Mexico Family Travel
From white sand beaches to misty highlands; from ancient temples to the themed water parks of Xcaret and Xel-Ha; from arid plateaus to rich sea life … Mexico is a land where dreams come true.
Mexico is a huge country that will take several trips to truly explore. But if your family enjoys beautifully preserved colonial cities, whale watching, swimming with sea lions or whale sharks, hiking, surfing or just hanging out on pristine beaches, this is where you want to be! When you are ready, there is something for everyone in Mexico!
Our Family Travel Philosophy:
First and foremost, we know travel can be a tool for transformation — if you want it to be! When we plan trips for families we focus on what goals they’d like to accomplish and how we could design a trip to meet those goals. One of the main areas of focus for many of our clients are activities that will bring family members closer together; reinforcing those deep, rich familial bonds. And that is exactly what Motherland Travel specializes in!
We use adventure activities like a company would use team-building exercises. We want the activity to act as the catalyst for healthy communication, collaboration and ultimately, connection. When families work as a team to accomplish a goal, it helps build a positive family culture. Team-building exercises and adventure activities (when done together) lay the foundation for mutual understanding and respect. You get to see each other’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage each other through to meeting a desired goal.
The best part, accomplishing goals and being rewarded for your efforts, releases all the happy “connecting” hormones AND builds self-esteem – we want more of that! When we accomplish goals, we feel good. When we feel good, we release hormones that increase the likelihood of making deeper connections. It’s really that simple and that’s our number one goal, building connections.
Our favorite places:
Mexico City – the capital city of Mexico and the largest city in North America, has a renowned art and culture scene and some of the best food in the western hemisphere! Better yet, it is affordable, safe (in most areas) and relatively easy to get around in. One of the main tourist areas is the Historic Center of Mexico City which holds the complex of Templo Mayor, the religious center for the Aztec, and the fascinating Museo Nacional de Antroplogía, which many say is the “must see” of Mexico City. The entire area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Oaxaca – This beautiful colonial city, located a couple of hours from Puebla, is truly a treat! At 5,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, Oaxaca is the consummate cultural and culinary destination of Mexico. If you like Mexican food, in particular mole, Oaxaca is the place to be. Her nickname is “The Land of the Seven Moles” – who can resist a good mole?
The Baja Peninsula – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo might be known for their beaches, nightlife and uber glam hotels but the baja is best known as the Mexican Galapagos. Sea kayaking, glamping on isolated beaches, bird watching, hiking, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, or best of all, swimming with whale sharks and sea lions! You name it, adventure awaits in the Mexican Galapagos.
Riviera Maya – the tourism and resort district that runs along the Caribbean coastline in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Formerly known as the Cancun-Tulum corridor (which describes the area perfectly) is known for it’s white sand beaches; amazing snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities; all inclusive resorts; quaint boutique hotels; fine dining opportunities and tourist attractions. Archaeology is a big draw with the ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba being easy to access but just as fascinating are the eco-parks of Xcaret and Xel-Ha. There is definitely something for everyone and flights to Cancun are plentiful!
Cozumel – with an international airport or a one-hour ferry ride from Playa del Carmen (in the Riviera Maya) you can be on the tropical paradise known as Isla Cozumel. With a Mexican heart, Caribbean soul and an immense area of protected reefs, Cozumel is a huge draw for many travelers. From swanky hotels to small bed and breakfasts, there is something for everyone, especially if sea life is what you’re looking for! The average temperature is 80 degrees and the waters are just about the same. The island is near the largest barrier reef system in the Americas, the Mesoamerican reef, and is home to 250 species of fish, including the queen angelfish and the toadfish, which can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. If you like marine life, this is the place you want to be!
San Miguel de Allende – with her colorful buildings and cobblestoned streets, it’s hard to resist the charm of this 500-year-old colonial city. Nestled in the Sierra Madre mountains, San Miguel de Allende, is an off the beaten path draw for music lovers, artists and foodies from all over the world. While the city has seen a huge shift in tourism over the past 50 years which is evidenced by the excellent restaurants and high-class hotels, there is still a laid back atmosphere with a cosmopolitan panache unlike any other city in Mexico. But you’ll have to come see for yourself.
Our Favorite Activities:
National Museum of Anthropology – Mexico City
The Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park is the largest and most visited museum in all of Mexico. The museum is home to an enormous collection of artifacts and exhibits relating to the pre-Columbian heritage of the country. The exhibits house many Mayan and Aztec pieces including the famed Stone of the Sun, which is the original Aztec calendar stone. It is easy to spend the good bit of a day here so be prepared with good walking shoes!
San Ignacio Lagoon – Baja Sur
Whale watching in Mexico in amongst the most exciting thing you will ever do with your family! Watching these giant and magnificent creatures breech next to your boat is thrilling – an experience you will never forget! Every year in November more than 10,000 Eastern Pacific gray whales leave the cold waters of Alaska and head for their winter home in the waters off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. There are several places to go to see the whales, but none is as spectacular as San Ignacio Lagoon. From January through April, the lagoon is the home to many gray whales, especially mothers and their babies. Because of the number of whales that live here in the winter months, it has become Latin America’s largest wildlife sanctuary. It is a must see for families!
Swim with Sea Lions & Whale Sharks – Espiritu Island, Sea of Cortex
This is a marine wildlife extravaganza kind of day! You’ll get to swim with the largest fish in the world – whale sharks, snorkel with one of the most playful marine mammals in the world – the sea lion, and have lunch on one of the most beautiful desert islands in the world – Isla Espiritu Santo. I mean really, what more can you ask for?
You’ll begin your day by visiting the whale sharks (so named because at up to 59 feet and 15 tons they are definitely a whale of a shark) in the shallows of the Bay of La Paz. And while your mother probably told you to stay away from sharks, these gentle giants are only interested in plankton – all human flesh is safe! After the thrill of swimming next to these gentle giants, it’s off to the unbelievable joy of swimming and playing with the sea lion puppies at the permanent sea lion colony of Los Islotes. These fun-loving marine mammals love playing and interacting with humans, and are always disappointed that we can never keep up a game of tag as long as they can.
We cap off the day with a delicious picnic lunch at one of the gorgeous beaches on Isla Espiritu Santo. It’s an absolutely fabulous day, I promise!
Sea Turtle Camp Adventure – Baja Sur
This is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to work with local biologists on the coast of the Pacific to protect the endangered Olive Ridley marine turtles. Each night volunteers and biologists patrol the beach, watching for the 100-pound female turtles as they haul their bodies out of the ocean and make their way to the ideal nesting spot. Each female will leave 90-120 white ping-pong shaped eggs in a sandy hole, camouflage the nest with a characteristic belly dance, and then leave the offspring to chance. That’s where we come in. Predators, coastal development and illegal poaching all threaten sea turtle populations throughout the world. At this sea turtle research station you can help combat declining populations by volunteering with biologists as they collect the eggs and relocate them to a protective nursery. This heart-warming experience will leave you and your children longing to become a marine biologist!
Mexican Cooking Class – Baja Sur
Local lawyer turned chef Iker Algorri, author of Cooking Adventures in Baja and chef-in-residence at Los Colibris Casitas, leads this wonderful Mexican Survival Cooking Class. The emphasis is on having as much fun as possible! While the parents get to learn how to make a perfect margarita, the kids get dance, sing and get to making some yummy treats! During this class you will gain the skills to make some truly delicious Mexican dishes following Chef Iker’s cooking philosophy, the Magnificence of Simplicity. You’ll also probably learn about some great Latin music you’ve never heard before. But be warned – dancing often known to follow this class!
Cenote Dos Ojos –Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula
Just outside of Tulum is Cenote Dos Ojos, one of the country’s largest underwater cave systems. The name means the cavern of two eyes, referring to the two sinkholes connected by a long passageway. The water in the caverns is filtered through limestone, making it exceptionally clear. As a result, Cenote Dos Ojos is wildly popular with both snorkelers and more serious scuba divers, some of whom head deep into the underwater cavern.
Chichen Itza – Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
One of the most visited tourist destinations is Chichen Itza, the largest of the Maya cities in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The most famous landmark of this complex is the temple-pyramid of El Castillo. The design of the temple has special astronomical significance. Each face of the pyramid has a stairway with 91 steps, which together with the shared step at the top, add up to 365, the number of days in a year. Some of the other highlights include the Great Ballcourt and El Caracol, a circular temple that served as an astronomical observatory. This is truly one of the most amazing Mayan ruins in Mexico – from a cultural perspective, worth a see!
Xcaret and/or Xel-Ha – Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
Two wild and crazy adventures in the Riviera Maya that families love are Xcaret and/or Xel-Ha. Xcaret is a cultural playground with traditional Mexican food, Pre-Hispanic Dances and performances, nature, music and handmade crafts. Xel-Há, on the other hand, is a natural playground ripe for adventure! There is unlimited snorkeling in spectacularly clear pools, cenotes and coves with amazing reef like formations. You can also walk through the trail systems to see: coatis, tropical birds, raccoons, and other wildlife. But best of all are the aquatic zip-lines and/or proving you are brave enough to jump from the Cliff of Courage. This is the adrenaline rush that families clamor for!
Dia de los Muertos – Oaxaca
Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is celebrated all over Latin America but in Mexico, the city of Oaxaca is known for having one of the best festivals in the country! The festival can be traced back thousands of years to the indigenous cultures such as the Zapotec and Aztec and is still celebrated in high style today. In Oaxaca the Day of the Dead Festival starts at the end of October when families leave offerings for the spirits in the cemeteries and decorate home alters. But the festivities take place on November 1st and 2nd when Oaxacans honor the return of their deceased loved ones with ornately rich celebrations!
Surf Lessons – Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
A couple of hours drive from Oaxaca is the sleepy surf town of Puerto Escondido, known as a world-class surf destination. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf, this is the place. From beginner to advanced, you can take lessons that will thrill everyone in your family. There isn’t anything much better than a day at the beach watching each other learn to ride the big waves!
Basic Traveler Information:
Visa and Passport Requirements:
A passport valid for at least the duration of your stay is required for US citizens to enter Mexico.
Weather and Climate:
Mexico is a year around destination because there is always somewhere where the weather will be perfect! Cooler temperatures in the higher elevations (Mexico City, Puebla, San Cristoból de las Casas) and warmer, more tropical weather at sea level.
November to February brings hot and sunny weather to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. June through August are hotel and humid with heavy rains possible. Hurricane’s season is August to November.
In the interior of the country, October and November are beautiful months to visit because generally the rains have ended and the landscape is lush and green.
Mexico’s northern border is shared with the USA – specifically with Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The NW border of Mexico is the Gulf of California, to the west is the Pacific Ocean, to the south Mexico borders Guatemala and Belize, and to the east it is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
The geographical features of Mexico range from swamp to desert, and from tropical lowland jungle to high alpine vegetation. Over half of the country is above 3,300 feet with some of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the Americas. The Sierra Madres run from the northwest along the border with California and continue to the southeast into Guatemala. The largest peak in Mexico is Pico de Orizaba at approximately 18,900 feet. Much of the northern interior of Mexico is arid and sparsely populated plateau, flanked by ranges to the east and west. Mexico boasts some of the best beaches in the world, many of which are white sand with crystal clear blue waters.
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What families are saying about working with Motherland Travel:
Originally, I hadn’t considered using a “travel agency” for our trip because I was used to doing all my family travel plans using tools on the web. I am so grateful that we discovered Motherland Travel because we had only one opportunity to make a first impression of Guatemala on my son. Bambi thought of so many things that I would have missed. Our ultimate goal of the trip was to have Jack feel proud of his heritage. We knew that we had succeeded when on the last day of the trip as we were roasting cocoa beans at the chocolate factory, my son introduced himself to a stranger by saying “Hi, my name is Jack and I am from Guatemala.”Bill
The trip transformed all of my fears of NOT being able to do a trip like this into joy and success. The people, pacing, activities, accommodations, and scope of the trip was a perfect fit for our family.
I feel like Bambi asked insightful questions during the initial consultation, helping me articulate my goals for this trip. I appreciate the family bonding/adventure travel information she provided, as well as the general information about Guatemala. Bambi targeted our budget and made the most of every experience, given our financial restraints. The itinerary proposal and final itinerary were thorough, detailed, and very clear. I so valued the personal details about possible triggers for my son, visiting his birth country.
We are so grateful for the effort, service, time, and thought Motherland Travel put into planning this trip for us. We have been transformed by the travel. Eddy exudes a pride and joy when he talks about our trip, and talks about Guatemala. A few days after we returned, his teacher had him present to his class about how the ecosystems in Guatemala affect the culture and way of life. As I watched him present to his peers, he shared details and experiences that revealed how much this trip was profoundly imprinted on his heart and his identity. Our family benefited so much from being out of our comfort zone – we learned so much about our son’s birth country, about human resilience, and even more about our family. I can’t choose one favorite moment, or even pick out a single least favorite moment. The days were unique, yet perfectly balanced, creating a gorgeous tapestry of experiences.
The Wall Family
Sign Up For Your Free 30 Minute Discovery Session Now!
Learn how Motherland Travel can help you plan your intentional & purposeful Heritage Journey!