Mexico with kids: 10 things you need to know

Rachel Lawrence

written by
Rachel Lawrence

updated 06.06.2024

With sandy beaches, colourful markets and plenty of family-friendly attractions, there’s a huge amount to keep children entertained in Mexico. Our mini guide will help to make travelling in Mexico with kids fun, exciting and (relatively) stress-free.

Travelling to Mexico with kids: what you need to know

From the sun-soaked beaches of the coastlines to the vibrant markets and historical treasures of the cities, Mexico offers a diverse range of activities that promise endless fun and lasting memories for families with kids.

Imagine the wonder in their eyes as they discover the towering pyramids of Teotihuacan or the fascinating Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. The colourful streets of towns like San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca invite them to immerse themselves in traditional crafts and local festivities.

The coastal regions offer a paradise for families seeking relaxation and adventure. Snorkelling in the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, exploring marine life at the Riviera Maya, or simply building sandcastles on the shores of Baja California.

This article will serve as your guide, offering insights and tips for travelling to Mexico with kids.

Rough Guides tip: a trip to Mexico is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Check our Mexico itineraries and also find out how to get to Mexico.

10 tips for travelling to Mexico with kids

In addition to the general advice for visiting Mexico with kids listed above, we have also compiled for you 10 tips that may not immediately come to mind when planning a family trip.

1. Road distances can be huge

If you’re intending to travel on public transport, you should be prepared for some very long journeys. Taking an internal flight may be worthwhile for the time and stress it saves. Be sure to pack some activities and locally themed books (on the Aztecs or Frida Kahlo, for example), to help stave off boredom on a long trip.


For travelling to Mexico with kids, it is best to choose to fly by plane @ Shutterstock

2. Children can enter Mexico on their parent’s passport

Children under the age of 18 can enter the country either with their own passport or on the passport of a parent with whom they are travelling. There is one caveat: if they are not accompanied by both parents, they will need written consent from whichever parent is absent.


Prepare all the necessary documents for your Mexican family vacation © Shutterstock

3. Mexican food can be very spicy

While many Mexican dishes are not especially spicy in themselves, they are often served with fiery salsas which can be a problem for kids who are not used to them. Watch out too for tamarind- and mango-based sweets; they are often loaded with chillies. Tortillas and tamales are a good bet for fussy eaters and egg dishes, avocados and fresh fruit are readily available.


Food can be a challenging subject when exploring Mexico with kids © Tono Balaguer/Shutterstock

4. Sun protection is essential when visiting Mexico with kids

The intensity of the sun across the country means it’s vital to use sun protection while travelling in Mexico with kids. Keep children away from the sun in the middle of the day and encourage them to play in the shade instead. Always use protective clothing and apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30, taking care not to forget necks, ears and shoulders, which often bear the brunt of the sun. Bodysuits or T-shirts are good choices for the beach.

Acapulco, Mexico beach

Acapulco Beach, Mexico © Shutterstock

5. Mexico City has some incredible museums

The Papalote Museo del Niño offers fantastic hands-on experiences for all ages, while The Aztec and Maya exhibits at the Museo Nacional de Antropología bring the region’s pre-Columbian history to life. Older children will enjoy learning how money works at the Museo Interactivo de Economía or exploring the universe at Universum Museo de las Ciencias.

Planning a trip? Don't miss our guide to where to stay in Mexico City.


Mexico City's Museo Nacional Antropologia © Shutterstock

6. Mexico is home to spectacular wildlife

Flamingos, quetzals and parrots are just a few of the colourful bird species to be found in Mexico. Older kids will enjoy whale-watching off Baja California, but if several hours on a boat is likely to prove too much for your little ones, the aquarium in Mexico City is an excellent substitute.

You will also find a variety of bird species, mammals, reptiles and amphibians in Centla Biosphere Reserve in Tabasco. Overall, we encourage you to visit this undeservedly overlooked region of Mexico, as you'll find plenty of things to do while on a family trip.


Whale spotting in the Sea of Cortes in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico © HTurner/Shutterstock

7. Small seaside villages can be as enjoyable as large family resorts

There are plenty of family-friendly resorts along the Riviera Maya (and they're a good option if you fancy some downtime while the kids enjoy some organised activities), but if you’re after something that allows for more interaction with the locals, Tulum is a fun place to stay, as is Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast.

Explore the magic of the Yucatan Peninsula. From colonial towns like Merida to Archaeological sites like Uxmal and Calakmul, to beaches in Bacalar and Tulum, this tailor-made trip to the Magic of the Yucatan and Mexico City shows you the real Yucatan.

View of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta © Ferenz/Shutterstock

View of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta © Ferenz/Shutterstock

8. Lunch is the main meal of the day

Many restaurants serve a comida corrida (known in smarter places as the menu del día or menu turístico), usually consisting of three or four courses for around US$5–8.

A typical comida consists of soup followed by a rice dish or perhaps a plate of pasta, beans or guacamole, then a meat or fish main course, followed by fruit, flan (a crème caramel concoction) or rice pudding. In general, restaurants welcome children and are happy to adapt dishes to suit less adventurous tastes.


Delicious taco with guacamole © Shutterstock

9. Markets are great places to explore

Markets are a great place to pick up toys and wrestler costumes, try street food and sweets, and experience Mexico’s vibrant culture. The floating gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico City will appeal to kids of all ages – take in the carnival atmosphere while being punted around the canals and serenaded by mariachi bands.


Traditional Mexican trajinera boat in Xochimilco channels © Marcelo Rodriguez/Shutterstock

10. Mexicans love kids!

Mexicans dote on children – so prepare them to expect more than the usual amount of hugs and kisses, even from new acquaintances.

Maya woman in Chamula by Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico © Shutterstock

Maya woman with kids in Chamula by Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico © Shutterstock

Best things to do in Mexico with kids

Mexico boasts a huge number of interesting and exciting things to do. Below we have compiled a list of places that will appeal to children and adults alike.

Looking for more family holiday travel ideas? Read our guide to the 30 best places to go with kids.

Mexico City

What makes Mexico City an ideal destination for family adventures is its unique blend of wit, laid-back charm and cosmopolitan vibes that create an unforgettable atmosphere. With an efficient metro system and a convenient street grid, getting around the city is easy, making it accessible and family-friendly.

The possibilities for family holidays are endless. From exploring historical sites to discovering the rich cultural heritage, your children will love the many activities Mexico City has to offer. With museums, parks and family attractions located at every turn, your little ones are sure to delight.

Mexico City seems to have it all - over 50 museums, a beautiful historic city centre, an extensive city park with a majestic castle, and upscale neighbourhoods. This tailor-made trip to Authentic and unique Mexico City shows you the best of this mega city.


Mexico City, Palacio Bellas Artes @ Shutterstock


For travelling to Mexico with kids, Tulum has a few things to offer. Firstly, it is one of the most picturesque ancient Mayan sites. Beyond that, Tulum is a wide strip of white beach dotted with a variety of accommodation options many of which are family-friendly.

Finally, it is a thriving city (often called Tulum Pueblo to distinguish it from the beach) that has evolved from a roadside car park to a real population centre. Excursions can be also booked here, with the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve being a particular favourite with the kids.

Tulum Playa del Carmen beach, Mexico © Shutterstock

Tulum Playa del Carmen beach, Mexico © Shutterstock

Riviera Maya

The stretch of coast between Cancún and Tulum, known as the Riviera Maya is an ideal destination for family holidays in Mexico with kids thanks to its beautiful beaches, family-friendly resorts and a variety of activities for children.

The region's safe and calm waters make it ideal for swimming and children's play. Local family-friendly resorts offer amenities such as kids' clubs and water parks. Riviera Maya adventure parks such as Xcaret and Xel-Ha offer exciting activities such as zip-lining and snorkelling. You can also swim with dolphins and enjoy a variety of water activities in the region.


Mayan Riviera © Shutterstock

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza, the most famous and well-restored Mayan landmark, is an incredible option for Mexico family vacations. Conveniently located along the main highway between Mérida and Cancún, it is just over 200 kilometres from the Caribbean coast. To fully appreciate the ruins and avoid the crowds of tourists, it's best to stay overnight either at the site itself or in the nearby village of Piste, 3km to the west.

There are accommodation options in Piste, allowing the whole family to start their adventure early in the morning. For a more fulfilling experience, you can stay in the larger and more economical town of Valladolid to the east, which offers convenience and local familiarity. Chichen Itza is a fascinating journey into history, educational and awe-inspiring for children and adults alike.

Chichen itza sunset, Mexico © Shutterstock

Chichen Itza sunset, Mexico


Yucatán state’s second city, Valladolid is around 40km east of Chichén Itzá, still close enough to beat the crowds to the site on an early bus, and of interest in its own right.

Undoubtedly children and adults alike will be mesmerised by Cenotes X'keken and Samula. Perhaps the most photogenic swimming hole in the Yucatán, the remarkable Cenote X’keken is also called Dzitnup like the nearby village.

Visitors descend through a tunnel into a huge vaulted cave, where a nearly circular pool of crystal-clear turquoise water glows under a shaft of light from an opening in the ceiling. A swim in the ice-cold water is an invigorating experience. A short walk away, in the same complex, at the even more impressive (thanks to spooky natural lighting) Cenote Samula, the roots of a huge tree stretch down towards the pool.

Cenote in Vallodolid Mexico

Cenote in Vallodolid Mexico © Shutterstock

Isla Holbox

Near the northeastern corner of the Yucatán, Holbox (pronounced “ol-BOSH”) has just one small sand street village of about two thousand people, wooden houses and virtually no cars. It’s technically not an island, but a very long peninsula – but you still must cross by ferry from the village of Chiquilá.

The gulf waters here do not have the same glittering clarity as the Caribbean (nor the vibrant reefs), but they’re warm and clean and perfect for swimming and cooling off. Isla Holbox is rapidly becoming one of the best family holiday coastal destinations in the region.

Tropical beach setting on Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo, Mexico © Shutterstock

Tropical beach setting on Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo, Mexico © Shutterstock


Oaxaca, one of Mexico's most charming destinations, is a true wonderland for Mexico family vacations. The state capital exemplifies the region's diverse offerings, combining cosmopolitan charm with authentic Mexican culture. Indigenous traditions flourish here, vibrant markets burst with colour and exuberant festivals fill the air with excitement.

Oaxaca is characterised by the preservation of ancient languages and customs, creating a unique opportunity for children to experience living history. The city's landscape is amazingly transformed from a barren desert to lushly forested hillsides, providing a visual feast for young adventurers.

This tailor-made Oaxacan Coast Adventure awaits you on this trip to the Oaxacan coast, a place as spectacular as the activities you will do. From a boat trip to the beautiful bays of Huatulco to a warm horseback ride on the seashore in Puerto Escondido.

Beach Zipolite Oaxaca, Mexico © Shutterstock

Beach Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico @ Shutterstock

Puerto Vallarta

With its mesmerising sunsets, miles of sandy beaches and tranquil colonial centre, Puerto Vallarta is a great place for a holiday with children. It's smaller and quieter than Cancun and Acapulco, and its location surrounded by high mountains is spectacular. Beyond the beaches is a lively Mexican town, virtually untouched by tourists.

This means the selection of delicious and cheap street food - especially tacos - is some of the best on the coast. and between the souvenir shops and chic boutiques are some exceptionally good art galleries. However, the beach remains the main attraction. The less crowded resorts and villages of Bahia de Banderas are fringed by endless stretches of sand and surrounded by jungle.

View of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta © Ferenz/Shutterstock

View of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta © Ferenz/Shutterstock

Ready to start planning your trip to Mexico with kids? Check out the Rough Guide to Mexico. Read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Mexico.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Mexico without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Top image © Romrodphoto/Shutterstock

Rachel Lawrence

written by
Rachel Lawrence

updated 06.06.2024

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