A wonderful climate and world-class snorkeling with fishes and turtles make Cozumel a great place to take the kids. We sent our hotel experts to Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea to discover the top Cozumel resorts for families.
For families looking for an all-inclusive, upper-middle-range beach vacation in Cozumel, it doesn't get any better than the 218-room Sunscape Sabor. Outdoor activities are the highlight here: there are two pools with ocean views (one hosts a variety of fun activities from aerobics to family-friendly foam parties), a private sandy beach, and plenty of kayaks and snorkel gear to borrow. Smaller children can make use of supervised activities at the Explorer Club, which provides indoor art activities and toys and an outdoor playground with an enormous trampoline (babysitting is also available). Older kids can use Core Zone Teens Club for video games, karaoke, and organized socials. Four restaurants and five bars provide ample eating and drinking opportunities. The downsides? The rooms are a bit dated and worn and it's a 20-minute drive to town.
Melia Cozumel is a mid-range family-oriented all-inclusive located on one of the best beaches in the North Hotel Zone. Large Family Rooms feature a king or two double beds, as well as a a sofa bed in the living area. The hotel has a great Flintstones-themed kids’ club offering daily activities indoors, by the pool, or on the beach (the kids' club is free with the all-inclusive plan; babysitting services are available for a fee). The family-friendly pool, located near the kids’ club and the restaurants, features activities for children, a ping-pong table, and a pool table. Melia's next-door neighbor, El Cozumeleno, has similar rates year-round and better snorkeling, but the Melia Cozumel has better rooms.
The 252-room El Cozumeleno is a mid-range all-inclusive that's popular with families -- and for good reason. It's packed with family-friendly features, including a kids’ club (even the toilets are kid-size!), mini-golf, a shallow area in the pool, and a game arcade with ping-pong and foosball. Babysitting services are available for a fee. Large rooms can sleep up to two adults and two kids, and all have balconies and great ocean views (even those labeled Garden View have ocean views only partially blocked by palm trees). However, Melia's rooms are nicer, as the decor in El Cozumeleno's rooms is sparse and dated.
The 306-room Iberostar Cozumel is an inviting pick for families wanting a resort with enough to do on-site that they don’t need to arrange a car or leave the grounds for entertainment. There are two large pools and the private beach with a PADI-certified dive center and daily dive activities along the offshore reef, one of the world’s best. All non-motorized water sports are included in the rates, but only for a limited time (El Cozumeleno doesn't enforce a time limit). On land, there are plenty of other activities to keep guests of all ages entertained, including tennis, archery, target shooting, basketball, beach volleyball, and group gymnastics. Kids ages four to 12 can go to the kids' club, which has organized activities, a playground with a pirate ship for climbing, and kids' pool.
Playa Azul Golf, Scuba, Spa's gorgeous sandy beach is a real highlight. Most beachfront hotels in Cozumel don't have water with walk-in entry -- but Playa Azul does, making it a great pick for families with small children. The water is blue and clear and there's a small reef just offshore, where guests can snorkel with fish and turtles. Unfortunately, snorkel gear costs extra to rent and the hotel doesn't provide gear like kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. Guests are a mix of families and couples, and since there are just 50 rooms, Playa Azul's lovely ocean-view pool, sandy beach, two restaurants, and two bars don't get too crowded. Just note that some suites don't allow children.
Near Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Cafe, Grand Park Royal Cozumel is a mid-range all-inclusive with family perks like a kids’ club, a kids pool with a slide, and a playground. The 342 rooms are simply furnished and past guests have complained about maintenance issues, but units do come with balconies (many with ocean views), air-conditioning, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, and minibars (included in the all-inclusive rate). The beach here can't compare with the one at Playa Azul, and while free snorkeling is available, Grand Park does not offer the same range of water sports as Iberostar (where kayaks, catamarans, windsurfers, and snorkel equipment are available, but with time constraints).