Top 15 Things to Do in Cancun with Kids || 2021 Family-Fun!
Your kids will forever remember their family vacation in Cancun.
This tropical slice of paradise can be a kid’s dream vacation!
Cancun boasts many of the best activities for kids in the WORLD.
The majority come at family-friendly affordable prices. 🙂 Win!
The only problem is with SO much choice, you may be wondering:
- where do I start?
- what’s suited to toddlers, teens and everyone in between?
Discover the answers to all your questions and more right here… 😀
Top 15 Fun Things to Do With Kids in Canun
- Captain Hook Dinner Cruise
- Ventura Park Water Park
- Discover Cancun’s Best Shopping Malls
- Explore Cancun’s Best Beaches
- Cancun’s Interactive Aquarium
- El Rey Mayan Ruins + Cancun’s Museum
- Parque Las Palapas (outdoor Family-Friendly Park)
- Isla Mujeres (an island just of Cancun’s coast)
- Day Pass to Another Kid-Friendly Hotel
- Fun Catamaran Tour
- Plaza Las Americas (cinema and shopping)
- Xcaret Nature Park
- Xoximilco Dinner Fiesta
- Chichen Itza by Night
For your ease I’ve split this blog into 2 parts:
Because when you’ve got little ones who don’t sit still for long a 30 min journey to an activity might not be at the top of your to-do list on vacay.
Best Things to Do Within Cancun’s Hotel Zone
From Captain Hook pirate experiences to waterslides at Ventura Park, colourful Aquariums and more, find out what’s really worth your hard-earned cash and what kind of bang you’ll be getting for your buck!
1. Captain Hook Dinner Cruise
$-$$ | Fun for the whole family but best suited to kids aged 6-12 | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
Do your kids have a fascination with Pirates? Look no further.
This is the ultimate jolly roger experience!
Immersive experiences don’t get any more real than this!
Once you’ve made your way to the pier (within the hotel zone the adventure begins when you board either the eye-popping El Bucanero or El Galleon!
These impressive ships are exact replicas of 18-century galleon vessels!
93 feet in length they have been specially adapted and upgraded to feature modern amenities such as a kitchen, lighting, and state-of-art sound systems.
Your kids will feel like they are travelling back in time!
Canons will fire and you’ll be plunged into the rhythm of old pirate life.
Watch entertaining pirate antics, play swashbuckling games, and take center stage on the dancefloor!
Once you’ve all worked up an appetite you’ll enjoy a delicious meal of either lobster, chicken, steak, or Surf & Turf (a dinner fit for a pirate), accompanied with cooked vegetables, salad, baked potato, rice, and dessert.
Captain Hook himself will then share his famous backstory of how he came to claim the Caribbean ocean.
Before your return, an enemy ship will approach, and you’ll witness the ensuing battle between the two boats, complete with dramatic sword fights.
Bonuses for the adults:
- You will be able to admire views of the Nichpte Lagoon and Mexican coastline.
- Witness an epic sunset. As the sun sets amidst an explosion of tropical hues in the sky your adventure upon the seas just begins.
You will spend around 3 hours at sea and it is oodles of fun for the whole family.
Watch the video:
Things we LOVE about Captain Hook’s Dinner Cruise:
- Open-bar for adults.
- The different games and activities for children.
- The Surf n Turf dinner option!
$| Fun for the whole family but best suited to kids aged 4+ | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
If your kids love to get wet and wild in a waterpark Ventura Park was MADE for them.
The best part for me is the bang for the buck you get here!
You’ll have access to 6 entirely different worlds all on the same grounds.
The best part about this attraction is that it is within the hotel zone of Cancun, so if you’re staying in the city you won’t have to travel far to access it.
We all know what it’s like travelling with children no one wants to waste time on vacation being cooped up in a warm transfer van.
Not only that, Ventura Park is home to the only major waterslide attraction in the region kids can zip line, swim with dolphins, go-kart, ride a roller-coaster, and enjoy state of the art games like Laser Tag (think bumper carts meets lasers), plus much much more.
The value for money at this attraction is insane so if you’re hoping for a full day of different activities but don’t want to pay big bucks for the whole family this is the attraction for you!
It’s important that you plan your day here accordingly as many of the attractions don’t permit entry unless you and the children are completely dry.
Therefore I would recommend doing the water activities last, after all, they are the perfect way to cool off!
Things we LOVE about Ventura Park:
- An awesome range of waterslides!
- The zip line adventures at AaahVentura.
- Oceanfront go-karting track.
3. Go Shopping
$-$$$ | All ages but best suited to older kids/teens | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
If your kids love to shop then experience the malls of the hotel zone are a must.
Plus, it’s FREE…unless you buy something of course. Which you will 😉 because there are so many beautiful things on offer for great prices.
Sending your kids back home empty-handed without a souvenir for their bestie is not cool.
The best malls in the hotel zone include:
La Isla Cancun Shopping Village
A bustling, open-air shopping complex with clothing stores, restaurants & a Ferris wheel
What’s not to love?
This place has a unique village feel and is definitely worth a visit.
Click for directions.
Perfect if you get a rainy day on vacay because this mall is enclosed.
Set around a large atrium with a fountain & elaborate Mayan stained-glass dome it’s a pleasure to experience.
Click for directions
Things we LOVE about Shopping in Cancun’s Hotel Zone:
- Both indoor and outdoor options.
- Close proximity to all the main hotels.
- Perfect place to shop for presents for people back home.
4. Hit the Beach
Free | All ages | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
One of the main reasons you probably chose Cancun for your next vacation was because of the beaches, right?
They are sublime.
Of course, there are many amazing beaches outside of Cancun too, so for adventurous families reading this who want to explore the very best of the region let me know in the comments section below and I’ll point you in the right direction.
If you look up at the map of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, you’ll see it has the shape of the number 7.
The top of the 7 is the “North Side”.
On the North Side, you’ll find that…
- There are fewer people here so privacy is better (ideal for couples)
- The waters are much calmer (perfect for children)
- There may be fewer activities like snorkelling or diving
The long part of the 7 is the “Caribbean Side”.
On the Caribbean Side, you’ll find that…
- The water is typically more turquoise and aesthetically pleasing (perfect for strolling down the beach)
- The waves & currents can be much stronger (can be better for activities but dangerous for swimming if extremely strong)
- There are more people and thus more activities available (bigger crowds, but more things to do)
11 public beaches found in Cancun’s Hotel Zone:
- Playa Ballenas
- Playa Caracol/Las Palmas
- Chad Mool
- Gaviota Azul
- Las Perlas
- Punta Nizuc
A personal favorite of mine is undoubtedly Playa Delfines which translates to “Dolphin Beach”.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sun with your family, if you’re really lucky you may even get the chance to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Many people spot them from the shore when they are sunbathing but if you would prefer to get a little more up close and personal with the dolphins there are providers on the beach offering boat trips.
Things we LOVE about Playa Delfines:
- How quiet it is.
- Lifeguard patrols.
- Kid-friendly/ gentle waves.
- No hotels in the immediate vicinity.
5. Interactive Aquarium Cancun
$ Cheap! | Fun for the whole family | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
Open from 9.00 am-8.00 pm Monday to Sunday a visit to this aquarium will leave your kids wowed with wonder for the natural world.
Have fun admiring the fisheries and learning about the different species with your family.
There are even the options to pay extra to do fun activities such as the Aquarium Trek where you can swim with the fish while feeding them. We would definitely recommend it!
We should note that you can also swim with dolphins here although as a business this is not something we actively promote due to the moral implications of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity.
Instead, your kids can enjoy educational videos and documentaries on the local marine life in the cinema screening area.
Plus, there’s an iPad area for the little ones where they can play interactive games that promote the care of marine life.
Things we LOVE about Interactive Aquarium Cancun:
- Activities cater to kids of all ages – there is something for everyone
- Educational yet fun!
- Cheap and affordable pricing.
6. El Rey Ruins + Museo Maya de Cancun
$ Cheap! | Best suited to kids ages 6+ | Cancun’s Hotel Zone
Mexico is celebrated for its rich history and culture.
While you’re here it would be criminal of you not to immerse yourself in the country’s enchanting Mayan secrets.
You don’t have to trek with your kids all the way to Chichen Itza or Tulum to get your slice of the action, for just a few dollars you can visit some of the greatest wonders of the world right here in Cancun.
You don’t even need to leave the hotel zone!
Both cost just 50 pesos to visit which is the equivalent of $2. Bargain!
That’s not all, for just $4 you can also visit Museo Maya de Cancun where you can find an extensive collection of Mayan artifacts.
It’s the perfect rainy day activity, here you will also have access to the San Miguelito ruins included in the price. These ruins are located onsite at the Museum.
Things we LOVE about El Rey Ruins + Museo Maya de Cancun:
- Great rainy day activity.
- Educational and fascinating for kids interested in history.
- Located within the hotel zone.
The Best Things to Do in Cancun Just Outside of The Hotel Zone
Now for the best things, you’ll find just a short distance from the hotel zone but still close enough to be included in this list! 🙂
7. Parque Las Palapas
FREE | All ages | Cancun – 5 mins from the Hotel Zone
Get a taste of local life in Cancun by visiting the lovely Parque Las Palapas.
This public area boasts ample seating, a variety of different stalls offering up delicious and cheap snacks, plus live entertainment.
The best news of all? It’s completely free to visit.
Recently renovated it’s the ideal spot for families to hang out together. I’d recommend getting there in the afternoon and staying for the beautiful sunset.
You can enjoy local delicacies such as corn on the cob, fried plantains, and quesadillas. You won’t spend a lot of money here but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on delicious flavors.
Foodies will never want to leave.
Kids can enjoy games like soccer while adults can browse local stalls selling handicrafts.
Live musicians often perform here so if you’re lucky you will also get your dose of free entertainment.
Things we LOVE about Parque Las Palapas:
- It’s FREE!
- Cheap food.
- Live entertainment.
8. Isla Mujeres
$$ | Best suited to kids aged 6+ | 1.5 hours from Cancun Hotel Zone (mainly by boat)
Plunge yourself into the true rhythm of the tropics by putting yourself on island time!
Vacations are all about escapism!
Isla Mujeres literally translated as “Women’s Island” is the ultimate chance to disconnect from the chaos and monotony of your everyday life and spend time with the people you truly love most.
In Cancun, you have the privilege of being close to the pier of Puerto Juarez, just a few minutes from downtown Cancun.
From here you can catch the Ultramar ferry which leaves every half hour from 5.00 am until 9.00 pm taking around 15 minutes and costs $4 each way.
For more inspiration of what to do when you get there be sure to check out my 1-day guide to Isla Mujeres, I wrote it especially for you and your family. 🙂
I would highly recommend hiring a golf cart for minimal cost and exploring every inch of the island, your kids will love it!
There’s even ziplining!
If you don’t want to go it alone we do actually offer day tours to the island, to learn more click here.
Things we LOVE about Isla Mujeres:
- The chilled-out island vibe.
- Golf carts
9. Day Pass to Another Hotel with More Activities
$$ | Kids of all ages | Cancun/Riviera Maya
If you’re staying in Cancun for over a week mix things up a bit and make use of the amenities and activities at other hotels.
Did you know you can access a 5* luxury hotel and utilize all of their facilities and activities for just a fraction of the price?
Travelling with kids sometimes means that you have to compromise on luxury hotels for something a little more doable, especially in high season.
Day passes to other hotels range between $1,000 pesos to around $2,000 pesos equivalent to $56 – $113 USD.
For this price, you can be treated like royalty and make use of facilities you may have ordinarily missed out on.
Read more about hotel day passes here.
Things we LOVE about day passes:
- If the beach at your hotel is not looking so great or you’re just a bit bored of it you can enjoy a different stretch at a new hotel for the day.
- More food options (variety is the spice of life)!
- Different activities for the kids to enjoy.
- Good value for money.
10. Catamaran Tour
$$ | All ages but kids over age 5 will get the most out of it | Cancun > Isla Mujeres and back
While in Cancun set sail on a family-friendly catamaran.
This full-day tour will take you from Cancun across to Isla Mujeres.
You’ll have fun aboard the catamaran listening to music and enjoying lunch, before exploring the charming island of Isla Mujeres.
Your expert sailors will take you to a beautiful spot where you can snorkel a portion of the world’s second-longest barrier reef: the Mesoamerican Reef.
Once your snorkel adventure comes to an end after 30 mins, you will head across to Isla Mujeres.
You’ll be greeted by the smiling staff at the local beach club, where you’ll be able to take in some drinks, lounge around on the white sand beach, swim in the bay and take in a typical lunch buffet.
You will have some free time on the island to do as you please. Adults even have the option of adding an open bar for an additional $15 pp.
Things we LOVE about the Catamaran tour:
- The catamaran experience.
- Open-bar option.
11. Plaza Las Americas
FREE | All ages | 10 mins from Cancun’s Hotel Zone
When you plan to come to Mexico you plan for sun, sea, and sand. Am I right?
However, like everywhere in the world the weather is subject to change. If you are visiting during the rainy season which starts from June till October it’s possible that you may experience some rain.
That’s why it is always good to come with a plan B. Keeping kids entertained in the rain is no easy feat, believe me.
However, the modern Las Americas Mall in Cancun is large enough to keep the whole family entertained and allows the kids to burn off some energy.
At Plaza Las Americas you will find a food court, movie theater (though kid-friendly movies are usually only in Spanish, with English subtitles), and an arcade where kids can play.
If you have smaller kids who don’t particularly like walking there are these things called ‘Zooriders’ where they can scoot around on a stuffed animal.
Things we LOVE about Plaza Las Americas:
- Movie Theatre
- Food Court
$$ Great bang for buck | Kids aged 8+ | 30 – 40 mins from Cancun
Selvatica is the ultimate outdoor adventure for you and the kids!
Although it’s not technically in Cancun it’s not far and worth the roundtrip (transport is included with your ticket).
Voted #1 best thing to do in the region on TripAdvisor several years in a row.
I should note that children have to be at least 8 years old to participate in this tour.
It is suitable for older kids who like to keep active.
Selvatica offers a range of full-day and half-day tours that you can check out on our website, so depending on your schedule and budget you can choose the right one for you and your kids.
Selvatica is famed for its innovative range of different zip lines, state-of-the-art off-road Polaris ATVs, and a beautiful onsite cenote.
The 5 types of zip line include:
- Tarzania – AKA the human rollercoaster.
- Superflight – fly like a superhero headfirst through the jungle.
- Glove Control – control your own speed with your hand.
- Upside Down – fly upside down through the air for an even more thrilling experience.
- Cenote Splash – make a splash as you enter the cenote from the air.
Things we LOVE about Selvatica:
- The different range of zip lines
- Cenote Selvatica
- Off-Road Polaris experience
$$ | Kids of all ages | 30-40 mins from Cancun
Kids of all ages can have the time of their life at Xcaret park.
We guarantee you’ve never seen or experienced anything like it before!
For kids 0-12 check out the “Children’s World” at Xcaret…
Children’s World is a special place for kids under 12 years of age, with children’s activities to experience great adventures at Xcaret, Mexico’s Majestic Paradise.
Your children will spend hours of fun, with water slides, tunnels, and hanging bridges, as well as climbing nets, obstacles, and labyrinths surrounded by nature. The most exciting activities for kids are here!
Whether for splashing around or for a refreshing swim, the crystal-clear waters of the natural cenote oasis are a delight.
For children under six years old, there’s also a wading pool, a sandbox, and water jets exclusive for them.
At Children’s World, there is a rest area for you, from where you can keep an eye on your children as they come down from the slides, swim in the wading pool, and have fun in the sandbox and at the end of the Secret Adventure.
For older kids, they can enjoy the main park, lazy rivers and so much more.
Because there is so much going on at his park we recommend speaking to our team to ensure you pick the right choice for you and your family.
Call us now on 888-537-9797.
Don’t forget to read our top 5 tips before visiting Xcaret park here.
Things we LOVE about Xcaret:
- The lazy river
- Wildlife and nature
- Endless activities tailored to kids of all ages
$$ | Best suited to older children in their mid-teens and older | 10 mins from Cancun’s hotel zone
When your kids are at that in-between stage it can often be difficult knowing what activities are too young for them or too old.
Xoximilco dinner cruise is the perfect solution.
Xoximilco invites guests into a beautiful space that enchants from your first contact with the park.
Friendly hosts welcome you to enjoy live music played on tequila bottles while you drink fresh juice or lemonade while waiting to board your colourful boat.
Styled after the world-famous area of Mexico City known as Xochimilco, a place where colourful, wooden Gondola-style trajineras (or boats) transport visitors down tranquil channels, the Xoximilco Dinner Cruise takes its guests on a similar fantastical float.
Each boat is decorated in an array of colour and motifs that pay tribute to Mexican folk art and is named after a state of the Republic. Seating up to 20 people per trajinera, including gondolier and entertaining guide.
As you float down the fiesta-filled channels under the stars, you’ll have the opportunity to experience stations and boats of live musicians treating you to an array of Mexico’s rich and diverse folk music traditions. Of course, you’ll also be treated to drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic alike, with which to raise a hand in a toast while you shout, ¡Salud! Cheers!
Food will also be served on the Xoximilco Tour, and this is one of the biggest treats of the evening. From grasshoppers and Oaxaca cheese to shrimp in tamarind paste to cochinita pibil (a type of pulled pork typical of the region) and delicious Mexican treats, the food itself is as amazing..
You’ll end your night with a joining of the boats for more music, drinks, and of course dancing as you shout Salud! and Viva Mexico! to all of your newfound friends.
What a fiesta!
Things we LOVE about Xcaret:
- Educational aspect
- Dancing and music
- Great food!
15. Chichen Itza by Night
$$ | Best suited to older children 8+ | 2 hours from Cancun’s Hotel Zone
How many people at your kid’s school can say that they ticked off one of the wonders of the world?
Your kids can on your next trip to Cancun.
Although it is 2 hours away from Cancun’s Hotel Zone when you’re in a comfortable coach on a guided tour, it’s all worth it – trust me.
Chichen Itza by day is one thing but at night…it’s a whole other story.
You’ll get to witness the spectacular light and sound show at Chichen Itza!
When night falls journey back in time to learn about how these Mayan Ruins came to be.
Skip the line and journey around the site familiarising yourself with each particular structure.
Perhaps the most impressive is the iconic Kukulkan Pyramid, a colossal structure boasting 365 steps representative of each day in the solar year.
Imagine yourself wandering through a thriving Mayan city amid the Temple of Warriors, as you gain a fascinating insight into this extinct empire.
You’ll be offered a welcome drink, and will also get to taste some delicious Mexican delicacies.
As the sun makes its dramatic descent into the horizon take your seat for the spectacular light and sound show.
The performance uses advances mapping projection techniques that illuminate the 1,500-year-old Kukulkan pyramid.
Prepare to be blown away.
Things we LOVE about Chichen Itza by night:
- Tick off a wonder of the world
- Spectacular light and sound show to rival Disney
- Educational aspect for your kids
Get Discounts on Everything!
By ticking off two or three of these activities during your next trip we guarantee you will make memories that last a lifetime!
We, PlayaDelCarmen.Com, are a team of travel agents based here in Mexico!
Our team understands the importance of keeping kids entertained on vacation (many of us have children of our own).
Need our advice on figuring out which activities are the best for you and your family?
Get in touch today or leave us a comment in the section below, we would be happy to help.