Cancun With Kids
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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 but we made the exception to take her here and she had a blast with cousins! We stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time ever 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. Another great island to explore while in the area is Isla Holbox, a great family beach vacation destination in Mexico.
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.
I’ve always wanted to visit Cancun! That hotel looks amazing. And for the length of time you stayed there it looks perfect! Love all your food reviews, that was definitely helpful.
I’ve always thought Cancun is party central and have stayed away because of that. So good to know that it’s family friendly- will be adding this to the list for when we have kids of our own 🙂 Your kids are adorable and the food looks amazing!
I take your point about the lack of culture and the questionable standard of some of the food. However I guess the trade off was time with family and the real bargain of a holiday. Plus you managed to get away to Isla Mujeres so on balance it was probably all worthwhile. Loved the photos as this conveys the feeling of the place quite well.
That Grand Oasis Palm hotel looks amazing! Great view and the pool with the palm trees looks perfect. I also love the hammocks!
I’ve heard Mexican tacos are to die for! Those pics look so delicious!
Though I do not have kids but I can understand the challenges of traveling with kids. I often travel with parents. It has challenges of its own. Both the genres need utmost care and attention to details. And of course, it is always fun to travel with kids.
Only By Land
I think a resort is the perfect place to go with kids. The price you got is very fair considering the food was including. All the restaurants you photographed looked to have delicious food. I’d love to take my daughter to a resort for a few days of relaxing, eating and fun! The trip to Isla Mujeres sounded worthwhile too, I’m sure you let her drive the golf kart too!
Grand Oasis Palm looks like an ideal destination for families. I do not have kids yet but I have traveled with my nephews. I am sure that a lot of kids would like to go here. It has all the amenities and facilities that are appropriate for young kids. The restaurants have a nice selection of foods too.
Iza c/o Kathy James (Walk About Wanderer)
I’ve also heard that Cancun is a bit of a tourist trap/ only all-inclusives. But I can see why this would be a great place to take kids on a family vacation! It seemed like there was a lot for your daughter to do, plus it’s nice to be close to the hotel to quickly change depending on activity and to slather on more sunscreen! I haven’t done an all-inclusive before, but one stay in Cancun doesn’t seem so bad!
Global Girl Travels
It looks like a fun family trip. And Milana seems to have the time of her life especially in the hammocks by the water! The view from your room was spectacular too, would love to wake up to that!