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15 Best Things to do in Playa del Carmen with Kids

Are you planning a trip to Playa del Carmen with your kids and looking for some fun family activities? Look no further!

Just one hour south of Cancun, Playa del Carmen is a laid-back beach town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. It is a great destination for families.

From building sandcastles on the beach to one-of-a-kind eco theme parks to exploring ancient Mayan ruins, Playa del Carmen offers both adventurous and relaxing activities for the entire family.

Read on to discover the 15 best things to do in Playa del Carmen with kids whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teenagers.

Best Things to Do with Kids Playa del Carmen

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Best Playa del Carmen Activities for Families

It’s pretty easy to get to Playa del Carmen from the Cancun airport. It will take just over an hour to reach it, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Here are 15 of the best things to do with kids during a Playa del Carmen family vacation:

1. Have a family beach day

When visiting a tropical beach destination like Playa del Carmen with kids, spending time on the beach is a must! Families can spend the day building sandcastles, splashing in the waves, or enjoying a picnic lunch.

If you’re not staying at a beachfront resort, you can choose from a variety of beach clubs in downtown Playa del Carmen. Many offer a day pass and have lounge chairs, umbrellas, and waiter service for food and drinks. Or, you can simply grab a spot on the public beach and enjoy the warm Caribbean water and white sand.

Coco Beach Playa del Carmen
Coco Beach- Playa del Carmen

Punta Esmeralda is one of the most family-friendly Playa del Carmen public beaches. It has a beautiful beach and shallow natural pools for little kids to swim safely. This is a locals beach so you won’t find many other tourists there!

Additionally, Coco Beach adjacent to the Reef Coco Beach Resort is another great option for families. It has a relaxed beachfront area and far fewer crowds.

2. Visit Xcaret Park

Offering over 50 different activities, Xcaret is a unique eco-park that offers a combination of adventure, culture, and nature experiences for the whole family. With great accessibility for strollers, the park is suitable for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages.

Xcaret Park Playa del Carmen with kids

Families can swim in underground rivers, snorkel with tropical fish in an aquatic playground, or see a variety of wildlife like jaguars, tropical birds, butterflies, sea turtles, stingrays, manatees, and pink flamingos in tropical forests.

Xcaret eco-park also offers cultural experiences such as a Mayan village replica, traditional Mexican dance performances, and a horse exhibition. Plus, the nightly Xcaret Mexico Espectacular cultural production is a true highlight for all ages!

3. Make a splash at Xel-Ha Park

Xel-Ha Park is Riviera Maya’s largest natural water park, offering a unique eco-adventure experience for the whole family.

Kids can explore natural lagoons and inlets by swimming, snorkeling, or floating down a lazy river on an inner tube. Plus, there are water zip lines and ropes courses for the more adventurous little ones!

Xel Ha Park Cancun Mexico

The park’s most iconic activity is the Scenic Lighthouse. This is a 131-foot high structure where you can climb to the top for a scenic lookout point or descend down on one of its four spiral water slides.

Plus, parents can enjoy an open bar and relaxing lounge areas while kids play and explore.

Note: There is no age limit at Xel-Ha. but kids must be at least 3.5 feet tall to go on the water slides.


4. Trek through underground caves at Rio Secreto

Located just south of Playa del Carmen, the Rio Secreto underground river offers a unique caving adventure for families.

Both kids and parents can explore thousands of years old stalactites and stalagmites while wading through crystal clear waters.

Rio Secreto Underwater Caves Cancun

Kids ages 4 and up can explore an underground cave system with natural rock formations, and swim in crystal clear pools as they journey through this hidden gem in the Riviera Maya jungle.

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5. Visit the 3D Museum of Wonders

In the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen, the 3-D Museum of Wonders offers a fun and interactive indoor experience for kids.

Brought to Playa del Carmen by Illusion Inventor Kurt Wenner, the museum is one of the largest 3D museums in the world with optical illusions and unique artwork displays.

Kids can wander around the museum immersing themselves directly into the artwork while taking fun and creative photos and learning about visual perception.

6. Challenge your senses at Xenses Park

Xenses Park offers a one-of-a-kind adventure for the whole family. Here you will challenge your senses and perception with unique sensory activities.

Xenses park Mexico

The entire park is filled with sensory deceptions and challenges, such as optical illusions, hands-on exhibits, interactive activities, and funny photo opportunities. And the charming streetscapes of the Town are designed to make your head spin!

Plus, kids will love the more adventurous activities like the Bird Flight zipline, the Slip high-speed water slide, and the salt and mud river floats.


7. Spend the day at Jungala Water Park

Located at Vidanta Resorts, Jungala is a brand-new water park offering extreme water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and splash pads for kids of all ages.

Younger kids can enjoy the park’s Rain Fortress and Kids Water Slide Complex, offering a variety of water activities and playgrounds.

There are also relaxing lounge areas and private cabanas for parents to enjoy while keeping an eye on the kids.

8. Go ziplining at Xplor Park

Perfect for families with older children, Xplor Park offers thrilling adventure activities in Playa del Carmen like ziplining, driving amphibious vehicles, and swimming in underground stalactite rivers.

The ziplines at Xplor are the highest you will find in Riviera Maya! Some even end with a splash into a cenote. If you fear heights, this probably isn’t the best place to visit!

Xplor Park Riviera Maya with kids

Kids must be at least 5 years old and meet a minimum weight requirement for the ziplines.  However, kids can still ride tandem with an adult if they are below the minimum weight.

9. Swim in a freshwater cenote

Unique to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, cenotes are natural sinkholes filled with freshwater. They are often surrounded by stunning rock formations.

Visiting a cenote is one of the most unique outdoor activities in Playa del Carmen, perfect for children.  Kids can cool off and explore these natural wonders, with several cenotes located just a short drive from Playa del Carmen. 

Cenote Azul Playa del Carmen

Cenote Azul (Blue Cenote) is one of the most family-friendly cenotes near Playa del Carmen with shallow water and open swimming areas.  For more adventurous kids, some cenotes even offer cliff jumping and overwater zip lines.

If you want a cenote tour, we recommend booking Xenotes. You will cliff jump into a cenote, kayak through one, and swim in a cave cenote. This is one adventure your family will love.

10. Stroll down the lively 5th Avenue

A pedestrian-only street that spans more than 20 blocks, Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue (“La Quinta Avenida”) is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers like Spiderman and the Mask.

Kids will love the vibrant atmosphere and music as they explore the avenue. And there are also plenty of ice cream shops and kid-friendly restaurants to refuel during your stroll.

Parque Fundadores at the start of Fifth Avenue is a great place to watch the native Papantla performers. In addition, the Calle Corazon shopping center in the middle of 5th Avenue offers a two-story slide and fun photo ops for kids and families.

11. Visit ancient Mayan ruins

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is home to ancient Mayan ruins, and many are just a short drive from Playa del Carmen.

The closest ruins are the Tulum Ruins. Visitors can explore the ancient Mayan city perched atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. There is also a beach at the ruins, perfect for kids to cool off after a day of exploring history and learning about Mayan culture.

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins day trip Playa del Carmen

Chichén Itzá is one of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico. This UNESCO World Heritage site is also just a two-hour drive from Playa del Carmen.

Guided tours of Chichen Itza are available to learn about the site’s impressive structures such as the main Kukulcan pyramid, the Observatory, and the Ball Court.

Other nearby (and less well-known) ruins include the Coba Ruins, the Muyil Ruins, and the Chacchoben Ruins. These can be visited on a day trip by tour or rental car.

12. Go on a snorkeling tour

Playa del Carmen’s location on the Caribbean Sea means there are plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and seeing marine life.

Many snorkeling tours are available where you can swim with sea turtles, spot colorful tropical fish, and see a variety of underwater life.

El Cielo Snorkeling
El Cielo Snorkeling

Some of the most popular snorkeling spots near Playa del Carmen are El Cielo in Cozumel, Akumal Beach, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres.

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Snorkeling excursions are best suited for older kids who are confident swimmers. For younger kids, we recommend going out in a glass bottom or transparent boat.


13. Go under the sea on the Submarine Expedition in Cozumel

Just a 45-minute ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen, the island of Cozumel offers a unique Atlantis submarine expedition for kids and families to explore the underwater world without getting wet.

Kids and adults alike can get up close views of colorful coral reefs and tropical fish from the comfort and safety of a real submarine!

On the Cozumel Submarine Expedition, you’ll descend up to 100 feet beneath the sea getting to see sunken ships and vertical drops from the submarine’s portholes and viewports.

14. Try standup paddleboarding

Standup paddleboarding is one of the best Playa del Carmen activities for families to try, with calm waters in Playa del Carmen along the coastline.

Kids can even hop on board with parents or try their hand at paddling on their own. Plus, it’s a great way to see the beautiful turquoise waters of Playa del Carmen from a different perspective.

One of the best places to go standup paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen is Aloha Paddle Club, which offers group sessions, as well as private lessons.

15. Get an adrenaline rush at Xavage Adventure Park

As the newest Xcaret theme park, Xavage Park offers the most adrenaline-pumping Playa del Carmen activities. 

Xavage Park Riviera Maya Mexico eco park

At Xavage, kids and families can participate in thrilling activities such as a multi-level ropes course, monster trucks, a Superman-style zipline, white water rafting, kayaking, and a high-speed jet boat experience.

Since the activities are more extreme, the park is best suited for older kids who aren’t afraid of heights and enjoy adventurous activities.

Visiting Playa del Carmen with Kids: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Playa del Carmen with kids:

Is Playa del Carmen a good place for families?

Playa del Carmen is a great place for families, offering a variety of fun family-friendly activities, including cenote exploring, ziplining, visiting Mayan ruins, and more.

And with its beautiful beaches and warm weather year-round, it’s a great (and affordable) destination for a family beach vacation.

What is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen with kids?

The best time to visit Playa del Carmen with kids is during the peak season from December to April, when the weather is warm and dry. Christmas break or spring break are popular times for families to visit.

playa del Carmen with kids

However, it’s important to note that this is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit. The summer months (May to November) offer lower prices and smaller crowds, but there may be occasional rain showers.

Are there family-friendly hotels in Playa del Carmen?

Yes, there are plenty of Playa del Carmen kid-friendly hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Mexico that offer amenities such as kids’ clubs, family suites, and children’s pools and water parks.

Some popular options include Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Paradisus Playa del Carmen, and Hotel Xcaret Mexico. There’s even a brand-new Nickelodeon Riviera Maya Resort just north of Playa del Carmen!

Is it safe to bring kids to Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is generally a safe destination for families, but it’s important to follow common safety precautions. We recommend not staying out late at night and being aware of your surroundings. Petty theft is not uncommon in Mexico so keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.

It’s no secret that drug-related crime does exist in Playa del Carmen, but it is usually not aimed at tourists and usually occurs in more isolated areas. Most families spend the majority of their vacation at their resort or in the main tourist areas, where they are unlikely to encounter any dangerous situations.

Conclusion: Things to Do in Playa del Carmen with Kids

Overall, Playa del Carmen is a fun destination for families to visit and enjoy all that the town has to offer while also getting to experience the natural beauty of the region. 

From snorkeling tours to ziplining through the jungle, there are plenty of Playa del Carmen kids’ activities for everyone in the family to enjoy.

And with many Playa del Carmen all-inclusive family resorts, it’s easy to plan the perfect stress-free vacation for your family.

If you’re planning to visit Playa del Carmen with children, there will be no shortage of fun things to do. We have no doubt your family will have an unforgettable vacation!

About the Author: Allison Sicking is a travel blogger with a passion for Spanish and a love of Latin America travel. She created the travel blog Viva La Travelista after moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to empower others to travel safely and confidently in Spanish-speaking countries. Follow her blog to find out how to travel Mexico like a local with her insider travel tips!