If you are planning a family holiday to Mexico (and you should), here are ten things that will entertain your children and provide them with life long memories.
Mexico for Kids
Mexico is a well established tourist destination for many reasons. There is the indigenous culture to explore in Oaxaca, hiking in the rainforest in Chiapas, a huge number of beach destinations and the great museums of Mexico City. But what about Mexico for kids? If you are planning a family holiday to Mexico (and you should), here are ten things that will entertain your children and provide them with life long memories.
Releasing Baby Turtles Into the Sea
Acapulco was once known as the party destination of the Mexican coastline, but now is much better known for attracting families who want the experience of releasing baby turtles into the ocean. An activity that is certain to charm children of all ages as well as the big kid that lies within each of us, this is a fantastic learning experience that will guide you through the process of capturing turtles while they are still in their eggs, through to releasing those turtles back into the sea. Your kids will get to pick their favourite turtles, name them and release them into the ocean where they will have the best chance of survival. As well as a fun experience for all the family, this will give your kids the opportunity to learn about important wildlife conservation programs.
Festivals are a hugely important part of Mexican culture. In Oaxaca, a state of Mexico that is home to a significant indigenous population, there is a festival called Guelaguetza that celebrates the diversity and colours of the local indigenous people every July. While the festival celebrates everything indigenous in Mexico, tourists are very welcome to join in with the celebrations and learn about the traditional dances, music, clothes and food. What makes this festival so great for kids is that local indigenous children form an extremely important part of the celebrations. Local children from the Zapotec, Mixtec, Mazateco and other indigenous communities collaborate before the big festival to create intricate and spectacular dance performances that will paint the hugest smiles on the faces of your children. And if your kids want to become truly integrated into the celebrations, they can exchange locally crafted gifts with the indigenous kids – they will be able to take something really special home with them and they might even make a new friend.
Surfing Lessons in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido, a coastal town in the beautiful state of Oaxaca, has long been considered one of the best spots for surfing in not only Mexico, but the world. But why should grown ups get to have all of the fun? Well, In Puerto Escondido the kids get join in with ridin’ those waves too. Celestino Rodríguez and Melinda have earned themselves a reputation as not only the most competent surf teachers in Puerto Escondido, but as being particularly competent when it comes to making kids surfing lessons a fun and unforgettable experience. Going on holiday and spending time by the coast is always going to be something your kids will enjoy, but allowing your kids to pick up this fun new skill will enhance their holiday experience exponentially, creating a passion for the waves and giving them surfing stories to share with friends back at home!
Lucha Libre Wrestling
There are two sports that Mexicans are simply crazy about – soccer and wrestling. Every little boy who grows up in Mexico dreams of being either a professional footballer, scoring goals for the national team, or a Lucha Libre wrestler - a muscled wrestler who fights off the bad guys in the ring. If you are worried about your kids witnessing violence, it’s important to be aware that all of this wrestling is acted and extremely playful. The huge, muscled wrestlers wear the skimpiest neon coloured costumes matched with shimmering metallic masks that make them look like living cartoon characters. Visit one of the big arenas in Mexico City or Guadalajara for a wrestling show and you and your kids will be blown away by the raucous atmosphere, the hollering from the crowds, the spectacular costumes and the athletic moves that the wrestlers make in the ring.
Chocolate Factory Tour in Cozumel
Many people underestimate the importance of chocolate in Mexico. In fact, chocolate was discovered here in the part of the country where Veracruz now exists. Only when the Europeans invaded was chocolate spread to the further reaches of the world. On this chocolate factory tour, your kids will get to have that magical Willy Wonka experience while learning all about this important history from informed guides. They will learn how chocolate comes from the Cacao plant, which ingredients are added to make the chocolate that we know and love, and how chocolate is used as an ingredient in many traditional Mexican dishes such as mole. Your kids will become fully integrated into the chocolate making process as they learn how to grind the Cacao beans by hand, and, of course, they will have the opportunity to try plenty of delicious chocolate at the same time.
White water rafting in Cuernavaca
If your children are thrill seekers, there is a better way of getting an adrenaline rush in Mexico than simply taking them to a theme park. The city of Cuernavaca is only a little way out of Mexico City and plays host to a number of outdoor activities. One of the most enduringly popular with kids is white water rafting. The River Amacuzac experiences a great range of rapids and the knowledgeable and experienced guides in this area are able to choose softer routes that are more suitable for children while still providing them with a completely authentic white water rafting experience. On the calmer parts of the journey, your children will be able to spot local animals such as eagles and herons. You will be kitted out with life vests and all the safety equipment that you need, so all you have to do is show up and have a great family day out on the rapids.
Watch a Mock Battle in Zacatecas
If your kid loves to learn about history and battles from times past, a visit to Zacatecas is an absolute must. At Morismas de Bracho, the whole town gets together to recreate an epic ancient battle. Your kids will get to see locals dressed in traditional military costumes, mounted on horseback and yelling out their battle cries. The festival lasts for three days every August and during that time, 10,000 participants get involved in the battle! During this time, you will be able to find hundreds of vendors on the streets selling traditional military clothing so that your kids can dress up and really feel as though they are part of the excitement. How many kids can say that they have been part of a battle? Your children will be retelling this story for a long time coming!
Camping on a Desert island
There are so many camping spots in Mexico that this country is truly an outdoor lover’s dream. From the Copper Canyon through to the rainforest in Chiapas, there are plenty of destinations where you can pitch a tent with your kids and enjoy a rustic camping experience. But for newcomers to camping, who might not have their own camping equipment, Mexico still has tonnes of family friendly options. Just off the coast of Baja, California there is a completely deserted island called Espiritu Santu that is a picture perfect tropical paradise. And while the island is uninhabited, it does offer luxury camping for families who want to east their way into camping for the first time. At Baja Camp, the tents have double beds, bedside tables and lamps – so you still have a comfortable experience while treating your kids to an outdoors adventure in a remote part of the world.
Attend a Charreada
If your kids are crazy about horses, or simply want to experience a uniquely Mexican event, attending a charreada is the way to go. Charreadas are competitive events that can be compared to rodeos, and showcase all of the incredible horse riding and horses roping skills of Mexican ranch workers. Dating back to the 16th century, these events are steeped in tradition, and provide a great way for kids to learn about Mexican history while enjoying the exciting atmosphere of a live charreada competition. Charreada is, in fact, the national sport of Mexico, and one of the best places to catch one of these events is in Guadalajara or in smaller surrounding towns in Jalisco. Who knows – perhaps your children will want to start horse riding after attending a spectacular charreada event.
The Mexico Children’s Choir Festival
All around Mexico, kids are getting together to form choirs of all descriptions, singing everything from traditional Mexican numbers through to contemporary English pop song, and competing against each other in order to become the very best kids choir in the country. The festival is hosted each year on beautiful Cozumel Island during May when schools and other choir groups travel from far and wide to participate in this spectacular event. If your kids are Glee fans, they will be completely enraptured by these show stopping performances that have nothing in common with stuffy choir performances of decades past – these are all out dancing and singing affairs that are incredible to watch. And if you can’t make it to Cozumel in May, keep you eye open for performances in local arenas, theatres and churches across the country throughout the year