Mexico Family Travel

12 Memorable Cancun Activities for Families to Book Today

August 10, 2021
Astrid Vinje

Cancun, Mexico is a dream vacation spot! With stunning beaches and plenty of Cancun activities for families to choose from, it’s the perfect destination for spending a family vacation. 

Located in the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico, Cancun has long been a favorite getaway spot for families. And it’s not hard to see why. Families can choose from a variety of things to do in Cancun with kids, whether it’s exploring the Mayan jungle, swimming in the ocean, or experiencing ancient ruins.

Read on to learn about some amazing ideas for things to do in Cancun with kids.


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This post was co-written by Alexis Van Buren

Exploring the jungle near Cancun

Table of Contents

Basic Cancun information

Before booking your Cancun activities for families, it’s helpful to know some basic Cancun information beforehand. Cancun is a great jumping off point for a Yucatán itinerary. Or you focus your vacation time on exploring more of this tourism-focused city of over 880,000 people.

The best time to visit Cancun is between the months of December to April. This is when the weather is the least hot and humid, allowing you to enjoy your Cancun activities for kids without being too hot or letting the rain spoil your vacation.

While Cancun has had its share of violence due to drug trafficking, the city is relatively safe for families visiting Mexico, as the violence is not targeted towards tourists. Some ways that families can stay safe during their family activities in Cancun is to avoid staying out too late at night, avoid flashing expensive items around, and staying in areas that have other people around. 

For more ideas for your Mexican vacation itinerary, click here.

An early morning walk in the jungles near Cancun

Getting to and from Cancun

Families have several options for getting to and from Cancun. The city has an international airport that services over 12 million travelers per year.

Airlines that fly from international locations into Cancun include Air Canada, Air France, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, LATAM Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airways, and United Airlines. Domestic airlines include Aeromexico, MAYAir, VivaAerobús, and Volaris.

There are taxis at the airport that can take you to your hotel. Or you may be able to book a shuttle through your hotel. Alternatively, you can use Uber to get you where you want to go.

Another option to get to your family activities in Cancun from out of town is to take a bus. ADO has buses from locations like Valladolid and Mérida. If you’re coming from closer cities like Playa del Carmen or Tulum, you can hire a private car and driver to take you to your Cancun activities for families.

An airplane flying over the hotel zone in Cancun, taking passengers to Cancun activities for families
Airplane taking travelers to Cancun activities for families

Getting to your Cancun family activities 

Many of the things to do in Cancun with kids are spread out throughout the city. The best way to get to your Cancun family activities is by renting a car. You can book a car through Avis, Budget, or other car rental companies in Mexico.

Use this link to rent your car through Avis. Or book your car rental through Budget with this link.

If you have a USA driver’s license, you won’t need an international driver permit (IDP) to get to your Cancun activities for families. However, nationals from other countries may need to get an IDP before coming to Cancun in order to drive legally in Mexico.

Driving around to your Cancun family activities is relatively easy, but be sure to understand some of the rules of the road. Mexicans drive on the right side of the roads. Cancun has some roundabouts that you’ll need to carefully merge in and out of. 

There is street parking in Cancun, but you may have to pay. You can also find some parking lots, called estacionamiento, where you can pay for parking.

Take a look at this post about driving in Mexico from Mexperience for more tips.

Transportation for Cancun activities for families

The best family hotel Cancun options to choose from

Most families consider Cancun’s hotel zone as the best place to stay in Cancun with family. This area is located along a beachfront strip to the east of the city and has several all-inclusive resorts. Many of these resorts also have their own Cancun activities for families that you can book directly with the resort.

If you’re looking for ideas of where to stay in Cancun that’s closer to all the things to do in Cancun with kids, you can find many hotels in the El Centro neighborhood. Some of the best family hotel Cancun options can also be found in La Isla, just south of the hotel zone.

Here are some of the best family hotel Cancun options according to Expedia:

JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa (Hotel Zone)

Hotel Bonampak (El Centro)

The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort (La Isla)

An aerial shot of Cancun's hotel zone, where travelers like to rest after doing Cancun activities for families
The hotel zone in Cancun

Money and costs for family activities in Cancun

Mexico uses the peso as their currency. The exchange rate fluctuates from day to day. But you can generally calculate 20 pesos for every $1 USD when booking your family activities in Cancun.

Credit cards and debit cards are generally accepted at hotels, grocery stores, and most restaurants. You can also pay for most of your Cancun activities for families with credit or debit cards.

However, keep in mind that many Mexican small businesses still only accept cash. Major banks like Santander, HSBC, and Banorte have ATMs for withdrawing money. You will be charged a bank fee for withdrawals.

The costs for family activities in Cancun range from $20-$30 per person to $100-$200 per person. It depends on the type of things to do in Cancun with kids that you plan on doing. Other costs to consider include food and meals, as well as transportation to your family activities in Cancun.

Take a look at this post for tips on budgeting for Cancun activities for families in Mexico.

Mexican pesos in various denominations for Cancun activities for families
Mexican pesos for Cancun activities for families

Choosing our picks for the best Cancun activities for families to book

Cancun is well-known for being a beach destination. You can even find beach clubs in nearby cities like Tulum and Playa del Carmen. But there’s more to Cancun and it’s environs than just beaches.

When choosing our picks for what to do in Cancun with kids, we wanted to make sure they were fun, safe, and educational for kids. Fortunately, many of the best family activities in Cancun fit that bill!

We scoured sites like Viator to find the best things to do in Cancun with family. And we also drew from our own experiences of traveling in Cancun to recommend our favorite things to do in Cancun with kids. 

The city is a great destination for families. And you will certainly not run out of ideas for what to do in Cancun with kids. Read on to see what Cancun activities for families you should book for your trip.

Cancun activities for families on the water

Best heart-pumping adventure tours Cancun options

Cancun is not just about beaches. There are plenty of options for adventure tours in Cancun you can choose from. 

Whether it’s zip lining through the jungle or galloping on horseback, these Cancun activities for families get your hearts pumping and your adrenaline going. Take a look at these fun adventure tours Cancun experiences to try for your next trip to Cancun.

Palm trees in Cancun

1. Take a zip line tour through the Mayan jungle

If you’re looking for fun and adventurous Cancun activities for families, ziplining through the Mexican jungle is something you can do in Cancun with kids. 

This family-friendly activity, operated by Selvatica, offers different excursions for all types of ages.  Families can zip-line jungle trees, ride ATVs, or swim in a cenote.

This activity is great for kids 6 years or older. There are guides on the tour to help with the kids’ safety depending on the kids age and comfortability.

The duration for this excursion is five hours. This excursion includes a hotel pickup that can be arranged when you make the reservation. From the Cancun area, the car ride takes about 37 minutes.

Be sure to wear shoes and clothing that you are okay with getting wet. Or you can bring an extra change of clothes for after swimming in the gorgeous cenote.

Cameras and phones for taking photos are not allowed on the tour. There is a photographer on the tour, and the photos are available to purchase at the end of the tour. Fortunately, this makes your experience more immersive. You won’t have to worry about fumbling with your phone to take photos as you're zipping through the Mayan Jungle.

Book this fun zipline tour: Selvetica Adventure Park

Enjoying Cancun activities for families in the jungle

2. Horseback riding in Cancun

About 20 minutes outside of Playa del Carmen, Rancho Bonanza offers an easy tour on horseback through the jungle. It’s a perfect option if you prefer low key, yet still adventurous, Cancun activities for families.

The minimum age requirement for this tour is 8 years old. This tour offers free round trip shuttle service from Cancun. And you can choose a departure time that is convenient for you.

The tour includes a 1 hour and 20 minute horseback ride. There is also a 15 minute break to get off horseback and enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna found in the Mayan Jungle. The horses on the ranch are rehabilitated and retrained rescue horses.

Since you will be on horseback through the jungle, bring insect repellent, a camera, long pants, and closed shoes or sneakers. You can also bring a swimsuit for a nice swim in a cenote to finish off the tour.

The ranch has a great learning activity for families to learn the history behind the making of mayan bubble gum. Local artisans use materials found in the surrounding forest.

Book this horseback riding in Cancun tour here: Horseback Riding and Cenote Swim

Curious about other horseback riding experiences in Mexico? Read about horseback riding to see monarch butterflies here.

An iguana near Playacar, Mexico

Water activities in Cancun to do with kids

If adrenaline is not your thing, take a look at some of the water activities in Cancun, Mexico that families can try. Many of the best Cancun tours involve the water! 

Water lovers will enjoy all the snorkeling-based Cancun activities for families and the opportunity to see whale sharks. They can also enjoy a relaxing catamaran ride. Other unique water activities in Cancun, Mexico include swimming in a cenote.

Take a look at our top picks for water activities in Cancun.

Snorkelers taking part in Cancun activities for families near Cozumel

3. Enjoy some Cancun snorkeling tours

If you are in the mood for water activities in Cancun try out this tour by Total Snorkel Cancun. According to Viator, it’s one of the best snorkeling tours in Cancun.

This family-friendly tour is perfect for swimmers with little or no experience. The minimum age for this tour is 7 years old. The Cancun activities for families offered by Total Snorkel Cancun includes free hotel pickup and drop off from any hotel in Cancun.

During this 3.5 hour Cancun snorkeling tour, you’ll explore Cancun's coral reefs, swim with sea turtles, discover underwater statues, and visit an underwater shipwreck. There is a short safety brief to learn how to wear the equipment and cover other useful tips to enjoy this water activity in Cancun to the fullest.

The tour takes you through 4 different areas to snorkel: El Meco coral reef, El Meco reef snorkeling statues, swimming with sea turtles in their natural habitat, and an underwater shipwreck. 

El Meco coral reef is one of the popular coral reefs in Cancun. The underwater statues nearby are known as the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA). These statues were created using a technique to allow coral to colonize, thrive, and attract marine wildlife to live off the coral.

Book your Cancun snorkeling tours here: Reef and Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour

Snorkeling, one of the many fun Cancun activities for families

4. Don’t miss out on some whale shark tours Cancun experiences

If you’re looking for Cancun activities for families that let you swim in the Yucatán waters with marine life, the Whale sharks Cancun tour by Eco colors tours is the one for your family. This tour is the most popular tour on Viator for families. It gives families a special experience of being close to the local fauna and species.

This Cancun whale shark tour is more of an ecotourism tour with guides, and is recommended for kids aged 8 and older. Families can learn about the whale sharks that travel to this region in Cancun. Whale sharks are classified as endangered so you will not want to miss an activity like this one. 

Be prepared to go out into the middle of the ocean.  These unforgettable eco tours Cancun experiences take you out to the whale shark reserve to snorkel and swim along with massive whale sharks. Be sure to request life vests for you and your family during your whale shark tours Cancun experience.

Book your whale shark tours Cancun activities here: Small-Group Eco Friendly Whale Sharks Tour

A whale shark in the water

5. Take some tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres in a catamaran

If you’re looking for more luxurious Cancun activities for families, try a catamaran tour. You will have an amazing experience as this tour offers a wonderful day of sailing to Isla Mujeres.

You’ll need to be at least 8 years old to enjoy these particular catamaran tours Cancun, Mexico experience. 

During these tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, you’ll get to snorkel in Cancun's Carribean waters. The beautiful clear water is perfect for seeing the surrounding coral reefs and fish. 

Then you will be guided onto the island of Isla Mujeres. This place has a great relaxing atmosphere and is great for families that love the beach. Lunch on the island is Included in the day.

Book your tours from Cancun to Isla Mujeres by catamaran here: Isla Mujeres All Inclusive Luxury Catamaran & Snorkel

Cancun activities for families on a catamaran

6. Take a Cancun cenotes tour with your kids

If your family is in the mood for experiencing cenote tours from Cancun try out the Coba Ruins and cenote tour operated by Absolute Adventure. 

This family-friendly private Cancun cenotes tour is great for all ages. The tour lasts 7-8 hours, so be prepared for a long day of fun.

This Cancun cenotes tour is a combination of culture and exploring some of Cancun's natural cenotes. The entry fee for the ruins is included in the price of the tour. Also included is lunch, so it's perfect for families not knowing where to eat during your activity.

In addition to swimming during these cenote tours from Cancun, you’ll also have a full day of climbing the ruins of the ancient Mayan site of Coba. The Coba pyramid is one of the tallest pyramids in the Yucatan with 120 steps on the main pyramid and it's the only pyramid you can climb.

The top of the pyramid is a great place to catch amazing views of the lush Yucatan jungle. It’s certainly one of the more beautiful Cancun activities for families!

After you're done climbing and taking awesome photos on top of the Coba Pyramids, you will be off to cool down by snorkeling in a cenote. You can choose between two cenotes, Choo Ha and Tamcach-Ha.

Book this Cancun cenotes tour for your family: Coba Ruins and Cenote Private Tour

Want more water-based Cancun activities for families? Take an excursion to Cozumel.

Swimming in a cenote

On land things to do with kids in Cancun

If water-based Cancun activities for families are not ideal for your family, take a look at the things to do with kids in Cancun on land.

Families can take their pick from food tours and cooking classes. They can also enjoy a visit to Xcaret. And of course, there are a number of ruins to visit and learn about Mayan history and culture.

Families have a variety of options for things to do with kids in Cancun!

Mexican food

7. Eat your way around Cancun

One of the best ways to experience the best culinary delights in Cancun is to attend a food tour. It’s also a great all ages option as you can do many food tours in Cancun with kids.

Cancun food tours are a nice way to experience authentic Mexican food in a short amount of time. These Cancun activities for families will please all the foodies (and maybe some picky eaters too!) who want to try out a variety of  local food. 

During the Cancun food tour, you will visit four locations. And since each location draws big crowds, there’s no wait time or standing in line for food, a reserved table will be waiting for you. This is especially helpful if you’re doing these tours in Cancun with kids!

To make your experience more than just eating, your fun and informative guide will explain the tradition behind the dishes while you chow down. It's certainly one of the more delicious Cancun activities for families!

Book your food tours in Cancun with kids here: Cancun Street Food, Street Art & Local Market Day Tour

Dive deeper into Yucatecan cuisine by exploring the city of Merida.

Salbutes, a staple of Yucatecan cuisine

8. Enjoy things to do in Cancun with children at Xcaret

Xcaret Eco Park is by far one of the most exciting things to do in Cancun with children. Xcaret is located just outside of Playa del Carmen. The expansive park has trails, attractions, ruins, beaches, and cenotes. But the main focus is the eco conservation park. 

The simplest way to get to Xcaret from Cancun is to buy a transportation package. Take note that child prices vary for children depending on their height.

Xcaret has a large portion of animal attractions that help breed the natural animal habitats in the Yucatan region. This park is great for kids that love animals, aquariums, and marine life. There is also a variety of tropical birds and bright colored parrots in their bird sanctuary. 

When planning your Cancun activities for families at Xcaret, be sure to set aside a full day at the park. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure out where to go while visiting Xcaret, so plan ahead. If you want to see all the attractions you will need two days.

For families looking for more water-based things to do in Cancun with children, Xcarat has an underground river, where you can swim, snorkel, and float. At the moment, this is only one activity that this waterpark in Cancun has to offer.

You can book your Xcaret admission ticket ahead of time here: Xcaret Park Admission Ticket with Underground River Activities Included

Birds at Xcaret, one of the must-do Cancun activities for families

9. Enjoy Chichén Itzá tours from Cancun

Chichén Itzá is an archaeological site in Yucatan and one of the most visited locations in Mexico due to it being so close to Cancun. It’s classified as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Chichén Itzá tours from Cancun offered by Sat Mexico Corporation include hotel pickup and skip-the-line privileges. The drive to the ruins is about 2 hours from Cancun. 

Expert guides explain the wonders of this marvelous archeological zone and make it fun and educational for families with kids. If you’re visiting El Castillo in March or September during the equinoxes, you might be in for a visual treat. On these two days, the sunlight casts a shadow on the steps, creating the effect of a snake going down the staircase of the pyramids steps. 

To make your Chichén Itzá tours from Cancun more adventurous, take a swim in the ancient cenote of Saamal. After a refreshing swim in the Cenote, a buffet lunch is provided and the tour continues to Valladolid to get a glimpse of authentic Mexico. 

Valladolid is a beautiful colonial city in Mexico, with colorful architecture and historic streets. Learning about the city’s history is an easy educational option for parents looking for learning-based Cancun activities for families.

Book your Chichén Itzá tours from Cancun here: Chichen Itza, Cenote & Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour

Visiting Chichén Itzá for educational Cancun activities for families

10. Learn about Mayan history with a Tulum tour from Cancun

Another easy way to learn more about Mayan history is by taking Tulum tours from Cancun. You can take a guided Tulum tour from Cancun with Sat Mexico Corporation.  

This tour will take you to the most stunning archaeological site in Tulum. It’s a fort with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea, and a good excursion option for Cancun activities for families.

Included in this Tulum tour from Cancun is a visit to the Kin Ha Cenote. This is an underground cenote in which you can have a fun day of swimming. Be sure to bring your swimsuit, and request a life vest if your kids are not strong swimmers.

Book your Tulum tour from Cancun here: Tulum and Cenotes Tour

Amazing Cancun activities for families in Tulum

11. Experience more Mayan tours from Cancun

For families looking for educational things to do in Cancun, Mexico with kids, spend the day visiting the Coba ruins. You can visit this Mayan site with the Mayan tours from Cancun offered by Alltournative. 

These unique cultural-based Cancun activities for families are great to do with kids. If your kids are 6 years old and older you will have a much easier experience. If you are worried you won't make it to the top of the pyramid  there is a handy rope that can assist you in climbing to the very top of the pyramid.

These Mayan tours from Cancun include a full day of touring the Coba ruins. You’ll also get a great history lesson on the pyramids and ruins, including Nohoch Mul, a pyramid located in a remote location in the Yucatan jungle.

These Mayan tours from Cancun definitely take you a bit off the beaten path. They’re great if you want to explore something other than the city.

Book your Mayan tours from Cancun here: Full-day tour to Coba and Maya Village

Experience Cancun activities for families at the Coba Ruins

12. Experience Cancun activities for kids with a fun cooking class

If you’re looking for family things to do in Cancun, Mexico, a cooking class is a nice way to experience the city through food. Food is a great way to get to know a culture and community. 

These food-based Cancun activities for kids and families are offered by Cancun Food tours. During the tour, you will be able to visit the local market in Cancun to gather the ingredients for the dishes you are making.

The chef guides you through picking the freshest ingredients in the market for your dish. These Cancun activities for families will have you start thinking like a local chef in no time!

These Cancun activities for kids are a nice way for families to feel like locals. You will have the experience of cooking a home cooked meal with recipes by local chefs.

Book your cooking-based Cancun activities for kids here: Mexican Cooking Class and Local Market Ingredients Selection

Click here to learn more about the amazing destinations in the Yucatán peninsula.

Ingredients for a Mexican cooking class

Making memories with your Cancun activities for families

Visiting Cancun, Mexico is the perfect vacation idea for families. There are so many Cancun activities for families to pack into your itinerary, you certainly won’t run out of things to do on your vacation.

To make the most of your Cancun vacation, choose the Cancun activities for kids that suit your family the best. You don’t have to feel pressure to do it all. This just gives you an excuse to come back to Cancun for more!

Have you visited Cancun with your kids? Head over to our Facebook page and share your pictures of your favorite Cancun activities for families.

12 Memorable Cancun Activities For Families To Book Today | Mexico Family Travel |

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Want to explore more beach destinations in Mexico? Take a look at our post about Puerto Vallarta!

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