A Mexican all-inclusive is a top vacation choice for honeymooners and college-age spring-breakers, but families with kiddos have lots to look forward to as well. With activity-packed kids’ clubs, water sports, and other child-approved amenities (picture a swimming pool with a pirate ship replica), the following all-inclusives — all on Mexico’s Caribbean side — are designed to help little ones and parents bond (as well as keep kids entertained when adults need some alone time).
The 80-plus acres of beachfront mangroves that comprise Grand Velas Riviera Maya are home to everything families could want from an all-inclusive — and then some: access to gorgeous white-sand beach, a stunning spa, three pool complexes, multiple restaurants — most of which have kids’ menus — separate kid-friendly and adults-only buildings, free non-motorized water ports, fun kids’ clubs, babysitting services (for a fee), and activities like beach Olympics, movies, and treasure hunts. It also happens to be a 40-minute drive from Xel-Ha Park, the world’s largest aquarium where you can swim with dolphins, and a 20-minute drive from Xcaret Eco Park — in case you wish to leave the property.
The massive, 900-room Hotel Xcaret is an eco-minded, upscale all-inclusive resort that draws equal amounts of families and couples thanks to its plethora of on-site features and free access to area parks. Expansive grounds house several pools, stunning architecture utilizing natural rock, 10 restaurants, eight bars, a kids’ club, and swish spa. The lounger-equipped beach is lovely, and kayaks are available to weave through a river. Gorgeous rooms have local decor, jetted tubs and separate showers, comfy beds, and furnished terraces with hammocks. Buffet and a la carte dining covers Mexican, Asian, and international cuisines, but a few are exclusive to certain guests or require an extra fee. Travelers won’t feel the number of guests outside of check-in and check-out, but otherwise, the atmosphere is largely peaceful and relaxed.
Parents heading to Azul Beach Resort, pack light — the 97-room resort, located on a secluded beach, has a toy lending program. That’s on top of a kiddy pool, kids’ menus at the on-site restaurants, fun kids’ club, and child-size gym with ropes, parallel bars, and daily activities for kids of all ages. Babysitting services are also on offer, so that adults can enjoy the private beach, outdoor pools, and even a tequila lounge in peace.
One of the best family-friendly all-inclusive resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda is chock-full of amenities that will keep your kids off their phones. Amenities include access to a beautiful beach with sun loungers; a kids’ club with games and activities (like face-painting and air hockey); several swimming pools, including one with a pirate ship playground, inflatable bridges, and a swim-up bar; babysitting services; and many restaurants with kids’ menus. Vacationers wanting to splurge can opt for the Family Concierge level rooms, which grant entry into a private pool and club lounge, plus expedited service.
Surrounded by the sea on three sides, Hyatt Ziva Cancun isn’t just one of the kid-friendliest properties in the Hotel Zone; it’s also one of the best all-around all-inclusives in the area. The property caters to families — a kids’ club with a pool and water play area, an on-site dolphin habitat, and entertainment like theater shows, water activities, and tennis and dance lessons are among the highlights. There are also three infinity-edge pools, extensive spa facilities, and a myriad of dining and drinking options. Those who wish to avoid the family scene, however, can opt for the adults-only tower, which features a pool and dining for grown-ups only.
The kids’ club at Moon Palace, an all-inclusive resort along Cancun’s Mayan Riviera, is tough to beat. It has multiple themed rooms — like a mini racetrack, an arcade, an art room, and a life-sized doll house room — plus a snack bar, outdoor playground, and mini-theater — all of which keep kids’ imaginations running wild. The property is also home to other impressive amenities like a dolphinarium and several pools, including one with waterslides, a Flowrider machine, and swim-up bar (a nice perk since the beaches in this area are often strewn with seaweed).
Between the kids’ club (including a water park and rock climbing wall), the teens’ club (with video games), the holistic, jungle-set spa, and the on-site temazcal with a small cenote for hosting ceremonies, Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa has something for all ages. Some might prefer the adults-only accommodations (here’s looking at you, honeymooners), but if family bonding is the top priority, there are shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, water sports, swimming pools, and nightly entertainment the whole brood can enjoy together.
There are many reasons families might choose Paradisus Cancun for their next vacation getaway. The 668-room all-inclusive features spacious rooms (including Family Concierge suites with child-friendly amenities like bathrobes and slippers for kids and turndown service with milk and cookies), multiple restaurants and bars, a large free-form swimming pool, a plethora of activities (water sports, a tennis court, and a golf course, to name a few), and three play zones for babies, kids, and teenagers. Couples (and families with no kids) can also opt for the adults-only Royal Service section of the resort, which has private beach and swimming pool areas, butler service, and other pampering perks.
About halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma has families’ best interests in mind. The bustling all-inclusive is teeming with kid-friendly amenities, from the kids’ club with games and art projects to the giant outdoor pool. Amenities like strollers, cribs, changing tables, and bottle warmers are also available upon request. In the evening, families gather for movies by the pool and dance shows. Though the ambience here is more rowdy than relaxing, with kids running amok and beach volleyball games in full swing, parents searching for some “me” time can enjoy some of the amenities at the adults-only El Dorado Royale next door.
A 20-minute drive from the airport, the Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is a family-friendly all-inclusive located on a white-sand beach. The 486 rooms are spacious and come stocked with free minibars, TVs with satellite channels, whirlpool tubs, and furnished terraces — some with plunge pools. Treasure hunts, ocean trampolines, arts and crafts, and sand-castle contests are just a few of the activities offered at the “Explorer’s Club,” complete with a playground, an indoor game rooms, and video games. The club also organizes weekly camps out on the beach, and outdoor movie nights for kids three to 12. Numerous pools, nine restaurants, and a white-sand beach with calm waters round out the offerings.
Hotel Riu Palace Mexico is an all-inclusive resort set along the beach in Playa del Carmen’s upscale Playacar area. Facilities at this 434-room property are excellent, including ample dining options, plenty of pools (including a children’s spot), and daily entertainment. Kids are also well-catered for with a kids’ club and playground. All in all, it largely lures families and couples who prioritize relaxing over partying.
Set in the sleepy town of Puerto Morelos, Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is an all-suite resort that never feels crowded, even when it’s full. In addition to couples and families, multi-generational groups stay here, taking advantage of the hotel’s multi-bedroom suites with full kitchens and living rooms. There are three beautiful pools, including one for children and one for adults with a swim-up bar (for when you need some alone time). The beach is superior to many in the area, with soft white sand, calm waters, and a lack of seaweed. To top it off, the hotel offers a kids’ club (activities include sand art, face painting, and Xbox) and free Wi-Fi.
Don’t forget your favorite sunscreen when basking in the Mexican sun. You won’t want to spend your entire vacation with a burn!
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