Mexico’s iconic culture—sugar skulls, colourful skirts, mariachi music, and regional cuisine from ceviche to tacos—offers something for any visitor to fall in love with. Scratch the surface of this diverse and historic land, however, and you’ll find plenty of hidden treasures and activities that you didn’t even know were there—and best of all, it appeals to the entire family. Travelling with children can be daunting, whether they’re young enough to require constant attention or old enough to roll their eyes at “family time,” so we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite attractions in this culture-rich country, so you can begin planning the Mexican holiday of your dreams.
There are plenty of alluring sites for outdoorsy types of any age. Marvel at the Mayan ruins outside of Cancun, where you and your family can feel over 3000 years of history come to life in the buildings, temples, and agriculture of these legendary people. If you’re in Mexico City, explore Chapultepec Park—it contains over 680 hectares of green space in the heart of the city. For the more adventurous, there are more beaches, national parks, rivers, and gardens than you could hope to explore in a lifetime.
We particularly love the family-friendly fun available at the Barranca de Oblatos, a forested gorge that you can visit from Guadelajara; you’ll find historic sites from the Spanish Conquest as well as untouched wilderness. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy Mexico’s famous sunshine and scenic landscapes with your family.
Mascota, Jalisco © Christian Frausto Bernal
Get up close and personal with the wildlife
No matter where you are in Mexico, from the waterfronts of the Yucatan and Quintana Roo to the forests of Jalisco and the steep slopes of the Sierra Madre, you’re sure to encounter flora and fauna you won’t find elsewhere. Coatis, parrots, and a rainbow of butterflies… wherever you look, there are wild and beautiful creatures that will entrance both you and your children.
You can make the most of this abundance at local petting zoos, larger zoos, and working farms; we love the Vallarta Zoo for its abundance of animal species, including a tiger area.
If you’re more independently-minded, you can gaze at local wildlife while doing a mangrove cruise, or from the hiking trails that travel through the eight cooperative communities of Los Pueblos Mancomunados in Oaxaca. There’s plenty to point out along the way, as you trek through farms filled with local plants and animals.
Travelling with young ones doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when Mexico’s cities have done such a wonderful job of creating family-friendly museums to keep everyone entertained. Mexico City is home to an exciting childrens’ museum, the Papalote Museo del Niño. Housing an IMAX theatre, as well as plenty of well-trained staff and hands-on activities, it has enough to do that you could even spend an entire day here—leaving the little one’s tired enough, perhaps, for the adults to enjoy a quiet dinner afterwards!
If you’re heading to Baja California for your holiday, the Museo Interactivo Sol del Niño in Mexicali offers plenty to do, from science exhibitions to technology programmes and environmental attractions, to teach the whole family about this region’s unique ecology.
Dive into history
Chichen Itza, near Cancun, is world-renowned for its Mayan archaeological sites, but there are plenty of other spots worth exploring with the family. Consider the Riviera Maya, where this ancient people left a fortress city in Tulum, and today you can climb the 130-foot-high pyramid, Nohuch Mul, in Coba.
Yaxchilán, Building 33 © Arian Zwegers
Yaxchilan is a lesser-known archaeological site located in the state of Chiapas, where you can explore the ruins of ancient buildings and see how people lived as long ago as 600 BC. Your kids will love feeling as though they’ve stepped right into a school textbook—but with much more beautiful colours, and the excitement of climbing over the historic stones themselves.
There’s plenty to love about Mexico, no matter your age—but if you’re travelling with the whole family, it’s especially brilliant for sightseeing that doesn’t leave the youngest explorers overwhelmed, or the grown-ups bored. Find your own magical Mexican holiday, and make memories that you’re all sure to keep for a lifetime.