Exploring Mexico’s Yucatan with Kids

March 4, 2014

Billy Villarreal, Julie Carter, and their kids Carter and Lily

Billy Villarreal, Julie Carter, and their kids Carter and Lily at the ruins of Uxmal

When it comes to finding a family-friendly vacation spot that offers perfect weather, vibrant colonial cities, calm crystal-water beaches, important and fun cultural sites, and delicious local cuisine, few places can beat the Yucatán state of Mexico.

Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán state, is a great base for exploring the region.  The city itself is filled with great restaurants, museums, haciendas, boutique hotels, and shops.  The Paseo de Montejo, is the fashionable section of the city, lined with lovely sculptures and trees. There are also many horse-drawn carriages all along the way – a treat for weary children.  Plaza Grande in the city center is surrounded by 18th-century colonial mansions such as the pink Palacio Municipal (city hall) and the Cathedral de San Ildefonso, one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas, constructed with stones that came from one of the Mayan ruins.  On Sundays, the Plaza Grande is the liveliest place in the city with live music and dancing and stalls selling food and souvenirs.

In addition to its own colonial charm, Mérida is close to a good number of top tourist attractions.  The “big three” Mayan ruins – Chichén Itzá , Uxmal, and Mayapan – are all within a short drive from Mérida.  A visit to any one of these is an authentic living history lesson.  Chichén Itzá is the largest and best excavated and is a marvel to behold.  However, over the years it has become too commercial for some, is usually very crowded with tourists and you can no longer climb El Castillo, the main pyramid.  Mayapan and Uxmal, though a bit smaller, are a better option for families with children who may not want to spend so much time under the blazing sun and may want to break up the touring with the opportunity to scramble to the top of some of the structures for a panoramic view of the site.

Read the rest exploring the Yucatan with kids in the March issue of The Momiverse.

More tips about taking your kids to Mexico here.

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