadas Guanajuato. These musical tours will take you through the alleys of Guanajuato, singing and playing music along the way. 

On your second day in Guanajuato, take an excursion to the Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera. And if you have time, and the stomach for it, visit the Museum of Mummies. The next day, end your time in Guanajuato with a horseback riding tour from Turismo Alternativo de Guanajuato.

The city of Guanajuato

Day 7-9: San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is just an hour and a half away from San Miguel de Allende. Like Guanajuato, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with colorful buildings and colonial architecture.

Start your time in San Miguel de Allende with a tour around Centro and a visit to the Artisanal Market. End your first day at Mercado del Carmen, a food court with cuisine from all around the world. On your second day in San Miguel de Allende, take a San Miguel food tour with Taste of San Miguel. This walking tour will introduce you to cuisines from all around Mexico. Spend your third day in San Miguel de Allende with a visit to the mask museum, toy museum, or relax for the afternoon at Fabrica La Aurora.

Day 10: Mexico City

End your 10 day Mexico itinerary by returning back to Mexico City and exploring more of the city’s museums. Take a visit to Frida Kahlo’s House or the Museum of Chocolate. You can also visit the Museum of Popular Art.

Cacao at the Chocolate Museum in Mexico City

10 day Mexico itinerary option #3: Yucatán Peninsula

Bask in the tropical climate of the Yucatán Peninsula with this 10 day Mexico itinerary. This itinerary takes you through the cities of the Yucatán Peninsula. Explore colonial cities, visit ancient Mayan ruins, swim in cenotes, and relax on the beach in the beautiful coastal towns.

You will need to rent a car to do this itinerary. Drive times between cities will generally be 1-4 hours. The longest distance, from Celestun to Playa del Carmen, Rental cars cost between $40-$70 per day. 

Day 1: Cancun

Start this 10 day Mexico itinerary with beach time in Cancun. This city is one of the most visited cities in Mexico, and is a popular beach destination for tourists. Head to Playa Langosta, a public beach near the hotel zone. The beach has plenty of white sands and blue water. And there is a playground for kids.

Day 2: Valladolid

On your second day, drive to Valladolid, an old colonial city. If you have time, visit the famous Mayan city of Chichen Itza.

Alternatively, you can take a stop at one of the many cenotes outside of Valladolid. After the cenote, drive into Valladolid and take lunch at one of the loncherias in the Mercado de Comida. Then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Centro.

Cathedral in Valladolid

Day 3-4: Mérida

After Valladolid, take a drive to the city of Mérida, the capital city of Yucatán state. Like Valladolid, Mérida is an old colonial town. You’ll find colonial mansions and several plazas surrounding cathedrals scattered throughout the city.

On your first day in Mérida, take a carriage tour of Centro and explore some of the neighborhoods in Mérida. If you have time, take a visit to the Centenario Zoo. The next day, take an excursion to the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal. Be sure to stop by nearby Choco-Story, where you can learn about the history of cocoa and chocolate. 

Day 5: Progreso

On the fifth day of your 10 day Mexico itinerary, head north from Mérida to the beach side town of Progreso. An up and coming cruise port of call, Progreso offers aquamarine waters and plenty of outdoor water activities for families to enjoy.

Start the day with a visit to El Corchito ecological reserve in the morning. In the afternoon head over to the beach. Then enjoy dinner along the Malecón, Progreso’s boardwalk.

Day 6: Celestún

The next day, drive west to the town of Celestún. Visit the Ría Celestún, where you can see flamingos in the wild. These flamingos, and the river itself, get their pink color from the red algae that live in Ría Celestún.

Flamingos in Celestún

Day 7-9: Playa del Carmen

Return back to the eastern side of the Yucatán Peninsula with a visit to Playa del Carmen. Like Cancun, Playa del Carmen is a popular destination for families and tourists. The city is walkable, and filled with restaurants from around Mexico and the world.

On the way to Playa del Carmen, avoid the toll road and drive through the Mayan villages. You can stop at some cenotes along the way. End the day in Playa del Carmen with a walk and dinner along Quinta Avenida. The next day, take the ferry to Cozumel and spend the day at one of the many beach clubs on the island. During your final day in Playa del Carmen, spend the day on the beach at the end of Calle 38.

Day 10: Cancun

Finish off the last day of this 10 day Mexico itinerary with another beach day in Cancun. Spend the day in Playa Delfines, in the southern part of Cancun.

Beach in Cancun

10 day Mexico itinerary option #4: Pacific coast beaches

If your family is all about beach life, take a look at this itinerary that explores the beach towns of the Pacific coast. Enjoy swimming with whale sharks and sea turtles, and try your hand at surfing!

This 10 day Mexico itinerary will require flights to get from one city to another. Each city has an airport and is serviced by the locally owned Mexican airlines.

Day 1-3: Puerto Vallarta

Start this 10 day Mexico itinerary with a visit to Puerto Vallarta. This city played a role in trade among Spain, Mexico, and the Philippines, bringing goods back and forth across the Pacific Ocean. Puerto Vallarta was also a hideout for pirates. 

During your first day in Puerto Vallarta, take a glimpse into the city’s pirate history with the pirate ship excursion and dinner cruise. On your second day in Puerto Vallarta, learn about the marine life of the area with a dolphin tour with Ecotours de Mexico. Spend your third day in Puerto Vallarta with a surfing or paddle board lesson from Xiutla Riders.

Day 4-6: La Paz

Continue on to the city of La Paz, in Baja Sur. During your first day in La Paz, spend an afternoon at the Malecón. You can rent bikes to ride along the boardwalk. On your second day take an excursion to Todos Santos, one of the “Pueblos Magicos” of Mexico. Or visit Cabo San Lucas. 

During your final day in La Paz, take a tour with Todos Santos Eco Adventures. You can take a sailing trip, or a snorkeling trip to see sea lions. During the winter months, you may also be able to see whale sharks. 

Family in La Paz

Day 7-9: Puerto Escondido

After spending time in the northern part of the Pacific Coast, head south to Puerto Escondido. This city is known for its surf, but the city also has calm beaches that are perfect for families. 

During your first day, head to Carizalillo Beach for an afternoon of beach play. In the evening, head to Zicatella Beach to watch the sunset and the surfers, while enjoying a meal at one of the many restaurants along the beach. 

The next day, take a dolphin watching, whale watching, or fishing excursion with Omar’s Sportfishing. On your third day in Puerto Escondido, learn about baby sea turtles and bioluminescent creatures with a tour from Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido.

Day 10: Puerto Vallarta

Return to Puerto Vallarta for the final day of this 10 day Mexico itinerary. Relax with a cooking class from Cookin’ Vallarta. Learn about the wonderful food culture of Mexico, and try your hand at making some traditional dishes.

Boats in Puerto Vallarta

Making family memories during your 10 day Mexico itinerary

The best thing about travel is that the unknown can often lead to the most pleasant surprises. As you experience your 10 day Mexico itinerary, be sure to take some time to try something new and unknown to you. It will certainly make your vacation much more memorable! 

A family vacation to Mexico is a gateway to creating valuable family memories. With these itinerary suggestions, your kids will be talking and reminiscing about your Mexico family vacation for years to come!

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10 Day Mexico Itinerary For Families: 4 Options For The Perfect Mexico Family Vacation | Mexico Family Travel

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Image description: 4 photos from Mexico. Top left corner photo is of a Mexico flag with water in the background. Bottom left corner photo is of a beach with umbrella and beach chairs. Top right corner photo is of a child on a wooden dock above blue water. Bottom right corner photo is of a church in San Miguel de Allende.

Ready to visit Mexico? Take a look at these tips for planning a Mexico family vacation.

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