When you think about spring break in Mexico automatically you think Cancun, right? While Cancun is a great destination for young adults, it’s not very family friendly. Cancun’s beaches are beautiful, but they’re also crowded with drunk college students. So if body shots, beer pong, and wet t-shirt contests are not what you’re looking for consider traveling to the other side of the Yucatan. While this isn’t the typical spring break hot spot you hear about when you think Mexico, you won’t be sorry you went.
This spring break Devin and I packed our bags and hopped a flight to Houston to meet up with my grandparents, my mother, and my uncle, to head on to Merida, Mexico. Since our family lives all over the U.S., it’s hard to all get together in the same place. Mexico seemed like as good a place as any for a family get together.
Located in the Mexican state of the Yucatan, The state capital Merida is a mix of Mayan tradition and colonial heritage. It also happens to be within day trip distance of beautiful beaches, ruins, and cenotes. It really does have something to appeal to all ages- making it the perfect destination for a family spring break trip. Don’t believe me yet? Keep reading.
You have your history
We have always been a museum family. We love to go to all types of them where ever we go, and Merida has several to choose. One of which is called the El Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya, or, The Great Museum of the Mayan World.
It’s an interactive museum that helps to get a solid grasp on the Mayan culture from beginning to current times. There are plenty of hands on activities for the kids as well as lots of informational plaques both in Spanish and English for the adults. There are also several rooms with movies playing on various topics. ( although they are all in Spanish with no translation) It’s a great way to get ready for a day trip to explore the Mayan ruins for yourself.
If you’re looking for more of an artsy museum, check out the Folk Art Museum of the Yucatan.
The gentleman running it doesn’t speak any English at all but is full of smiles and pleasantries while he tries to get you where you need to be.
You have your archeology
While Chichen Itza is typically the most common ruin you see online, the ruins of Uxmal are often overlooked, even though it’s among the most important archaeological sites of the Maya world and a world heritage site. There are so many areas to explore at this site. Just watch out for the iguanas that are everywhere. Make sure to pack water and extra sunscreen. You won’t find any real shade while exploring or places for water once you are through the gates.
Devin made friends with this one for the day and made it his goal to get this selfie. Just as a warning: If you are not a fan of lizards this isn’t the place for you. There were hundreds of them!
You have your day trip adventures.
For those who would rather get out and explore ( or wear out the kids for a day) there are various day trips you can take from Merida. There are several tours both private and nonprivate you can take depending on your budget. You can take a biking tour, hike through the jungles of the Yucatán, swim, and snorkel in the cenotes, or even scuba dive in the cenotes, as we did.
Do you dive?
If you are scuba certified and want to dive, the cenotes book your dive early because the excellent guides will fill up fast. Our guide at Explorer Divers was beyond amazing! He speaks English and Spanish ( which we found out wasn’t very common) making it very easy to understand the directions for the dive. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about him.
And for the nature lovers…
If you love nature and don’t have anything against boats you can spend a few hours touring the Celeston National Park. You can take in all the wild life including getting up close and personal with pink flamingos. ( This was my mothers favorite)
Depending on the tour you choose you might also side track into the mangroves for a bit of extra site seeing.
Culture ( and a little shopping)
If you’re into actually experiencing the Mexican culture, take a stroll around Merida’s Plaza Grande. Not only will you score very awesome hand made trinkets, but you’ll also have a chance to catch a street show or two. There’s always something going on there just ask around, and the locals will be happy to tell you all about it!
Calling all foodies!
If you are like us, you’re against eating anything you can get back home while you’re traveling. There are tons of places to try a wide variety of traditional and nontraditional food. I gotta tell ya, with an exception of that brief moment they had me convinced I was eating tongue tacos everything we tried was awesome. I think I gained ten pounds on this trip, but it was totally worth it.
It’s not always easy to take a family vacation, especially with multiple generations and everyone come back feeling like they had a great trip. But in Merida, I think that can happen. So, in case you haven’t noticed, Merida is a place that will appeal to the young and the old. (sorry Grandmom and Grandpa)
Here you can get a full range of experiences and nobody will be bored.