Traveling with children in Cancun and the Riviera Maya

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Kids' at the beach

Many areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya have strong waves and an undertow. Fun to play in, but it can be dangerous—especially for children. North Beach on Isla Mujeres and the western shore of Cozumel (where most hotels are located) are protected from the open ocean and have the calmest waters.
pop-up sun tent for on the beach

Make sure to apply sunscreen throughout the day. A hat will help to keep sun off sensitive faces. For small children, you may want to take along a pop-up sun shelter. The one at right (along with other models) is available through Walmart online.

Pop-up tent for infants (with screened sides, see photo)

Pop-up tent for infants (with built in spf50)

Cabana (for youths/adults)

Sport umbrella (for youths/adults)

sand bucket for children

A bucket, shovel, and sand-castle molds will help keep kids occupied. Sets are available at most toy stores, but could be more difficult to find during winter months. The set at right is available online through Walmart. Toys are also available at many grocery/department stores and souvenir shops in most destinations, but you'll have to spend some of your vacation time shopping for them.

Childrens' activities

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are vacation havens for adults, but there are very few activities geared to tourist children unless you stay in an all-inclusive resort with a kids' club. If the kids' are bored, visit a mall where you'll typically find a small play area. Some fast food restaurants also have play areas. An evening stroll for an ice cream, gelato, or Churro (a deep-fried pastry rolled in cinnamon sugar) will also keep the little ones busy.

Is the water safe to drink?

Even though most hotels have excellent purification systems, we recommend that children only drink—and brush their teeth with—bottled water (readily available at convenience stores).

Car seats/strollers

Most car rental agencies provide car seats for an additional charge. You can also rent car seats in Cancun or Playa del Carmen from Baja Baby Gear. Some tourists purchase a baby seat at Walmart or a grocery/convenience store, then leave it behind for a charity when they depart. Strollers are available for purchase at all major stores.

Miscellaneous supplies

pop-up sun tent for on the beach • Earplanes These ear plugs have valves that help prevent the painful build-up of air pressure during take-off and landing. Also great for adults with a cold, or difficulty popping their ears. Available at major drug stores and online.

• Life jacket/floatation device.

Boat tours will probably not have child-size life preservers. If you plan on going out on snorkel tours, it's not a bad idea to bring one, or purchase one at Walmart once you arrive in Mexico.

Baby monitor

Relax on the balcony while your infant sleeps in the air-conditioned room.

Hand sanitizer and wipes

We take plenty of these even if not traveling with children.

Electronic devices

Most hotels offer wi-fi, but it may be too slow to view movies. It's a good idea to bring DVDs to entertain the kids' at night.


• Children will need a passport.

• If a child is traveling with only one birth parent, they will need written permission (notarized) from the non-traveling parent.

Parental consent form


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