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seattletraveller Apr 13th, 2011 07:35 AM

Vacation with a 23 month toddler in May
I am overwhelmed by the choices available. We're interested in planning a week long trip to Cancun (but I read about Playa del Carmen vs Cancun and am a little confused by that). Also wondering about All Inclusive vs. not, or doing a resort vs. condo.

Here's what we have constraints wise:

1. We are travelling with a 23 month old. Do you have a recommendation just based on that between Playa del Carmen or Cancun, resort or condo?

2. All Inclusive or not - Child care and dietary constraints. If we do an All Inclusive resort, it has to be something that offers activities and child care for that age group. I looked at some and they only have child care/activities for kids in the higher age group (3+). Also, we are vegetarians and we can also eat chicken but we dont eat any other meat or seafood. Given that, is All Inclusive going to carry choices for us for use to find the extra $$ worthy?

3. With the kid, unless child care is available, we wont be able to party much. And even if it is available, its not that we would leave him there for a bulk of the time....may be for a few hours every day. Given that, is Cancun better or Playa del Carmen?

4. Are there deals you have found for May (we prefer earlier in May than later but would consider if there was a huge difference in price)

5. We want to go see the ruins, which one is better to go? and does that impact the choice between Playa del Carmen and Cancun?

6. Should we split days between Playa del Carmen and Cancun?
I would really appreciate any guidance.

seattletraveller Apr 13th, 2011 07:41 AM

Also, I wanted to add that I dont want to necessarily stay in one place all the time (unless its so great that I dont have to go out :), but I'd like ot explore around and at least see Mexico...

MFNYC Apr 13th, 2011 10:23 AM

Playa Del Carmen is better all round than Cancun. As far as AI resort vs hotel vs condo, there are several things to consider. As you discovered, most kid's clubs don't take kids under 3. I believe many hotels, resorts and even condo complexes have babysitting services available for a fee. PDC is also closer to ruins, eco-parks and many other sights and attractions.

The town of PDC is filled with restaurants, shopping and entertainment. There are also a few large grocery stores including a Walmart.

The bigger condo complexes tend to be pretty family friendly, and having a kitchen and even a washer/dryer could come in handy. I'm sure there are hotels right in town that would also be family friendly (although I don't know first hand. I have stayed in condos though). AIs generally are family friendly and fairly active with music and activities all day by the pool, and that kind of 'party' atmosphere. Condos, and probably hotels, tend to be more low key. Food is definitely better in PDC's restaurants than in any AI I ever stayed at.

If you plan on doing many side trips and excursions, then AI's may not be necessary. But if you like big sprawling resorts with all kinds of facilities and conveniences, than AIs could work well. Either way can make for a nice vacation, so it's more a questions of your preferences.

But to narrow done your choices, go for the PDC area. If you don't do all-inclusive, staying in the town itself probably makes the most sense.

suze Apr 13th, 2011 01:13 PM

If you just want a nice beach and a nice resort then Cancun might work. If you want a little more 'real Mexico' flavor then choose Playa del Carmen (about 45 mins. drive from Cancun). Staying in an all-inclusive, regular hotel, condo or apartment is totally a personal decision depending on what you like. I don't know how to advice about that part. You can see ruins on a day trip regardless of where you stay.

Not to complicate things but another option in that area is Isla Mujeres. It's an island off Cancun.

suze Apr 13th, 2011 01:14 PM

As I mentioned on your other thread, with such a small child, I'd personally go to Hawaii instead of the Caribbean or Mexico either one. I think it's safer and easier all around.

Ryan Apr 14th, 2011 05:58 AM

You might want to look into the Club Med in Cancun. (Though I prefer the Club Med in Ixtapa.)

They will have child-care service and will have many of the things you need for your baby. Their food options are usually very diverse.

Club Med's are usually a really good option for families with children as they offer plenty for the kids and lots for the the adults.

zootsi Apr 14th, 2011 07:41 AM

I have been going to this area for many years. I would never consider Cancun. With a small child, some place family oriented with a safe beach might be best. Akumal has several small hotels and condos, 5-6 good restaurants, great snorkeling, and is close to ruins. The Akumal Beach Club is a low key All Inclusive with a wonderful beach.
Playa is a very fun little city with a great beach, lots of clubs, restaurants and shopping. If you want a more lively setting Playa del Carmen is a great choice. There are lots of small hotels right on the beach, and several AI's just outside the city. We often split our time between Playa and Akumal or Tulum. Have you checked out

taitai Apr 14th, 2011 10:08 AM

We have been bringing our kids to Mexico since they were babies, so I think this is a good choice. If you want child care, with that age, your best bet is the ClubMed. I don't think anyone else takes kids that young.

Ruins might be tough with a toddler in May. They will be very, very hot so might not be the best place to bring the toddler. On the other hand, visiting ruins can be a LONG day so not sure if you want to leave your child in child care that long...also, not sure if the child care centers let you leave the property.

When our kids were super young, we stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. Their suites were perfect as we had a place for the kids and a place for us. The staff was great with the kids and it made for a wonderful trip. We now tend to stay in AI with them as they are older and eat a ton and are still young enough to not be patient enough to wait for their food in restaurants. So, the buffets work well for them. We are fortunate to take a no-kids trip each year so our trips with the boys tend to be focused on them and their needs...pools, beach, lots of food delivered fast, separate room for them to sleep in, etc.

You could split a stay but it is a lot of travel and a lot of gear to be hauling around. I guess only you know if that is what you want.

Good luck planning!

Ryan Apr 14th, 2011 10:42 AM

Like Taitai, we've traveled to Mexico with our kids several times. The first time our daughter was 9 mos old and our son was a bit over 2. I mentioned the Club Med because they do have dedicated babysitting for that age. At other resorts we've stayed the hotel provided someone to babysit in room for an amount paid directly to that person. Typically, it was a staff member who had another responsibility and babysat for extra money. The first time we went it was a very nice older woman who worked as a maid who would stay with our daughter for a couple of hours during her nap time.

If you're comfortable with that type of arrangement, you will be able to find a female hotel employee who will babysit for the extra money. (Which always included cab-fare if they stayed while you went to dinner.)

In terms of a formal arrangement and dedicated baby care area, of the 4 resorts we've stayed at besides the Club Meds, I don't believe that any of them had something for babies.

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