Dreaming of a great Mexico family vacation that combines the just-right amount of family fun with culture? Or perhaps with Mexico’s natural wonders and exotic wildlife? Or with its history, ancient civilizations, and ruins? Here are six Mexican vacation destinations that are ideal for independent travelers with kids. And best of all? We’ve done the detective work for you at each location. Just click through the link at the end of each intro below that appeals to you, and read on to see our top 4 recommended activities for families at the destination, along with 1 recommended place to stay and 1 recommended place to eat with the kids while you are there. From contributors Shelly Rivoli (SR) and Katja Gaskell (KG).
1. A Mexico family vacation in Puerto Vallarta:
Almost perfectly centered between Mexico’s north and south borders on the Pacific, Puerto Vallarta is thought by many to be “the most Mexican beach destination in the country.” While you’ll find plenty of modern resorts and condos here, you’ll quickly see that Puerto Vallarta has retained her old world character in spite of them–carved wooden doorways draped with bougainvillea, wrought iron balconies filled with flowers, the old gazebo awaiting the next festivities in the Old Town square, and the timely clang ringing out from Our Lady of Guadalupe’s crown-topped bell tower. Puerto Vallarta is an ideal destination for families seeking a relaxing beach vacation infused with Mexican culture and Puerto Vallarta’s undisputed artistic flair. -SR –> Click here to read our recommendations for a Mexico family vacation in Puerto Vallarta.
2. A Mexico family vacation in La Paz:
Where else is it possible to swim with the world’s largest fish, get sprayed by whales, snorkel with sea lions, and visit blue-footed boobies all in a single day? La Paz, Mexico, as we learned on our recent three-generation journey, is a family travel adventure just waiting to unfold.
La Paz is located near the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula on the Sea of Cortez. It’s served by its own airport or can be reached in just over 2 hours when driving from Los Cabos (with a 70 peso toll). -SR –> Click here to read our recommendations for a Mexico family vacation in La Paz.
3. A Mexico family vacation in San Cristóbal de las Casas:
The southern Mexican state of Chiapas draws nature lovers with its stunning natural beauty as well as its rich indigenous culture. Wild jungles hide jaguars and boa constrictors, not to mention the ancient Mayan civilizations of Palenque and Yaxchilán. There are waterfalls the color of the Caribbean Sea and lush national parks home to a vibrant array of flora and fauna, cave systems, and dramatic river gorges.
The cultural capital of this wonderland state is San Cristóbal de las Casas, a perfectly preserved colonial town that sits nestled among pine forests. Characterized by cobbled streets, citrus-colored houses and an imposing yellow cathedral, it’s ideal as a weekend escape or a base for exploring farther afield. It’s also an easy place to explore as a family. Please note that San Cristóbal and the other areas in Chiapas were badly affected by the earthquakes in September 2017. The area is very much open to visitors now, however, but be aware that there may still be some disruption. -KG –> Click here to read our recommendations for a family vacation in Mexico’s San Cristóbal de las Casas.
4. A Mexico family vacation in San Miguel de Allende:
Today, it’s hard to imagine that the picture-perfect city of San Miguel de Allende was once almost on the verge of ruin. However, in the years following Mexico’s independence, this colonial city was gradually abandoned leaving behind only ornate churches and empty mansions. Until, that is, the 1930s when foreign artists, lured by the blue skies, beautiful architecture and cheap cost of living, began to move in. These days, San Miguel continues to attract foreigners, particularly Americans, and the town is home to a large expatriate community.
This really is a fairy tale city dominated by the fantastical pink church, Parroquía de San Miguel Arcangel. Ochre and rose-colored colonial homes line narrow cobbled streets and on almost every corner you’ll discover a café or restaurant, gallery or boutique. The pace of life is pleasantly slow, interrupted only by church bells chiming. Just be prepared for some hilly streets! -KG –> Click here to read our recommendations for a Mexico family vacation in San Miguel de Allende.
5. A Mexico family vacation in Oaxaca:
Oaxaca is the Mexico of old movies. Positioned in a protected valley in the southwest of the country, it’s a colorful colonial city full of charm, and rich in culture and tradition. A place where festivals are given with great gusto and food is considered an art form. The city hosts some of the country’s biggest Día del los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations and is also the birthplace of mole, a complex and flavorful sauce that’s revered in much of Mexican cuisine.
Oaxaca State is the most diverse and indigenous region of Mexico where some 17 different languages, including Spanish, are still spoken. This rich heritage reveals itself in the vibrant costumes and handicrafts both in the state’s capital city of Oaxaca and in the surrounding villages where weekly artisanal markets are staged. Within the old city life revolves around the lively Zocalo, the main, tree-lined square. It’s an easy place to wander around and, apart from the odd spot of political activity, it’s safe to visit (make sure to check with your Embassy before traveling). -KG –> Click here to read our recommendations for a Mexico family vacation in Oaxaca.
6. A Mexico family vacation in Mexico City:
Mexico’s colorfully chaotic capital is one of the world’s biggest metropolises, home to more than 20 million people. At first glance, it can appear an overwhelming destination to navigate with children in tow. But the reality is, however, that this big, brash city is also exciting and dynamic with lots to see and do.
For starters, there are museums galore (over 150 at last count) exploring everything from Mexico’s history to antique toys, there are pyramids and temples, charming colonial neighborhoods and modern skyscrapers plus bustling markets, leafy parks and much, much more. -KG –> Click here to read our recommendations for a Mexico family vacation in Mexico City.
For more help finding great family travel destinations throughout North America and around the globe, see the Destinations menu at FamilyTravel411.com.