Family Adventure on the Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan Peninsula separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, and is home to jungles, Mayan ruins, golden coastlines and a plethora of family fun activities. Here, we've put together a wildly exciting luxury family holiday - with a few Original twists along the way.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Visit Chichen Itza at dawn
- Swim in cenote sinkholes
- Have a 'standing on one leg' competition at a flamingo reserve
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When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: International Flight
Today your international flight will leave London mid-morning and arrive at Cancun international airport late afternoon. It's an eleven-hour flight so make sure the children's iPads are fully charged and their Sharky & George fun packs are ready for action!
Once you have cleared customs and collected your bags our representative on the ground will meet you for a private transfer to your hotel in Playa del Carmen, which should take about an hour. The children will no doubt be tired after your day of travelling, so we recommend dinner and an early night before your first adventure tomorrow.
Day 2: Tulum & Coba
This morning you'll be up early for a private guided tour of the Mayan sites at Tulum and Coba. After a private transfer to the Mayan fortress city of Tulum, your expert guide will show you around the site, making sure to keep the kids engaged.
Once an important place in the trade of jade and turquoise, the ruins also show many of the most important styles of Mayan architecture. Once you've had your fill of exploring the ruins on foot, it's time for a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea, where you can admire the structures from below.
After lunch, you will be transferred to the second Mayan site of the day. Cobá is home to some of the best temples and stelae (inscribed columns) in the area, despite the looting that took place when the area was first rediscovered, and your expert guide will show you around the huge site and take you up the 130 steps to the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid - the tallest on the Yucatan Peninsula. When you've seen everything - which may take a while, but again with the emphasis on keeping the information family-friendly - you'll be privately transferred back to your hotel in time for dinner.
Day 3: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
This morning, your expert guide will meet you at your hotel and take the family to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Sian Kaán in Maya means 'origin of the sky', and the marshes and mangroves that make up the reserve are home to over 100 mammal species including jaguars and manatees.
When you arrive at the reserve you will start your exploration on foot, taking a short hike through the jungle to the Muyil Maya temple, before walking along a wooden pathway by the water's edge. The second part of the visit involves a guided boat trip where the family can peer down into a cenote (flooded sinkhole) before jumping in to the water to float along in the lazy current. Don't forget your swimming costume! At the end of the day you will be privately transferred back to your hotel in time for dinner.
Day 4: Playa del Carmen
Today is for more relaxed activities. After a leisurely breakfast, you will be transferred to a catamaran anchored out in the bay.
From here, you will be taken out to sea for a private snorkelling session along the pristine reef system, where you and the children will have the chance to spot all kinds of marine life. After lunch on deck, you will be taken back to your hotel, where you can relax by the pool for the afternoon.
- Rio Secreto Expedition
- Private Snorkelling sailing Catamaran to Isla Mujeres
- Snorkelling or Scuba diving in Mayan Cenote
Day 5: Merida
Today you're moving on the next stop on your luxury family adventure. After breakfast, you will meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a private transfer to your next hotel in Merida.
It's about a four hour trip, so we have broken it up with lunch and a half day city tour in Merida. The tour will take in the historical centre of the city. Your expert guide, who knows how to make things fun for families, will tell you about Merida's history and contemporary importance, as you explore the Zócalo, the cathedral and the Monument of the Homeland, before heading down El Paseo de Montejo, with its grand, colonial buildings.
After the tour you will be privately transferred to your hotel, where we recommend spending some well earned time by/in the pool before dinner.
Day 6: Scavenger Hunt
This morning you will be met at your hotel by your expert guide, before a private transfer to Uxmal. You'll be among the first people to enter the famed Maya ball courts and temples of Uxmal; where your guide will tell you about the achievements and mysterious demise of the Mayan people.
Following your private tour, we have arranged a scavenger hunt for the children to search for a variety of clues that will draw on everything that they have learnt so far about the Yucatan Peninsula. They will need a combination of brains, quick wits, creativity and brawn to find the treasure that has been hidden for them!
Following the scavenger hunt, your guide will drive you to a local restaurant where you will have a typical Yucatan lunch. Afterwards, you will be privately transferred back to your hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 7: Flamingo Spotting
After breakfast, your expert guide will meet you for the one and a half hour private transfer to the Celestún Biosphere Reserve.
Thanks to its protected status, the saltwater lagoon is home to a huge flamboyance (the collective noun - true fact) of flamingos during the winter months. Take a shaded boat ride into the lagoon where, as well as numerous cenotes under the surface of the water, you will see an abundance of flora and fauna which you may recognise from the BBC's Blue Planet, including red mangroves and many types of fish, prawns and alligators, some of which you will hopefully see from the boat. During this two-hour visit, you will also have the chance to swim in the lagoon (not the alligator-y bit, obvs) so don't forget to pack your swimming costume again.
When you've finished exploring, your guide will accompany you on the private transfer back to your hotel.
Day 8: Izamal
After you've checked out of your hotel this morning, you will be privately transferred to the small town of Izamel, where every building is painted yellow and white.
The city was once a Mayan settlement, dedicated to the worship of the top dog Mayan god Itzamná, which might explain why the Spanish Conquistadors built a Franciscan monastery on top of one of the pyramids. After a privately guided tour of the city you will move on to your hotel for the night, right next to Chichen Itza.
Day 9: Chichen Itza
As today is your last day in Mexico, we've arranged something pretty spectacular. You'll need to rouse the children very early because at sunrise you will enjoy a before hours visit to Chichen Itza.
Your expert guide will take you around the ancient Mayan city before it opens to the public, allowing you to explore and soak in the majestic site alone, a truly unforgettable family experience. The 1,500 year old Mayan pyramids are one of the most popular and easily recognised tourist sites in Mexico as well as being one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Built by the Mayan people between the 1000 and 1200 AD, 'El Castillo' served as a temple to the god Kukulkan and is believed to have served as a sort of calendar.
After your visit, you will return to your hotel to relax by the pool until the time comes to wave goodbye to your family adventure on the Yucatan Peninsula as you take a private transfer to Cancun airport for your early evening flight home. The flight is overnight and will take roughly nine and a half hours.
Day 10: London
Arrive back into London early or mid morning.
Ollie is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.