Have a long weekend coming up? Nonstop flights from Funjet mean you can be in Mexico or the Caribbean in just a few hours. We’ll get you to your hotel quick, too, with private transportation. Here are a few of our suggestions for active families looking to get the most out of a weekend getaway to Mexico.
Eco-Adventure in Rivera Maya
Two great resort recommendations here for vacationers who really want to experience the Riviera Maya. There are so many cool activities included in a stay at the Rainforest Alliance-rated Sandos Caracol Eco Resort that it probably deserves a post of its own. This “eco-experience” resort features cenotes, mangrove forests, a native plant nursery and more, all of which you can experience up close and personal. Swimming in the underwater caverns and cenotes, biking through jungle trails, or canoeing along a jungle river, snapping pics during a photo safari of the local wildlife—all of these activities are included in your stay. You can even plant a tree and receive e-mail updates about how it’s doing after you leave.
Our other recommendation is the all-inclusive Occidental at Xcaret Destination, which provides guests with unlimited access to Xcaret Park. Just a five-minute walk from the resort, Xcaret combines a nature preserve with cultural attractions and outdoor activities. You can spend the day exploring the remains of a Mayan village, snorkeling through ancient caves and underwater gardens, watching jaguars, tropical birds and other indigenous species in their natural habitat, then come back to the park after dinner at the resort for nightly spectaculars celebrating the music and history of Mexico.
Even if you’re only in Riviera Maya for a few days, one of those days should be spent at the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Get there early for room to explore before the tour buses arrive around 11 am, then spend the afternoon on the picture-perfect beaches below. There are several beach clubs along the Tulum beach road, otherwise at the end of the Coba road is old Santa Fe Beach, where the locals hang out.
Exploring the Pacific Coast in Vallarta-Nayarit
Two of our favorite family-focused resorts in Vallarta-Nayarit are Hyatt Ziva and Fiesta Americana. The highlight of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is its location on a private cove where the calm, shallow water is perfect for family beach fun. The Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, meanwhile, has a whole floor of suites that can accommodate families with up to 4 kids. These first-floor ocean-view suites include two double beds, a double sofa-bed, private terrace with sundeck, and come with private check-in and an extra hour at the Fiesta Kids Club.
A visit to Vallarta-Nayarit is all about the cultural activities. Puerto Vallarta’s boardwalk, the Malecón, is filled with artists, food vendors, street performers and pleasant views of Banderas Bay. Getting out on the Bay is a must, whether for fishing, whale-watching, or just an evening cruise. There’s a themed pirate ship cruise that includes traditional Indian dances and dinner from the ship’s galley, and ends with fireworks along the Malecón. For couples or families with older kids, a popular excursion is the Rhythms of the Night tour. It starts with cocktails on an evening cruise to Las Caletas cove, followed by dinner under the stars and a torch-lit performance of traditional music, dance and Mayan mythology.
A Quick Escape to Riviera Maya
If you just want to live the resort life for a few nights, the brand-new Royalton Riviera Cancun is only 15 minutes from Cancun airport and is seriously impressive. Although it’s a huge resort with plenty of activities and restaurants, its thoughtful design gives it a comfortable, intimate feel. There’s a water park for kids, a separate Diamond Club section that includes butler service and a VIP beach area, and the Hideaway at Royalton, a “resort-within-a-resort” with an adults-only restaurant, pool, bar and lounge area.
The Royalton is only a few minutes from Puerto Morelos, a fishing village that’s now the home port of many snorkeling, diving and fishing excursions along the Great Mesoamerican Reef. Work up an appetite then head to the luchador-themed La Panza es Primero for lunch or dinner.