Help me plan a beach vacation in mexico
February 15, 2016 8:36 AM   Subscribe

We are planning a beach vacation (for about 7-8 days) in Mexico in next few months with a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old. We are planning on spending most of the time at the beach or around the pool. Might for an excursion, if it’s something that we can handle with an 18-month-old. At night, we like the option of getting out from the resort and walk around the streets (if it’s safe) and maybe try street food. No nightclubs for us. More information inside

We are currently thinking early May (like 7-14). We can open to changing the dates. We want to avoid the peak/spring break season to avoid waking up at 7am to get a pool chair. We don’t want it to be deasserted either. (we have been to niagara falls in winter, where all the shops and activities were closed)
We don’t want to delay it too much in to hot and rainy season.
How is the weather (and water temperature) during this time? I’m used to the tropical weather. (think island nations near equator) and like the water to be warm enough to stay in comfortably.

We picked Mexico (vs. Dominican Rep, Jamaica or other caribbean islands) since that seem to get cheapest airfare. Currently thinking Cancun or Playa de carmen(PDC). Any suggestions on where the best, shallow beaches are?

I checked the price for a cab ride from CUN to hotel zone, Cancun area and it was around $50 (so $100 both ways). Expedia shows rental cars available at the airport for $1 per day (what’s the catch here? it can’t really be that cheap). Insurance is additional $11 per day (Still not a bad price) If I understand correctly my US car insurance in not valid in mexico. If i get insurance from the rental agency is it only damage waiver or do I get liability insurance too?
Is it safe to drive around? I heard stories about fake cops and real cops demanding bribes. How much of a common occurrence is this? Especially around touristy areas?
Is parking an issue in Cancun downtown area?

If we decided to go with a rental car then we can probably split the vacation between Cancun and PDC. If you have any recommendations on good resorts in Cancun or PDC, please share. Around $150 per night for room only or $250 for all inclusive is ok.
I have done full board before, which give you access to the buffet for all 3 meals and that’s it. How does all inclusive work? Can you go to any restaurant/bar/room service in the resort and everything is included?
Do you have to rent pool chairs and pool towels (like in some cities) or are those normally available for anyone to use?

Child Care
I saw most places charge around $10-15 per hour for in-room child care. This might be ok for just to take an hour off to go to a spa, but too expensive to spend some extended time on the beach. Does the rate double if it’s two kids? and I saw few places that has baby clubs and kids clubs included in the hotel rate. Any suggestions on good resorts with baby/kids clubs?

Thank in advance :-)
posted by WizKid to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
FYI, here's where Zika cases are being reported in Mexico so far.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would highly recommend Isla Mujeres. You can get a bus or shuttle van from the airport straight to the ferry docks and then it's only a 15-minute 80-peso ferry ride to the island.

The beaches are beautiful, shallow, and not nearly as crowded as they can be in other places. Hotels are generally cheaper than in Cancun, though you will have less selection in terms of all-inclusive places. The town is an absolute delight to walk around, day or night, and it has to be one of the safest places in Mexico.
posted by 256 at 9:30 AM on February 15, 2016

The best you can do with transportation is to book from home ( prices are real but once you get there those prices will rise)
With child care, the best you can do is hire a babysitter for a day at the hotel or once you get there try to get a reasonable price because indeed it's too expensive.
Location: best time to visit Cancun is December and another option in Mexico is Los Cabos.
posted by ErickClifford at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2016

Isla Mujeres is lovely and the water is calm enough for small kids. The water temp is around 80°.

Regarding transportation. Yeah, mordidas happen in Mexico. It's one of the reasons that you might pay someone to drive you around since they have already sorted out who gets paid. In my experience, you are very unlikely to get stopped in a cab or as a passenger with a local. You are much more likely to be stopped as a foreigner driving a rental.
posted by 26.2 at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2016

Nthing Isla Mujeres. I've been there a few times and always loved it. One week we rented a golf cart for the week to get around and that was super fun. There is also an awesome turtle sanctuary on the island, good food, very safe.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:54 AM on February 15, 2016

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