The Best Riviera Maya Family Vacations

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Have you ever wondered if Riviera Maya truly lives up to its reputation as a top destination for family vacations? Well, the allure of this Mexican paradise extends beyond its picturesque beaches and luxurious resorts. Families are drawn to Riviera Maya for many reasons, but one stands out as a must-experience attraction that caters to all ages. Today, we will explore some of our favorite places to stay and highlight some exciting activities around the area. Additionally, given its proximity, we’ll take a closer look at a property in Cancun. Are you curious about the secret ingredient that makes Riviera Maya a family favorite?

Sandos Cancun Beach - Riviera Maya family vacations

Is it Better to Go to Cancun or Riviera Maya?

I know that we are talking about Riviera Maya family vacations but many people want to know whether they should visit Cancun or the Riviera Maya. Choosing between Cancun and the Riviera Maya depends on your vacation preferences. Cancun boasts a vibrant nightlife, a bustling hotel zone, and diverse entertainment options, making it ideal for those seeking an energetic atmosphere with plenty of activities.

On the other hand, the Riviera Maya, which stretches along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, offers a more laid-back and natural setting. It’s famous for its stunning white sand beaches with beautiful palm trees, and crystal-clear calm waters. There are abundant opportunities for eco-tourism and outdoor activities.

The Riviera Maya is also home to several ancient Mayan ruins, such as Tulum and Coba, which add a cultural dimension to your visit.

Riviera Maya boasts an array of family-friendly activities, including water parks and all-inclusive family resorts with kids’ clubs.  You will also find opportunities to explore ancient Mayan ruins scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. The region’s focus on providing enriching experiences for visitors of all ages makes it one of the best destinations for family vacations. Whether it’s splashing in a water park, learning about Mayan history, or simply enjoying crystal-clear waters, Riviera Maya guarantees a memorable and enjoyable family getaway.

If you are looking for Riviera Maya family vacations, we recommend Riviera Maya as it has some of the best family-friendly resorts. Keep reading as we will mention some of our favorites.

Is it Expensive to Go to Riviera Maya?

Comparing the vacation expenses between Cancun and Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya typically offers a range of accommodation options catering to different budgets, making it a relatively affordable destination for travelers. When planning whole family vacations to Riviera Maya, you can find various options, from luxurious all-inclusive resorts with kids clubs for young children and beach bars in Playa del Carmen to more budget-friendly hotel rooms with a small swimming pool and no water slides near the beautiful Mayan ruins.

The inclusive Riviera Maya resorts often provide excellent value for families, offering entertainment, dining, and activities all within the package. While some luxury resorts may come at a higher price point, plenty of mid-range and budget-friendly choices still offer fantastic amenities and a great time. With all-inclusive accommodations available, you can better manage your expenses, knowing that meals, drinks, and entertainment are covered. We love staying at all-inclusive resorts, and we are about to blow your mind with a beautiful, eco-friendly luxury property that is also eco-friendly on the wallet. 

Overall, Riviera Maya offers a diverse range of options to suit different budgets, making it a favorable choice for families seeking an enjoyable yet cost-effective vacation.

Is it Safe to Visit Riviera Maya?

For travelers considering a visit to Riviera Maya, the safety of the destination is a top priority. As a family-friendly location known for its pristine white-sand beaches and a wide range of activities and attractions, Riviera Maya offers a secure environment for visitors. The security measures in place provide peace of mind for families seeking both relaxation and adventure.

During my stay in Riviera Maya, I found that the security and privacy of tourists are well-maintained, allowing us to enjoy the beautiful surroundings without worry. The area’s focus on safety enhances the overall experience, making it an ideal choice for family vacations. Exploring the various attractions and engaging in activities along the coast felt secure and enjoyable.

Sandos Caracol Boat Ride

What to Pack for Riviera Maya

What is there to Do in Riviera Maya?

The Riviera Maya offers a multitude of activities to suit every traveler’s desires. To begin your adventure, explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza. From history to nature, dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. Discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life through snorkeling and scuba diving excursions.

For those seeking adrenaline-fueled thrills, embark on jungle adventures.  You’ll find yourself zip-lining through the canopy or exploring underground rivers in the region’s lush jungles. Transitioning to relaxation, unwind on pristine white-sand beaches. You’ll be basking in the sun’s warmth and enjoying refreshing dips in the turquoise waters. Transitioning to culinary delights, indulge in beachfront restaurants, savoring fresh seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine.

As the day winds down, immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of Playa del Carmen or Tulum.  Lively bars and clubs pulse with energy until the early hours. With its blend of ancient wonders, natural beauty, and vibrant culture, the Riviera Maya promises an unforgettable experience.

Still need more things to do? Here’s a more comprehensive list:

  1. Explore Mayan Ruins: Riviera Maya is surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins such as Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza. These archaeological sites offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Mayan civilization.
  2. Relax on Beaches: With its stunning Caribbean coastline, Riviera Maya boasts beautiful beaches with powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Playa del Carmen, Tulum Beach, and Akumal Beach are just a few examples of picturesque spots to relax and soak up the sun.
  3. Snorkeling and Diving: The region is home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays.
  4. Cenote Swimming: Cenotes are natural sinkholes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, revealing stunning underground pools. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or dive in these refreshing freshwater cenotes, such as Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos.
  5. Water Activities: In addition to snorkeling and diving, Riviera Maya offers a variety of water-based activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, jet-skiing, and parasailing.
  6. Xcaret and Xel-Ha Parks: These eco-archaeological parks offer a mix of cultural exhibits, natural attractions, and adventure activities. Visitors can enjoy swimming in underground rivers, exploring jungle trails, and learning about Mexican history and traditions.
  7. Adventure Parks: Riviera Maya is home to several adventure parks, including Xplor, Xplor Fuego, and Xenses. These parks offer zip-lining, ATV rides, underground rivers, and other adrenaline-pumping activities.
  8. Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in Mexican culture by attending traditional dance performances, exploring local markets, or taking a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Mexican cuisine.
  9. Day Trips: Riviera Maya serves as a perfect base for day trips to nearby attractions such as the colonial city of Valladolid, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and the island of Cozumel.
  10. Relaxation and Spa: Treat yourself to a day of pampering at one of Riviera Maya’s luxurious spas. Here, you can indulge in massages, facials, and other wellness treatments in serene tropical surroundings.

Where to Stay in Riviera Maya?

An award-winning resort chain, Sandos Hotels and Resorts along the Maya de Riviera stands out as a great place for families, offering a wide range of fun activities and amenities. The resort features on-site restaurants serving delicious cuisine to satisfy every palate. Guests can also enjoy direct access to sandy beaches and outdoor pools for relaxation and play. When considering accommodations in Riviera Maya, Sandos Caracol Eco Resort and Sandos Playacar are top choices for families. Each resort offers unique amenities and activities suitable for all ages. I’ll outline the distinctive features and benefits of these properties for an unforgettable family vacation experience.

Sandos Caracol BEACH

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort: Best Riviera Maya Family Vacations Resort

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya is a prime hub for exploring the region’s wonders, offering easily accessible activities and attractions. Nestled amid lush tropical landscapes, the resort provides eco-friendly luxury and thrilling adventures, along with culinary delights featuring locally sourced ingredients. Committed to sustainability, it offers eco-friendly activities like guided tour nature walks and cenote snorkeling. The family-friendly Aqua Park and swimmable cenotes offer refreshing experiences, while guests can explore ancient ruins, relax on pristine beaches, and engage in eco-adventures like zip-lining. Traditional Mayan culture is celebrated through dance, music, and food, ensuring a memorable stay for all.

Coatis - Riviera Maya family vacations

Upon arrival at one of the best family resorts, we were greeted by charming Coatis and monkeys freely wandering the lush grounds.  The resort’s focus on eco-friendly activities attracts those who value sustainability, with multiple on-site restaurants serving delicious Mexican dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Check out my Coati Video on TikTok, where he tries to get in my room!

Sandos Cenote - Riviera Maya family vacations

The inclusive hotel is family-friendly but also has an adults-only area. Their Aqua Park boasts 29 slides and multiple pools for kids. This makes it the perfect place for an afternoon with the kids. On-site cenotes offer swimming opportunities, including one for temazcal ceremonies. The turquoise waters provide glimpses of sea life, such as sea turtles and tilapia, fostering a deep connection to nature. Guests can explore Tulum’s ruins, relax on beaches, and enjoy water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving on the Mesoamerican reef. Eco-adventures like zip-lining and jungle tours are available. This resort literally has everything on site.

Sandos Carocol Aqua Park -Riviera Maya family vacations

Traditional Mayan culture is showcased through dance, music, and cuisine. The resort emphasizes sustainability with eco-friendly activities like guided nature walks and cenote snorkeling. Multiple on-site restaurants serve locally sourced ingredients in delicious Mexican dishes. Visitors can also partake in water sports, day trips to Cozumel or the small island of Isla Mujeres, and spa treatments at luxury resorts.

Sandos Carocol - Riviera Maya family vacations

Introducing the Brand New Family Suites at Sandos Caracol:

Step into spacious accommodations designed with families in mind. Each suite features a large king bed for parents to unwind in luxury, while the kids have their own cozy bunk beds, ensuring everyone gets a good night’s sleep. But here’s the real treat – the beds are like sleeping on clouds! I can attest firsthand to the superb comfort that ensured I slept soundly throughout my stay. Plus, the addition of a small patio offers a perfect spot to enjoy some fresh air and soak in the stunning views.

You’ll have access to free WiFi throughout your stay and the comfort of air conditioning to beat the tropical heat. Entertainment options abound, and television boasts both English and Spanish channels, catering to every member of the family. Let’s not forget the mini-fridge stocked with all your favorite beverages, coffee, and more – all included in your stay for that extra touch of convenience and indulgence. Let’s just say I had to have my daily Cokes. 

Sandos Caracol Restaurants

The on-site restaurants offer diverse, locally sourced cuisines, ensuring a delightful culinary experience. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort emphasizes sustainability, offering eco-tours and conservation initiatives for guests to appreciate the natural surroundings. From arrival to departure, it provides a memorable mix of luxury, adventure, and environmental stewardship.

Sandos Caracol was by far my favorite resort just because it had a little bit of everything—both nature and the beach—so I didn’t have to choose or settle for my adventure. We plan to write an entire blog post later after our return visit. It’s why we named it the best Riviera Maya family vacation resort.

Sandos Playacar Beach

Sandos Playacar

Along Riviera Maya’s most beautiful beaches, Sandos Playacar offers an ideal setting of relaxation and adventure for larger families. A golf cart typically transfers guests and luggage during arrival and departure. You may also find carts in the main lobby or near the bike station. Bellboys await to transport you to the pool and restaurant areas. Explore the resort’s natural beauty through the many on site activities they offer. Relax at the main pool and beach area with the All-Playa Experience. Take a complimentary bike ride through the picturesque Playacar neighborhood to immerse yourself in the scenery.

Sandos Playacar Rooms

Sandos Playacar offers inclusive packages for unlimited entertainment access. One of my favorite things at Sandos Playacar was eating at Chayita. They had the best burritos. I also enjoyed getting my morning coffee at the cupcake cafe.

Sandos Playacar Burrito Bar

There is a kids club for little ones that offers a whole day of supervised activities for ages 4 – 10 years old, along with the exclusive Lite Teens Club that is out of this world.  After a day filled with adventure, treat yourself to world-class spa services and water sports before retiring to your accommodations. With pristine beaches and an oceanfront water park, Sandos Playacar ensures an unforgettable escape for families and beach enthusiasts.

Sandos Cancun Suite

Sandos Cancun

Sandos Cancun is more of an adults-only all-inclusive resort in the Cancun hotel zone, offering luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, and spa services. While you may see a few older kids here, you won’t see many as it is geared towards adults. The resort has various entertainment options, from beach relaxation to vibrant night entertainment, catering to those seeking relaxation and excitement.

Sandos Cancun Infinity Pool

It features three infinity pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea with a live DJ, a spa, a fitness center, and gourmet dining options such as Frattinis, Gaijin, Zango, St. Trop, and Seasons, and doesn’t forget the spacious accommodations. The resort’s gourmet restaurants serve a fusion of international flavors crafted by expert chefs. Sandos Cancun provides the perfect setting for a luxurious beach getaway with private balconies and ocean views. If considering a couples trip, Sandos Cancun is a great option. This is one I want to bring my husband back to.

Sandos Cancun Beach Melissa

This was my 2nd favorite of the Sandos properties. The turquoise waters just had me mesmerized and I could literally just sit on the beach for hours. I found this to be more of a luxury resort out of the 3 properties. Unlike my top pick, where I would have fun-filled days of activities, this is how I would end my trip. I would spend 3 or 4 days at Sandos Caracol and 3 or 4 days at Sandos Cancun. Ending the portion of my trip in a relaxed romantic setting. However, if you are an activities person, they do have daily and nightly activities available.

What is there to Do in Cancun, Mexico?

In Cancun, enjoy beach bliss by lounging on pristine white sands and diving into the vibrant turquoise Caribbean Sea. Delight in various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and parasailing. Venture to Isla Mujeres via ferry for its serene beaches, excellent snorkeling spots, and relaxed atmosphere. Discover ancient history and architecture at nearby Mayan ruins in Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza. Plunge into the crystal-clear waters of cenotes for a refreshing swim. As night falls, immerse yourself in Cancun’s lively nightlife scene, brimming with bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Don’t miss out on shopping for souvenirs and local treasures at bustling markets and shopping centers. Lastly, dive into the rich cultural tapestry of Cancun through its museums, art galleries, and historical sites.

Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, Cancun and Sandos Cancun provide the perfect combination for an unforgettable vacation.

In summary, Riviera Maya offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure for families seeking unforgettable memories. Whether exploring ruins, enjoying water activities, or immersing in cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone. With diverse accommodation options for all budgets, families can find their ideal stay. So if you are looking for Riviera Maya family vacations, Riviera Maya truly offers everything a family desires in a vacation spot.


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