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  • Xcaret: Admission is pricey and commercialization inevitable, but this all-in-one Riviera Maya eco park (within driving distance of Cancún) supplies full immersion in Maya and Mexican culture and regional flora and fauna in one exhausting and exhilarating experience. Highlights include macaws, jaguars, manatees, and butterflies, an underground river ride, one of the country’s finest folk art museums, and a thrilling nightly folkloric music and dance show. The flourishing Xcaret operation includes the neighboring adventure park XPLOR.
  • CrocoCun: Going nose to nose with iguanas, spider monkeys, surprisingly endearing baby crocodiles, and other native fauna is a surefire hit with kids and equally captivating for adults. Veterinary students, who volunteer as guides, share their knowledge and their passion for protecting these creatures. The attraction is just outside Cancún.
  • Jungle Cruise: Mixing thrills with a glimpse of the natural environment, this Cancún classic puts you at the helm of a small speedboat or WaveRunner to zip through Nichupté Lagoon and its wildlife-rich mangrove estuaries, ending up in the Caribbean for snorkeling at Punta Nizuc. Ask at your hotel for referrals; there are many operators.
  • Selvática: This adventure outfit along the Ruta de Cenotes, inland from Puerto Morelos and about an hour from Cancún, will get the whole family’s adrenaline flowing on 12 of North America’s longest and fastest zip lines; cool you off in a cenote, or sinkhole (which you can enter by still more zip lines); and feed you a hearty lunch.
  • Plaza Principal: Head for the central plaza in the evening as families gather to end their day with gossip, snacks, maybe a little music, and a chance for children to run out their excess energy. Especially on weekends, it may take on a carnival atmosphere, filling with food carts, balloon vendors, and street performers—or even puppet shows or trampolines.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.