BY CELESTE MOURE
Let’s be real: In every family vacation, there comes a time when children and parents are ready for a bit of space, and that’s perfectly OK. At Mayakoba, a multiresort community on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, kid-first activities – plus four spas, several bar and lounges, adult-only swimming pools, and the beachfront El Camaleon Golf Course for parents – ensure all family members enjoy this sun-drenched stretch of Caribbean coast to the fullest. Here, five surefire hits for little ones to explore with parents and on their own.
Start your vacation with an electric boat eco-tour with a resident biologist along the Caribbean waterways to learn about the tropical flora and fauna. Or, try the pedal-powered kayaks for a more active alternative. Whichever you pick, stay on the lookout for turtles, iguanas, crocodiles, and more than a few of the 300 variety of birds that call Mayakoba home.
Join the Club
At the 214-room Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, the experience for kids (and kids at heart) begins at check in. “Upon arrival you are reminded of the Mayan culture by making a wish and throwing a stone into the cenote-like water feature in the lobby,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Suzanne Perun. At the Kimbo Kids Club, children ages 4 to 12 can make dreamcatchers, piñatas, and Huichol-inspired crafts; paint pottery; and play traditional Mexican board games. The club also hosts popular movie nights under the stars (which parents can attend too).
Swim in a Cenote
Thousands of cenotes – natural, underwater sinkholes – dot the Yucatán Peninsula. Once an integral part of ancient Mayan culture, today, these natural wonders make for perfect swimming holes. Take a refreshing dip at Cenote El Burrodromo, located a short walk from El Pueblito, a traditional Mexican village square in the heart of Mayakoba.
Hunt for Adventure
From special menus to pint-sized robes, beach bags, and stuffed animals upon arrival, the Rose Buds Children’s Program at 129-room Rosewood Mayakoba ensures kids feel at home. Opt for the prize-driven scavenger hunt, kids yoga, Mayan story-telling sessions, and more. During high season, the resort offers fun and interactive Spanish and Mayan vocabulary sessions, pizza- and cookie-making classes, and pirate and pajama party theme nights.
Save the Day
Kid-focused programs at the 123-room Banyan Tree Mayakoba include a series of rotating activities such as Mayan bingo, paper flower crafting, and more. Check with the concierge for seasonal themes and opportunities such as the biannual “Turtle Day,” where families can pitch in on local sea turtle conservation efforts.