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Cancun to Playa del Camen - Family Vacations with Tropical Fun. Cancun Family Beach Time Mexico’s Costa Maya edges the dramatically beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. Anchored by Cancun and Playa del Carmen, with resorts, night life and shopping, the area encompasses miles of white, powdery sand beaches, aquamarine water, and luscious sunshine. Just a few minutes from the energizing resort area families will find unique cultural activities, earth friendly adventures, and Mayan ruins.
 
Rent a car if you wish or just take advantage of day tours from your hotel. The tourist corridor runs with remarkable efficiency. Signing is useful and frequent and most people speak English as well as Spanish. Go for the beaches, sunshine, spa time, and entertainment. Stay for the fun.
 
Jump in a jeep. Joe’s Jeep Adventures is a great way to explore the area in and around Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Each tour includes a fully-insured Hummer that seats up to four people, fuel, an experienced adventure guide, tour and entry into Ruinas del Rey (or the Kings Ruins), and swimming and snorkeling in an underground cenote. Additionally, the tour takes families to an authentic Mexican town, a petting zoo, and there’s a chance to try out zip lining. Bonus Points: Children under the age of 4 are free. Tours depart from in front of the Starbucks Coffee shop inside La Isla Shopping Mall in the hotel zone of Cancun, located on Boulevard Kukulcán Kilometer marker 13.5 on the lagoon side of the strip. (+52 (998) 898-3999 or www.jeepadventures.com.mx
 
Splash into eco adventure. Xcaret is an Eco Adventure park located near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and features a subterranean river in which people can swim and snorkel, recreational activities at the beach, snorkeling, Sea Trek and Snuba, swimming with dolphins, a coral reef aquarium turtle nesting site, a manatee area, a bird pavilion, butterfly pavilion, bat cave, orchids and bromeliad greenhouse, an island of jaguars and many other attractions. Xcaret is an all day excursion that concludes with an evening cultural program worth the trip. Editor's Note: We learned from our excursions and at Ixcaret that eco friendly sun screen products are the only ones approved for use. Also check out:Xcaret Eco Adventure Parks with Toucans and parrots Xel-Ha is located on an inlet which is a natural aquarium, home to hundreds of species, from tropical fish to abundant indigenous flora. There is also a turtle reserve, a private lagoon for snorkeling and swimming, and a variety of other aquatic activities including swimming with dolphins and scuba diving. Xcaret and Xel-Ha have teamed together to offer visitors a combination package – Xel-Ha’s All Inclusive and Xcaret Plus rolled into a two-park one ticket deal, the Xperience Passport. Bonus Points: With the Xperience Passport snorkeling gear, towels, lockers and a choice of a buffet meal in one of five delicious restaurants is included.  Xel-Ha – Highway Chetumal-Pto. Juárez, Km. 240 local 1 y 2 módulo B. Xel-Há, Quintana (Roo. +52 (998) 884 71 65 or www.xelha.com and Xcaret – Highway Pto. Juárez - Chetumal km 282 Solidaridad, Quintana Roo. +54 (984) 871-5200 5200 www.xcaret.com)

Touch a turtle. The Cancun Interactive Aquarium allows families to take a peek at the depths to discover marine plant life, admire all kinds of colored fish, seahorses, jelly-fish medusas, sharks, sea turtles and even some piranhas. The aquarium is designed to be interactive to help people understand the importance of each one of the species and their role in the delicate natural balance of their eco-system. Visitors will get the unique experience of feeding the rays and turtles and touching sea cucumbers and sea stars. Bonus Points: For families looking to amp up the adrenaline can opt to dive into the sharks’ tank in a safety cage and get up face-to-face with sharks, and even feed them. For a less toothy experience, families can opt to check out the only dolphin show in Cancun, and even swim with dolphins, interacting with them and getting to see their strength and skills first hand. (Plaza La Isla, Blvd. Kukulcán, located on Boulevard Kulkulcan Kilometer marker 12.5. +52 (998) 883 1773 or www.aquariumcancun.com.mx)

Explore Isla Mujeres. Gray Line offers a great Isla Mujeres Fun Day cruise, complete with a kids club, making it a fantastic family excursion. The tour starts off with a 45-minute cruise from Cancun to beautiful Isla Mujeres. Upon arrival at the private beach club there are several options for visitors: snorkeling, kayaking, bicycling, shopping, beach sports and the all important rest and relaxation. The escorted bike tour explores the southern tip of the island, including the breathtaking views from the El Garrafon National Park Lighthouse and the Mayan Observatory. Isla Mujere SnorkelingThe kayak tour snakes along the western coast of Isla Mujeres – it’s a great and unique way to explore the nature of the island and sea. Every day at the beach resort, different activities such as beach volleyball, aquatic volleyball, soccer, basketball and badminton will be organized. Depending on the day of the tour, different special activities are also planned, such as salsa dancing or cooking classes. For families looking to simply kick back and relax, there are copious amounts of hammocks, shaded palapas (palm tree huts), beach lounge chairs, and both playing cards and dominoes are available. Shopaholics will get the chance to visit downtown Isla Mujeres in the late afternoon on a guided “shopping tour,” before the tour sets sail back to Cancun. Bonus Points: The Kids Club, staffed with highly qualified professionals, allows parents to engage in any of the tours main activities while having the assurance that their child is being cared for. From a water slide and inflatable mini-boats to swings, crayons, blocks and other interactive activities, children from the ages of 4-9 are sure to enjoy it. (Check-in terminal at Playa Tortugas. Toll-free 1-800-235-4079, 1-866-953-4091 or www.grayline.com

Go under the Sea. Families with kids of all ages (no age limits) will love the SubSee Explorer, which offers a unique way to see the bottom of the sea – without ever getting wet. The SubSee voyage begins with a boat ride through the mangrove jungle of the lagoon before arriving at the reef and boarding the SubSee Explorer. Air-conditioning and bilingual guides makes the experience a comforting and relaxing one, with the guides pointing out things of particular interest and significance. Cancun is known for its amazing coral reef, as well as for its many species of fish and marine life. Bonus Points:  The SubSee tour departs every hour and includes lunch  and they offer a combination package with Paradise Snorkel which gives you unlimited snorkeling after the SubSee submarine ride. (Toll-free 1-877-730-4054 or www.aquaworld.com.mx)
 
Information researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images courtesy of Xcaret and CancunTravel. Copyright 2017.
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