Skip to Content

On Your Next Mayan Riviera Visit, Ditch the Resort With These Great Excursions!

Winter is coming! It is time to start planning your escape from the winter snows to warmer climes. For many, visiting an all-inclusive resort in the Mayan Riviera of Mexico is the easy and fun vacation of choice. Since our family visits the region every year, I am firmly onboard with this idea.

One of the only downsides of visiting a Mayan Riviera all inclusive is that it can be easy to decide that the beach, pool and kids club is enough. Instead of getting out to explore the region, we often let the days pass us by while we lie on the beach watching the waves roll in.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. Once you get out of Cancun, you are in the heart of some of the most interesting and fun places to visit you can imagine. Take a day or two out of your all-inclusive relax fest and make your vacation one your family will remember for years to come. And don’t worry, visiting Mexico is super safe!

Exploring Sain Ka'an

Sian Ka’an Biosphere

A world UNESCO heritage site, Sian Ka’an is a wonderful way to get a taste of the Mayan culture and explore untouched natural beauty. First your guide will lead you through the Mayan ruins that dot the forested site. Next you will board a boat to head across the lake to the channels dug by ancient Mayans. Don your life vest to float through the mangroves in crystal clear water. After you return, enjoy a traditional Mayan meal.

Exploring the Underground River at Kantun-Chi

Ecopark Kantun-Chi

Want to explore cenotes and caves in a picturesque setting? Katun Chi has 5 cenotes open to the public and an underground river, all ready for you to explore. Swim in the cold clear water of covered and open cenotes and then don your hard hat for a bit of spelunking.

Jumping in to an open cenote

Life jackets and a knowledgeable guide make the cenotes and underground river approachable for children (over 5) and adults. It is a magical place to visit and make sure to stay for lunch as the food is delicious.


Drive ATVs through the forests of the Mayan Riviera. A bit of speed adds adrenaline to this tour where you will experience a Mayan house, a Mayan blessing and finally a swim in a crystal clear cenote. Children 6 and over can participate but they must be 16 or older to drive their own ATV.

Holding a Stingray at Xel-Ha


Xel-Ha is the Mayan Riviera’s answer to a one stop shop for excursions. They have it all from snorkelling in their pristine cove, zip-lining, traditional food, mangrove floats, kid’s play area and more. A day at Xel-Ha can check many, many things off your list of “must dos” all in one place.


Hop on the ferry from Play del Carmen head over to Cozumel for a great day. We’d never visited because we thought it was similar to Cancun. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Cozumel is quiet, quaint and FUN. While you are there, check out Chankanaab (and play with the dolphins), take a ride on a real life submarine.

Looking for fish out the submarine window

Whichever way the wind blows you, you will have an amazing time visiting the Riviera Maya. Just remember that there is more to do than sipping a margarita by the pool while your kids enjoy the kids club. Enjoy!