Traveling With Children: Merida and the State of Yucatan

By Yucatan Living's contributing writer, Carol Scott.

Its been a long time since we have seen an article on traveling with children (of any age) in Southeast Mexico, so this is the beginning of what we hope develops into a series on what's available for children in Merida and throughout the State of Yucatan. Throughout these articles, "the Yucatan" will refer to the peninsula and "Yucatan" will refer to the State of Yucatan, which is the center state on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Parents should know that the State of Yucatan is one of the best places in the world to travel with children - and here are just a few reasons why...

Your children are safe traveling in Yucatan. Tourists, almost everywhere else in the world, fear a myriad of terrifying tourist-related crimes. Thankfully, none of that exists in Yucatan, so parents can relax and watch their children actually enjoy their vacation.

Your children will love the beach at Progreso! The water is calm and shallow, with not a single thing in it that will eat, sting, or bite your child. A day on the Malecon (17 blocks of beach and restaurants) in Progreso, complete with hamburgers from someplace "cool" like Buddy's is the perfect (inexpensive) day of fun for children of all ages. There are plenty of water toys and beach games for big kids, restaurants and shade for parents, and several kilometers of shallow water for the little ones. Shopping is just around the corner.

The zoo in Merida was designed with children in mind. You - and your children - can read all about it in Yucatan Living and on the zoo's home page. Best of all, admission is free! In 2009, Merida is getting a new zoological park that is going to be one of the best in the world, so that will add yet another wonderland to visit with children.

On Sunday morning in the City of Merida, the Bici-Ruta is a "must do" for children. Streets are closed off throughout the route of the Bici-Ruta so that children and adults can enjoy 4 hours of non-stop biking fun. The route is currently beginning in San Juan Park, traveling through Centro, up Paseo Montejo, and ends at the Burger King circle. If you don't have a bike, you can rent one - but don't think that riding bikes is all there is to the Bici-Ruta. All along the way, there are designated stops where your children can enjoy free shows and workshops. The kiddos can make their own handicrafts and even pick up a game of soccer. Time: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, with admission free.

Not really interested in a city vacation, but wondering what to do with young children in a small town? Why not head for someplace like the Mayan village of Ek Balam? There, you will find beautiful ruins to explore ... but that isn't all. There is an eco-tourism retreat in the Village of Ek Balam that is "child friendly" and provides plenty of opportunities for you and your children to interact with the citizens (and pets) of the village. We were amazed when we visited the Genesis Retreat website. An affordable vacation with children! Who knew such a thing even exists anymore?

But what about those teenagers? Come back next time to see more for the little ones and for how to keep your vacation out of the jaws of a teenager's misery by giving them a vacation in the State of Yucatan that they will remember for a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Retreat.

Akumal Villas