Where to Stay, Play & Eat as a Family in Yucatán, Mexico

Mexico’s proximity to the US, making for reasonable travel times even with kids in tow, and dream weather make it a can’t-go-wrong destination for family vacation planning. Most of us think of heading straight to digging our toes in the sand or wading into the clear-as-bathwater ocean when we dream of heading south of the border. But, there’s so much more to the culturally rich Mexico than beach bumming. A visit to the State of Yucatán will find you at the top of ancient pyramids, swapping the ocean for naturally formed pools deep underground swirling with Mayan mystique, exploring welcoming cities with rich histories and finding a new appreciation for the people of Mexico. Read on to hear about our most favorite places to discover in Yucatán.

How often do you get to see a color-coordinated city? Here's your chance as it's forever golden hour in Yucatan's magical "Yellow City", Izamal. When Pope John Paul II announced a visit and mass in 1993, the city got to work painting the town yellow, a revered color in Mayan culture. The long-lasting effect of the decision is a city that gives a sense of peace and serenity when walking amongst its buildings—it's impossible not to smile immersed in the happiest of colors. Pack along your sense of adventure and take an ATV tour to fully appreciate the monochromatic experience. You'll learn about the history of what is considered the most culturally important Mayan city, zip past the colonial buildings and admire this living-breathing museum to Mayan culture.

The city of Izamal is home to the largest structure on the Yucatan Peninsula, Kinich Kak Moo, thought to be one of the most important Mayan pyramids because of its size. Visitors can climb the pyramid's 10 levels for 360-degree views of Izamal and the jungle below. The city itself tends to not be overrun with tourists, which means the crowds at the ruins are minimal and entrance is free and open to the public.

Still an active convent, this Franciscan colonial building in Izamal was erected atop the ruins of Pap-Hol-Chac, which was believed to be the largest Mayan pyramid. It was destroyed by the Spaniards and the current structure was built using the same stones from the Mayan site.