We LOVED our time in Playa Del Carmen last November.(you can see all the fun highlights right here.) We planned a day away from the beach to see more of Mexico with kiddo’s. I called around and got in touch with a great company who offered private and customized tours. Monica Soy La Pesera Tours. I emailed her asking for a trip to Ek Balam the smaller of the Mayan ruins and a trip to Valladolid including a visit to the Convent of San Bernadino de Siena. Not only did she honor my request she put together and amazing day for us including a trip to nearly private cenote. I can’t say enough about our experience with this tour company. If you are traveling Mexico with small children having a private tour option is the only way to go!
We were picked up around 7:30 am and headed an hour or so in to Ek Balam. We arrived bright and early so as to beat the heat… but this northern family still felt it! The sight was a perfect stop for our group. It was small and walk able. The kids could climb as high as they wanted… I’ll be honest, it was rather scary for me. Thank goodness we had Callie with us and on Gus patrol. He basically ran to the top of one ruin like a ninja warrior.
I let the kids wander around for a bit and they took so many photos with my old Nikon D80. I was rather impressed with a few of the images they took. This post is a mix of our photos… the kids and mine.
Photo Credit: Greta
Scot took this one… in case you were wondering. Even though we aren’t in focus I kinda love this picture of the kids and I. This is completely real life.
Mary took this photo of us walking in the jungle behind the ruins.
These treats were the most expensive snack we bought in all of Mexico… but still worth every penny to avoid near meltdown.
We jumped back in the van and headed over to the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid. I have wanted to visit this city for years… the painted buildings, the beautiful architecture… the amazing Cathedral of San Gervasio in the city center and the Convent of San Bernadio de Siena … the list goes on.
As we arrived our driver pointed us in the direction of a ‘food court’ of sorts and told us to eat there for lunch. We did and it was amazing. Our kids were a bit sleepy, hot and tired so our moods were not all 100% but the food was great!
I love these little detail photos Greta captured along with a great silouette photo of Callie.
We walked around the city center and then headed into the Cathedral just in time for Adoration. What a beautiful experience to share with the parishioners of the Cathedral and also with our children. We visited a few shops, walked around and soaked in the town streets and headed over to the Convent.
Visiting this convent with the beautiful pink walls was a total bucket list moment for me. This is not a top tourist destination so don’t worry about crowds or lines if you ever visit. We were the only people there as we wondered around the grounds. It was so peaceful in that space. It was a perfect place to visit to have some moments of contemplation… well aside from catching Gus trying to load a real vintage cannon in the courtyard… but about as peaceful as life can be with 4 kids.
We were all rather tired at this point and our driver told us he was going to take us to a cenote. I was a little nervous to be honest… cenotes are deep and my kids are not great swimmers. I was worried about navigating the small space with my kids and a crowd. Wow, am I glad we went! We drove for a long time but were escorted to a small bit of paradise, Cenote Palomitas. This cenote is not on the the normal tourist path and was chosen for us because our driver and Maria thought it would better for our kids. They brought us life jackets for the kids too! (but you can also rent them there) When we arrived we were the only people visiting! HEAVEN. We didn’t have to navigate rocks or pathways with anyone else, paradise all to ourselves. I wish my old Nikon D80 did better in low light because the photo’s just don’t do this location justice. It was the best and I’m so glad we went. Scot and Callie took the kids out while I floated around all alone… it was beautiful and truly refreshed us all for the drive back home, the kids all fell asleep in the van and Scot, Callie & I were so grateful for the cooler full of cold beer our diver had packed for us too! (not to mention, he had juice boxes for our kids…)
Our trip to Mexico with our kids was amazing, I loved taking them to such beautiful and interesting places. They still ask us if we can go back…