Whether you are here on the Riviera Maya for one month, one year or more, keeping your children active and engaged can be a challenge. Children are not always content to hang out on the beach everyday. When we moved here, the options for children's activities were extremely limited. As the city has grown, the demand for quality children's programs has increased and the options expanded to meet the growing need. As you may have already discovered, finding the right resources can be a challenge!  You can only imagine the obstacles we faced eight years ago with no Facebook, no online directories or phone books and nothing more than word of mouth from teachers and other parents to draw from.

Many families, moving to Playa del Carmen with older children, come hoping to continue the activities that the kids were involved with in their home country. If your children play soccer you will find this task much easier than if they play lacrosse. Almost all the private schools have a soccer team but not necessarily a team for all ages. Very often, families will need to look outside of the school campus for extracurricular opportunities to meet their family's needs.

 Last summer, in an effort to help local parents, I published an article with a list of Playa del Carmen summer camps and "cursos de verano" for kids in the area. My next project was to find and compile the options available for children who are living here full-time and need well-structured sports and other extra-curricular programs during the academic school year. When I started really looking around, I discovered many more activities than I had anticipated.

This is by no means a complete list. It is a work in progress. This information was compiled using my own personal experience and the experiences of friends and other families living in Playa del Carmen.


Kids soccer in Playa del CarmenSoccer - One of the greatest things about sports is that the spirit of competition and fair play is universal. No matter what country you are from or what language you speak, on the sports field it all comes down to skill, stamina and experience. Signing your kids up for sports in Playa del Carmen will go along way to helping them make friends and learn Spanish. Soccer, or futbol, is by far the most popular sport and nearly all the private schools have their own teams. Girls are allowed to play on these teams but with the exception of the older girls team at Instituto Tepeyac, you will find very few girls on the "cancha" come game day. If your chosen school does not have a futbol team for your aspiring Lionel Messi or Mia Hamm, there are league teams to consider for boys and girls of all ages.

Liga Premier de Futbol Infantil y Juvenil Riviera Maya AC

Playa Soccer - Young children, youth, girls teams
Calle 86 Norte, west of 307

InterPlaya Youth Soccer
Mario Villanueva Stadium
Corner of Ave. 20 and Calle 34
Coach Mario Tejo


American Football is becoming more and more popular in Quintana Roo. Driving up through Cancun, I have spotted several football fields at the Preparatory and Universities that line the highway. The only team in Playa del Carmen is the Caballeros but they have been in existence now for a few years and have quite a few players and several age groups playing. I understand there is now a flag-football team for girls!

Los Caballeros de Playa del Carmen
Colegio Ingles
Miss Rosie Lagunas - Coordinadora de Academias Deportivas y Culturales
Coach Hernan Rodriguez Torrez
Km. 291.5 Carratera Fed. Cancun-Playa del Carmen
Head Coach José Luis Farías


Baseball - Information coming soon

Basketball - Information coming soon


Tennis - Despite the heat, tennis is a very popular past-time here on the Riviera Maya. So much so, that it is a challenge to get court time. Signing up for regular clinics is a good way to keep up your game and get your kids involved as well. PLAY Tennis Academy is a very popular tennis program for children in the region. They have classes for all ages and levels of play. The multilingual tennis pros utilize a teaching program based on PLAY+ STAY of the International Tennis Federation. Using the new "PLAY + STAY" method, kids of all skill levels learn the proper technique and form for each of the strokes used in the fast paced game of tennis! Children will develop important motor skills with the racket in a manner suitable for children at all levels of play. PLAY Tennis also offers private lessons, master clinics, tournaments and a summer camp for kids. My kids attended last summer and loved it!

PLAY Tennis
Dir. Alvaro Flores
RIU Lupita Playacar

Playa Tennis Academy
Dir. Claudia Rios
Pro Aristeo Luna
Poliforum Multi-Deportivo
Ave. 115 and Juarez
Col. Ejidal, Playa del Carmen


Sailing in Puerto AventurasSailing - Sailing is a sport that brings its participants in continuous contact with nature and helps develop self esteem and decision making skills in young people. A relatively new offering, the sailing club in Puerto Aventuras is already attracting a great following. Captains in the making train on easily maneuverable Optimist sailboats, perfect for young ones. If you are thinking about signing up your child for lessons, you will not want to miss the upcoming Copa Riviera Maya Optimist Regatta scheduled for April 27 - 30, 2012 in Puerto Aventuras.

Club de Velas Puerto Aventuras
Dir. Daniele Gracis
danielegracis@hotmail.com or atencion@colonos.org

The Porvenir Sailing Club is located south of Puerto Morelos and just ten minutes north of the famous Playa del Carmen, on the beach between the Blue Bay Resort and the Haciendas Tres Rios Resort. This location provides fantastic sailing conditions for beginners to advanced sailors in a relaxed, off-the-beach sailing program. The Porvenir fleet is comprised of 6 Lasers, 12 Optimists, a 21 foot sailing coach boat and a 15 foot inflatable boat. The sailing program for beginners is run in the Optimists.  Sailing is on Friday afternoons (3-6 pm) and Saturday's (11am-2pm). The sailing program for more advanced sailors is conducted in the Lasers.  Sailing is on Mon/Thu/Fri (3-6pm) and Saturday's (11am-2pm).  Porvenir offers excellent sailing instruction from top local sailors.  In addition, they often host National and World-Class sailors from both America and Europe who provide young sailors with seminars on advanced sailing tactics and sailing techniques.

Porvenir Sailing Club
Km. 301, Carretera #307 Cancun-Tulum
Club Manager: Alberto Bache - bachealberto@yahoo.com.mx
Club Partner: Bruce Stone - bruce@brucestone.com


Golf - All of the wonderful golf courses along the Riviera Maya offer golf clinics and private lessons for players of all ages and skill levels. You can check with your local pro to find a class that is appropriate for your young Greg Norman. If your children are really serious about golf, you are in luck! One of the finest golf schools in the world has a base right here on the Riviera Maya. The Jim McLean Golf School has a satellite at Mayakoba's El Cameleon Golf Course. El Cameleon is also home to the Mayakoba Classic, the only PGA event held outside of the United States. The Junior Elite Golf Camp is a Play + Stay option more geared towards established Junior golfers coming in from abroad but lessons can be arranged for children living locally who would like ongoing instruction.

Jim McLean Golf School
Mayakoba Resort
Km 298,‬‪ Playa del Carmen
Reservations for lessons and schools: 984-206-3088
Golf School:  984-122-5104


Martial Arts in Playa del CarmenMartial Arts - Until we moved to Mexico, I knew next to nothing about Martial Arts. When my then 6 year old son approached me wanting to enroll in Taekwon do, I was surprised but open to the idea. He began his instruction after school at Papalote under Marcos Carillo and, as he progressed, moved on to taking more advanced classes in the studio at Gran Fraternidad Marcial. Cole and his classmates, boys and girls ages 4 and up, excelled under the tutelage of Professor Carillo.  I cannot say enough about our experience with Professor Marco. Something to note: If you are looking for a teacher who is going to teach your kids to be "fighters", this may not be the studio for your family. The focus is on personal growth and achievement, respect and self-discipline. He helps the children to take the self-discipline they develop in class and use it in their lives outside of the Academy and off the mat. Cole only stopped pursuing this sport late last year when he decided to dedicate more time to competitive riding. The center offers instruction in Taekwon Do, Judo, Jiu Jitsu Brasileno, Aikido and Muay Thai although you will need to check the age restrictions for each discipline.

Gran Fraternidad Marcial
Ave. 45 and Calle 1sur, by Chedraui

Taekwon Do - Mu Duk Kwon
Dan Marco Antonio Carillo

Sensei Humberto Lobato

Ji Jitsu Brasileno
Instructor Gibran Alvarez

Sensei Hector Pavon


Swimming Clubs/Teams - Swimming is somewhat of a seasonal activity here on the Riviera Maya. While the water temperature in the ocean fluctuates very little from summer to winter, our swimming pools become quite cold during the winter months. For those who have just arrived from the great white north, the chilly water may be just fine, a welcome relief from the North Atlantic/Pacific or swimming in mountain lakes and rivers. After a few years down here in the tropics, your metabolism acclimates to the temperatures of the region and the thought of jumping into a pool in January becomes less enticing! It sounds silly, but you are going to have to trust me on this one. Competitive swimmers will want to contact Nadadores de Quintana Roo for the best and most up to date information on training and events.

Nadadores de Quintana Roo A.C.

Escuela Manuel Acosta - Outdoors, unheated
Playacar Phase 2 entrance at Ave. 10

Colegio Ingles - Outdoors, unheated
Miss Rosie Lagunas - Coordinadora de Academias Deportivas y Culturales
Coach Hernan Rodriguez Torrez
Km. 291.5 Carratera Fed. Cancun-Playa del Carmen

Colegio Weston - Indoors, heated pool
Km. 298 Carratera Fed. Cancun-Playa del Carmen, Esq. Calle 80 Norte

Kiin Ha Academica Deportiva - Indoors, heated pools
Calle 34 between Avenis 85 & 90
Col. Ejido, Playa del Carmen
984-206-1524 or 984-879-9930


Horseback Riding in Playa del CarmenHorseback Riding - Despite my best efforts, both of my children somehow managed to inherit my passion for horses. It didn't rear its head until two years ago but when the bug bit, they both fell hard. We now have two horses and I spend a great deal of my Mom time at the stables or shuttling my aspiring show jumpers and their steeds to competitions. If you children are interested in horseback riding, competitive or otherwise, you will want to visit Hipico Playa del Carmen and the owner/director Paco Magallon. Honestly, I don't think there is a finer person to trust your children with, in or out of the ring. Paco is now giving instruction at both the Hipico Playa del Carmen location as well as Hipico Los Corceles in Puerto Aventuras. Living further north toward Puerto Morelos and Cancun? There is El Rey Polo Club to consider as well as Hacienda Andalucia, Centro Ecuestre del Caribe and the newest addition to the Quintana Roo equestrian scene, Instituto Equestre Nacional, all of which have fine facilities and excellent trainers. Very young children and those who are more interested in getting to know the horses and how to care for them may be well suited for Hipico Playa del Carmen's new "Cowboy Kids" classes organized by Paco Magallon's son, and accomplished rider, Diego. Rather than placing an emphasis on competitive skills, Diego helps his young students to first build a relationship with the horses in a manner inspired by Monty Roberts, the original horse whisperer. They learn about all the aspects of horse care as well as basic equitation skills. The only requirements for students? A love of horses...and carrots.

Hipico Playa del Carmen
Dir. Paco Magallon
Behind Rancho Guadalupano, across from Colegio Tepeyac

Hipico Los Corceles
Dir. Paco Magallon
Behind the new Chedraui in Puerto Aventuras


Gymnastics/Acrobatics If your children are already serious gymnasts or young gymnasts who show real promise in the sport you will need to look outside of Playa del Carmen to continue their training. There are some excellent training facilities and world class coaches in Cancun. If you children are promising competitors, you will be well advised to make transportation arrangements and utilize the more professional gyms. If your kids are just starting out or just want to have some fun, these local options can get them going so that they can learn the skills and techniques necessary to become proficient in the various disciplines of gymnastics. I hear that the acrobatics classes at Evolve and Center 8 are a blast!

Colegio Ingles - Olympic gymnastics
Coach Carlos Amnizade Quiroz
Miss Rosie Lagunas - Coordinadora de Academias Deportivas y Culturales
Km. 291.5 Carratera Fed. Cancun-Playa del Carmen

Evolve Gym - Circus arts, gymnastics
Calle 24 between 5th and 10th

Yoga for Kids Playa del CarmenYoga is a very popular activity for adults here on the Riviera Maya and now, a few classes just for children have begun to attract a loyal following. We favor the Friday classes at Yoga by the Way lead by instructor Eli Gregg in which yoga principals are woven into age appropriate teaching opportunities that the children can refer back to in their everyday lives outside of the yoga studio.

The Kids Way
Dir. Elizabeth Gregg
Yoga by the Way
Calle 26 between 5th and 10th
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen
Kids Classes - Fri. 4:30pm - 5:30pm

Jardin de Shangrila
Calle 38 and Calle Flamingos
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen
Kids Classes - Mon. Wed. Fri. 4pm - 5pm

Casa Ananda Yoga del Corazon
Calle 34 and Avenida 75
984 113 7834
984 139 5956
Website: http://www.anandayoga.com.mx/
Email: ananda.yoga1@facebook.com
Kids Classes - Mon. & Wed. 6:30pm
                        Sat. 8:30am


Music/Voice - Without a doubt, Explayarte is the place to go for music instruction in Playa del Carmen. They offer instruction for all levels in guitar, base guitar, violin, drums, keyboard as well as vocal instruction and chorus. Students who attend the El Papalote's preparatory (high school) program, Bachillerato Naciones Unidas, may also choose a "double-major", splitting their studies between academics at Papalote and music at the Explayarte campus. There are other music schools in town but we like this one for the family-friendly atmosphere and the all-inclusive vibe encouraged by the administration and the instructors. The teachers are kind and enthusiastic and all the kids just love it there.

Exec. Dir. David Sanchez
984-859-3203 (3201)
Arco Vial south, across from Centro Maya


Theater in Playa del CarmenDrama/Music Theater - Years ago, just before our family made the move to Playa del Carmen, Rob and I happened upon a surprisingly good production of "Jesucristo Superestrella" being performed in the small park down by the Cozumel ferry dock. Flash ahead eight years and my daughter is currently in rehearsals for an upcoming production of "Seussical", led by the same director, Shane Southcott. After huge successes with the reprise of "Jesus Christ Superstar" followed by "Pippin" and "CATS", the musical theater program at Explayarte is now really taking off! When an audition is announced, the hallways are packed with aspiring actors and actresses, children and adults alike. The fact that the school also offers voice and dance classes assures that their students can work toward being "triple threat" performers. If you live in Playa but your children dream about the lights on Broadway, Explayarte is the place to be!

Exec. Dir. David Sanchez
984-859-3203 (3201)
Arco Vial south, across from Centro Maya

In Motion Artes Escenicas - Theatre for children, Acrobatics
Edificio Tendenza
Calle 14 and 10th Ave.
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen


Dance - Dance is inseparable from the fiber of Mexican culture. As such, there are innumerable dance schools in Playa del Carmen alone. They vary in size and in the disciplines covered. These are probably the best known and most well established and the academies to contact first in the quest for the right class for your budding ballerinas. There are also a varierty of traditional and folkloric dance classes are offered at La Casa de Cultura in Playa del Carmen.

On Stage Dance Academy
Dir. Clinzia Martina
Calle 24 between Ave 30 and 35
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen


Mon. - Fri. 4pm - 7pm

Coppelias - Ballet, Jazz, Zumba , Flamenco
Calle 10 Norte between Ave. 20 and 25
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen
984 803-4136
8:30 am - 10 pm

Talulah - Ballet, Jazz
Calle 36 Norte and 90th Ave.
Col. Ejidal, Playa del Carmen

In Motion Artes Escenicas - Ballet (R.A.D. Graded),Jazz, Modern Dance, Irish Dance, Acrobatics
Edificio Tendenza
Calle 14 and 10th Ave.
Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen

Dance 4 Fun - Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Salsa, Baby Dance, Cardio Dance
Bosque Real, Playa del Carmen


Selecting a school and enrolling your child is only one part of a well-rounded education for your child. The extra-curriculars they choose can be just as important to their development as the academics. They will certainly be essential as your child starts to make friends, develop a social circle and assimilate into the life of a "Playa-child". Just as no one school is right for all children, no one school is likely to offer all the sports, art, music, drama and other activities that your child wants to pursue. 

I will likely be keeping this list of activities bookmarked and updated regularly as more options become known to me. If you have anything to add to help fill out this list, please let me know by leaving a comment. I hope you all find this helpful and informative and will share it with other families living on the Riviera Maya.

PS. New families relocating to Playa del Carmen arrive with a variety of concerns. Selecting a school for their children will undoubtedly be at the top of the list. Recently, I wrote a series of articles about choosing a school and educating your children in Mexico. You can read them all here....Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Also, a list of private schools in the area with up to date contact information can be found here .


Michele Kinnon

I moved to Mexico with my family in 2004 with the hope of offering our children a more global education and world view. Since then, we have traveled through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, gathering friends and life experiences and learning a lot about ourselves along the way. When we are not out and about exploring, Rob and I own and operate BuyPlaya, a Playa del Carmen real estate company and FurnitureMex. "Life's a Beach" is a catch-all blog where you may find anything from restaurant reviews, to recipes, gardening tips, commentary about expat daily life, local events, information about moving to Mexico and educating children in Playa del Carmen. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and .