A Sensational Soup of Playa del Carmen Day Trips Even The Most Unenthusiastic Teenage Soul Will Love
It’s no secret that teenagers are hard to please. When boredom sets in, even the kindest of adolescent souls can become a restless and unruly lion (especially true when they travel in packs!) The key is to evade monotony by presenting your pride (as in pride or group of lions Abril) with memorable moments.
Since extraordinary vacations begin with Bric, our team not only works to cultivate comfort, but also to provide all the tips and assistance you need to make it a trip of a lifetime. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of boredom busters to keep teens engaged and enthusiastic throughout your entire Playa del Carmen stay.
Private Paddle Tour
Photo courtesy of Aloha Paddle Club
Aloha Paddle Club has been a provider of many a magical SUP experience just off Playa del Carmen’s sugary shoreline. The sublime adventures on the sea initiate from their home base at Fusion Beach Bar Cuisine on Calle 6. You can choose to paddle towards the fiery sunrise at dawn or later classes are available for traveling teens that want to sleep in.
Alternatively, you can contact the Paddleboard and Surf Center to arrange a private tour at one of the area’s many hidden gems. Spend a tranquil morning gliding across an emerald lagoon or the crystal clear waters of a cenote sinkhole. This is an unforgettable opportunity to immerse yourself in some of the most pristine, natural settings in the region. You’ll get to view native wildlife including crabs and many species of birds. As well, there will be time to snorkel and awe over the fish and centuries-old rock formations below the surface.
Aloha employees guides who are fluent in English, Spanish, and Dutch. You’ll find the team is made up of some of the friendliest and most fun-loving locals around. The private excursions include transportation from Playa del Carmen, equipment, as well as a stop at one of top taco joints in the Riviera Maya.These majestic moments are curated for school-aged kids, but preschoolers can enjoy the day sitting on the board of a participating adult.
Cirque du Soleil
You don’t have to be a kid to love this circus. The concept behind the riveting resident show was adapted from the migration of the Monarch Butterfly and the importance of passing wisdom onto the next generation before dying.The history of Mexico and the region’s unique topography are intertwined into this wondrous production. A girl, sent by her grandfather, makes fascinating discoveries traveling back in time on an ancestral journey. From extraordinary costumes and effects to wildly talented acrobats and contortionists, the stellar Joya production is enough to impress even the toughest teen critic.
Together with the spectacular venue setting, the performances make for a completely absorbing and memorable night. However, if you and the gang wish to indulge in a full feast for the senses, there is an option to add an elaborate dinner to accompany the show.
Street Food Tour
Photo courtesy of Eating With Carmen Walking Food Tours
There is no better way to understand the true essence of a city than by speaking to its residents over an authentic meal. For this reason, a walking street food tour is an excellent way to gain an insightful taste of cuisine and culture.
Eating With Carmen Food Tours takes you to incredible Playa del Carmen eateries outside of the typical tourist traps on a truly palette-pleasing adventure. The walking food tour begins in the heart of the city with pit stops at local taquerias, street food markets, fruit stands, and casual Mexican eateries.
Not only do the personable guides share interesting knowledge on food preparation as well as the history behind the dish, but they also point out native flora along the way. To conclude, you’ll have a chance to sample Mexican paletas— popsicles made with fresh, tropical fruits, or creamy ice cream flavors such as coconut or pistachio. One thing’s for certain, the tendency for teen complaints diminishes when the day ends with ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Xplor Park
Compared to other phenomenal parks in the area by the Xcaret Group, Xplor is tops for teens. Situated in the heart of the jungle and featuring a thrilling zip line circuit almost 4 km long and reaching a peak height of 45 meters, Xplor Park is a rush.
In addition to the zip lines, your crew will love exploring the rainforest paths via amphibious vehicles, rafting along the subterranean turquoise rivers, and cooling off on the hammock dip. The park is just 7 minutes from Playa del Carmen and is all-inclusive with a buffet restaurant, snack bar, and non-alcoholic beverage stations.
Alternatively, if flying above the jungle suspended 150 feet up isn’t exhilarating enough for your adrenaline junky, perhaps a visit to Skydive Playa would do the trick. This deserving recipient of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice for 2022 has been creating “best day of my life” experiences since 1996 and has earned thousands of rave reviews.
In combination with a world class training program and national champion instructors, their perfect safety record means a perfect activity for lifetime memories.
Snorkel With Turtles
As far as Playa del Carmen day trips go, Akumal is just close enough and just breathtaking enough to limit protests and maximize smiles of approval. Only 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen sits the beautiful bay of Akumal, a.k.a. The Place of the Turtles.
This encounter with the turtles lasts about 1 hour with no need to board a boat. You’ll embark with your guide and snorkel set from the beach towards the coral reef, only a couple of hundred yards from the shore. Although spotting a turtle is not guaranteed, the odds are generally high. Plus, you’re likely to meet stingrays zooming along the seafloor and other exotic fish that call the reef home.
After an enchanting swim with the turtles, you can grab a table with a view at the beachside restaurant or continue further down the entrance road to La Buena Vida. Meaning ‘The Good Life’, this longtime local favorite offers fantastic piňa coladas, a varied and tasty menu, not to mention exceptional Caribbean views. Lunch, then lounge in the sand on the shaded hammocks, and let the good vibes transport you to tropical bliss.
Xel Ha Park
Despite being a farther distance from Playa del Carmen (45 minutes) than its sister company Xcaret, we love the activities Xel Ha offers for older kids. From the inner tube river float through mangroves to the scenic lighthouse and its 40m spiraling waterslides, Xel Ha is always a hit for the whole family. As well, the kids will love the jungle bike ride, snorkeling in the scenic inlet, and making a splash at the Cliff of Courage.
Even though there are a host of activities to keep everyone happy and busy for the entire day, Xel Ha does present a list of optional things to do for an extra cost. For example, your crew might want to dive deeper into a wondrous submarine experience on a Sea Trek or adventure. Then again, your teen trekker might prefer to stay above the water on the Adrenalina speed boat excursion or bicycle zip line expedition.
With your all-inclusive pass comes a buffet continental breakfast, snacks, domestic open bar and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. For added convenience, access to lockers, showers, towels, snorkel equipment, and lifejackets are all included. The only thing you’ll need to pack is your spirit for adventure!
Chikin Ha Park
This Mayan cenote park features 3 extraordinary limestone pools, however that’s just part of the family fun. The sublime jungle encounter begins with a bike ride to a subterranean cave. Beneath the ground, you’ll discover ancient stalagmites and stalactites as well as intriguing glowing organisms that dwell within the limestone crevices.
Next, you’ll follow a guide to a pita-shaped cave where you can participate in the traditional gratitude ceremony led by a shaman. Having the chance to observe this sacred ritual gives a glimpse into the time-honored Mayan tradition of giving thanks to the earth for all it provides.
Later on the park tour comes the opportunity to soar above the cenotes and sail high above the treetops via zip lines. Though not as intimidating as those at Xplor, this modest circuit does provide splendid views with a slightly smaller dose of adrenaline.
Finally it’s time to cool off in a crystal clear cenote after a full morning of biking, zipping, and exploring. From this point, your guide bids farewell and you are free to spend the rest of your day swimming or revisiting some of your favorite tour stops.
Chikin Ha grants guests access to a tropical haven that truly showcases the stunning, natural beauty of the Riviera Maya. You’ll find it just before Cenote Azul on the 307 Federal Highway, approximately 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.
Cozumel Day Trip
One of the perks of staying in Playa del Carmen is gaining accessibility to a bounty of must-see Riviera Maya attractions. Due to its optimal placement along the magnificent Mexican Caribbean shores, you don’t have to travel far to terrific beach clubs, adventure parks, or enchanting islands.
One island in particular worth adding to your itinerary is Cozumel. With so many things to do and see, you’re going to want to make an early start. Fortunately, the ferry terminal is in Playa del Carmen’s downtown core, on the south end, just off the popular 5th Avenue. The ferry ride across the awe-inspiring turquoise sea takes only 45-minutes. Before you know it, you’re cruising along a palm-fringed road in an open-top jeep, basking in the sun and glorious island vibes.
For teens, the snorkeling is phenomenal, especially at beach clubs such as Playa Palancar and Mr. Sanchos. Another option for entertaining water activities is Paradise Beach with its inflatable water structures and kayaks.
Since Cozumel is known for its flourishing reefs, clear waters, and exceptional visibility, the Atlantis Submarine expedition is a fan favorite. Over the 2-hour journey, you’ll travel 100 feet below the surface for unique opportunities to observe a sunken ship as well as a vibrant array of marine life. Be sure to check online for pricing, as sometimes there are promotions for advance bookings.
Before hopping back on the ferry, a quick trip to town center makes for a perfect ending to the day. Just up the road, heading in the same direction as the dock, you can peruse the local souvenir and ice cream shops. In the square, grab an authentic treat from one of the vendors and be sure to take advantage of the colorful Cozumel sign for a memento of your island escape.
Mural Bike Ride
While pedal bikes are not allowed on the more busy southern end of 5th Avenue, renting bicycles for a scenic ride to the north (past CTM Avenue), is highly recommended. There are dozens of impressive works of street art along the cobblestone road. On top of the vibrant murals, charming cafes and eateries speckle the tranquil thoroughfare. With the soft blue skies above, the art, and the delicious restaurants, this easy-breezy journey is sure to please all the senses.
In order to have a successful and fun-filled trip with teenagers, it may take some extra planning. This list offers a good starting point. After almost 20 years of serving travelers from around the globe, our Bric team of hospitality experts has compiled an extended list of tried, tested and true activities for the whole family. From toddlers to newlyweds to seniors and singles, we’ve got you covered, even the teenagerist of teens.