Cancún outdoor adventures for the active family

Cancún isn’t just for kicking back poolside or soaking up the sun. Families who want to stay active will find endless Cancun outdoor adventures.

Cancún isn’t just for kicking back poolside or soaking up the sun on the beach. Families who want to stay active during their vacation will find endless Cancun outdoor adventures that provide all kinds of excitement for all ages. Below, find out what your family can do to get a few thrills in the great outdoors in Cancún. And don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of time for the pool and the beach during your Occidental Costa Cancún and Occidental Tucancún all-inclusive getaways.


Xel-Ha is an amazing eco-park destination that the whole family will love. Snorkeling is big here – the waters are crystal clear. At Xel-Ha, you’ll have the chance to encounter more than 90 marine species such as angelfish, surgeonfish, damselfish, snapper, parrotfish, grouper, sergeant major, a family of rays, pufferfish, some barracudas and the queen conch, a protected species that inhabits the cove at the park. For the daredevils in your family, don’t miss the Cliff of Courage, where you’ll be able to dive into a natural pool from 15 feet up. And definitely enjoy some high-flying fun on Xel-Ha’s Salpichanga ziplines – the adventure ends with a BIG splash. Finally, Xel-Ha’s Childrens World has activities in which the little ones can have fun for hours, such as a wading pool, playground, water slide, rope climb, seesaw, crocodile tunnel, hanging games, water lilies and turtles for photos.

  • Xel-Ha Tulum Tour: Via Vacaciones Barcelo, your family will get a fascinating two-hour tour through the Tulum ruins in the morning. And then, you’ll spend the afternoon at Xel-Ha. This trip includes: Roundtrip transportation; professional guide; tickets to the ruins and Xel-Ha; and more. 

Underwater Art: MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte)

You might not think of museums as an outdoor activity for your family. But in Cancún, museums are a little bit different. MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), located in the waters surrounding Cancún, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc, is comprised of more than 500 evocative, life-size sculptures submerged between 10 and 20 feet deep, many of which have been created by local Cancún artists. These underwater masterpieces aren’t just amazing works of art. They also create an artificial reef for Cancún’s marine life to enjoy and cultivate, making MUSA one of the area’s best sustainable destinations. This incredible attraction is a must-visit for art-lovers and their families. For younger kids, the best way to experience MUSA is aboard a glass-bottom boat. You’ll be able to see the sculptures in crystal clear water without getting wet! 

Mayan Jungle Excursion

For truly action-packed Cancun outdoor adventures for the family, head for the jungle.  Vacaciones Barcelo offers a four-hour excursion through a teeming Cancun landscape. It all kicks off with a cross-country trip in a 4x4 Mercedes Benz Unimog truck, during which you’ll zoom down dirt roads, soaking in the beautiful scenery. Then you’ll arrive at a natural underground pool featuring stunning rock formations, where you can snorkel in crystalline waters. There’s a cultural and educational aspect as well. This amazing excursion concludes with Mayan blessing ceremony that will educate your family about the rich traditions of the Mayan civilization. All in all, it’s a day no one in your family will ever forget.

Isla Contoy

Take the family to a hidden paradise during your Cancun vacation. At just under two square miles, Isla Contoy is a gorgeous secluded island and national park that is packed with natural wonders and wildlife viewing opportunities. Located north of Cancún, Isla Contoy’s eco-system is diverse and fascinating. More than 150 bird species nest here annually, including the frigate, the brown pelican and the double-crested cormorant. Sea turtles also nest on Isla Contoy amidst lush palm trees and sparkling white sand. A day spent on Isla Contoy with your family will linger in your memory for years to come. It’s very possible your kids will try to convince you to move here permanently.

El Rey Archaeological Area

The El Rey Archaeological Area is one of the most under-the-radar Cancun outdoor adventures for your family. Located right in the Cancun Hotel Zone near KM 18, El Rey is one of the most easily accessible Mayan experiences for guests of Occidental Tucancún and Occidental Costa Cancún. Unlike many other Mayan ruins in the area, El Rey is not as crowded with tourists – but it is very much worth discovering. You’ll not only enjoy an evocative hidden gem from the Yucatán Peninsula’s rich past – the spot was once a primary Mayan maritime hub, as well as an important spiritual destination. You’ll also get to clamber all over the place! El Rey is one of the only Mayan ruins where visitors can still climb on the 47 different structures that make up the site. Just remember to be respectful so that other families can enjoy this historical treasure for generations to come.