It is required that all visitors have a valid passport, no matter the age. Since visitors are traveling from all around the world we highly recommend visiting your local Mexico consulate for up-to-date information.
AT THE AIRPORT
Things get exciting now. Airports are hectic places. Standard advice here is to arrive early. Make sure the kids have something to play with. Walking around the airport gets boring quickly. It is best to pass through customs right after you have checked your bags instead of hanging around the front of the airport.
Regarding baggage, the adult baggage allowance applies to children paying half or more of the adult fare. When booking, ask about carry-on allowances for those traveling with infants. In general, for babies charged 10% of the adult fare you are allowed one carry-on bag and a collapsible stroller, which may have to be checked; you may be limited to less if the flight is full.
Find your boarding gate and set up camp.
Board the plane last with your kids. They will try to get you to board first but it is better to board last with children. Just hang out at the back of the boarding gate and wait until almost everyone else has boarded. The reason for this is to avoid having to sit for that extra half-hour. Better to have the children running around the airport terminal than fidgeting in a plane seat.
WHERE TO GO
Cancun – more family oriented – okay for teens – great for young children Playa del Carmen – great for everybody Mayan Riviera – adult/family oriented – great for small children – okay for teens Cozumel – good for young children – okay for teens Merida – boring for young children and teens Campeche – boring for young children and teens Costa Maya – boring for young children – real boring for teens
Resorts on the Mayan Riviera are remote self contained Meccas with high security and watchful staff everywhere. The swimming pools are fantastic and every resort has a children’s pool with lifeguards on duty. Lifeguards are also on duty on the beaches. There are numerous activities for kids and baby-sitting available at every resort.
Playa del Carmen has become a wonderful destination for everybody due to the diversity and plethora of things to do. There are fine beaches, restaurants, great choices for hotels and rentals, and is a perfect location to other destinations along the coast.
5th Avenue is also very entertaining and international which gives teens an idea of what a lot of foreign people are like. There are also a lot of real cool things you can buy on 5th Ave.
Cancun resorts tend to be self contained little cities with many families visiting so young children are in abundance. There are lots of things to do for young children at the resorts.
Cozumel is a cross between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. There is a lively “downtown”, nice beaches and the resorts have all the same amenities as any of the mainland resorts. If you stay at a small hotel/resort located away from the main little city then teens could get bored unless they’re into diving/snorkeling a lot.
AT THE RESORT
Most resorts have an “Animation” staff whose job it is to take care of the guests. There is always a special division that handles the children. Most if not all resorts have a special section for children. They also utilize a wristband system. When you drop off your child at the “kids-zone” the parent receives a wristband. The child also receives a corresponding band. Only the parent with the right wristband can retrieve the child when it is time to go.
Some resorts have kids zones with child-friendly swimming pools. There are lifeguards on duty at all times.
The staff at kids-zones has all kinds of activities to keep the kids occupied. From games to dancing, the kids get a thorough workout.
There are also activities that children can participate in such as ceramic painting. Most resorts have a set up of ceramic items that you can custom paint. Some resorts have this with t-shirts.
A creative staff will have the kids going out on scavenger hunts by the pool and general fun pool activities as well. At most resort you are allowed to take things in the pools like air-mattresses etc. and you can even get them from the hotel, where you get your towel usually. Every day the Animations will have some thing new in store for your kids and it is quite safe to just drop your kids off and do your own thing as many parents do. First check with other parents and see how their experiences have been. Word travels fast at a resort and if there are any problems the info will get passed from one guest to another.
Many people feel their greatest concern is drinking water and insects. All resorts, hotels, restaurants use purified water and bottled water is everywhere. As far as insects go if you stay on the coast in any hotel zone then it is not that great a worry. The ocean breeze keeps bugs at bay and they do spray for mosquitoes.
Your biggest concern is sunburn so it is advisable to learn how to apply suntan lotion correctly and of course bring hats and sunglasses for the kids.
FOOD AT THE RESORT
Most of the resorts learned a long time ago that if you want to make mommy and daddy happy you have to have a kid’s menu. This does not mean per-say that one actually exists but it is worked in the general overall menu system. You can get french-fries, pasta, hamburgers, pizza, hotdogs, chicken wings etc. etc. at both lunch and supper. However this is not the case in most specialty restaurants.
Each buffet will have numerous foods and there is always something to feed the kids. Some high-end resorts are gourmet oriented and this may not suit children unless they are used to eating that kind of food. They will usually only have “junk food” at the outside lunch buffet.
FOOD AT …
FOOD IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
There are hundreds of restaurants in Playa del Carmen including all the top junk food places.
MAYAN RIVIERA FOOD
If you are staying on the Riviera then you are most likely staying at a resort, Playa del Carmem Akumal or Tulum.
Akumal has a couple restaurants beside the hotel restaurants and Tulum has a lot of restaurants in town. There are a couple of BQ palapas on the beach.
Merida is a traditional Mexican city your kids will have to enjoy Mexican food here to survive however you can get pizza and there is the odd burger joint.
There are two large hotels in Campeche City that have American menus, beyond that it is all Mexican with the odd burger joint.
You can get pizza here and there are a few hamburger/hotdog places but like Campeche it is mostly Mexican food.
After you have landed and think you are there you are not. If you are staying on the Maya Riviera the bus ride to your resort could take up to an hour and a half. Playa del Carmen is 45 minutes away. Even Cancun is half an hour away by transfer. If your shuttle bus makes a number of stops it could take an hour to get to your hotel, even going to Cancun.
You can get food and drinks at all Cancun airports but most people just want to get to their transfer bus/shuttle and get to their resort so bring additional provisions for this trip as well.
Use the bathroom before you leave the airport because sometimes you are in a vehicle that has no bathroom.
At certain times of the year you can get severe sunburn in 15 minutes if you are not protected. The rule of thumb is to protect yourself to the max, all the time.
Here is the best way to do it:
Apply suntan lotion at least half an hour before you go outside. Coat the stuff on all over you then let it dry. Do not rub it in for at least 15 minutes. Let it dry first then rub it all over you. Then apply a second coat and rub this all over you, let dry. Once the second coat is done you are ready. Keep in mind that the water will wash the suntan lotion off so you have to reapply it after going into the water. You must do this everyday.
Even with loads of suntan lotion on you will still get a suntan.
If you get a sunburn the best thing to use is pure aloa-vera or aloa-vera with a cooling agent.
It is recommended to use a natural suntan lotion to help protect the marine life.