I wanted to know if visiting Tulum or Xcaret with children is feasible. I want to do some shopping at Cozumel also so I'm trying to plan my day and don't know if the ruins would be boring for my children ages 6 and 11. Does anyone recommend the tour thing or should I just go around on our own with the help of a taxi driver ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we've never been there.
We took the trip to Tulum and Xel Ha (both were great) but I don't think I would take young children to the ruins. XCaret sounds a much better bet for children. If your ship docks in Cozumel, there is a 45 minute ferry ride to Playa del Carmen and then back in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day when we did it, but the ferry was VERY rocky and my 13 year old felt very sea sick.... so be prepared for this with your children. Also it is very hot, but we loved that!
We've been to both Xcaret and Tulum, and while Tulum was definitely a winner for us as adults, unless your kids are into ruins/history they will probably not care for it much. The view was fantastic.
Xcaret can be a little "touristy", and some of the activities are pretty expensive. If they are into water activities, then they will probably enjoy the park, and there are some animals and a small number of ruins to round things out. Make sure you see the Mayan Ball Game if you are there long enough. The "Xcaret at Night" is fabulous, but if you're on a shore excursion you may not have that option available.
I would have to disagree that Xcaret is "touristy". We actually felt the opposite - a refreshing change from the way most American parks are set-up and run. We took our two children, ages 7 and 13 there. It was by far the most memorable day of the cruise. My kids still talk about it, and it's two years later! We snorkled in the inlet area, and swam in the gorgeous natural pools at the ocean edge. We snorkled thru an underground river, which was really something different! My son swam with the dolphins, which was a wonderful experience. The program was very low-key, and well-run. He was in the water quite a long time, which I do not believe is the case at other places. It also cost $80 for the dolphin swim (and still does this year), versus $120 charged in Cozumel and Nassau. The only other charge I remember (besides the cruise excursion cost, of course) was a nominal fee to rent snorkling vests for the underground river. I felt it was worth every penny, and would highly recommend it with children. Other cruisers on our boat who went to Tulum commented on how hot, and long a day it was. Many said it would have been torture with the kids! Have fun!