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Take the family to Mexico

by Martha Hales

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With a culture that puts great emphasis on the family and a society that dotes on children, Mexico is a top choice for a holiday with the kids in tow. Not only will you receive a warm welcome almost everywhere you go, but you will find there are plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions, too. Here are some of our favourite destinations for your next family trip to Mexico.

 A trio of Mariachi musicians walk down the street in Campeche

Beaches

A bit of a no-brainer, but it's easy to keep children entertained with sand and waves on tap, and beaches are a great way to mitigate the heat, too. Most beachside resort hotels in Mexico are very family oriented, with plenty of activities and facilities designed to keep kids happy and entertained. Buffet style meals are perfect for picky eaters and family rooms keep costs manageable. You may not want to spend all your time in Mexico at a beach resort, but we bet your kids probably will!

The white sand and turquoise water of Huatulco Beach in Mexico

Maya sites

Many of Mexico's famous Maya sites can be comprehensively explored, with few limits on which areas are accessible to the public. Clambering up Maya pyramids or running freely through ancient jungle-clad ruins has a unique appeal, and is usually a hit with adults and kids alike. Even the more restricted sites such as Chichén Itzá, where many monuments are not to be climbed on, offer a child-friendly experience. Take a guided tour to discover the secrets of the ancient Maya civilization complete with gory and bloodthirsty details most kids will relish. Coba is one of the best sites for freestyle exploration and you can hire bikes cheaply at the site to explore the jungle-clad ruins by pedal power.

An ancient Maya temple at Mexico's Chichén Itzá archaeological site

Mexico City

The capital is often overlooked by families as sprawling, busy cities are not always much fun with kids in tow, but actually Mexico City has a huge range of great attractions that will keep the whole family entertained for days. Kick off your city adventure with a trip to the amazing aquarium, a truly impressive example teeming with fish such as piranhas and rays, not to mention the odd crocodile. There is a dedicated kids' museum in Mexico City, too, the Museo del Niño, packed full of hands on exhibits and perfect for primary age children to explore. The National Anthropology Museum is a great hit with young and old alike and contains plenty of interest for kids of all ages. Add parks, plazas and a boat trip on the waterways of Xochimilco Gardens and Mexico City is a sure fire family hit.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City

Cenotes

Cool, shady and idyllic, cenotes are freshwater sinkholes created by the collapse of limestone caverns. They are essentially exposed underground pools of clean, clear water, and were once revered by the Maya as sacred wells. Cenotes are found all over the Yucatán Peninsula and make the perfect places for splashing around on a hot day. Some are more popular or more easily accessible than others - for quieter cenotes just ask our local experts who will point you in the right direction.

The crystal clear waters of the Ik Kil cenote in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Mérida

This lively city is a great place to base yourself for a few days of child-friendly cultural immersion. It's a city of one million so it's quite a large urban area, but most of the interest for families lies within the relatively compact old town at its heart. As well as spacious plazas and parks, the real appeal of Mérida derives from the cultural entertainment the city lays on most evenings for free in the Plaza Grande with the intention of strengthening the Maya culture, reinforcing its importance and educating visitors about some of the ancient traditions. Aim to be here at the weekend for the impressive ball games on Saturday evening, followed by live music and pop-up food stands on Sundays when the central streets are closed to traffic and you can cycle the city centre safely with your kids.

The centre of Mérida in Mexico

Jungle adventures

Zip wires are a favourite, adrenaline-fuelled way to see the jungle at close quarters, and there are several options you could factor in to your itinerary to keep thrill seeking kids happy. Dotted all over the country are adventure parks complete with exciting distractions as canopy walkways, zipline trails, cable cars, adventure playgrounds and climbing walls. The jungle also offers some excellent wildlife spotting opportunities, with spider monkeys, iguanas, coatis, ocelots, and especially birds such as the beautiful quetzal to look out for.

A girl zipwires across a cenote in the rainforest in Mexico

Make it happen

Mexico has so much going for it if you are travelling as a family, not least the enthusiasm held by local people for your niños. Get in touch with our local experts and find out their ideas for your family. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call +44 (0)117 325 7898.

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