When you think about ancient ruins, you might not automatically think that it would make a great kid-friendly vacation. Personally, I was hesitant at first. However, we traveled to Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for a family vacation and with the hotel credit, we were able to book additional Mexico excursions. We chose the full-day trip to Isla Mujeres, as well as the half-day guided tour of Ruinas Mayas de Tulum, which both were spectacular choices.
We woke up early, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, and headed to the lobby to wait for the charter bus. After a 45-minute bus ride, we arrived in Tulum. The bus tour guide was very knowledgeable and prepped us on what to do, expect, and facts about Tulum. We brought a waterproof bag with bug spray, sunblock, water, and snacks from the hotel for the ride, as well as a few activities for our almost 4 year old to do on the bus.
Upon arrival, it was hot and humid, as it rained on our entire bus ride. We explored a store and headed to the Mayan Ruins. It was quite a walk, so tennis shoes are highly suggested. Also, be sure that your children are either good walkers, you don’t mind carrying them, or can be worn. There are a lot of rocky and bumpy roads, so a stroller would be advised against, in my opinion. However, there is a shuttle that you can take for a small fee.
When you get to the area where the Mayan Ruins are, be aware that it is very open, so think hats, a cooling fan, etc. In addition, younger children may not be able to tolerate the walk, tour, and open areas for a long time. We traveled in December, and it was still very hot.
During the middle of the tour, while my son started to get more interested in the rocks and bugs on the ground, I had to think quick before he got antsy. He is very interested in learning, so I knew he could become interested in the Mayan Ruins…if only he fully understood the guide. So, that is when I started “translating” into storybook terms. The history of Tulum lies on magic, culture, and civilizations, so that is exactly where I went with the story.
I explained to him that the Gods lived in tower, and involved him by asking what color clothes he thought they wore, what color hair they had, and what their room looked like. He was instantly interested. Every fact that the guide told us became a fairy tale that was based on the actual history. I was impressed when he wanted to learn more and could repeat back what he learned. It was instantly a hit!
As we wrapped up the tour, we saw the beautiful crystal waters of the ocean from the cliffs, then headed back to the village for food and shopping. Before we boarded the bus back to the hotel, we played with a monkey and took a lot of photos.
Overall, it was a successful, fun, and educational trip to the Mayan Ruins in Tulum, even with a child. Even more so, it made the whole family happy.