Cancun with Kids – The Best Family Hotels

Updated: August 21, 2016

Cancun with kids and the best family hotels

Tips and Recommendations

  • HotelsCombined.com – A great website for finding hotels in Cancun.
  • Isla Cancun (also known as the Hotel Zone) is shaped like a 7. Most resorts are on the back of the 7 and the beaches face east. The top of the 7 faces north and is semi-protected from direct ocean waves and has the most kid-friendly swimming. Ciudad Cancun (or downtown Cancun) is located inland and is where you’ll find the cheapest hotels and the best local food.
  • The best local/Mexican restaurant near the beach is El Fish Fritanga. It’s on Isla Cancun but faces the lagoon, not the ocean. It’s much cheaper than most restaurants on the main beach. It’s popular with locals and has good seafood. The Taco Factory has the best pastor tacos in the hotel zone.
  • The best tour in Cancun is the Cenote Day Tour which takes you to 4 amazing cenotes where you will swim, snorkel, and zipline. (Kids need to be 6 years or older.) Swimming in a cenote (a sinkhole filled with cool fresh water) is the highlight of any trip to the Yucatan and this is an easy way to see 4 really unique ones. Tour includes hotel pickup, lunch, snorkel gear, and life vests.
  • Looking for something less touristy and not filled with package tourists? Try either Isla Mujeres (which has one of the most kid-friendly beaches in the Caribbean) or Tulum (90 minutes south of Cancun, great beaches, laid back boutique hotels).

The Best Kid Friendly Hotels in Cancun

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort & Spa (luxury)
Hotel phone: +52 998 881-4200
Cancun with Kids – the best hotels
Luxurious all-suites hotel that offers ocean views of emerald waters (and nearby Isla Mujeres) from private balconies. The expansive suites provide a sunken living area and lots of space. The private white sand beach leads to calm surf, perfect for young kids to swim and splash about. The Fiesta Kids Club, supervised beach and pool, interactive games, crafts, and other amusements make days easy to fill. This is not an all-inclusive which means you pay for your food but the quality is much higher – this place has some of the best restaurants of any Cancun resort.

JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa (luxury)
Hotel phone: +52 998 848-9600
Cancun Best Family Resorts:  JW Marriott
An oasis of luxury in the Hotel Zone. You are greeted by views of gorgeous white beaches and crystal blue waters. Guest rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable and bathrooms are well-appointed. Parents can take advantage of the Kids Club at sister property Marriott CasaMagna or have fun at the quiet beach or the outdoor children’s pool. Aquaworld, Kukulkids playground, and WetnWild water parks are all close by to provide entertainment for kids and adults alike.

Ritz-Carlton Cancun (luxury)
Hotel phone: +52 998 881-0808
Cancun Best Family Resorts: Ritz Carlton
Located in the Hotel Zone on an expansive white beach along a beautiful stretch of coastline. All guest rooms and suites have ocean views to take in the cerulean waters. Rooms are exquisitely furnished, spacious, and well-appointed. Attentive staff provide outstanding service for all of your needs during your stay including twice-daily housekeeping. Children can stay busy with the Ritz Kids Mayan Adventures program providing physical and creative activities. A fun kid’s menu will meet just about any young culinary whim. Give your kids a night filled with adventure (while parents have some time on their your own) with “Kid’s Night Out” – offered Fridays and Saturdays.

The Royal Caribbean (moderate)
Hotel phone: 1-888-838-7842
Cancun Best Family Resorts: Royal Caribbean
Nestled in the hotel zone on the shores of the lagoon. A wonderful choice for families looking for a great value with clean, large rooms and friendly staff. Guest rooms have two beds standard as well as ocean views. Access to sister properties allows an abundance of dining and activity options. A separate children’s pool gives kids a place to splash about. Although there is no official kids club program, the Royal has organized social activities for children, teens, and adults to keep everybody busy.

Marriott CasaMagna Cancun Resort (moderate)
Hotel phone: +52 998 881-2000
Cancun Best Family Resorts: Casa Magna
Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, this resort has a superb powdery beach overlooking turquoise waters and good on-site restaurants covering just about any style of cuisine. The rooms are spacious while the pools are well kept and beautiful. Winner of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ choice awards for families. The Kid’s Club is one of the best for resorts in the area and children will have fun decorating cookies in the cocina or swimming in the children’s pool.

And a Few More Family Hotels in Cancun

Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
Deluxe Family Rooms sleep family of 6.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3600
Swimming pool at Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun.

Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort
One Bedroom Villas sleep family of 4.
Hotel phone: +52 998 891 4200
Family room at Westin Hotel in Cancun.

Crown Paradise Club
King Rooms with Ocean Views sleep family of 5.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 9000
Water slides and water park at Crown Paradise Hotel in Cancun.

Royal Solaris Cancun
Deluxe Family Rooms sleep family of 4.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 8400
Water slides for kids at Solaris Resort in Cancun.

Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
Deluxe Family Rooms sleep family of 4.
Hotel phone: 1-800 635-1836
Water slides and kids pool at Moon Palace Resort near Cancun Airport.

Azul Beach Hotel
Family Swim-Up Suite sleeps family of 5.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8080
Boutique hotel for families near Cancun.

Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa
Junior Suites sleep family of 4.
Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2100
Best resort with water slides , kids club, and teen club near Cancun.

photo credit

91 questions and comments

  1. Surf and Undertow at Cancun Marriott

    Is the water at JW Marriott Cancun safe for kids to swim in? We would hate to get there and not be able to go in the water because of huge waves/undertow. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The surf can definitely be rough along this stretch. It’s common to visit and have red flags (the flag for the roughest water) for your entire visit. If you want calm then stay at hotels along the “top of the 7” (the Cancun beach is shaped like a 7 and the north facing beaches have calmer surf) or go farther south to Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

      Reply
  2. All Inclusive with Connecting Rooms

    Hi David,

    I’m a single mother wanting to travel to Cancun maybe PDC but probably Cancun with my 1.5 year old and 3 year old. I want a luxury all inclusive resort at and i need to either have adjoining rooms or a suite of some sort as the 2 kids cannot sleep in the same room. Food has to be great, and activities are kind of important but not a deal breaker. My daughter is too young and my son being just 3 probably won’t want me far away. I would like it to have some sort of babysitting service, in case I want to pop down to the hotel bar or get a spa treatment. Calm beach waters would help but again are not a deal breaker as I am more of a pool kinda girl anyways. It has to have kiddie pools. What do you suggest?

    Lauren Markds

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The problem with connecting rooms is that many hotels won’t guarantee them (you book two hotel rooms, request that they are beside each other, and then hope). So it’s often better to get a suite that has multiple rooms. Take a look at Azul Sensatori – a luxury all-inclusive about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

      Reply
  3. Omni Cancun

    Hi David! Thank you for all your knowledge.
    I’m looking into booking the Omni hotel for a group of 7 girls and I’m coming across two different listings.
    What is the difference between the Omni Cancun Hotel & Villa All Inclusive VS Ocean Villa All Inclusive by Omni Cancun? (Besides the 2000 sq ft compared to 2300 sq ft).
    Thanks in advanced!
    Amy

    Reply
  4. Best Time to Go to Cancun for Cheap Hotel and Airfare

    Hello! What is the best time of year do you recommend going to Cancun? Lower airfare and lower hotel prices but still decent weather? I’ve read it’s cheapest during hurricane season but it’s a gamble to go during that time.

    Cheyenne

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Yes, the cheapest time is in October and early November – but there is a higher chance of getting a string of rainy days. March through June (avoiding Spring Break periods which vary across the U.S.) provide lower prices (than December, January, July, and August) but the weather is almost certain to be beautiful.

      Reply
  5. Club Med Cancun with Kids

    Thoughts on Club Med? I didn’t see it mentioned here, would you qualify it as luxury? We’re looking for all-inclusive but it has to have good food and great kids clubs. We aren’t adventurous and just want to relax and not worry about anything. Thank you! Your blog is awesome!

    Michael

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Kids Club at Club Med Cancun is very good (one of the best in the area) and there are loads of activities for kids and adults. The food is good (not great) but not a lot of choice and very little nearby if you wanted to venture off to find different cuisine. The best shopping is a 20 minute taxi ride away – and central Cancun (where the best food is) is even farther. Many rooms are in dire need of a refurbishment so if you do book here ask about being in the new building.

      Reply
  6. Casa Magna Marriot Cancun, Grand Fiesta Americana, or The Hyatt in Playa del Carmen for Family of 4

    Hello. Nice blog! Debating between Casa Magna Marriot Cancun, Grand Fiesta Americana, or The Hyatt in Playa del Carmen for a family vacation with 10&14 years old girls. Looking to stay 5 nights. Planning to visit Xel Ha or Xcaret park. Would like to eat local authentic mexican food. Your suggestions will be really appreciated.

    Nat

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      All are great hotels. The Grand Fiesta is the most kid-friendly (and the water is much calmer here than at the Casa Magna). But for location (proximity to good Mexican food and the water parks you mention) the Hyatt in Playa del Carmen is best. It also has more character than the other two.

      Reply
  7. Cancun Hotel for Family of 5

    Great Blog, lots of good info.
    I am planning a trip with my family of 5. Two Adults, three kids, ages 1,4,7.
    I looked up some suggestions and it appears that they only accommodate families of 4 in one room. Due to the very young ages, we would like to share one room and not have 2 rooms adjoining.
    Which hotels either all inclusive or not would you recommend in cancun area?

    Mark

    Reply
  8. Cancun vs Playa del Carmen for Family of 4

    Planning a trip to cancun in 2 weeks with kids. Booked Royal Sands in hotel zone. Heard it is time share and food is not good. Any experience there? Other option is Grand Solaris or Grand Caribe. Or just Playa del Carmen and the Riu resorts. Is Playa del Carmen as hapenning as the hotel zone?

    Hitesh

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Playa del Carmen has much more life and activity than Cancun (though not the big dance clubs or malls, but as for street life and restaurants PDC is much more “happening”). The beach is also more kid-friendly with calmer surf. Food at all the all inclusives (except for the 5 star properties) will be bad to OK.

      Reply
  9. Best Kid-Friendly Cancun Resort with Great Beach

    What is the best kid friendly hotel with the nicest safest beaches in Cancun for swimming? I stayed in Moon Palace years ago, but recall that the beach was not that nice.

    Rozeta

    Reply
  10. Now Jade Resort or Dreams Resort in Cancun for Families?

    Now Jade Resort or Dreams Resort? Five families traveling together.

    Kel

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Both are great for kids with a family-friendly vibe and great pools. Both have kids clubs (for 3 and older). Both are about a 40 minute walk along the beach from Puerto Morelos (where you’ll get better food than you will at the resorts). Beach is better at Dreams than Now Jade. Some of the units at Dreams have small private plunge pools which are nice.

      Reply
  11. Activities near Puerto Morelos

    Hi, going to Mexico next week, travelling with two 15 month olds, we are staying at the Azul Sensatori Karisma near Puerto Morelos. Looking for trips and activities out for 4 adults 2 children … anything you can suggest?

    Claire Slee

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Azul Sensatori Karisma has great options for kids pools & activity centers. When you are ready to leave the hotel, check out Crococun Zoo – an interactive zoo right in Puerto Morelos. Guides walk you through the grounds and you can get up close to the animals and even touch and feed some of them. It is also fun to take a walk along the Puerto Morelos Pier. There is a lot of activity as the fishing boats come and go and lots of fish to see in the crystal blue water. Keep an eye out for the stingrays! And if you want to venture farther there are loads of cenotes in the general area.

      Reply
  12. Hotel Good for Night Clubs

    Hi David,

    Is there any hotel that we would leave our kids 7 and 9 at night to go to a night club? Would it be safe to let they alone in the hotel? And finally, what would be the best choice for kids club?
    Thank you.
    Nilson Pascoal Silva Junior

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Would the kids be safe in the hotel room? That depends more on them than the hotel. If they’d be fine at home on their own, then they’d certainly be fine in your hotel room. The one recommendation I would have is to stay at a hotel close to the clubs and nightlife. The Grand Fiesta Americana and Krystal Grand Punta Cancun are steps from the central night club scene so would be a good choice.

      Reply
  13. Cancun Resort with 3 Kids

    Hi. I’ve skimmed through most comments and found them very helpful. My question, I’m vacationing with 3 kids – 6yrs, 7 yrs, and 12 yrs. Single parenting. Where should we stay where it will be easiest and the least amount of stress? All inclusive. My kids like to snack and are fussy eaters. Many times I end up making 3 different meals just so everybody will eat. We haven’t narrowed down a month to travel yet. We are flexible. So I’m searching for – all inclusive, kids pool, on the beach, clean, good room service. Want a resort that will keep us entertained for a week. The only time I plan on leaving is to perhaps go to the interactive aquarium in the mall as you had suggested to someone else above with small kids for the dolphin experience. Shuttle to and from the airport and hotel would be on my check list as well. Trying to keep it simple…..
    Dawn

    Reply
  14. Good Hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen for Family of 4

    Hi David I enjoy reading your travel recommendations even when we are not planning a holiday! We are an Australian family (mum, dad 2 little ladies 5 and 3) going to LA and Mexico for 2 weeks in early June. We are thinking about splitting 8 nights across Cancun and Playa del Carmen (4 nights each). We would love your recommendation on a luxury resort in both places that has a lovely pool and beach option and is walking distance to awesome local authentic food places / restaurants outside of hotels.
    Many many thanks for your time and knowledge!
    SJ Emery

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      In Cancun, none of the beach resorts are walking distance to local authentic food. The Grand Fiesta Americana is one of the closer luxury hotels to central Cancun (10 minute taxi ride, 15 minute bus ride) where you’ll find some excellent restaurants. In Playa del Carmen the town and beach are one and the same so there are lots of great restaurants within an easy walk of the beach hotels (as long as you don’t stay at a resort outside of town). The Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen is my favorite hotel in PDC and an easy walk to lots of great local food (El Fogon is one of my favorites).

      Reply
  15. Teen Friendly Hotel near Playa del Carmen

    One day in Cancun?

    Great Blog. I would very much appreciate your insight on where to stay for the one free day/night we have in the Cancun before joining up with a wedding party in Playa del Carmen (June 2016). Since our activities will be somewhat structured at the next venue, our 13 & 15 year olds would definitely appreciate a teen-friendly resort in an active area where we can venture out to find a local favorite restaurant. Could you suggest a mid-range, fun resort that is NOT an all-inclusive within a reasonable taxi drive to Playa del Carmen? Thanks so much! Dee

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      If you want to enjoy Playa del Carmen (great town with lots of good restaurants) then it’s best to stay within walking distance to the central area. And my favorite hotel in the area is the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort – great location, nice beach, beautiful pool. Trendy but still friendly.

      Reply
  16. Solaris or Parnassus with Kids

    Hello. I am traveling with a group to Cancun for my son’s 3rd birthday. A bunch of his friends are coming. All between ages 2-3. Which would you recommend between the Solaris and the Grand Parnnasus?
    Thanks. Linette Brizan

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Since there is no Grand Parnassus and the Golden Parnassus is adults-only, I’m assuming you mean the Great Parnassus. The Solaris is a nicer resort than the Parnassus. The food is not great at either (to get good food at an all inclusive you have to go luxury) but probably a little worse at the Parnassus. The vibe is a little more kid-crazy at the Parnassus (I couldn’t imagine anyone without kids enjoying themselves at the Parnassus) while the kids club is definitely better at the Solaris. The two resorts are not that far apart. The Parnassus is a little more convenient to the main shopping area of Cancun (and nightlife). The Solaris is closer to the airport and the adventure parks south of Cancun.

      Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Teens generally like the vibe here. It can be a little loud and crazy so this would not be my choice for a relaxing vacation. But if you’re looking for something that can keep teens entertained then it’s a good choice – though the atmosphere here can vary a lot depending on your fellow guests, so you can visit once and it’s fun and lots going on, and visit again and it’s uninspired and a little boring (so be prepared for anything).

      Reply
  17. Playa del Carmen vs Cancun for Family

    Hi David.

    Your site is really helpful, thanks so much.

    I’m planning a trip in October/November 2016 with husband and two kids. We’re looking for somewhere all inclusive and good for families, with chance of a few day trips to explore the nature of Mexico and probably some diving. However I’m not sure we can stretch to some of the more luxury resorts. I’ve found a couple of good deals in Playa del Carmen – what’s that area like and how does it compare to Cancun?

    Any advice gratefully received, thanks.

    Jo

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The area of Playa del Carmen is far more interesting than the Cancun hotel strip. It’s a little town with a walkable tourist area filled with restaurants and bars. A little tacky in spots but all in all a nice vibe. The beach is great and generally calmer than the Cancun beach and better for kids swimming.

      Reply
  18. Hotel for Family of 4 with Separate Bedrooms

    Very helpful post, thanks! We have 2 young kids (3.5 years & 1 year) and are looking for hotels with separate living spaces between bedroom, living room, and bathroom so that everyone (adults, child 1, and child 2) can have separate sleeping spaces. Can you please point us in the direction of where to begin looking? Thanks so much!

    Rachel

    Reply
  19. Cancun for Family of 8

    Looking for advice.. 2 adults and 6 kids heading to Cancun in December 2016 for the first time. Kids age range 5-16. Looking for an all inclusive with great beach and swimming, good food, kid pool, evening entertainment for the family, not far from airport, clean hotel doesn’t have to be fancy just not run down. Any help would be appreciated. Looking at all the hotels in the area and can’t figure out where to start. Thank you.
    Staci

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Westin Cancun (a different property than the Westin Lagunamar) is very kid-friendly and just 10 minutes from the airport (about as close to the airport as you can get while still being on the coast).

      Reply
  20. All Inclusive Resort for Family in Cancun

    Hi Dave

    Really great site – such helpful information – so hope you can help us!

    We’re a family of 4 (kids 10 & 8) from the UK looking to travel to Cancun area in October 2016. We’d like some time off so we’d like all inclusive/ full board ideally! We love nature and aren’t afraid of getting out & about so it would be good to explore some jungle or ruins! We’re not especially fond of large crowds, but happy to be in a fairly bustling family resort (we’ve got kids & kids like to run & shout so we expect that!) – would you be able to recommend a suitable resort? We think we’ve found a good price for the JW Marriott? Would that fit our bill. Thank you very much!

    Also, specific, question, if we wanted to do a couple of day trips would you hire a car or just get a taxi?

    Thanks again

    The Coopers!

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The JW Marriott is great so I doubt you’d regret staying there. Another idea if you’re interested in getting out and exploring some of the great activities in the area is to stay a little south of Cancun. It makes the cenotes, activity parks, and some of the historical sights quicker and easier to get to. Moon Palace is well located for this and very kid-friendly.

      Reply
  21. Hotel for Families with Kids

    Hi David,
    There are several (3-5 families) traveling next February to Cancun. We are looking for a very nice resort with lots of adventure for the kids i.e. waterparks possibly. The age range is from 7-12 years old with one little one. Looking for luxury, great service, food and will also amuse the kids. Which hotel(s) would you recommend? Thanks, Greer Ross

    Reply
  22. Cancun Resort for Family of 6

    Hello David,
    We are a family of 6: 4 adults and 2 kids (ages 3,6,35,35,67,70). My kids love water parks, so i was looking for an all inclusive with good kids club activities and a water park. Not keen on very trendy and luxurious resorts, but more comfortable, family oriented, and definitely a suite that can accommodate 6 people, i want it to be family time. With all the above requirements only Crown Paradise met all. But the mixed reviews are confusing me. Don’t want to completely sacrifice on quality. Would also want to take my parents out for some sightseeing for a day or two, if possible.You think there is anything else that can fit my needs better than Crown Paradise?

    Also another question. Some of us are vegetarian. And i kept avoiding all-inclusives for this reason and almost always cooked a few meals and went crazy driving from one place to another looking up menu. I am so done with it. It always took the fun out of vacation for me. Do we stand a chance of being able to find enough vegetarian in all-inclusives in general or going to bored eating salads meal after meal for a week.

    Anu

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Try the 3-bedroom villas at the Omni. Or for more dietary flexibility get a 2-bedroom suite with full kitchen at the Royal Caribbean. Neither have water slides but the pools are great and there are good activity parks close to Cancun.

      Reply
    2. Cancun Hotel for 2 Families

      We stayed at Crown Paradise with 4 kids and 4 adults with adjoining rooms. The kids loved it here.. the waterpark has lifeguards so you can actually drop your kids off if you like, even though we didn’t. The food was good and better at the a la carte restaurants. If you are a vegetarian I’m sure they could accommodate you cause there were a few ppl there with gulten allergies and the Manager was there helping then out and getting then what they needed.

      This place is definitely for people with kids and not a luxury resort by any means but we had a great time there when we went in April 2016.

      Jo

      Reply
  23. Cancun Resort for Young Kids

    David,

    My family is highly considering visiting Cancun in October 2016. We will have a 1 year old and a 3 year old at that time. We would like something all inclusive that would be entertaining enough for the girls. What would you recommend?
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  24. All Inclusive with Water Slides close to Activities

    This has been really helpful and I’m wondering if you can help me. This is our first vacation EVER for any of us. We’re a family of 3, our son is 8yo, and he has outgrown most of the little kid stuff. We would like to go to Cancun for 5-6 nights in mid-late May and I’m so overwhelmed by the number of hotel options. We want to do a little bit of everything pool, beach, snorkeling, water slides/water park at hotel a big plus, looking for something with a swim-up suite just because it sounds cool, but don’t have to have it, we want to swim with dolphins and turtles, and zipline and do adventurous type stuff. I’m looking for an excellent all-inclusive family resort with lots of activities close by. Oh and is renting a car/driving really worth it or necessary? Can you narrow it down for me please?

    Amy

    Reply
  25. Cancun Hotels Good for Teens

    Hello.. Thrilled to see such excellent advice specific to each situation. We are 3 high school friends that have stayed at the Royal in Playa. We plan to take each of our daughters to Playa/Riviera maya, this June 2016. This will be our girls pre senior HS year “girls” trip. Their ages will be (1) 1 month shy of 17 and the other 2 are 17. We loved the Royal, but it is an adult all inclusive. What can you suggest that would work for our teens, and make their 40 yr old mommies happy too!? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Cami

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Look at the Hard Rock Cancun (lots of teens with party vibe, music, and fun; but not a great choice if you’re looking to relax for a week; the trendy La Isla shopping mall is a 4 minute taxi ride away), Moon Palace (great for active teens: beach volleyball, water aerobics, etc.; south of Cancun and somewhat isolated), and the Grand Palladium (teen club and lots to do for teens; bit of a party vibe so might see some teens drinking; south of Playa del Carmen and great location if you want to visit cenotes and activity parks like Xel-ha and Xcaret). If you’re simply looking for a great resort with a nice swimmable beach but not necessarily a lot of teens then the Fiesta Americana is perfect.

      Reply
  26. Cancun Hotel with an 8 Year Old

    Hi, we’re a family of three. My husband and 8 years old daughter are going to cancun for 5 days. Any suggestions about a good hotels, food, or tours? Thanks! Melva

    Reply
  27. Kid-Friendly All Inclusive for Large Group in Cancun

    Hi, we are going to Cancun this Nov. We will be there during Thanksgiving.
    There will be 23, 18 adults, 5 kids ages 4-13. We want to stay at the hotel zone. What is the BEST kid/family friendly all-inclusive resort with lots of activities IN the resort? Veronica

    Reply
  28. Spring Break in Cancun with Tween

    We are thinking of a trip to Cancun for Spring Break with our 12 year old son. Is Spring Break still a huge college party during Spring Break, though? We’d like to avoid a hedonistic week, exposing our son to a college Spring Break! Looking at Gran Caribe Real–would this be a good choice for a very active ‘tween? Thanks so much for your help! Christy

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Spring Break in Cancun is not what it used to be (not as popular with college kids, and not as crazy). And in any case you tend not to notice it much unless you stay at a hotel near the party zone (the area around the Coco Bongo nightclub). That said, Grand Caribe Real does have a reputation as attracting spring break students. So, I would say you’ll “notice” that it’s spring break but it won’t be a big deal.

      Reply
  29. Krystal Grand Punta with Kids

    Hi,
    Any thoughts on Krystal Grand Punta Cancun? We will be traveling from April 7 to April 11 with kids 4 and 1 yr old.

    Malgor

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Nice beach with beautiful sand. The pools are great. This used to be the Hyatt but has become the Krystal and more of a 3.5 star hotel. If you come expecting luxury (like some people that used to visit the Hyatt) then you’ll likely be disappointed. But it’s a good value hotel. It’s down a quiet cul-de-sac but as you walk towards the main road you do encounter several noisy nightclubs, so be prepared for that. Just beyond this party strip is a huge Chedraui grocery store. It’s great for loading up on toiletries, snacks, desserts, or cheap drinks.

      Reply
      1. Margo

        Is Krystal noisy at night? Would you recommend staying with 2 kids?
        How about Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas?
        How is the beach, noise level, again for family with 2 small kids.
        BTW I’m really impressed with your knowledge. And thank you for the info.

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          Not far from Krystal is the main party area (and noisy) but you won’t hear that within the hotel. The Omni is definitely a little nicer (not a lot but enough to notice). There’s a good Italian restaurant at the Omni (Davinci’s) but it’s adults only – not sure if that would be a plus or a minus for you. Two advantages of the Krystal is that it’s much closer to downtown Cancun (where you’ll find the best Mexican food) and closer to the calmer beaches (protected from the direct waves of the ocean) that run along the north coast of Cancun. (Cancun is shaped like a “7” and these are the beaches along the top of the “7”). These beaches are not as beautiful as the ocean-facing beaches of the hotel zone but they are much better for kids’ swimming.

          Edit: I just noticed that you’re visiting in April (the tail end of spring break). Krystal is popular with the Spring Break crowd so it could have a bit more of a party vibe than usual owing to it’s closeness to the party zone.

          Reply
          1. Malgor

            David, again thank you. We did book Omni. Will let you know the experience.
            Now, what would you recommend to see?
            1. Which archeological ruins are most worth to see.
            2. What fun activities for almost 5 year old? She is into sea world- sharks, Dolphins, whales are her interests.
            3. Which restaurants do you recommend for food lovers?
            4. What do you think is a must-see/must-experience outside of the hotel zone, around Cancun? Safe….
            5. Which beach outside of hotel zone you think is the most beautiful, and possible shell hunting?
            Snorkeling sites?

            Thank you a million for your time and great info!!!!!!
            Malgor.

          2. DavidDavid Post author

            1. The best archaeological ruins in the Yucatan are not close to Cancun (but they’re not really far either – all are about 2 to 3 hours from Cancun). The most impressive are Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, and Ek Balam. El Rey is a small Mayan ruin at KM 18 of the hotel zone and the best right in Cancun.
            2. The best (most natural) place to swim with dolphins near Cancun is at the Isla Mujeres Dolphin Discovery. But it requires a ferry trip to get to Isla Mujeres and it’s more appropriate for older kids and adults. Within Cancun look at the Interactive Aquarium at La Isla mall. It’s in a pool and better for young kids. There’s also Dolphinaris at the Wet N Wild water park.
            3. For food you want to get to downtown Cancun. La Parilla is a super fun restaurant and worth the drive into the city. Lots going on: singing, dancing, drinks on fire. The food is good too. Kids love it. In the hotel zone get some tacos el pastor at the Taco Factory.
            4. There are a bunch of fun adventure parks (Xcaret and Xel-Ha) but the real must-do thing for the Yucatan is to visit a cenote. Tulum and Vallodolid have some of the best cenotes in the area (though a bit of a drive from Cancun). Chaak Tun in Playa del Carmen is also good and a little closer to Cancun.
            5. The best beach outside of the hotel zone is on Isla Mujeres. It’s called North Beach and it’s simply wonderful. It’s very shallow and protected from the waves so great for kids. The ferry to Isla Mujeres docks within walking distance of the beach. Many places to eat. Worth a day trip. For the best snorkeling you need to get out to the reef. Aquaworld (kiosks all over the place) has family-friendly tours out to the reef. They allow for about 90 minutes of snorkeling.

  30. All Inclusive with Good Food and Beach for Family of 4

    Hi David,
    Planning on going “all inclusive” in mid April and am WIDE OPEN as to where we will stay. My wife and two daughters (15/12) will be my companions. Food, beach, and snorkeling are our top priorities. Your knowledge on this area is quite valuable! Suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Mark

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The catch is that the all inclusive resorts with the best food in Cancun (The Hyatt, Le Blanc) are adults only. The resorts that are best for kids have average food at best. To find an all inclusive that has very good food look outside of Cancun at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen. But if food is really important to you then stay at one of more rustic hotels in Tulum and eat at some of the wonderful restaurants along the beach road or (even better) in Tulum town.

      Reply
  31. Hotel for Large Family in Cancun

    What are your thoughts on these hotels? Trying to use RCI points to save on costs. We have 4 kids – 5,9,12,14.
    – All Ritmo Cancun
    – GR Solaris Cancun
    – GR Caribe by Solaris

    Is it worth it? Or should I pay to stay elsewhere. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    E Walbruch

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      All Ritmo is not located in the main hotel strip (this can be good and bad depending on your preferences). The beach here is not as good as the other 2 resorts. But it doesn’t have the overtly tourist feel as the others. And good Mexican food is closer at hand. Solaris is probably the best of the 3 if you’re just looking for quality. Should you look for something else? Hard to say. These are decent 3.5 star hotels. Nothing special but not bad either. Food at all of them will be average, at best.

      Reply
  32. Spring Break in Mexico

    Hello Dave,
    Great posts.
    Thank you for great pictures and so helpful info. Me and my 22 year old daughter (college student) have 6 days in Mid March to getaway from all the snow and cold weather of the east coast!! We both are big in culture, sun, and beach. Never been to Mexico. Please let me know any safety issues that I have to worry about? Also where do you recommend beaches of Cancun or Puerto Vallarta (Pacific Ocean)? We have been to Costa Rica and loved it.

    Also are we going to have good weather in Mid March?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Cancun and the Yucatan is exceptionally safe. Not much to worry about there. Puerto Vallarta does have a bit more crime but still not a huge issue. (And the drug criminals do not target tourists so not much of an issue in any case.) The beaches are better on the Yucatan coast but the food, culture, and landscape are richer on the Pacific Coast. So lots of trade offs. Tulum is a great mix of both. The great culture and food of the west coast but the beautiful beaches of the east coast. (That’s not to say there aren’t beautiful beaches on the west coast or good food on the east coast – but you just have to look a little harder to find it.)

      Reply
  33. JW Marriot in Cancun or Grand Hyatt in Playa del Carmen for Family of 4

    Thanks for the information here. We have a three day trip planned in February with 13 and 17 year old kids. we are looking at JW Marriot in Cancun or Grand Hyatt in Playa del Carmen. Can you suggest which would be better in terms of luxury and beach? Also, some tips about allergy friendly restaurants would be much appreciated. Any suggestions for good family portrait photographers?

    VJ

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Marriott in Cancun is more resort-like. The Hyatt in Playa del Carmen has a trendier feel and more luxurious. The beaches at both are beautiful. The beach at the Grand Hyatt is a little narrower but the water is calmer and more swimmable. The sea on that stretch of beach in Cancun (at the Marriott) can be pretty rough. The locations have a very different feel. The Grand Hyatt has great local food just a short walk away. The streets (and beach) of Playa del Carmen have lots of life. There is not much near the Marriott and Cancun in general has lousy food options if you’re looking for great local food. You’re not walking out the door of the Marriott and finding anything interesting beyond a beautiful sandy beach.

      Reply
  34. Cancun Hotel for Tweens

    Hi David,

    We are planning a trip to the Cancun area with an 11 and 12 year old. What I have seen is most of the kids clubs cater to 3 to 8-year-olds. Do you have any recommendations on resorts for tweens with a nice beach, suites, and beach activities?

    Thank you,
    Jim

    Reply
  35. Cancun Resorts with Lots of Kids

    Such an informative site – thank you!
    Question: My family and I will be vacationing in Cancun in late March. My 4-year-old loves to interact with other little ones (3-6 year-olds.) Have read about many “family-friendly” resorts, but my worst fear is that we show up to the kiddie pool and only see one or two other children to play with. I know it sounds like an odd request, but can you recommend a few resorts that you know will be heavily populated with lots of little playmates?
    Thanks in advance!
    Heidi Allen

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Cancun resorts typically have more kids than you’re expecting not less. The hotels above are all certainly popular with families. If you’re unsure about a hotel, take a look at its Tripadvisor page and at the top you’ll see “Traveler type” and a number beside each type of reviewer. This will give you an idea of what type of travelers often stay there.

      Reply
  36. Hotels on Beach in Isla Mujeres

    Hello! We are waiting to stay on Isla Muejres thanks to your recommendations. Any hotel suggestions on the fabulous North Beach you were talking about or are all hotels in Isla away from beach?
    Jenna Maye

    Reply
  37. Paradisus or Omni Hotel in Cancun with Young Children

    I’m planning our family vacation in February, will be travelling with my husband and 2 girls (4 years old and 7 months). I wonder which Resort would be better Paradisus Cancun or Omni Hotel both in Cancun? I really appreciate your help.

    Laura

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The Paradisus is a nicer more luxurious hotel with better restaurants. The Omni is more kid-friendly (and has a kids club too). So there’s a definite tradeoff. Considering the age of your kids I’d go with the Paradisus.

      Reply
  38. Is Cancun Hotel Zone Walkable for Family of 5?

    We are considering a stay at the Marriott Cancun and wondering how walkable it is around the hotel? Are there restaurants near the Marriott? Are there stroller-friendly sidewalks in Cancun?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The sidewalks are good in Cancun (and good for strollers). They run pretty much the length of the Cancun Hotel Zone. The problem is there isn’t much to walk to. There are only a handful of restaurants near the Marriott (the popular Crab House is currently closed for renovation).

      Reply
  39. Less Commercial Area for Family of 4

    Dear David,
    Great information here, lots of food for thought !
    Me and my husband and our 2 children (5 yo and 18 mth) are having a much needed holiday to Cancun in early December for 2 weeks.
    Could you kindly recommend an area which is not so commercial but has good quality hotels?
    Dee

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      The whole Cancun strip is very commercial with large resorts. My favorite area of the Yucatan is Tulum where you’ll find smaller luxury hotels and no all inclusive resorts. (Much better food too.) Another great area is Isla Mujeres – a great kid-friendly beach and walkable low-key town. Both places are 2 of my favorites in Mexico.

      Reply
  40. Isla Mujeres or Cancun for Family of 3?

    We have 7 days in the Cancun area. Flying from LAX in February, 2016 but no hotels booked and getting worried as I notice things are really filling up so must get on this asap. Can you tell me the differences between Cancun and Isla Mujeres? Which has the better beach for a 4 year old? Which has better Mexican food? Which is more relaxing (this is not a sightseeing or cultural trip, we just want to RELAX for 7 days)? Which is easier to get to from the Cancun airport that I’ve heard is a long ways out of the city?

    Thank you. This is truly an incredible resource for parents.

    Jo

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Cancun has mainly large resorts (many all inclusives) stretched out along a beautiful white sand beach. Isla Mujeres has one main town, most hotels are in the town (some on the beach but it’s not a long beach with resorts as far as the eye can see). Most hotels on Isla are small and even the biggest is about the size of the smallest hotel on the Cancun beach. The main beach on Isla (North Beach) is very calm and is perfect for a 4 year old. It faces northwest and is protected from the large waves rolling in from the east (unlike the Cancun beaches which can be pretty rough). The Isla beach is also very shallow for a long ways out. Further, it has not had the seaweed problem that has been an annoyance on Cancun’s beaches. Isla has better Mexican food – though you do have to get out of the main town to find the great local spots. That’s much harder to do in Cancun. Cancun is easier to get to from the airport (about 30 minutes by taxi). To get to Isla you need to take a taxi to ferry port (also 30 minutes) and then a short ferry ride across to Isla which docks right in the main town. You can walk to most hotels from the ferry port.

      Reply
  41. Interesting Mexican Town Close to Cancun

    Lots of great info here. Thanks for all of it. We’ll be in Cancun in January for 10 days and would like to spend 1 or 2 nights at non-resort town to experience some local culture, shopping, food. Any ideas for a nearby town or city where we won’t be surrounded by tourists (not that there’s anything wrong with tourists, I’m one, but would like a little taste of something different and Mexican.) Thanks.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Vallodolid is a wonderful town about 2 hours inland from Cancun. Not a lot of tourists here, but some. Several very nice simple hotels (I highly recommend Casa Quetzal Boutique Hotel) and some absolutely wonderful Mexican food including the best taco stand I’ve ever eaten at in Mexico. There is a nice cenote in town and a bunch just outside of town that you can bike to. Chichen Itza is one of the Yucatan’s must see attractions and it’s a 40 minute drive to the west.

      Reply
  42. Good Family Hotels in Cancun City

    We are passing through Cancun after taking the ferry from Isla Mujeres. Then bus the next day to Playa del Carmen. We’re spending one night in downtown Cancun and need a nice hotel (not 5 star but nice) for a family of 4. Preferably with a pool and walking distance to the bus station. Free breakfast would be nice too.
    Thanks, John.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      There are no luxury hotels in the central part of Cancun (near the bus station) but there are a couple that I like. The Hotel Plaza Caribe is directly across the street from the bus station – you couldn’t get any closer. It’s got a nice pool (once again, not a huge luxury pool like out at the beach hotels but plenty enough to keep a couple kids happy). There are some large family suites. A little farther from the bus station is the Hotel Eco El Rey del Caribe. It’s a little nicer, smaller, and homier. There’s a small pool and hammocks around the court yard. It’s a 5 minute walk to the bus station but there are a couple streets to cross that don’t have easy crossing so if you have bags (and kids) it’s easier to hop in a taxi. Both hotels have free breakfast.

      Reply

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