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Vacation Time - Mexico

As busy parents living in the ‘city that never sleeps’, i think you would agree we all feel the need to get out of the city for a break when we can. This may be a quick weekend getaway or a glorious two week break on a sparkling beach in the Caribbean.

We have been fortunate enough to travel to many different states within the USA but also a bit further abroad. The beauty of travel within the USA is that each state offers a really different experience - from the chilled surfy lifestyle of San Diego to the southern charm of South Carolina.

Personally I am a big fan of the beach and relaxing by the pool (well, as much relaxing as you can get with the little ones ... that’s why I love a hotel with a kids club!) So my tips below include a lot of beach getaways, but as Aussie’s I'm sure most of you enjoy a good beach getaway as much as I do.

Hola Mexico!

Year round sunshine, beaches, ancient ruins, aztec history...and corona & guacamole! What more could you ask for? Its a quick three and a half hour flight from New York City to Cancun and there are lots of accomodation options for families.

The most popular beach vacation spots in Mexico include;

  • Cancun

  • Playa del Carmen

  • Tulum

  • Isla Mujeres

  • Cabo san Luca & Puerto Vallarta (warning: its a six and a half hour flight to both los Cabos and PV from NYC as they are both on the western side of Mexico fronting the Pacific ocean.. so a good choice for west coast folks.)

Cancun and Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen, 40mins south of Cancun, is like the quiet sibling of Cancun. Once known as the party destination for the spring break crowd and singles, Cancun has reinvented itself as a family friendly destination offering the most all inclusive resorts and kid friendly vibe amongst the beach destinations. You will still find adult only resorts and the vibrant bar scene located in downtown Cancun, but it is easy to avoid.

All Inclusive Resorts refers to resorts offering accommodation, food and beverage, kids club and gym that is all included in the daily rate. I like them because it takes the decision making out of my hands (the hardest question i need to answer all week is wine or margarita?!). And hubby likes them because we usually pay several months ahead of the trip so everything feels like it is "free" when we are there.

Trip advisor has a list of its top all inclusive family hotels in Cancun/ Playa del Carmen which is a good starting point as the entire list of hotels in the region is overwhelming.

Following is a list of resorts in the area I have stayed with my family or that come highly recommended by friends.

Paradisus Resort (all inclusive) - Cancun & Playa del Carmen properties

  • Modern resort, designer style. Rooms are spacious, clean, contemporary.

  • Great kids club.

  • Main Pool has big pirate ship with slides.

  • 8 restaurants, including buffet, beach bars, illy coffee bar, ice cream cart, Mexican, seafood, steak & sushi place.

  • Modern spacious bar areas

  • Gym & Spa (note: there's an additional cost for spa services)

  • They offer an additional ' family concierge service ' which offers a block of accomodation that is a special family area for an additional cost. This package gives you access to 1 extra pool and 1 extra restaurant but that is about it.

  • Modern resort, spacious rooms, all the mod-cons.

  • Rooms with swim out private pools

  • 10 restaurants including a buffet, beach bar & snack hut, and steak, asian fusion, and italian restaurants. Oh, there's an ice cream shop too which the kids loved.

  • Kids club with great activities like foam parties, cooking, dancing,

  • Kids pool with slides and water activities

  • Gym & Spa - additional cost for spa

  • Separate adults only section

  • The hotel is actually located in Puerto Morelos about 30 minutes from Cancun

  • The property was recently renovated and re-opened in 2016 - so everything is very modern and chic

  • Good food options - nine international restaurants and bars

  • Kids club age 4-12 with mini water park

  • Gym

  • Spa (for an additional cost)

  • Similar to the restaurant you are all familiar with - its loud, busy and lots of fun things going on

  • Kids club

  • 6 restaurants plus 24 hr room service

  • Nice infinity pools overlooking the beach

  • Themed accommodation rooms

  • 2 big beachfront properties connected by an underground walkway

  • Neither property is all inclusive so you need to budget extra for food and drink

  • Great hotel bar with live music in the evenings

  • You also have access to restaurants, bars and pools at either property or downtown Cancun which is a short bus ride away

  • Small kids club located in Marriott property for an additional charge (I think it was around $75 / day per child when we stayed there)

  • Older style accommodation

  • On site food and beverage is pretty expensive (typical hotel prices)

  • Big 'old world glam' property

  • Not all inclusive

  • Food and beverage expensive - typical hotel prices.

  • 7 Restaurants and bars

  • 2 big beach front pools

  • Good kids club program and a great 'parents night out' program both at additional cost.

  • New hotel opened in 2016

  • Very Modern & Chic

  • Not an all inclusive property (though they do offer a 'meal plan' for USD$75 per person / per day for breakfast, lunch & dinner at the hotel)

  • 3 restaurants and bars

  • Kids club age 4-12yrs for US$65 per day or $15 per hour

  • Gym

  • Spa - additional cost

Tulum - A 'millennials' hot spot with a yoga loving, chilled out, matcha tea drinking crowd. Think Byron Bay meets Bondi.

The beaches are beautiful and it has become a big foodie destination with top rated restaurants in the area including Hartwood, Mezzanine, Burrito Amor & Gitano bar

You can stay in Tulum town or on the beach. Downtown Tulum is approximately 20 minutes from the beach ... so not so great with kids, towels, buckets & spade! But it is an easy bike ride if you and the family are up for it! Of course, you can stay at a beachfront property but hotel rates increase significantly the closer you get to the beach.

You can visit Tulum on a day trip from Cancun or Playa del Carmen (which is about 90 minutes away by car) and you can spend your day at one of the beach club/restaurants that lets you hang out all day and simply order a drink every hour!

A list of Tulum's top rated hotels and a destination guide can be found here on travel and Leisure website

Isla Mujeres A little Mexican island, 13km off the coast of Cancun. Known for its beautiful beaches and child friendly vibe. Also known for its surrounding coral reefs and therefore brings in the diving crowd. Trip advisers top 10 hotels in Isla Mujeres

So there are my top tips for visiting Mexico from New York. There are so many great places to stay and we haven't yet made it to them all so please let me know if you have any recommendations.

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