Cancun makes for a great family holiday destination and many of its hotels and restaurants cater well to parents travelling with babies, toddlers and young children
Cancun abounds with all-inclusive resort hotels, many of which offering child care, baby clubs and kids clubs. You will also be able to find all of your baby and toddler essentials but watch out for the water!
Cancun offers perfect sandy beaches, an ideal climate and plenty of family friendly resorts away from the late night parties. The Yucatan Peninsula on which Cancun lies is also the gateway to the ruins of Tulum and Chichén Itzá. In fact, Mayan temples and ritual sites are everywhere, some smothered by lush jungle, others easily accessible.
The climate in Cancun is tropical, with consistent hot and humid throughout the year. The sea temperatures are warm. Late June is especially hot, so come prepared or try the off season. Hurricanes can be a major threat in late summer and autumn. Cancun is an excellent winter sun destination as temperatures are not as uncomfortable during the winter months.
Cancún International Airport is Mexico’s second busiest airport and is about 10 km (6 mi) from south end of the hotel strip (Zona Hotelera) and 16km (9 mi) southwest of downtown.
One of Cancun’s best features is its transport links, as most major air carriers in North, Central, and South America, have services to Cancun. There are some extremely cheap charter flight deals available from the UK as well as commercial flight deals from several European carriers. International flights within Latin America are usually expensive such as those coming from Central and South America
Be sure to pass through customs before looking for money exchange inside the customs zone rates are much lower than even the greediest street vendors ask. (City bank, Elektra are the best money exchanges you can try.)
Getting from the Airport to your hotel
You can take an authorized taxi, sedan, SUV or van (shared or private), at the Airport. Buy the ticket at one of the podiums (by the vehicles) in the parking lot at the arrivals doors or pre-book online or by phone.
By public transportation, ADO or Riviera operates buses to the downtown bus station and to Playa del Carmen regularly. the R1 or R01 bus going south along Av Tulum (main road next to the bus station) to the hotel zone costs MXN$8.
Cancun is very easy to navigate. To the South is the airport, to the North is the city and in between on the stretch of land between the sea and the Nichupte lagoon are all the hotels, beaches and bars, referred to as the hotel zone or Zona Hotelera..
Bus is the preferred way of getting around. They are cheap and come frequently. Most bus drivers are very courteous and will stop for you even if you are not waiting at a bus stop. Buses are generally not air conditioning and seat cushions. Also, most bus drivers speak enough English to assist you. Buses head up and down the main thoroughfare, Blvd Kukulcan, named after the feather serpent which is the main Mayan deity. Buses pass constantly but be prepared for buses to be cramped and difficult to board with a stroller. When you are ready to get off, you can either push the button on top of the handrail, or if you’re not sure of your destination, tell the driver where you would like to get off or point to the destination using a bus map. Be careful when the bus is full as pick-pocketing is a concern.
The Riviera Express offers routes to the Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Xel-Ha, etc.) and ADO serves other major national destinations. If you are unsure about where to catch the bus then it’s best to go to the station.
Taxis are plentiful in Cancun. They can be expensive in the hotel zone and airport, but cheap in the downtown area. Fares for the hotel zone depend on how far along the Blvd Kukulcan you want to go. In the downtown area, many taxi drivers use the vehicle as shuttle and allow other people to board while you are inside. If this is not comfortable for you, ask your taxi driver not to do it.
Be very careful if you choose to drive in Cancun. The police seem to pull tourists over at the drop of a hat during spring break. When you pick up a rental, check that all the lights work. Make sure that you pre book a taxi with a car seat if you are not bringing your own and ensure that it is fitted correctly.
When eating out, ensure that you go to restaurants with a good reputation and which look clean and hygienic. There are plenty of food choices for toddlers in and around Cancun and many of the restaurants are used to catering to families in this area. Some will offer high chairs but it is always best to bring a fold away high chair when travelling to Mexico as it will give you the option to eat in any restaurant. Toddlers will like chicken, egg and soft tortillas. Ask the staff at the restaurant to make the food less spicy for your little one.
Some fantastic baby and toddler friendly restaurants include the Rainforest Cafe. This restaurant is hugely popular with kids with its moving animal exhibitions and indoor waterfall. There are also high chairs and plenty of space to store strollers.
Baby & Toddler Essentials
You will be able to buy food, nappies and wipes for your child in Cancun however, you may not be able to find the brand you are used to so consider bringing your essentials with you.
If you are breastfeeding, you will not encounter difficulties with breastfeeding publicly in Mexico. It is advisable to bring your child’s powdered formula to Mexico as you may not be able to get the brand your child is used to there. If you decide not to bring formula or if you run out then you can purchase local brands at Walmart and Oxxos.
When preparing bottles remember to use only bottled water and to sterilize the bottles after use. When bathing and swimming, ensure that your child does not ingest any water. Baby food is widely available and you will be able to find a good selection at Walmart. Nappies are widely available and can be purchased at Oxxos (a local convenience store chain) or in Walmart or at any number of local stores.
Baby carriers and slings are useful for visiting ruins but it is advisable to have a good stroller with you also for exploring towns and for just walking around as baby carriers can lead to overheating in hot climates if overused.
Where to Stay in Cancun with a baby or toddler