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In April 2017, we went to Cancun. It’s not a destination we had a desire to go to (Dave and I had been several years ago), but my sister was going with her family so we opted to tag along so that Milana can spend time with cousins. We are not AI people and prefer destinations where we can wander and explore, with lots of culture and good food and Cancun is essentially one big American tourist trap. We stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time ever (and probably last!) but still managed to have a great time and Milana really enjoyed spending time with her cousins.
This trip was super cheap. We flew Southwest direct from LAX and since I have the companion pass, Milana’s ticket was free. I used points for mine and Dave’s trip there and we paid $149/person to come back. The hotel was $1300 for 5 nights for all of us, including all food and drinks. Can’t beat that!
We stayed at the Grand Oasis Palm and it was perfect for families with young kids. Our room was on the 8th floor and overlooked the pool and ocean. We had two beds, which was perfect since Milana got to have her own bed.
Most beaches in Cancun have huge waves and are not very swimmable, but because of the way this one is positioned, there were zero waves and essentially a giant, warm pool for the kids to play in which was perfect!
They also had colorful hammocks hanging in the ocean, which were perfect for relaxing.
When staying here, you can use the pool at the Grand Oasis as well as the one next door. Our pool was zero entry, so even the smallest kids could play in the shallow water. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time by the pool!
There was a kids pool by the other hotel, with a trampoline, rock wall and slides. Just be aware that it’s 5.5 feet deep throughout, so if you have non-swimmers, it’s not the best choice for them.
This hotel also has an awesome kids club. We didn’t use it much (1 hour twice during our stay so the kids can do crafts) but it’s really an amazing facility. They have a schedule of activities that range from art to pool time, playground time and trips to the beach. The kids club has their own pool with slides and little kid recliners, which the kids really liked.
The hotel has 10 restaurants plus more at the sister hotel next door that you can use as well. Keep in mind, some have dress codes and you won’t be allowed in cut off shirts, shorts, etc. The buffets were the only ones without dress codes, however they were also the worst places so I recommend bringing something to dress up in. There are also a few restaurants for adults only, and those seemed to have the best food. We were able to leave Milana with her cousins to try these.
This is the only seafood restaurant there. They are open for lunch and dinner and serve mostly seafood. There was never a wait for this place, so you don’t have to worry about rushing to get there.
Los Agaves-Tacos and Torta
Los Agaves opens for lunch and serves only tacos and tortas. In the evening, it changes to a full-service restaurant. We tried it for lunch and weren’t impressed. The tacos weren’t great and the torta was pretty awful. You’d think they’d have Mexican food down in Mexico, but that is not the case.
One of the best meals we’ve had was at Los Agaves for dinner. Now to eat here for dinner, you must line up at least 20 minutes before 4 on the day you want to dine here, because you need to make reservations, which they start taking at 4pm each day. Without a reservation, you cannot eat here. It was one of the best meals we had, so I highly recommend standing in line! The steak here is phenomenal and all the kids really enjoyed it.
The White Box Gastrobar
This is one of the adult-only restaurants. It was also really good and definitely worth a visit! They serve tapas for lunch and dinner, and we came twice because it was so good.
This is another place I don’t recommend. The sushi wasn’t good and the selection was small. This is upstairs from Maki Taco (which serves sushi as well) and I recommend that over the sushi bar!
This was another one of our favorites. Milana loves sushi and theirs was really good, much better than at the sushi bar upstairs. They also had seaweed ice cream for dessert and Milana being addicted to dried seaweed, she picked that right away and loved it.
For breakfast, the only options are buffets. Las Palmas is the smallest and pretty bad compared to the other two. Go to Dos Lunas and Sisal for breakfast, they have a much bigger selection and kid tables with crayons/coloring pages for the kids to draw on while you eat. They also have kid-sized buffets where the kids can serve themselves.
Of course, we couldn’t just stay at the resort the entire time since we aren’t those kind of travelers, so we explored the downtown area and Mercado 28 one day. Mercado 28 is essentially a giant, indoor flea market with hundreds of vendors selling everything from clothing to hammocks to souvenirs. Be aware though, they are very pushy and if you don’t like to be harassed the entire time you are shopping, this isn’t the place for you.
We also took a day trip to Isla Mujeres (see separate post) and it was awesome! I highly recommend going there for a day trip, renting a golf cart and exploring the island. It’s only 20 minutes by ferry (ferry terminal is a 5 minute walk from hotel) and very much worth the trip.
Overall, we had a great trip and Milana had a blast with cousins. This was a totally new experience for us, since we aren’t used to spending this much time at a resort and eating the majority of meals there. I can’t say we’ll do it again, but we had a fun trip with family.