We will be taking our first family vacation to a non-US destination next month. We normally vacation in Florida. Just wandering what we can expect in Mexico. We booked an all inclusive resort in riviera maya. Besides the beach and pool (which we will be spending a lot of time at), is it safe for tourists to go sightseeing outside the resort? I'm very excited I've been googling tulum and chichen itza and was wondering if resorts offer trips to those destinations. Also is it safe to walk and wander out and about in town?
Also as far as bureaucracy is concerned... Passports are all we need right? I heard you get a special tourist card or something when you land in cancun.
Yes, resorts offer charter bus trips to Chichen Itza and parks (Xplor, etc) and other sights. You can also take an ADO bus or rent a car. Tulum beaches are spectacular, including the one within the ruins. You can see turtles and rays when going snokling in Akumal. Other ruins you could see are Ek Balam and Coba, with a bit different character than the other 2 mentioned. Swimming in some of the cenotes can also be fun. We recently spent a week driving around the Yucatan, and wandering around the local pueblos, and found it quite safe. Enjoy.
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I suggest you read the Sticky: Requirements for visiting Mexico as a tourist ("tourist card", visa etc.) at the head of this page for formalities.
You will be pretty safe around the area - and you will easily be able to arrange trips to Tulúm (nearby) as well as Chichén Itzá (a long day trip), as well as Cobá (not far, and more or an "Indy Jones" experience in terms of being relatively off the tourist path.
You can bet it will be hot, but then again, Florida is at this time of year as well.
"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." - Hilaire Belloc