The 5 most kid-friendly places in Mexico

From its postcard-perfect beaches to its pre-Columbian archeological sites, there are so many reasons for families to vacation in Mexico – and so many unique things to do.

Does your kid dream of becoming a marine biologist? Try a family snorkeling trip in Puerto Morelos or watch humpback and gray whales from a tour boat in Los Cabos. For future Indiana Joneses, there’s Merida with its Mayan ruins.

Plus, with its delicious cuisine, vibrant culture and kid-friendly mega resortsMexico deserves a spot on your list of family vacation ideas.

Here are our five favorite Mexico vacation spots for families:

1. Merida: Best place to for exploring Mayan ruins

The famed Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, pictured here, and Uxmal are easily visited as day trips from Merida.

The Spanish colonial architecture in Merida is as colorful as a box of crayons and the city’s tree-lined Plaza Grande is its vibrant heart. Each Sunday, the sound of mariachi and marimba bands attract visitors to the Merida en Domingo festivities. Streets are closed to traffic during this cherished Sunday tradition of music, dance and merriment.

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Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is close to one of the world’s largest Mayan populations and their legacy can be explored at the interactive El Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya. A rich collection of artifacts and high-tech multimedia exhibits help to weave the past into the present. The famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal are easily visited as day trips from Merida, along with many other lesser-known archeological sites of interest.

The Lucas de Galvez Market is a joyfully chaotic ode to Mexican commerce. Vendors sell everything from precious crafts to dime store souvenirs. Street food was practically invented in Mexico and you’ll find plenty of zesty options to nibble as well.

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Begin your Yucatan journey in the cultural capital of Merida.  An active life revolves around the town square and its crown jewel Merida Cathedral, one of the oldest in the Americas.  The thriving city center with its grand central plaza surrounded by quaint narrow streets is the perfect locale to delve into the Yucatan.

The weather in Merida can be steamy. thankfully, deep sinkholes called cenotes dot the city’s outskirts, presenting refreshing swimming options. For a seaside day trip, the beaches of Progreso are under an hour away.

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Best place for families to stay in Merida: Walking distance from Merida’s top attractions, El Palacito Secreto is a luxury boutique hotel that welcomes all ages. A gorgeous pool, bountiful breakfast and shady interior gardens make it a great choice for families.

2. Los Cabos: Best place for marine life viewing

At the southernmost tip of Baja California, Los Cabos includes the cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, plus the tourist corridor that runs between the two. With a dramatic shoreline, sapphire-colored water and cruise-fueled tourist infrastructure, it’s no wonder this area is considered one of the best places to visit in Mexico for families.

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Cabo’s beaches have remained relatively unspoiled even as tourism has mushroomed. And while many beaches here are not suitable for swimming due to rough surf and strong undertow, families can head to popular Medano Beach, where the gentle water is safe and the soft sand feels great on bare feet.

Visit Los Cabos between December and March and you may catch a glimpse of humpback and gray whales playing in the warm water.

Los Cabos is a migratory stop for Pacific whales, some who come to birth their calves in the warm water. Whale watching season usually peaks from late December until late March, drawing animal lovers from across the globe. Book a boat tour from one of numerous local companies and you’re likely to see humpback and gray whales frolicking, plus schools of mothers and their adorable calves.