Cancun with Kids – The Best Family Hotels

Updated: January 22, 2016

Cancun with kids and the best family hotels

Tips and Recommendations

  • Isla Cancun (also known as the Hotel Zone) is shaped like a 7. The best resorts are on the back of the 7 and the beaches face east. The top north-facing part of the 7 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.
  • 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 5 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Cancun

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort & Spa (luxury)

Cancun with Kids – the best hotels
This all-suites hotel is just what families need to relax and recharge in luxury. Every suite boasts ocean views of emerald waters (and nearby Isla Mujeres) from private balconies. The expansive suites provide a sunken living area to unwind. 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. Phone: +52 998 881-4200

JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa (luxury)

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 private beach or the outdoor children’s pool. Aquaworld, Kukulkids playground, and WetnWild water park are all close by to provide entertainment for kids and adults alike. Phone: +52 998 848-9600

Ritz-Carlton Cancun (luxury)

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 boast 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. Phone: +52 998 881-0808

The Royal Caribbean (moderate)

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. Phone: 1-888-838-7842

Marriott CasaMagna Cancun Resort (moderate)

Cancun Best Family Resorts: Casa Magna
Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, this resort has a superb beach overlooking turquoise waters and outstanding on-site restaurants covering just about any style of cuisine. The rooms are spacious and well-kept while the pools will entice anyone for a dip or perhaps a drink at one of the swim-up bars. Winner of the 2012 TripAdvisor Travellers’ choice awards for families, CasaMagna doesn’t disappoint. 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. Phone: +52 998 881-2000

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20 questions and comments

  1. JW Marriot in Cancun or Grand Hyatt in Playa del Carmen

    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?


    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.

  2. 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,

  3. 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

    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.

  4. 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

  5. Paradisus or Omni Hotel in Cancun

    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.


    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.

  6. Is Cancun Hotel Zone Walkable?

    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?

    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).

  7. Less Commercial Area

    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?

    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.

  8. Isla Mujeres or Cancun?

    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.


    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.

  9. 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.

    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.

  10. 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.

    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.


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