When you think of this beautiful beach town in the Caribbean, you probably think it is all about fun in the sun or beach volleyball. While those are great things to do in Playa del Carmen, there is certainly a lot more to experience, especially with kids. This gorgeous destination has several amusement parks, aquariums, water parks, and zoos.
You can even take a submarine ride with the kids or a three-hour sea cruise. One of the most exciting things to do is the combo tour where they take you to several attractions with no waiting in line. Before hopping on a tour, leave your backpacks and bags in a Playa del Carmen luggage locker because you cannot bring them with you.
This is one of the only parks in the world where you can enjoy over 50 cultural and natural attractions in one place. Xcaret has fantastic beaches, coral reefs, Mayan ruins, and exciting jungle excursions. You and the kids can visit a butterfly pavilion, aviary, and aquarium, see live entertainment and get some souvenirs at the gift shop.
Nearby, Xplor Park is better for the older kids who like extreme sports. Ride the seven ziplines, drive through the jungle and caves, go rafting on the underground river, and do an underground expedition. You can even swim in ancient caves. Admission includes a buffet lunch and unlimited snacks.
Another of the X parks, this one is about the senses. You can find 15+ activities to enjoy at Xenses. The Way of Dwarfs and Giants is a game of ups and downs. Visit underground tunnels where you can slide down a toboggan or float in a mud river. The kids will be thrilled to play with a giant marble maze. They also have food and souvenirs.
Sandos Caracol Aqua Park
One of the local faves, Sandos has over a dozen slides. There is a section for toddlers, one for kids, and another for teens and adults. What makes this water park unique is that it is built in the jungle, so they did not have to cut down a bunch of nature to make it. Don’t miss the Tornado, Kamikaze, or Octopus slides.
Turtles and Cenotes Tour
The kids (and you) will love swimming with the turtles. This five-hour tour includes all the required gear and even some food. The guide will take you to the best beach for turtles where they also have vibrant coral, rays, and incredible schools of fish. Then take a dip in a cenote (underground river) before lunch and a ride back to your hotel.
Climb aboard the Captain Hook ship where you can spend five hours playing games, eating, dancing, and fighting pirates. Your “last meal” of steak or lobster is served before the pirates take the ship, and you get to see a live sword fight and battle. And the parents can enjoy an open bar all night while the kids get free soft drinks.
There are many places to swim with the dolphins in Playa del Carmen. The one at Delphinus gives you a whole day of fun with 18 dolphin experiences like feeding, swimming with, and riding on them. They have four trained dolphins that love to play with humans as much as you love to play with them.
Emotions Native Park
The allTOURnative park is a unique and special experience for all ages. You will be guided through the jungle on ATVs first before visiting one of the oldest homes in the village. The guide will take you to see Mayan ruins and a Mayan ceremony. Then you can explore a cave full of bats, ride the ziplines, and swim in a cenote.
If you have always wanted a trip in a submarine, Atlantis will take you. Dive over 100 feet under the sea to get an up-close and personal experience with the enchanting water creatures in their environment. See a sunken ship 50 feet down, teeming with exotic fish, turtles, and rays. And the coral down there is stunning.
El Acuario del Playa
If you would rather stay on dry land when you see the fish, the del Playa Aquarium is full of over 200 species. See what the divers experience when they go down deep into the Caribbean. Marvel at the sharks, octopus, and jellyfish. With 45 exhibits and dozens of aquariums, you can see a variety of creatures.
Croco Cun Zoo
Everyone loves the zoo but Croco Cun is more interactive than others. You will really connect with nature as you meet spider monkeys, parrots, deer, and even crocodiles. In the middle of the jungle, you will be in the animal habitat rather than having them in yours at your typical zoo. Don’t miss the tigrillo and jaguarundi.
After you see all the marine life and mammals, take a trip to Xaman Ha Aviary to see feathered friends from the jungle. They have more than 200 birds in 45 species. Some of these include parrots, macaws, flamingos, ducks, and even some pelicans. You may even see some small creatures like turtles and iguanas.
Looking for new flavors? For real Venezuelan food that the kids will love, go to Kaxapa Factory. The prices are great, the food is awesome, and the ambiance is friendly. From their arepa (flatbread sandwich) to their kaxapas (corn cake taco), the menu is full of authentic Venezuelan food. Don’t miss the Brownie Caliente for dessert.
Mr. Dog Del Caribe
Try one of the 12 hot dog creations or 16 styles of burgers at Mr. Dog. The Playa del Carmen dog has bacon, guacamole, onion, and pickles. And the Mexican burger has guacamole, chipotle, onion, and peppers. They even have wings, ribs, and delicious desserts like cheesecake, ice cream, or banana split.
Don Chendo is the local favorite for deep dish pizza. The dough is made fresh and they have 20 varieties, including must-try vegan pizzas. Try the farm stand pizza with a variety of veggies or the Easterner with two types of meat, mushrooms, olives, and artichoke hearts. If you want more meat, get the meat lover’s pizza.
If the kids want pizza but you want something else, La Famiglia can solve that. The kids can have their pizza while you enjoy a nice seafood dish. They have a Parrillada de Mariscos with octopus, crab, and other seafood. And everyone will love the chocolate volcano, gelato, or tiramisu for dessert.
Be sure to get your camera out of your bag before storing it because many of these places you will want to share on social media. And don’t miss the Mexican and Caribbean cuisine while you are in Playa del Carmen! You have not had a real taco or burrito until you have one made in Mexico!