One of the greatest rewards of choosing to take the family vacation international is to give your children the opportunity to experience a different culture first hand. When kids learn about how other people live, it helps them appreciate differences, feel engaged in the world and can even stir compassion for others.
Sometimes teaching history and culture to your kids in a fun way can be challenging, but with these Riviera Maya activities you can bring Mexico’s cultural wealth to life!
Visit a working Mayan Village in Coba. Your journey begins at the archaeological site of Coba where you can climb the highest pyramid in the Yucatan. Guides will teach you about the Mayan culture, and then treat you to a delicious Yucatecan lunch in the middle of the jungle. You will meet a local family to see how the modern Maya live, their traditions and customs. Go on a hike through the jungle to see a demonstration of the chicle (gum) making process as it was done in the Yucatan’s early days. Complete the trip with a refreshing swim in a jungle cenote, a favorite local family past time.
Invite Chef Daveed into your vacation villa where he will give your family a private cooking class. Learn to make delicious, authentic Mexican dishes. Your kids will delight in hand making their own tortillas and mashing avocados for fresh guacamole. Or if you are staying closer to Cancun, book a Tweens Cooking Class at The Little Mexican Cooking School in Puerto Morelos. Classes are specifically designed for children 8 to 15 years old. A family that cooks together has fun together!
Learn about Mexico’s history through song and dance at Xcaret. With more than 300 actors dressed in colorful costumes, Xcaret’s night show takes you on a musical journey through the history of Mexico. Immerse your family in the sights and sounds of a grand fiesta that begins in ancient Mayan times and takes you through Mexico´s golden years. This amazing production includes folk dancing, the recreation of a pre-Hispanic ball game, a Charro celebration and so much more!
The new Museo Maya in the Cancun Hotel Zone has more than 350 artifacts and over 4,000-square-feet of exhibition halls that include 14,000-year-old Mayan remains discovered in the underwater caves of Tulum, and a 26-foot-tall Great Pyramid where you will find displays of ancient dwellings, altars, and mural paintings. Next door to the Maya Museum is the archaeological ruin site of San Miguelito, also included in the $5 admission price.
Located halfway between Merida and Cancún lies the colonial, Mayan city of Valladolid that is filled with local flavor. This is where your family will see townspeople still wearing the typical dress of the Maya, horse drawn carriages and historic buildings painted in pastel colors. Here, you will surely get a sense of the Yucatecan culture. See the largest private collection (over 3,000 pieces) of Mexican folk art at the restored historical home Casa de los Venados. Enjoy an authentic Yucatecan lunch at Taberna de los Frailos, located next to the 16th Century Convent of San Bernardino de Siena.
Learn more about planning a family vacation in the Riviera Maya.