065The Riviera Maya, and the all-inclusive Grand Velas Resort in that resort area of Mexico, are great choices for a family holiday, especially for a family traveling with teens, the hardest kids to please. My 16-year-old son and I traveled to Riviera Maya as guests of the Riviera Maya Visitor’s Bureau to check out the area and the family-friendly activities.

We spent three days doing everything a family traveling with teens would want to do on a family vacation in Mexico: Swim with dolphins, explore underground rivers, soar across the Yucatan jungle on a zip line and more.

Talk about some serious family fun!  Imagine exploring a river in a just-discovered underground cave, walking through ancient Mayan ruins where humans were sacrificed many years ago, being propelled across water by a dolphin’s snout, and getting an aerial view of jaguars in the Yucatan jungle on a zip line (and not just one—but 11 ziplines).

Enjoying Nature in Riviera Maya

040Now catch your breath—this ultra fun destination also offers swimming in the world’s largest natural aquarium, swinging from a rope or jumping from a cliff into that refreshing water, AND catching a dinner show that walks you through Mayan history. My teenage son and I did all that and more in just a few days while staying at the Grand Velas resort, which was named Top All-Inclusive in June 2010 by the TravelAge West WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards.

Riviera Maya rests near Cancun and Playa del Carmen, along the Caribbean coast with turquoise waters lapping its shores and Cozumel twinkling in the distance.  And it’s a one-of-a kind family vacation destination for families looking to break away from the typical theme park trip. 

My son and I had non-stop fun on this trip to paradise.  Not your typical amusement park ride kind of fun, but an all-natural true “wonders of the world” experience that my son enjoyed while learning something about Mayan culture. 

Is Riviera Maya Safe?

There are those who are concerned about visiting this area of the world because of kidnappings and other violence, but we discovered multiple levels of protection and little threat as long as we didn’t roam far from the tourist area.  Because we didn’t roam, I can’t say what dangers exist beyond this area.