Cancun Family Hotels

MexicoCancun › Kid-Friendly Hotels
Updated: February 20, 2024

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Family hotel on Cancun Beach.

The view of the Cancun beach from the Grand Fiesta Americana.

Cancun Family Resorts – Tips & Info

  • Where to stay 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. (The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach is located along this stretch of protected beach.) Ciudad Cancun (or downtown Cancun) is located inland and is where you’ll find the cheapest hotels and the best local food.
  • The Grand Fiesta Americana is best for young kids. The Hard Rock Hotel is best for tweens and teens.
  • Best Cheap Cancun Hotels for Families: Krystal CancunRoyal Islander.
  • The best kid-friendly tour in Cancun is the Cenote Day Tour which takes you to 4 amazing cenotes (see photo of my boys below) 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? 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).
  • Best time to visit: Cancun is a good year-round destination but the best weather for a family vacation is between December and April.

The 17 Best Hotels for Families in Cancun

1. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach – Luxury

Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Hotel in Cancun
Upscale resort with an enormous pool, extensive spa, and award-winning dining. Suites can sleep families of 4 to 6 and range from junior to two-bedrooms, all with balconies and ocean views, some with jetted tubs. The Presidential Suite adds a rooftop plunge pool and full kitchen. The kids’ club for ages three to twelve boasts a water park, theater, game room, and night camp. The Grand Fiesta sits in a protected cove with the finest white sand and calm, turquoise water.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3200
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Fiesta Americana

2. JW Marriott Resort & Spa – Luxury

JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Cancun
Contemporary resort with an oceanfront infinity pool and a whirlpool. Rooms and one-bedroom suites all feature a private balcony. One-bedroom suites can comfortably fit a family of 4 or 5. The Presidential Suite adds a second balcony and an outdoor Jacuzzi. The active kids’ club for ages four to twelve has a pool and is shared with neighboring JW Marriott. Located on a wide, white stretch of swimmable beach with moderate waves.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 9600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for JW Marriott

3. Hard Rock Hotel – Luxury

Best Cancun beach resort for teens.
Great for tweens and teens. All-inclusive, rock-themed resort with cascading infinity pools, three whirlpools, and a sandy, swimmable beach. Unique perks include complimentary guitars, mixing stations, record players, and use of a recording studio. Anyone over twelve can access the Music Lab, with professional instrument, DJing, and vocal lessons, culminating in a live performance at the end of their stay. All rooms have a private balcony and two-person Jacuzzi tub. Two-bedroom Family Suites can sleep a family of 5 to 7.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Hard Rock

4. Hyatt Ziva – Luxury

Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Cancun
Contemporary, all-inclusive resort with dolphins and three infinity pools. Some room and suites feature soaking tubs, swim up access, or club level perks. King suites can sleep a family of 4 or 5. Family amenities include a kids’ club with a mini-water park. Restaurants and bars offer international flavors and 24-hour room service. Located in a protected cove with soft sand and mild surf.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 7000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hyatt Ziva

5. Grand Residences Riviera – Luxury

Cancun apartments for families.
Spacious suites in Puerto Morelos have up to four bedrooms and sleep up to thirteen guests, all with kitchenettes and whirlpool tubs. Some add washers and dryers, outdoor Jacuzzis, or private pools. The resort features an oceanfront pool, kids’ club, and spa. Choose the all-inclusive, breakfast plan, or room only to customize your stay. The beach is gorgeous and swimmable, though a tad rocky with occasional strong surf.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8148
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Residences

6. Crown Paradise Club – Midrange

Cancun hotel with kids club and water slides.
All-inclusive resort with five pools on a gorgeous beach with white sand, bright blue water, and moderate surf. All rooms come with balconies, while spacious Family Suites feature triple bunk beds and can sleep a family of five. Club level upgrades add Jacuzzis (indoor or outdoor) and a lagoon cruise. Family amenities include a baby club with a playroom for ages eighteen months to three years and a Kids’ Club for ages three to twelve, with a pirate ship and a castle pool with nine waterslides. Older kids and families have access to a small waterpark, billiards, video games, and mini-golf.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 9000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Crown Paradise

7. Kempinski Hotel Cancun – Luxury

Family-friendly beach hotel in Cancun.
Beachfront resort boasting two pools, stellar dining, and a tranquil spa. Their immersive kids’ and teens’ clubs offer a range of activities all day with night safaris on weekends and a video game area for teens. All rooms and suites include balconies and soaking tubs; some add private pools or Jacuzzis. Located on a swimmable white sand beach with crystal water and moderate waves.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 0808
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Kempinski

8. Moon Palace The Grand – Luxury

Cancun beach resort with water slides.
Huge, all-inclusive resort featuring a water park, two pools, and a lazy river. Suites include whirlpools and private balconies; Grand Family suites are double-sized with three beds, a kids’ minibar, and an Xbox. Their expansive kids’ club houses a splash pad, black light mini-golf, and bumper cars. Excursions, dolphin swims, and more are covered by their resort credits program. The beach here, though, is not swimmable; instead, guests have access to the beach at their sister property Beach Palace.
Hotel phone: +52 998 193 2010
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Moon Palace

9. Wyndham Grand – Luxury

Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas
Family-friendly all-inclusive pick with three cascading pools, located on a sandy, swimmable beach. Spacious rooms and suites all have private balconies, some with jetted tubs or full kitchens. Villas have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a full kitchen. Five to twelve-year-olds can join in the kids’ club activities..
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 0600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Wyndham Grand

10. Fiesta Americana Condesa – Luxury

Fiesta Americana Condesa Hotel in Cancun
Beachfront, all-inclusive resort with two pools and a Maya-inspired spa. The kids’ club offers a pirate pool and creative activities all day, while the teens’ club features video games, billiards, and sports. Rooms vary from standard-sized to two-bedroom suites with attached studios, some with sofa beds, terrace Jacuzzis, and full kitchens. The beach boasts perfect white sand and medium surf; probably too rough for beginners, but excellent for more experienced swimmers.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 4200
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Fiesta Americana Condesa

11. Dreams Jade Resort & Spa – Luxury

Dreams Jade Resort & Spa in Cancun
Five-star, all-inclusive with amply sized suites, two infinity pools, and gorgeous beach next to a dolphinarium. Suites include private balconies and Jacuzzis. Their kids’ club for children aged three to twelve features activities, arts, and adventures; the teen club hosts breakdancing lessons and video games. Located near Puerto Morelos, the beach is beautiful, though a little rocky and sometimes rough; walk just five minutes south to find better swimming.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8888
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dreams Jade

12. Dreams Playa Mujeres – Luxury

Dreams Playa Mujeres Hotel in Cancun
All-inclusive resort with dolphins and golf on a quiet beach with soft sand and gentle waves. Suites and villas include private balconies and sofa beds, some with swim up access, private pools, and Jacuzzis. Club Level upgrades grant access to the lazy river, spa hydrotherapy, and a private lounge. The kids’ club hosts daily activities, a small water park, and weekly campouts; the teens’ club features dance nights, video games, rock climbing, and weekly bonfires.
Hotel phone: +52 998 283 3600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dreams Playa Mujeres

13. Dreams Riviera Resort & Spa – Luxury

Dreams Riviera Resort & Spa in Cancun
Active, all-inclusive resort with three pools and two hot tubs. All rooms and suites include whirlpool tubs and private balconies, many with private plunge pools, some with kitchenettes and outdoor Jacuzzis. The kids’ club is open for children as young as three years, with a playground, splash pad, and weekly campouts. Family activities include Euro bungee, cooking classes, and dance lessons. Located near Puerto Morelos, the beach is well-maintained, super clean, and great for swimming with mostly calm surf.
Hotel phone: (866) 237-3267
Hotel websiteCheck prices Dreams Riviera

14. Royal Cancun – Midrange

All-suite resort with two pools and a kids’ club on one of Cancun’s best beaches, featuring powdery white sand and calm waves. Sailboats, kayaks, and snorkel gear are free for guest use. Suites are all two-bedroom units that sleep up to six, with full kitchens and private balconies. Guests can choose between an all-inclusive (with added perk of 24-hour room service) or room-only package, as preferred.
Hotel phone: 1-888-838-7842
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Royal Cancun

15. Royal Uno – Midrange

Charming resort with two free-form pools, massage cabanas, and an active kids’ club for ages four to twelve. Rooms include private balconies, while one- and two-bedroom suites add full kitchens. Their main restaurant, Tradewinds, offers dining all day, with different nightly themes, plus there are two bars, a coffee shop, and a well-stocked market onsite. The beach is gorgeous, with white sand and turquoise water, but the water can get a little rough for swimming. To make up for it, they offer a complimentary shuttle to the beach at their sister property, Royal Cancun.
Hotel phone: 1-888-387-4755
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Royal Uno

16. The Royal Islander – Midrange

Beachfront resort with excellent dining, a small kids’ club, and two free-form pools. Rooms and suites all feature soaking tubs. Rooms come with a Juliet balcony, while suites add a full-sized terrace and kitchen. Four restaurants and bars serve a solid selection of local and international cuisines and refreshing cocktails, with El Conquistador being the most popular, especially when the bands are playing. Perks include loaner bicycles, sailboats, and golf clubs (they’re right across the street from a golf course). The Royal Islander shares the beach with the Royal Caribbean and also offers shuttle service to the Royal Cancun’s beach.
Hotel phone: 1-888-387-4755
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Royal Islander

17. El Rey del Caribe – Budget

Eco-friendly, boutique hotel with a small pool, hot tub, and kid’s playhouse set in a jungle garden with native plants and birds. Unique for their environmental concept, the hotel collects rainwater, uses solar heating, and composts everything; they also train students and community leaders in eco-technologies. All rooms are junior suites with kitchenettes and two-burner stovetops. Onsite amenities include yoga twice a day, a massage studio, and a breakfast restaurant serving healthy meals (no soda or alcohol on the menu). The hotel is in Downtown Cancun about ten minutes by bus or taxi to the beach (Playa Tortugas) and walking distance to good local restaurants.
Hotel phone: 1-888-387-4755
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the El Rey

Family Villas & Apartments in Cancun

Family apartment villas with kitchen and pool in Cancun.

The swimming pool at The Villas at The Royal Cancun – located directly on the Cancun beach.

Apartment rentals and villas for families in Cancun. All units have kitchens. Most have washer/dryer and free-wifi.

Read More

  1. 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. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  2. 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. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  3. Isla Mujeres or Cancun for Family of 3?

    We have 7 days in the Cancun area. Flying from LAX in February, 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 way out of the city?

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


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  4. 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?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  5. 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?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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).

  6. 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  7. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Na Balam has a great location on the beach (and close to a little bridge that is good for snorkeling).

  8. 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. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  9. 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,

  10. 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?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  11. 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?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.)

  12. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  13. 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?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  14. Krystal Grand Punta with Kids

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


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

      1. Cancun Hotel for Family

        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.

        1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

          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.

          1. Things To Do with Kids in Cancun

            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!!!!!!

          2. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

            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.

  15. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  16. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Along with the resorts above take a look at the Oasis Palm. Very kid-friendly and lots to do.

  17. 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

  18. 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. This will be our girls’ pre senior HS year “girls” trip. Their ages will be 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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 Villas is perfect.

  19. 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?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      A good option within Cancun is the Crown Paradise Club (both kids’ water slides and larger ones for your 8 year old). Even better is the Grand Palladium – one hour south of Cancun and closer to the activity parks of Xel-Ha and Xcaret.

  20. Cancun Resort for Young Kids


    My family is highly considering visiting Cancun in October. 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?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Look at the Crown Paradise (has a Baby Club for babies 18 months to 3 years), Moon Palace (south of Cancun), and Great Parnassus (restaurants are pretty lousy but very kid friendly).

  21. 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

    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 of this year.


  22. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Moon Palace is a good choice. It’s south of Cancun and closer to the activity parks (Xel-Ha and Xcaret). It’s nice but I would not call it a luxury hotel. For something more luxurious (and a calm kid-friendly beach) look at the Fiesta Americana Villas.

  23. 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. 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!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  24. Cancun for Family of 8

    Looking for advice. 2 adults and 6 kids heading to Cancun in December this year 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 the Cancun 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.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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).

  25. 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!


  26. 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 this year 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  27. Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun

    How is the Hard Rock Riviera Maya? Wild for teens? Relaxing or just hectic.

    Cheryl Cink

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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).

  28. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  29. 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). 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  30. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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).

  31. 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…..

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Grand Fiesta Americana is wonderful and has pretty much everything you’re looking for. Close to the mall and aquarium you mention too.

  32. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  33. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  34. Now Jade Resort or Dreams Resort in Cancun for Families?

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


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  35. 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      If I could only pick one it would be the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach – beautiful resort and beach is more protected than most hotels.

  36. 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?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  37. 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?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Royal Islander, Royal Cancun, and Royal Caribbean all have large two-bedroom suites (with kitchens) that will sleep a family of 5.

      For something even larger the Omni Cancun has a 3-bedroom villa that is huge.

  38. 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  39. 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!


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  40. 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.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  41. 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!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      These are different listings on different websites but still the same property.

  42. 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

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  43. 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!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      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.

  44. Concierge Paradisus Esmeralda at Playa del Carmen

    Paradisus at Playa del Carmen!

    Hey David! Gret site focused on kids and family. We have booked to stay at the Family Concierge Paradisus Esmeralda at Playa del Carmen. Any idea on the beach and overall the hotel?

    Also we would love to go to Playa to one of the restaurants but is not kids friendly. We have never left the kids with a sitter or at a club in a hotel without us being in the same property! Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks a mill.

    Efrain Vasquez

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      4 star hotel but not 5 star. Quite nice, good pools, beach OK but not the best in the area. It’s about a 6 to 8 minute taxi ride to downtown Playa del Carmen (costs about $10us). The kids club is open pretty late here (10pm?) so you could do an early-ish dinner and get back in time to grab the kids. You don’t say how old your kids are, but if they stay at home on their own, they should be fine in a hotel room on their own.

  45. Crown Paradise, Paradisus Cancun, or Moon Palace

    Hi, David. Great site and helpful info! We are taking our two kids (ages 7 and 5) to Cancun in January. Looking for an all inclusive with great kid activities for this age range yet offers relaxing adult time too (so an engaging, fun kids club is important). I’m debating between Crown Paradise, Paradisus Cancun, or Moon Palace. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks! Jen

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Moon Palace has a better kids club and more nightlife options at the resort (nothing crazy or too trendy but good fun). Paradisus is a better choice only if you want to be close to Cancun nightlife (off the resort).

  46. Iberostar in Cancun

    You are amazing! Thank you SO much for all the amazing info. I guess many of the questions kind of repeat themselves but I am thinking Iberostar for probably a once in a lifetime family trip to Mexico (two boys will be aged 10 & 12) – a friend recommended the villa option which sounds great for us to opt in / out of activities…. want to be able to play pool/table tennis etc with the kids not just pack them off to clubs and do some local exploring too. Are there other resorts that are better than Iberostar for this – we do want a/i and we do want as much luxury as possible too. Thanks again, Cathy Johnson

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The villas at Iberostar are great for a special family vacation. The kids will love the swim out pool and that alone will give you lots of fun, quality time together without packing them off to clubs. A great day trip/excursion for 10 & 12 year old boys is Xel-Ha or Xcaret. They are huge ecoparks located in the area with lots of activities and adventures for the whole family. You will love it too. There are cenotes to explore, ziplines, snorkeling, all sorts of great activities and it is absolutely beautiful. You can easily spend an entire day there and not see it all.

  47. Royalton Riviera in Cancun

    Hi David, we are looking to take our 3 boys (will be ages 8, 10 & 10) to Cancun for Spring Break along with a couple other families with similar age children. I’ve found a Diamond Club Swim-Up suite at the Royalton Riviera Cancun. The price for the room and airfare is great so I am nervous that we will be disappointed in the kids activities/amenities. Could you let me know your thoughts on this resort?


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The kids amenities at the Royalton Riviera are great. They will especially love the waterpark and slides. The resort is very kid friendly and the staff makes sure to cater to the entire family and make sure they are having a great time along with the adults. There are other activities for the kids that they will enjoy but the water park will definitely be the highlight.

  48. Luxury Hotel with 2 Bedrooms

    Hi, my husband and I are planning to go to Cancun in November. My little one is 1.5 and my cousin is old enough to sleep in another room. We are looking for All-inclusive, white soft beach, at least 2 bedrooms luxury hotel. What’s your recommendations? Thanks a lot. Celine

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Beach Palace is a nice all-inclusive with a beautiful beach and connecting rooms (2 superior deluxe rooms). There are plenty of lounge chairs and shade to help you really enjoy it to the fullest as well. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy your time with the little one. With the nice pool and amazing beach, the entire family will enjoy lots of fun in the sun.

  49. Westin Lagunamar with Kids

    Hi David,

    Great advise here. What are the negatives of the Westin Lagunamar? It looks very appealing and priced right, but just wondering what kept it off your top 12.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Westin Lagunamar is great and a wonderful choice for families. Full kitchen (in the one-bedroom villas) and Kids Club too.

  50. Cancun or Isla Mujeres

    Best blog I’ve seen regarding family travel, thank you! My wife and I are planning our first trip to Mexico, 7 nights, March ’17 with two young children, 4yrs of age. Considering Ixchel Beach Hotel/Condo on Isla Mujeres for the low surf and spacious condo or Grand Fiesta Americana in Cancun for resort style service. No need for all-inclusive, as we are strict with preferring higher quality food and no need for large portions. No need for an actual “kids club”, but it’d be nice to have access to kid friendly activities. I was ready to move forward with one of these then I noticed all the other family hotels listed below your initial recommendations that are also geared towards families with great kid pools. Do you have a top recommendation? Looking to spend $500-$600 per night.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would go for the Ixchel on Isla Mujeres. The beach here is super-kid friendly and vibe very relaxed and low key. Pool is not huge but if you like good food it’s en easy walk (or golf cart ride if you want to hit some less touristy spots). In Cancun good food demands more effort (usually by going into the city).

  51. Cancun Resort with Babysitting

    Hi there. My fiancé and I will be married next October and looking at a ten-night all-inclusive honeymoon in Cancun around early December. We would like to have an ocean view and honeymoon package however will be bringing our two-year-old along with us so would like the option of a babysitting service for a couple of romantic dinners or maybe lazing by the pool together. We stayed at Hyatt Zilara two years ago and loved it but obviously can’t return now we have the little Bub as it is adults only. Would you be able to suggest anything, please? I have so far been looking at Paradisio, Moon Palace, and Iberostar but can only see services for kids 4 years and up. Thanks so much 🙂

    Sarah Harris

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Royal Cancun and the Grand Fiesta Americana both offer baby sitting services. Babysitters charge between $12 and $15/hour and there’s usually a transportation fee (about $10 or $15). Be sure to contact the hotel in advance – if it’s important to you (which it sounds like) don’t just show up expecting to book a sitter for the next day. Also, policies change often at Mexico resorts so don’t be shocked if something has changed with their babysitting.

  52. Kid-Friendly Hotel with Good Location in Cancun

    Hi! We are planning to go to Cancun. Me, my husband and our 11 yr old son. We are planning to go on spring break April 10-13. Which luxury hotel and kid-friendly hotel should we stay? And also we want a hotel near some restaurants. Which part of the beach is really nice and calm? Thanks in advance.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun has beautiful pools and a great beach that’s protected from the large waves that other hotels on the main strip are hit by. Lots of restaurants within walking distance (but for the best food you’ll need to go into Cancun City).

  53. Ixchel Perfect for Family Hotel

    David, We went to Isla Mujeres last week and stayed at Ixchel Beach Hotel based on your advice in this blog (and ignored standard suggestions from others). Considering we have 5 year old twins, this was just perfect for us. This is one of the most beautiful beaches I have visited and the town has great food options. I could also catch football game on Sunday at Nash’s which was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for your suggestion. Amit

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Awesome. Glad I could be of help. The beach on Isla is one of the most kid-friendly we’ve ever visited.

  54. Hard Rock Cancun or Dreams Cancun?

    Me and my husband want to take are 6 year old to Cancun. We want a hotel on the beach, family friendly, all inclusive, & a safe kids areas.

    We have come down to Hard Rock or Dreams can you help us choice or a better a better one.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Hard Rock has a better kids club and is more kid-centric – which sometimes crosses the line to full-on crazy (in a fun way). Dreams is more refined and low-key though still plenty family-friendly. Dreams definitely has better food. The beach is beautiful at both but Dreams is located on the sheltered north strip of Cancun and thus has shallower calmer water.

  55. Luxury Hotel for Family of 5

    Hi David

    We are looking for an hotel in riviera maya, for April. We are a family of five, 3 kids (9,8 and 5). We are looking for a nice place (5 stars), good food, kids club, nice beach and connecting room or 1 bedroom with living room. Which resort do you suggest?
    Thanks for your reply

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Omni Cancun Hotel has a huge Villa Family Room that sleeps a family of 5 or 6 comfortably. Beach, pools, kids activities are all great. Food is ok to good (but that’s the norm in Cancun).

  56. Booking Cancun Hotels with Amoma

    HI, have you ever booked with Amoma? I’m reading mixed Amoma reviews.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      I have never booked with Amoma but have heard less than great things. I would stick to or contacting the hotel directly.

  57. Cancun All Inclusive for Family of 4

    Hi David! Thank you for this insightful information! I wrote down some of your suggestions! We have two toddlers, both still in pack in plays so we need a room with a separate bedroom with a door, AND a large closet or second sleeping area for the 2nd kid! We also are looking for something all inclusive and that has a good toddler pool/splash pad area. Do you have a suggestion? Thank you so much!
    Janelle L Heyl

  58. Ritz Cancun vs Grand Fiesta American in Cancun

    Would you recommend the Ritz Cancun or the Grand Fiesta Americana if I’m traveling with an 11 year old and we want a family friendly place with a nice relaxing beach?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The beach/sea at the Grand Fiesta is much calmer and more kid-friendly so I’d go there.

  59. Gran Caribe in Cancun for Family of 4

    Hello Dave.

    Our family of four, including a 7 and 9 year old, will be in Cancun the first part of April. Would you recommend the
    Gran Caribe all inclusive resort?

    Thanks, Amy

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, very family friendly.

      -great beach
      -nice pools (but none are huge)
      -kids club, kids pool with slides, mini golf
      -many families

      -food is mediocre (like most all-inclusives)
      -timeshare salespeople

  60. Kids Club at Moon Palace Resort

    Looking to go to Cancun for wedding anniversary about a month before our son turns 4. We would like to go to Moon Palace but we are concerned that they are super strict on the kids club age minimum. Should we find someplace else or do you think they would be flexible about his age? If we should go elsewhere, what do you recommend that is not a sacrifice in quality?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Email them at [email protected] and ask if they’re flexible on age requirements.

  61. Cancun Resorts for Food Allergies

    Fantastic information! I wonder if you have suggestions for resorts that really understand and accommodate food allergies?
    Thank you.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sorry, I don’t have specific recommendations but I will say the better (more luxury-oriented) the resort the more likely they’ll have an idea of how to deal with restrictive diets.

  62. Cancun All Inclusive for Family of 3

    Hello David,

    We are two adults travelling from Montreal with a 4 year old and a baby (8 months) to Cancun in early October. Can you recommend a family friendly all inclusive resort that a) is within 30 minutes of the Cancun Airport; b) has great food; c) not too huge; d) on the beach; e) ideally a five star but at a reasonable price. We plan on staying put (no ruins for us) so things like live music, etc. on sight would be a plus.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are plenty of great options, but Azul Beach Resort Riviera Maya hits all the notes: it’s about 20 minutes from the airport, has outstanding food and drinks all day, has only 148 rooms, and is right on the beach. For an all-inclusive hotel of its caliber (5 star, 4 diamond) the rates are pretty reasonable. This is a great spot for kids, with 5 pools, a kids’ club with Nickelodeon character breakfasts, movie nights, and even a kids’ spa. Baby amenities include Gerber or natural, made-on-site foods, pack n plays, strollers, and more. Night shows include fire dancers, Mexican cultural performances, and live music.

  63. Family All Inclusive in Cancun

    We are looking for an all inclusive in Cancun area for our family and have an 11 & 13 year old. We usually cruise, so the kids are used to being “busy”. Can you suggest a hotel with activities for them and still is nice and relaxing somewhat for us?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      If you’re not on a tight budget, then your best bet is The Grand at Moon Palace. This is the brand new luxury hotel that just opened in the Moon Palace complex. This is a dream resort for active tweens and teens, with two huge pools, a lazy river, water park and a flow rider. Their kids’ club has bumper cars and blacklight mini golf; the teens’ club has an arcade and console games. There’s also a bowling alley and a game room for all ages. For your own chill time, they offer a few adults-only spots, including the Le Chateau for French fine dining, several bars, an enormous full-service spa, a nightclub, and a day club (adults’ pool, cocktails, light bites, and a DJ). The original Moon Palace is more affordable and also a great option for balancing out relaxation time with busy kids. They have two sets of interconnected pools, 18-hole mini-golf, and stellar kids’ and teens’ clubs with lots of activities. Guests here can also purchase day passes for the water park next door at The Grand. Both Moon Palace and The Grand offer a resort credits program, where guests receive credits to use at onsite amenities, like the water park or spa, or they can be used for excursions outside the resorts.

  64. Cancun Resort and Isla Mujeres

    Hi David,

    We are travelling to Mexico end of September and are spending 9 days in Cancun to start.

    Do have some recommendations of resorts that would suit a young couple and our 4 year old son? It is Important for us that the childcare facilities are good and they offer in room babysitting as we would like a couple of nights out for dinner/drinks on our own. We plan on doing a mix of adventures and relaxing. We are hoping to find something roughly between $2500-$3500-ish for the entire time, although we are flexible price wise ?

    One more thing, is it worth staying on Isla Mujeres for a couple of nights? or will we get the same out of it by ferry riding over there during our time in cancun and spending the day exploring? Thanks so much.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are a few great options in Cancún that fit the bill, but here are my top two picks for now. The Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancún offers a fantastic kids club all day, with a pirate ship pool and water slides, plus plenty of activities for kids. In room babysitting is available for a reasonable rate. This is an all-inclusive resort in the middle of the hotel zone, so it’s close to all of the main nightclubs and restaurants for evenings on the town. They are currently running a half off sale on all rooms, including stays at the end of September. If you grab a room soon, you’ll be well within your budget. Another great option in the area is the Hyatt Ziva. This will probably fall into the upper range of your budget. They also offer a great kids’ club with a mini water park, plus they have dolphin encounters onsite and even dolphin view rooms. Babysitting service is available at a reasonable rate. This is at the beginning section of the hotel zone, and like the Fiesta Americana, it’s close to the main nightclubs and restaurants. Isla is definitely worth a few days. It has a mellow relaxing vibe which is refreshing after time spent in Cancun. It also has one of the best kid-friendly beaches anywhere. Visiting on a day trip doesn’t do it justice.

  65. Cancun Resort for Family of Four

    Dear David,
    So glad I found your site! My husband and I and our kids (11 and 14) will be going to Cancun over Christmas for 5-7 days. We have stayed in all-inclusives (Club Med, specifically is the only AI we’ve been to) before. For this trip, we are weighing all-inclusive vs. traditional hotel/villa options. Here’s what we want/don’t want:
    – A spot that is not too busy or noisy or huge, more relaxing (e.g., not the constant activtity staff and booming music by the pools that happens at Club Med) but still positive environment. Mostly we want to enjoy the sun, ocean, pool, being together, and do some exploring at markets, ruins, restaurants. (We speak Spanish)
    – A spa on site
    – Calm surf for swimming
    – A suite or adjoining rooms – 1 Q/K for us, 2 separate twin/doubles for the kids
    – A hotel setting that is eco-conscious.
    – walkable/easy access outside of the property to markets, restaurants
    – Option of day trip to Mayan ruins
    – The kids would like to meet other kids in some activities but they are at an age when they don’t need or want constant activities
    – Food that is good and has ample vegetarian options

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      A couple of great options in Cancun are the Ritz-Carlton and the InterContinental Presidente, both of which are European plan hotels, rather than all-inclusive. Euro plan hotels are generally more eco-friendly, since there’s less food and beverage waste. Both of these properties also have other green policies in place. The InterContinental has a working falcon to scare off the gulls and pesky birds (super cool to watch the falcon and its handler at work; kids get a kick out of this!), among other green policies company wide, while the Ritz has been awarded for two years in a row by the Alliance for Water Sustainability in Tourism for their conservation efforts.

      Both resorts are average sized, about 300-350 rooms. Both have excellent spas offering Maya-inspired treatments. Both have suites and rooms with connecting options 1K to 2D. Both have kids clubs; the Ritz adds a game room and a teen club. Both have excellent food with lots of vegetarian options. Both have active and quiet pools, with the InterContinental offering an adults-only pool area that’s even quieter. Both have concierge services that can help plan a day to the ruins on Tulum or Chichen Itza, or you can take the bus toward the end of the Hotel Zone to visit the El Rey Ruins or the Museo Maya Ruins just a few minutes from your hotel.

      The main differences are that the InterContinental has a better location. It sits at the beginning of the Hotel Zone, at the top of the 7-shape, which means that its beach has softer sand and gentler waves. It’s walking distance to Cancun’s Uptown area with all the nightclubs, malls, and shops, plus it’s only 15 minutes or so by bus to get into downtown for the more authentic markets and restaurants. The Ritz, though, has the best food, including their new Culinary Center with cooking classes, an inter-active chef experience, and a chef’s table dining experience. Their restaurants are truly top notch, especially Las Casitas and The Club Grill; absolutely impeccable. The location is in the middle of the hotel zone, with an excellent beach. But this part of the hotel zone (on the back of the 7 in the upper half) has coarser sand and sometimes has sargasso; waves are gentle but not quite as soft as the waves near the InterContinental. The Ritz is accessible by bus to Cancun’s Uptown nightlife and shopping, but it’s closer to a half an hour by bus into downtown.

  66. Cancun All Inclusive Resort for Family of 4

    Hey – wonderful site! We are planning first trip to Cancun with 2 boys (11 and 9). Have family recommending Beach Palace All Inclusive resort in the hotel zone. I didn’t see it listed on your site here – any thoughts?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Beach Palace is an excellent resort with a strong family focus. This is a smaller resort compared to most in the area with fewer than 300 rooms, but they still offer amazing amenities, especially for kids in that age range. The hotel has three pools and a water slide, plus a great kids club with games and activities. Their Family Deluxe Suite is two connecting rooms adding an Xbox, kids’ beach gear, small size robes, and a kids’ minibar with juices and milk instead of sodas. They also offer a resort credits program, where you’ll earn money to spend on onsite activities, services and offsite excursions. The credits can be applied toward the water park at their sister property, The Grand at Moon Palace, which is super fun for kids and adults. The food here is outstanding, available 24 hours, and offers a lot of variety from Japanese to Italian and more. The kids will dig the ice cream shop overlooking the water slide and main pool. The beach is gorgeous with calm, turquoise water, plus they have a little sea turtle hatchery. An all around great choice. You guys will love it!

  67. Family of 4 Resort in Cancun

    Hi there. What a great website — thank you! I was wondering if you had any travel advice for us:

    We have a 7 and 4 year old, and are looking for a 4 or 5 star all-inclusive that has at least some waterslides, as well as plenty of decent food for some extremely picky eaters. My older son loves waterslides and would stay on them all day if he could. I’m having a hard time finding a balance between all the things we’re looking for!

    Last year we stayed at the Gran Caribe, and enjoyed the pool/waterslides, but the food wasn’t great. Being on the hotel strip was kind of nice as we could easily take the city bus for some little excursions, and the beach there was amazing. The previous year we stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya. The beach wasn’t amazing, but the food was excellent. We *loved* that they had buffets inside the a la carte restaurants, which made life with picky young eaters so much easier. They have a wave pool which is nice, but no real waterslides to speak of. If we could put the Iberostar and the Gran Caribe together that would be perfect! 🙂 So far, I’ve been looking at the Hyatt Ziva (a bit pricey), the Gran Palladium Riviera, and the Barcelo Colonial. But we are open to anything. We looked at the Grand at Moon Palace, but I’m worried about reviews complaining of very long waits for restaurants (which would be a nightmare with the 4 year old).
    Any suggestions would be great. Thank you!!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      You’ve got it narrowed down to some excellent options! Barceló offers the most variety of activities onsite, with a great little waterpark with slides, a flowrider, haunted house, bowling alley, mini golf, and dolphinarium. However, most of these amenities are not part of the all-inclusive. It’s $20USD for a day pass per person just for the water park, which will really add up if your sons go every day.

      You are right about the wait times at The Grand. Though it has an amazing water park, kids club, and activities, there have been a few complaints about restaurant wait times, usually at the a la cartes. They are still a new hotel, though, so I imagine the kinks will be worked out soon, as the Palace properties overall have absolutely stellar restaurant service. But they’ve also got a less than amazing beach at this time; they’re still doing work to improve that area.

      So, between the Grand Palladium and the Hyatt, I’d say that the Grand Palladium has more water activities and a better selection of restaurants, as it’s actually a complex of 5 hotels. White Sand is the hotel closest to the water park. You’ll have access to all of the restaurants from 4 of these hotels (1 is adults-only), so 5 buffets and 9 a la carte restaurant, plus about 25 bars scattered throughout the complex. This resort is way south, though, almost in Tulum. It’s not as convenient to get around here as it is in Cancún. However, Tulum is a gorgeous spot with lots to explore: Maya ruins, cenotes, a boho downtown area, and some gorgeous beaches.

      The Hyatt Ziva is amazing, with a beautiful beach, awesome water slides and pools, a dolphinarium (with dolphin view rooms!), fantastic restaurants, and the convenience of being close to all of the Cancún attractions. But between the two, I think Palladium is a better fit for your trip.

  68. Cancun in December with Teens

    Hi David,
    Thanks for all of the great info. We are planning a trip to Cancun (or surrounding areas) in December. We have three older teens and two adults in our party. We would prefer to have a villa or suite so we can all be together. The kids would really like an all-inclusive resort with a nice pool and beach area to swim in; they don’t care about nightlife and teen clubs. We would also like to do one excursion or activity every day. Would really appreciate your info on where to stay!
    Thanks so much!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Two great options that come to mind are the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun and the Playacar Palace a little further south in Playa del Carmen. Both of these all-inclusive hotels have spacious suites, great pools, and are located on gorgeous, swimmable beaches. Both hotels also have a resort credits program, where guests receive credits to use for offsite excursions and for onsite services.

      I’d recommend the Hard Rock if your kids are into music, as the onsite amenities and services are all music-oriented. Guests get to borrow Fender guitars and record players in their suites, plus they offer DJ, instrument, and mixing classes, a recording studio, and live performances. Even in the spa, their massage tables are on top of speakers, so music vibrates through your body during the treatment. The Hard Rock is in the Cancun Hotel Zone, so it’s a lively area that’s convenient and easy to get around in by bus. This area is a great home base for visiting Chichen Itza, Isla Mujeres, local markets, lucha libre, and awesome dining in downtown.

      Playacar Palace is a smaller hotel, so it’s a little more relaxed. They still have plenty of activities available onsite, including bike tours, nightly theater, and non-motorized sports (kayaks, SUPs, etc). This is located at the beginning of 5th Avenue (Quinta Avenida) in Playa del Carmen, so it is convenient to walk or bike to attractions in the area. It’s also right next to the ferry terminal for day trips to Cozumel. Their resort credits program includes activities and food at their sister property Cozumel Palace just across the water and at the water park at their other property The Grand at Moon Palace. This area is a great home base for visiting the Tulum and Coba ruins, Cozumel, cenotes, a walkable town, and jungle wildlife (especially coatis, which are everywhere in Playa).

  69. Cancun Resort for Child with Allergies

    Hi David,

    Love your website!

    My husband and I are planning a trip with our 5 yr old daughter to Mexico in late October. She is anaphylactic to nuts and shellfish so finding a suitable and safe resort is becoming a challenge. The Azul resorts would be wonderful but are a bit pricey. The Grand Palladium caters to children with allergies by providing wristbands for them to wear but reviews are telling me the resort is under construction from now until November. Many of their restaurants/amenities will be closed. Have you stumbled across any reviews about this?

    Next option would be Moon Palace?

    Thank you!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      I’m not much help on the allergies but as to the resorts, The Grand Palladium is made up of a few separate hotels that all share the same property and amenities. Right now The Royal Suites Yucatan is closed for renovations, but that should not affect your stay at all, since that is their adults-only area on a little island there. The White Sand, Colonial, and Kantenah Resorts are all open, including all of their restaurants and amenities, such as their 9 pools, water park, kids club, and spa. I would recommend staying at the White Sand Resort there, since it’s closest to the water park.

      The Moon Palace is also an excellent resort, though they are currently doing renovations to the beach area which may not be completely finished yet. The water park next door at their sister property The Grand can be accessed using the resort credits included in the room rate, which helps make up for the less than perfect beach.

      The Grand Palladium and the Moon Palace are two of the best resorts in the area, very family-oriented and committed to safety.

  70. Cancun Resort for Family of 4

    Great articles on your website David… Thank you so much for sharing all this information…

    We are thinking of flying to Cancun late in November. We are a family of four (2 adults, one 3-years old, and one 8-years old), and this would be our first trip to Cancun. We will be there for 4 full-days. We don’t drink, but both our kids are somewhat picky eaters. We are also not into parties and such and look forward to a short relaxing family vacation on a moderate budget. Looking for a very clean 4-5 star resort where we can spend most of our time at the resort at the beach and/or the pools, with perhaps one day excursion to either Chichen Itza, or Xel-ha eco park. So we are trying to select the resort and would really appreciate any advice you may have. Having read a lot of reviews, and having checked the rates for our dates, our best cost/quality trade-offs seem to be pointing us to either Paradisus Cancun All-Inclusive, or Grand Fiesta Americana, non-AI, both of which will be around the same price. I know the latter generally gets better reviews and seemingly has much nicer kids club. But then with the non-AI Grand Fiesta, we would obviously have to add the cost of our foods/drinks, which I guesstimate to be around ~$300 or so per day. So which option do you think we should go with? Does my ~$300 estimate for daily food/drink make sense? If so, do you think the ~$1200 or so extra with Grand Fiesta would be worth it when compared with Paradisus? The rate for other similar all-inclusives such as Moon Palace would be similar to Grand Fiesta with the ~$1200 food cost added. So we basically have three options:
    Option 1: Paradisus All-inclusive
    Option 2: Grand Fiesta (almost the same price as Option 1, except non-AI, so our food/drink cost will be added)
    Option 3: Moon Place All-inclusive (~$1200 more expensive than Option 1).

    So which option do you think we should go with? Would greatly appreciate your guidance on this so I can go ahead and finalize our reservation asap. Thanks a lot…

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Tough call. These are all great options, but I think that if you can splurge for Grand Fiesta, then go for it.

      Grand Fiesta has beautiful rooms, a water park, and a Kids Club for ages 3-12, so the little ones can be together. It’s not all-inclusive, and you could easily spend $300 a day if you eat all of your meals at the resort, but its location is in the heart of Cancun’s Uptown area, walking distance to a supermarket and several casual, cheap restaurants. You can definitely save money on food by dining outside the resort grounds or by stocking your minifridge with some staple groceries. Its beach does not get sea turtles like Paradisus, but it does have softer sand, gentler waves, and less seaweed.

      Moon Palace is also splurge-worthy. This hotel is all-inclusive, like Paradisus, but it also has a Resorts Credit program, which really goes a long way into offsetting the costs. A 4-night stay earns you $750 in credits which you can use toward excursions outside the resort or for services and activities onsite, including their amazing new water park, technically next door at their sister property The Grand. Their Kids’ Club (which is awesome, with cool amenities like blacklight mini-golf), though, starts at age 4. Younger kids can access the club, but require adult supervision at all times there. The main downside of Moon Palace is their beach; though they are working to improve the area, it’s not as great a spot right now as Grand Fiesta’s or Paradisus’ beaches.

      Paradisus is a gorgeous, five-star luxury resort on a great beach (you should be there around the time that they start releasing the baby sea turtles!) They have 10 restaurants with a wide range of cuisine options, plenty to choose from for picky eaters. They also have a great Family Concierge program that comes with a personal concierge to attend to your group throughout your stay, plus special in-room amenities for kids (small robes, juice and milk in the minibar, etc). One downside to this spot is that the kids will most likely be separated into two clubs on the days they decide to go, with the younger in the Baby Club and the older in the Kids Club. The other downside is that the pool, though gorgeous, is really just a pool, unlike the Grand Fiesta and Moon Palace, which have water parks.

  71. Cancun Crown Paradise, JW Marriott, and Moon Palace for Family of 4

    We’re travelling with our 3 and 5 year olds to Cancun in January. I’m trying to decide between Crown Paradise, JW Marriott, and Moon Palace. What would you recommend out of these 3? Looking for something with good food along with good activities for the kids. Doesn’t have to be all inclusive.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      For your preferences and kids’ ages, Crown Paradise should suit you best. The layout is easily walkable; nothing feels too spread out. They’ve also got good food with a wide selection of cuisines, a small waterpark, family rooms with bunk beds, and kids’ clubs with activities targeted toward different ages. Your youngest will most likely be in the Baby Club, while the older one will be in the Kids’ Club. They have a total of five pools onsite, one is a quiet, adults-only pool and another is indoors, so even if you get some rain, there is still a spot for the kids to swim. This is on the south end of the hotel zone, removed from the nightclubs but still easily accessible to dining and attractions. Moon Palace has great restaurants and absolutely the best waterpark and kids’ club amenities, but it is only available for ages four and up, unless accompanied by a parent. I’d save this for another year, when both kids can experience it fully. JW Marriott is also a fantastic spot, but it’s geared more toward adults and older kids. They have an awesome scuba pool with a built in reef, for example. Very cool, but the kids need to be just a little older to dive there. Also, there is no kids’ club directly onsite; it’s at their sister property, the Marriott Cancun next door.

  72. Vacation Idea for Families

    Hi David! What a resourceful website! We are a group of 4 families (16 of us total) that travel together every year in March. We have mostly rented houses and rented one in Playacar last year and had a great time. The kids are mostly teenagers, 15 (3), 14, 13, 12 (2), and 11. We are looking for AI options that will allow them to hang out together like they usually do, with good food and drink options for adults. The kids love the idea of teen clubs or activities. There are so many options. We were looking at Generations, but we were afraid the kids may not enjoy it as much as the adults. Please offer any suggestions. Dawn

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Generations is an amazing resort, with a high level of service, great food, and four levels of swim up suites. But the cut off age for the kids’ club is 12, and there is no teens’ club, so some of the kids may feel like they’re being left out.

      If you don’t mind venturing a little further south to Tulum, I would recommend the Grand Palladium. They have spacious rooms and suites, plus a kids’ club and teens’ club, as well as nine pools and a water park for everyone to enjoy together. Dining here is stellar, and since it’s made up of four resorts, the selection is huge and varied, great for picky eaters (39 total restaurants and bars). Tulum is south of Playa del Carmen and Generations, and is known for its great beaches, Mayan ruins, trendy town center, and cenotes, which are super fun for a little excursion.

      If you prefer to be closer to Playa or Cancun, check out the Now properties: Jade and Sapphire. Both are family oriented with kids’ and teens’ clubs. Now Jade is just north of Generations, right next to a little marina with dolphin encounters. They offer all sorts of cool activities, for kids and teens, including breakdancing lessons and dance nights, plus two pools and a gorgeous beach. Now Sapphire is a little further north, between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. This spot is on a stellar beach with three pools, Euro bungee for teens, plus beach campouts for the kids.

  73. Cancun for Family of 5

    Hi David – OMG I am SO confused and then I found you!! Please help.. if you don’t mind. My husband and I are traveling in January with my 5-1/2 year old and each of our moms. So, we need something “upscaley” (clean, good restaurants and choices) and not too HUGE and also something fun for my son.. who loves kids clubs, water parks and any other activities you can throw at him (arts & crafts, mini-golf, kayaking) and I definitely want him to have the dolphin experience… I thought I had it narrowed down to the Hyatt Ziva or the JW Marriott or The Hard Rock… but now I see you mentioning also Moon Palace, Paradisus and Grand Fiesta?! All inclusive or not… just looking for something that could work for everyone… We also don’t need access to town – don’t think we’ll be going off campus too much – except maybe for an excursion or two. Thank you in advance,

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Honestly, these are all great options, and no matter which you choose, you’ll have an amazing time! For your particular trip, though, I would recommend the Hyatt Ziva as my top choice or Paradisus La Esmeralda as a very close second. The Hyatt Ziva has everything you’re looking for: upscale ambiance, 14 restaurants and bars with a range of choices, an amazing kids’ club with different activities daily, and their own dolphinarium (with dolphin-view rooms, super popular with families). Add to that: great pools, a stunning beach, and a climbing pyramid floating in the ocean. This really hits all the marks!

      Paradisus La Esmeralda is another fantastic option. They offer a unique Family Concierge program with awesome perks for families, including private Jacuzzi terrace rooms, an exclusive restaurant, club lounge access, plus great amenities specifically for kids, including a gift at check in, special minibar items, and video game consoles on request. Their kids’ club is very active and open late, until 10 p.m., plus they offer onsite activities like rock climbing. Another perk for the grown ups is access to the adults-only restaurants, bars, and pools at their sister property Paradisus La Perla right next door. The only thing they don’t have here are dolphins, but the resort is only half an hour away from the dolphin excursions at Xcaret.

      Hard Rock and Grand Fiesta are both amazing, but they are quite a bit larger with over 600 rooms each; Moon Palace is huge with over 2000 rooms. These may be less appealing to the MILs. JW Marriott is also wonderful, but their only kids’ activity onsite is the scuba pool; the kids’ club is next door at their sister property, the Marriott Cancun Resort.

  74. Family Holiday to Cancun over Christmas

    David, I count myself as a bit of a travel whiz, but this site is literally a lifesaver!!! So much great information. My family (wife, 2yo, 4yo and 6yo) will be travelling to Cancun over Christmas. There are no 2 bedroom family suites available so we are looking for adjoining rooms (I know its hard to guarantee). The main options appear to be Royal Solaris, Grand Solaris, Grand Caribe, and Crown Paradise. I am flying from Chicago so am reticent to go to Tulum as it will be another hours travel but could do if really worth it. Grand Bahia Coba and Tulum are available.

    Grand Fiesta Americana is around 3$k more for the family for the week. Again not impossible to spend if really recommended.

    The kids love slides and the beach. I think Crown Paradise looks good but the pool looks a little less exciting than the other places. The kids park looks great though. ANY suggestions would be helpful thanks so much!!!!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      I highly recommend Crown Paradise for your vacation, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all with the pools. They have five different ones, including a beachfront activity pool and an indoor pool, so the kids can swim even if you have a rainy day. The kids’ water park has a large play castle and nine water slides. The all-inclusive rate covers child care all day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (plus during dinner hours most evenings) at the Kids’ Club for your older kids and at the Baby Paradise for your youngest. They also have a great family area with a water park, games, and non-motorized sports, like boogie boards, kayaks, and mini-golf. The beach is fantastic with gentle waves and soft sand, perfect for kids just learning to swim. Plenty of great food options, some chill-out adults only areas, and an easily walkable layout. This is my top choice for you, considering your preferences and the ages of your kids; there’s really something for everyone to enjoy here.

  75. Cancun Resort for Family of 6

    Dave, YOU are the MAN!!!

    Seriously, this is the most helpful blog post ever—thank you!

    My husband and I would love to take our 4 kids to Cancun, but we’re having trouble settling on a resort. I’ve sifted through information for hours and I just feel paralyzed now. Hoping your expertise will help.

    Here’s what we’re looking for:
    • sleeps 6 (we have 4 daughters; 6, 8, 10, 12)
    • all inclusive (don’t care about the quality of food; care more about the beach and activities)
    • calm, kid-friendly beach (we’d love to snorkel, paddle board, kayak etc if possible)
    • relaxing vibe; no loud music late into the night or “spring breakers” (we’ve been there and done that, but we’re moved on now with our kids 😉 )

    Thank you so much!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      For your family size and preferences, Azul the Fives is your best bet. It’s a little further south of Cancun on the north side of Playa del Carmen. This luxury, all-inclusive is fantastic for big families with huge three-bedroom suites, all with full kitchens. The beach is gorgeous and clean with gentle waves; snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddleboards are all available onsite. The beach and grounds are surrounded by tropical jungle. If your kids love animals, they’ll get a kick out of the monkeys, coati, and iguanas roaming free here. They also have six pools, a lazy river, and an amazing kids’ club for ages 4 to 12 (they also have an awesome teen club, if your oldest daughter happens to have a birthday before your trip). The hotel is outside of downtown, so it doesn’t see any spring breakers. There is an adults-only section of the resort with a couple of bars, but the festivities are pretty well contained within that area.

      If you prefer to stay in the immediate Cancun area, then the Hyatt Ziva is another great option. This is an all-inclusive resort with good-sized rooms and suites. Individual units have a max occupancy of two adults and three children, though, so you’ll need to book connecting rooms for your family size. The hotel sits on the best beach in Cancun with powdery soft sand, calm surf, and clear blue water. The beach stays pretty busy with guests, as it is a large hotel in the main hotel strip, but it’s generally not a party beach. The hotel has an amazing kids club with its own pool, family-friendly activities and water sports equipment, and dolphin swims on site.

  76. Azul Resort

    Hey Dave, I can’t seem to figure out from their website, but is Azul the Fives all-inclusive? It seems like it, but nowhere do they mention it specifically which makes me nervous.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, Azul the Fives is an all-inclusive property, but it is a little confusing as all the Karisma resorts use their own special term, “Gourmet Inclusive.” Reservations are inclusive of meals, drinks (with or without booze), the kids’ and teens’ clubs, minibar in the room, scuba lessons in the pool, as well as all taxes and gratuities, among many other things. It’s really an excellent program; about the only thing not included are services in the spa. There is a more comprehensive service list on their website, which you can find by clicking the Gourmet Inclusive tab at the top. Scroll almost to the bottom of that page, and there is a section beginning with “This is our everyday. The details come standard,” followed by a list of what is included in the package. That said, they do offer stand-alone rooms (European plan) as well, but those prices aren’t listed on their website. Prices on the website reflect the all-inclusive plan.

  77. Cancun Resort for Toddler

    HI. Great read!. Can you please help us find the right hotel. Traveling around April (1st week or 2nd) with a 2 year old toddler. Looking for all-inclusive hotel and kids activities or kids club (like arts, gym, music aside from pool area). Also would like to see some ruins. Thanks.


    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      At two years old, your child will be too young to be allowed into most kids’ clubs. That said, there are two all-inclusive resorts that come to mind that have baby clubs: Crown Paradise Club, a mid-range/luxury hotel in the Cancun Hotel Zone, and Paradisus La Esmeralda, a luxury resort in Playa del Carmen, about 45 minutes south of Cancun. The Paradisus’ baby club is open all day from 9am-10pm with a playroom, activities, and a very caring staff that’s super popular with the kids (the same staff members are also available for babysitting). This is more of a daycare and is pretty low-key, not quite as active as the kids’ club for the older set. The Crown Paradise’s baby club is open in two shifts, from 9:00am-4:45pm and from 6:00-9:30pm. This one has both indoor and outdoor play areas, with toys, story times, and activities. This is probably more along the lines of what you described you’re looking for, though there will be more time in the sun versus the Baby Club at Paradisus. If your little one has a birthday by then, there will be a few more options available. The kids’ clubs at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, and Now Jade Riviera Cancun allow children as young as three years to participate in the kids’ club activities. The Paradisus in Playa del Carmen is about one hour to the Tulum Ruins or an hour and a half to the Cobá ruins. Crown Paradise Club is a short four-minute drive to the San Miguelito ruins at the Museo Maya, though this is a pretty small site. Both the Paradisus and Crown Paradise are a little over three hours to the mack daddy of ruins at Chichén Itzá.

  78. Cancun Resort for Large Family Group

    What an incredible resource! So very pleased to have found this! We are planning a January vacation (a long way off, I know, but I like to have everything organized in advance) with our 5 kids whose ages will range between 3-10 plus my mom. So 8 of us total. Kids love swimming and beach, but we’d love to do more than just those two things. Most interested in resorts that offer larger accommodations. A washer/dryer is a must. What do you think? Thank you so so so much!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Check out the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, just south of the Hotel Zone. There are tons of resorts in the area, but I think this is the only one that hits all the marks you’re looking for: large suites, in-room laundry, family-friendly, and with activities. This resort has enormous suite options, with up to four bedrooms plus murphy beds. Two-, three- and four-bedroom suites include a laundry room, full kitchen or kitchenette, at least two bathrooms (one with a whirlpool tub) and an outdoor terrace Jacuzzi. The four-bedroom is a penthouse suite and adds a private pool. Though the suites are large, this is a smallish resort, so it’s easy to keep track of everyone and to navigate the resort grounds. There are two restaurants, a lobby bar, beach bar, and a pool bar onsite. The resort also has a kids’ club for ages four to twelve (they may be flexible with your three-year-old, since you have a bigger group), in-room toys and games, family activities at the beach and pool, and arts and crafts. For the adults, they have a spa, yoga, Zumba, and more. The beach is swimmable, though a little rocky in parts with sometimes strong surf, depending on the weather. Another perk is that they let you choose either an all-inclusive package or room-only reservation, so you can customize your stay.

  79. Cancun Crown Paradise or the Moon Palace for Family?

    Dave. Taking a 5 and 7 year old to Cancun. Should we do the Crown Paradise or the Moon Palace? Moon Palace looks to have an awesome kids club and main pools, but Crown Paradise seems to have a better swimming beach and kids water park. Thoughts?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Crown Paradise and Moon Palace are both amazing, but they are very different styles. Moon Palace is a five-star luxury resort, maybe the largest one in Cancun, with more than 2000 rooms. This kind of space means you’ll have a ton of options for dining and drinks (18 restaurants and bars, plus the pool bars) and a huge array of things to do, with two sets of three interconnected pools with water slides, an amazing kids club, plus you can use your resort credits or cash to access the huge water park at their sister property The Grand right next door. The rooms are spacious, well-appointed, and include whirlpool tubs. The only three downsides are the size (it’s too large to walk easily around the property; you’ll be taking golf carts everywhere), the beach (lots of sea grass and coral, plus it’s just not the pretty turquoise that you’ll find at other Cancun beaches; though guests can visit the beaches at their sister properties further north), and the location (south of Cancun, not really near any of the city’s attractions or the main attractions in the Riviera Maya).

      Crown Paradise definitely has a better beach, with a long, wide stretch of sand, though surf sometimes gets a little rough for beginning swimmers. It’s kids’ club and water park is fantastic for kids from 4 up to 9 (it might be a little baby-ish for older kids). They even have a covered pool, so the kids can swim and play even on rainy days. The location is excellent at the south end of the Hotel Zone, near the dining and attractions in Cancun, but not too close to hear any noise from the bars and clubs late at night. As a four-star resort, the rooms, service, and amenities are not quite as polished as what you’ll find at Moon Palace. You’ll also find less variety in dining and entertainment, since they are about three times smaller than Moon Palace. Service tends to be slower, since they have a smaller staff-to-guest ratio than Moon Palace. That said, this is still an excellent choice for families.

      If you future visits to Cancun are in the plans, I’d say do Crown Paradise this year, while your kids are still young enough to enjoy their amenities, and visit Moon Palace next time, when your kids will be too old to be entertained by the kids’ options at Crown Paradise. If this is the only trip you have planned for Cancun, splurge on Moon Palace and just shuttle up to their sister properties for a few beach days.

  80. Kid-Friendly Cancun Resort close to the El Dorado Royale


    I am taking my 7 year old to Cancun for a wedding in November, the event will be at El Dorado Royale (which is an adult only resort). Generations next door is booked solid. Can you please recommend a kid friendly resort close to the venue? Thank You

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The best kid-friendly hotels near El Dorado Royale are Grand Residences and Now Jade. Grand Residences is an amazing resort, especially for families and longer stays, since each unit is a full apartment with a kitchenette and a murphy bed. Optional add-ons include indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis, in-suite washers and dryers, and connecting rooms. Their kids’ club (for ages 4-12) offers tons of activities, crafts, and sports, plus they have a kids’ section in the pool and family bike tours. The beach is sandy, swimmable, and typically calm. Another cool perk is the option to go all-inclusive, room-only, or a mix of both, so your vacation is customizable.

      Now Jade is another excellent option, right next door to Grand Residences and a dolphinarium. This is an all-inclusive resort with a great kids’ club with a program of art, games, and outdoor activities. They offer two infinity pools, including an adults-only quiet pool. Rooms are spacious, sunny, and come with your choice of an indoor or outdoor Jacuzzi. The beach directly in front is a little rocky, though still swimmable, but if you walk just 5 minutes south, you can use the beach at Grand Residences.

      Both of these hotels are located in Puerto Morelos. Though they aren’t far from El Dorado Royale as the crow flies, it takes about 20 minutes to drive there, as you’ll have to drive north along the beach first, and then take the single road connecting to the highway to head south. There aren’t really any closer options that I would recommend. The two Iberostar properties are about half as far away, but both were involved in the counterfeit alcohol scandal last summer. They’ve probably improved their standards since then, but you’d be better off just avoiding the risk altogether.

  81. Fun Cancun Hotel for Family of 4

    Hi Dave! You are so great about responding to folks–even if they have repetitive questions. Thank you! So listen, I’m going to Cancun with my husband and 3 1/2 year old and 5 year old over Memorial Day Weekend this year. We are big on kids clubs (even if we stay and play with the kids), toddler water parks, kiddie pool, and babysitting services both in-room and at the kids clubs. We also enjoy a cocktail or three when on vacation. We have been to all the Beaches resorts and loved them and also the Nickelodeon Punta Cana and loved it. We need great food and alcohol for us and definitely distractions for the young and active kids. I booked at Hard Rock Cancun because it seems awesome, cool, and actually family friendly, but now I’m having second thoughts.I don’t want to feel like I’m too old and unhip on my own relaxing vacation with the family, and I’m afraid Hard Rock may be too hip for us as we tote around our little toddlers in this stage of our life. Do you think I’m right? Can you recommend a high-end all inclusive for a quick getaway in Cancun that will have enough interesting stuff for my kids, great food and drink and good beach? We like to be impressed. Eagerly awaiting your response!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Hard Rock Cancun is amazing, and as long as you like any kind of music, you won’t feel out of place at all. This is a very family-friendly resort, so about half the guests will have young kids in tow. Their kid and family amenities are outstanding, including the kids’ club with a pool and live performances, family rooms with kids’ minibars and Xbox, music lessons, and babysitting services. They also have three larger pools, an amazing beach that’s shallow for a long way out and gentle waves, live music every day, and thirteen bars and restaurants with a wide range of cuisines and a stellar mixology program. I’m confident you’ll have a great stay here!

      But if you prefer to try a different resort, check out Dreams Riviera Cancun. Their kids club includes a playground, activities, climbing pyramid, splash pad, and weekly campouts, plus they allow children as young as three to participate without a parent staying behind with them. They offer 10 restaurants and 7 bars (including a nightclub), plus three pools, a spa, and family activities, such as dancing and cooking lessons. Their beach is a wonderful white sand beach with mild waves and great snorkeling.

  82. Best Mexico Beach Town with Teens

    Hi Dave,

    Planning a trip to Mexico with my 18 and 16 year olds. Not stuck on any particular destination so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Since they are too old for most of the “kids clubs” but too young for the “nightclubs” I’m having a hard time figuring out where the best place to go and stay would be. I’m not tied down to Mexico if there is some other Caribbean spot that you think would really WOW them.

    Thanks, Diane

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      I’d suggest Tulum. Great town. Easy to bike from town to the beach (which will give them something to do on their own). There’s a hip cool vibe that they’ll likely enjoy.

  83. Cancun with Teens and Young Kids

    Dave: This site is awesome!! So much great information shared! We are taking a trip to Cancun area in February and have kids ranging from 5, 7, 11, 12 and 15 in our group and are trying to find a resort to accommodate smaller kids up to teens. Ocean swimming is important, so looking for a kid-friendly nice beach. A water park and play area would be great, but don’t want our 12 and 14-year-old kids to be bored-so teenage areas are important too. We have been considering Ocean Riviera Paradise or Hotel Marina/Ventus El Cid properties…but we just don’t know – you’ve mentioned so many other ones too. Any other recommendations would be great. It’s our first kid-friendly trip to Mexico so this uncharted territory. Thank you in advance.

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Between the two resorts you’re already considering, Ocean Riviera Paradise has better kids’ facilities and a better beach, though it is narrow, a little rocky, and sometimes seaweedy. The beach at Hotel Marina/El Cid has a lot of sharp coral.

      For your group and needs, though, I would recommend either the Hard Rock Cancun or the new Hotel Xcaret. The Hard Rock Cancun has an outstanding beach: long and wide with white sand, very well maintained, and great waves, big enough to be entertaining, but not too strong for beginning swimmers. Both the kids’ and teens’ facilities are outstanding. They include the usual kids’ club activities, like arts and crafts, dancing, and movie nights, plus tons of unique, music-themed events like karaoke, percussion parties, and a battle of the bands. Also, a kids’ pool with slides, though it’s not a full blown water park. Older kids can check out the music lab, where they can make their own music video, record their own tracks, and learn an instrument or how to DJ, with the option of performing with a live audience (there are also options for adults to do these things, too). Activities for kids and teens are available in the day or evening, and they offer packages that include babysitting services. The in-room amenities are also really cool, and include on request loaner guitars and amps, mixing stations, and record players with a small stack of vinyl LPs.

      Another great choice is the brand new Hotel Xcaret. Its main beach is great for swimming and is mostly sandy, with some rocky portions just in the middle. But the resort also has a river winding through the property with beaches on both shores and a series of coves, all with sandy, shallow, gentle beaches. The rooms and grounds are stellar, and their facilities include an active kids’ club, kids’ pool, jungle trails, and a family club for all ages with a pool table, foosball, and more. The biggest perk to staying here is their All-Fun Inclusive package, which includes unlimited access and free shuttle service to all of the Xcaret Adventure Parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xenses, Xel Ha, and more) with zip lines, waterslides, snorkeling, rappelling, and tons more activities.

  84. Where To Stay in Cancun Area for Family of 7

    Hi Dave! Love your feedback and advice!
    I’m traveling the first time to Cancun with my family also celebrating our 19 wedding anniversary. We have an 18 year old, 17 year old, 12 year old, 10 years old, and 10 month old and want to make this a fun trip. Looking at Xcaret hotel and Moon – but also thinking of staying 4 nights there and the rest of the 6 nights getting a cheaper location so we can do more sightseeing around town (when we wouldn’t need the all-inclusive treatment).

    Would love any advice. Also, recommendations for a nice but budget-friendly hotel where we would stay for the remainder of our trip?

    Thank you!

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Hotel Xcaret and Moon Palace are both top notch hotels, among the best in the whole Riviera Maya. With your kids’ ages skewing older, though, I recommend Xcaret just slightly over Moon Palace. Both resorts offer a huge range of services (including babysitting) and facilities (fantastic pools, spas, and food), but Moon Palace really excels in their kids’ club activities, their water park next door, and in their flexible use resort credits (which can be used for the spa, admission to the water park, and other upgrades). For adults they have a great golf package and a spa, but the beach isn’t outstanding. Xcaret has an amazing kids club, great food, and a great spa, while their beach area is also exceptional with a few manmade coves and a lazy river. But their biggest plus is the unlimited access (including round-trip transfer) to all of their adventure parks (with ziplining, snorkeling, rappelling, and more), which are suitable for almost your whole group, except for the 10-month-old. For an affordable hotel in Cancun’s hotel zone, check out the Royal Cancun; this is located at the beginning of the Hotel Zone on a soft, powdery, white sand beach (the best beach in Cancun!) They offer all-inclusive or room-only options.

      Since your trip is long, I recommend exploring outside of Cancun. Specifically, Tulum makes a great home base for sightseeing! Definitely visit the Sian Ka’an bio-reserve; you can visit on your own, but you’ll see more with a guide. Check out Community Tours Sian Ka’an, a local Mayan group that offers superb tours through the jungle, especially the Old Channel tour. You can also do a day trip to the Coba ruins and Punta Laguna nature preserve (with monkeys!), with a detour to swim in a cenote or two.

      There are several options for hotels in Tulum, and most are cheaper than in Cancun, because they are not all-inclusive. La Zebra and Ahau are two of the best beachfront hotels that offer great family-friendly amenities; these are both considered luxury hotels, so they are not the cheapest in the area, but still much more budget-friendly than in Cancun. The best true budget hotel in the beach zone in Tulum is Las Palmas Maya. Another option is to stay in downtown Tulum, which is even more wallet-friendly. Una Vida is an affordable luxury hotel with spacious suites and villas, some with private pools. Some great budget hotels in downtown Tulum include Teetotum (retro ‘70s hippie vibe, plus you can all ride bicycles to the beach from here; most bike rental places offer baby carriers) and Don Diego de la Selva (with a jungle garden, great breakfasts, and an apiary with Mayan bees, which don’t have stingers).

  85. Cancun Resort for Family of 4

    I have a 3-year-old and 8-year-old. Both kids love water slides, pool, kid activities. My husband likes good food and being close to a mall or some shopping. I like a clean (newer) establishment, great service, calm beach and safe swimming. Planning on going June 17 to 21. Any hotel recommendations?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      There are surprisingly few hotels that hit all of these marks. But there are some. The three that come to mind are Hyatt Ziva and Beach Palace in Cancun and Paradisus La Esmeralda in Playa del Carmen. All of these are all-inclusive, family-friendly, with kids’ clubs and babysitting, and near shopping and dining.
      Hyatt Ziva is the newest, built in 2015, and has the best beach of the three. The beach sits in a protected cove at the northeastern corner of the Hotel Zone with powdery, white sand, clear water, and virtually no waves- perfect for beginning swimmers. There’s also a huge floating pyramid for climbing in the ocean. This location is right on the main bus line, making it a snap to reach the best shopping and dining in Cancun, whether in the Hotel Zone or in Downtown. Hyatt Ziva offers several spacious room types with balconies, many with ocean views, 3 pools, and a dolphinarium where kids can swim with dolphins. Their active kids club offers a playroom and a pool with a slide for ages 4 to 12. If your 3-year-old has a birthday before then, then they can go along with all the other kids there. If not, they still have access to the kids’ pool and play area, but they will need to be accompanied by a parent.
      Beach Palace is another fantastic resort with a great location walking distance to the new La Isla Mall and right on the bus line. The beach is wide, white, and with gentle waves, though the sand is not as powdery fine as at Hyatt Ziva. What this beach has that the Hyatt doesn’t are sea turtles, which come ashore at night to bury their eggs in the summer nights. Beach Paradise has 3 interconnected pools, 1 of which is a kids’ pool with a fantastic waterslide, plus nightly entertainment, great restaurants, and an ice cream shop. Like the Hyatt, their kids’ club is open for ages 4 to 12; younger children can gain access with a parent. Family Deluxe Suites here are made of 2 connecting rooms with a private balcony and a 2-person indoor jacuzzi, plus great kids’ amenities (Xbox, kids’ minibar with milk and juice, kids’ beach gear, and tiny robes and slippers).
      Paradisus La Esmeralda is another phenomenal spot, designed for families with kids of all ages. This resort is located south of Cancun in Playa del Carmen, which has notably better malls, shopping, and dining than Cancun. Paradisus offers a Baby Club for ages 1 to 4 and a kids’ club for ages 5 – 12, so neither kids gets left out, though they will be in different groups. All guests have access to the main pool and the kids’ pirate pool with slides. Upgrading to the Family Concierge package adds access to a 3rd pool, plus the room itself will add a private terrace with an outdoor Jacuzzi, lounge access with snacks and drinks all day, a private restaurant, kids check in gift, kids’ activities, and a PlayStation or Xbox on request. The beach here features calm, clear water, though there are a few rocks in parts. A heads up: as with all of the southern beaches in the Riviera Maya all the way down to Tulum, Paradisus’ beach got hit with an unusual amount of seaweed last spring and summer. It was completely clear in summer the year before, so hopefully it was just a one-time thing.

  86. Cancun Family Resort with Good Beach

    We are about to travel to Cancun with our 3 and 5-year-old daughters. We looked at The Moon Palace but a good beach is very important. Also important to us is good food and activities for the kids.

    Any thoughts on Panama Jacks Cancun or Seadust Family Resort?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Of the two you are considering, Seadust Family Resort is the better option for families with younger children. Seadust has a baby club and a kids club, so both of your daughters will be able to participate in the activities, which include a water park, treasure hunts, pool time, and storytelling, and more. The restaurants are overall better quality and at least half of them are a la carte; they even have a restaurant especially for kids, called Carrousel. Suites are spacious, and family suites include bunk beds separated by a partition from the main bedroom area.

      The beach is excellent, with a long stretch of wide, white sand. This part of the beach attracts sea turtles, a great experience for the kids if you come at the right time of year. The turtles lay eggs in the early summer, and the babies hatch make their way to the sea in the late summer/early fall. The only downside is that the waves can get a little rough in this area on occasion.

      The northern part of the hotel zone generally has softer sand and gentler waves throughout the year (no turtles, though). There are a number of excellent family-friendly hotels in that area, most notably the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, which has a kids’ club for ages 3 to 12, fantastic restaurants, and a perfect beach for beginning swimmers.

  87. Cancun Resort for Family of 4

    Hi, I am so glad I found your website. I would love your recommendations. Our family of 4 (two teenagers 15 & 12) are going to Cancun for a week at the beginning of June. We are not a family that just likes to just lay around the pool and beach all day. However, we do like to be spoiled when we are at the beach/pool! We want to stay in one of the resorts that offer lots of activities for both adults and teens, as well as good entertainment during the day and in the evening. Any suggestions?

    1. Mexico Dave The Hotel Expert

      Two great spots for active families with teens are Hotel Xcaret Mexico and Hard Rock Hotel Cancun. Both all-inclusive hotels include excellent pool and beach service, along with plenty of things to do all day to keep everyone entertained. Hotel Xcaret Mexico has 6 pools, a lazy river, a teens club, and a sandy beach onsite, plus a stay here includes unlimited access (transportation included) to all 10 Xcaret adventure parks with ziplining, ATVs, snorkeling, and more. Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is a rock ‘n’ roll-themed resort with cascading infinity pools, a lively and sandy beach, plus their signature Sound of Your Stay package, which includes loaner guitars, mixing stations and record players, free instrument, vocal, or DJing lessons (with the chance to perform live on stage), access to a recording studio, and live music daily.

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