Smoothies, Sand, and Sunshine: Vacationing in Cancun, Mexico with Kids

When you think of taking a trip to Cancun, what comes to mind? The beach? Sunshine? Snorkeling? Cheap drinks?  Drunken college students throwing themselves off balconies into the pool at 2 a.m.?

Very few of those stereotypes could be considered “family-friendly.” But guess what? A few months ago, we went with our girls (ages three and one) and our niece and nephew (an infant and a three-year-old) to Cancun, and the kids had a fabulous time.

Vacationing in Cancun, Mexico with Kids

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Vacationing in Cancun Mexico with Kids

This wasn’t my first trip to Cancun. I went about two decades ago with my parents. But between that first trip and the latest one with my own toddlers, I started to think of Cancun as less of a family-friendly vacation destination and more of a party spot.

However, I was willing to give it a try since there are great deals floating around for all-inclusive vacation packages to Mexico!

Tips and Ideas for Visiting Cancun Mexico with Kids

We’re big fans of all-inclusive resorts that welcome families. In fact, we have an entire post filled with tips for taking kids to all-inclusive resorts!

For this particular trip, we stayed at Royal Solaris Cancun.

Family Vacation in Cancun Mexico

For our girls, one definite highlight of the Royal Solaris was the water park. Three big slides, fountains, and plenty of room to splash and play. Outside of the water park, there were several other pool options. We were all happy to swim. Humidity is high in Cancun, and the water felt great!

Life jackets were not provided; we we’re glad we brought our puddle jumpers.

Family trips to Cancun Mexico

The water park was connected to the kid zone where our preschoolers colored and played games.

Things to do in Cancun with kids

Our three-year-old was often the youngest child in the group, so she was very confused when they asked her to chug orange soda as part of one of the races. :)

Cancun beaches are beautiful, although the waves were a bit rough near where we were staying. The covered awnings and “umbrellas” made out of palm branches provided much-needed relief from the sun.

Review of Royal Solaris Cancun

Traveling with a baby? Don’t miss our tips for taking baby to the beach! For older kids, check out these 35 FREE things to do with kids at the beach

Review of Royal Solaris Cancun

Alcoholic beverages were included in our packages, but the favorite drink of the week would have to be the non-alcoholic smoothies. Fresh mango and orange juice from the swim-up bar. How lovely! You can read my copycat mango smoothie recipe HERE.

During naptime, we read books and enjoyed the view from our balcony.

Review of Royal Solaris Cancun

Before bed, we would head down to catch the evening entertainment. Our oldest loved the “funny guy”–a talented comedian who could make people laugh with pantomime and without words. As for me, I was pretty impressed by the acrobats.

One thing my husband observed at the hotel, all of the staff (servers, dancers, entertainment crew) seemed to be smiling genuinely and having fun even when they didn’t know we were watching.

Visiting Cancun Mexico with Kids

I’m paranoid about water safety. I asked the hotel for assurance that the water was purified (the tap water was not, but our room fridge was stocked with bottled water and more water was available when we needed it). We tried to be cautious with foods that might have soaked in tap water (like lettuce). Out of the eight people in our group, only one got (very, very, very) sick. (Thankfully, it wasn’t one of the kids.) We will probably never know what caused it.

Had Uncle Chris not felt sick, we probably would have taken a day trip to the ruins and local sites. Chichen Itza is just two hours from Cancun! As it was, we (happily) just hung around the resort.

Tips for taking a vacation to Cancun Mexico with kids

The biggest complaint we could come up with for our resort was that Wifi was not free (as of May 2014).

After our disaster in Puerto Rico, safety was definitely a concern. Moments before we purchased our tickets, I frantically posted a message in a group for family travel blogger’s group about the safety of Cancun. I think it was Keryn (from Walking on Travels) who first told me to go for it. I couldn’t let the criminals win and steal the beach from me.

Vacationing with Kids in Cancun Mexico

So while I’ll never go walking on the beach at night again, I’m so glad we went to Cancun.

Tips and Ideas for Visiting Cancun with Kids

 One last tip: before you leave, read these 14 tips for traveling internationally with kids! 

Treats that aren’t sweets: 11 Halloween candy alternatives for trick or treaters.

My (barely) four-year-old has officially started a countdown for Halloween. Not that she REALLY remembers Halloween from last year–she just has some vague notion of fun costumes, getting to play games at the library because it’s a holiday (huh?), and ridiculous amounts of candy.

We do sweets in moderation, but there’s nothing moderate about the amount of candy we’ll get from even a short trip around our ‘hood. So I always like it when we come to a house that gives out something other than candy. It’s nice to have variety, kwim?

Here are my favorite ideas for Halloween candy alternatives:

Ice pops. There are a few houses in our neighborhood that hand out an ice pop to each trick or treater. They’re relatively inexpensive, and there are versions that are 100% apple juice!

Freebie Coupons. We just purchased Jr. Frosty coupon books from Wendy’s yesterday! While it’s true that this is a sponsored post for the Frostys for Adoption campaign, I honestly think these coupons would make awesome swag for trick or treaters! Plus $.90 of every $1 spent on these coupon books goes to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. I absolutely love that.

11 Halloween Candy Alternatives

Mini pumpkins. Our farmers’ market wraps up at the end of October, and my dad (the pumpkin farmer) often ends up with an excessive amount of mini pumpkins. We pass these out to kids as a sugar-free candy alternative.

Spider rings. We’re working on our trunk for our church’s “Trunk or Treat” festival. Instead of candy, our group is going to have a bean bag toss game and let kids choose spider rings off of a giant web. You could also offer them to kids like we did here in our creepy, crawly, cauldron play invitation.

Fruit. In this day and age, I’m sure there are people who would frown on passing out fresh fruit for sanitary and safety reasons. But have you seen the little clementines that are decorated with black marker to look like jack o’lanterns? Those are great for a play date, fall party, or to pass out to friends!Treats that aren't sweet. 11 Halloween candy alternatives!

Toothbrushes and toothpaste. I will never forget the first time I trick-or-treated at a dentist’s house, and he handed me a toothbrush instead of candy. As a kid, I thought it was kind of a lame. But now that I’m a parent, I think it’s genius. An oral hygiene brand might be willing to donate supplies.

Miniature bags of pretzels. I love it when my girls get snacks instead of sugar.

Small Toys–like cars or figurines. One of our neighbors offers toy cars to the neighborhood kids. So sweet, right?

Glow sticks. The cost per item is pretty low if you buy large packages of glow bracelets.

Stickers. Small sheets of Halloween stickers (designed for favor bags or party treats) would be a hit with my girls.

Stamps, pencils, crayons. Art supplies that I could throw in my purse or leave on a table at home would be a welcome treat for our family.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a sponsored post. When I saw this opportunity pop up in my email, I practically begged the company to let me participate. A few of you may remember that this blog started as a way to share stories from our ten trips to visit orphans and orphanages in Guatemala. There are few things more satisfying to me as a blogger than to be able to write about this passion. While adoptions from Guatemala are closed (indefinitely), foster care and adoption are still on my mind. Thank you to Wendy’s and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for advocating for the 100,000 kids in foster care who are awaiting adoption. As founder Dave Thomas said, “These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.”Looking for Halloween candy alternatives? Try these ideas! 11 Halloween treats that aren't candy.

Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!

Coupon book may contain coupons for 5 or 10 free Jr. Frosty™ treats. Prices and participation may vary. Ninety cents to every $1 coupon booklet sold between 9/15/14 and 10/31/14 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons valid from 11/1/14 through 2/1/15. ©2014 Oldemark LLC”

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.