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Mexico with a 9 year old?

(10 Posts)
MiniCooperLover Fri 03-Jan-20 19:48:41

Last summer we went to El Deflin Verde in Spain and despite the incredible amount of driving time (2 days in total) we had a brilliant time except that the camp was mostly full of Dutch and German families so our (then) 8 year old didn't have a lot of fun without anyone to 'buddy' up with. This year we'd like to try and make it a little easier for him to, if not make friends, then have people to chat to. We priced up Greece and The Canaries and for the same cost we can do Mexico. Do many British or Irish families do Mexico in the Summer Holidays? Normally I'd say language doesn't matter, make friends, etc. but he's going to be 9, he's an only child and he loves other kids.

OP’s posts: |
madasamarchhare Sat 04-Jan-20 10:12:49

Mexico is fab. We took the kids at 10 and 12 an had an amazing time. Most of the hotels are excellent. There are lots of different parks there with activities to suit young and old. There are historical sites if that interests you too. I agree barely any dearer than the med.

backinthebox Sat 04-Jan-20 10:26:14

Brilliant place for kids. I’ve been lots with work and on grown up holidays, but the best one by far was with my kids who were 11 and 7 at the time. In 2 weeks we fit the following in:
- Walking through forest and mangroves looking at wildlife - iguanas, monkeys, raccoons, coatimundi, etc
- Hobicat sailing
- Swimming in 7 different cenotes including one with terrapins in, one with a cave with fossils in, one with a zip wire to jump into from, and all very beautiful.
- Snorkelling - so many fish to see!
- boat trip to see turtles, wild dolphins and wild manatees
- saw turtles hatching on the beach

Places we visited included
- Xel Ha, for snorkelling, mangrove swamp tubing, giant slides, little zip wires, food and drink, cycling, walking through forest
- Xplor, for big zip wires, ATV driving through jungle, cave swimming and rafting. My kids declared this place better than any theme park!
- Coba, for ancient ruins less crowded than other places, plus you can cycle to the big pyramid, climb up it to look out over the jungle, then go and look for crocodiles in the lagoon next door.
- Si’an Kaan Biosphere, for jawdropping wildlife and boat rides

We stayed at Sandos Caracol for a few nights, then in a cabana on the beach in Tulum for a week (a bit rustic, but my kids loved it! Ours was at Xamas but there are lots of little guest houses and cabana sites,) and then at Dreams Puerto Morelas. The last of these was the only one I wouldn’t go back to, it was well equipped but a bit soul-less.

We travelled round a lot and the kids were very well looked after everywhere, from the taxi driver we booked each day for excursions who knew where to stop off for the best hot chocolates and screeched his car over to the side of the road to point out a tarantula, to the restaurant waiters who came running over to tell us about the turtle eggs. It has some crime problems but they are mainly between drug gangs, the rest of the place and people are lovely.

Expressedways Sat 04-Jan-20 17:24:30

Mexico is really popular with Americans. I don’t know how many British/Irish families you’ll come across (I haven’t comes across any in the resorts I’ve stayed at) but if the concern is English speaking kids for him to play with and then you’ll be fine. Pick one with a kid’s club maybe? We’re going to the Club Med in Cancun next month- found a cheap deal and it’s a short flight for us plus they have childcare for the 2YO. Not exactly the most exciting trip but am very much looking forward to escaping the winter and a chance to relax!

Panicovereveryone Sat 04-Jan-20 20:33:47

@backinthebox did you use an agent or book it yourself? My DD’s want to go and I like the sound of it.

BakewellGin1 Sat 04-Jan-20 20:37:12

Mexico is amazing. We stayed at the Grand Bahia Tulum with kids ranging from 2-8 and every one of them loved it. Flight was no problem as more comfort long haul. Excursions excellent

backinthebox Sat 04-Jan-20 20:54:41

We booked it all ourselves, but I work in the travel industry and know that part of Mexico well enough to know where I wanted to go. I booked the 2 AI hotels through a travel industry specialist agent, and the cabanas direct with them. Flights I got through work. We booked a taxi to be waiting for us at the airport rather than try and make a sensible decision after a long flight, and then used local drivers after that, who were all very reasonably priced. Excursions can be either booked online or with the concierge in your hotel - they will all have a deal on something or other.

We wanted to get straight out of Cancun so spent the first part at Caracol near Playa del Carmen. The site was huge with it's own beachfront, pools, jungle and cenotes so we didn't need to leave the hotel. The next bit we wanted to stay in Tulum. They are having problems with seaweed there atm so the beach is not as pristine as it used to be, and in parts it was pretty horrible so worth checking the situation before booking. But most of our excursions were from there (Xel Ha, Coba, Si'an Kaan, snorkelling on the reef, cenotes) and our kids enjoyed swimming in the fresh water of the cenotes more than they enjoyed the beach. Last place was not my cup of tea.


Zamas cabanas.

Seaweed stuff.

There are lots of other very good hotels though if something a bit more mainstream is your thing (we like more rustic holidays grin ) and lots of recommendations on MN.

Panicovereveryone Sat 04-Jan-20 21:13:19

@backinthebox thanks. We traveled around Cuba and did home stays there and it was excellent.

MiniCooperLover Sun 05-Jan-20 09:28:23

Thank you, that's all really helpful. Backinthebox, I've been reading about the seaweed issues, is that just the Tulum area do you know? Thanks

OP’s posts: |
backinthebox Sun 05-Jan-20 14:06:53

@MiniCooperLover it's random and it could be anywhere. Some places get absolutely swamped for a few weeks and are OK for the rest of the year, other places have a steady low level trickle of it coming in that the hotels rake away, others have none at all. It's worst in the summer, and it's worse on beaches where they don't have hotel staff to rake it up when it comes in. It was bad in Tulum 2 years ago when we were there, but not earlier this year when I was going. Playa Del Carmen had a little and Isla Mujeres had none at all. Other places had mountains of it. Webcams are quite good for showing what's going on, but bear in mind it can change in the space of a couple of hours.

My advice for the seaweed is the same as my advice for hurricane season - it's only one factor, most people go on holiday there and have a great time, and if it would totally ruin your holiday thing of somewhere else because, just like hurricanes, it's unpredictable - just more likely. It has affected the entire Caribbean region from Florida all the way down to the coast of Venezuela. I've seen seaweed in St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and Mexico. It didn't put us off going and it didn't spoil our holiday. There are a lot of people out there though contributing to websites dedicated to this issue who get quite hung up on it. Our beach in Tulum was free of it the day we got there, but by day 2 a raft of it started to come in and the beach got quite covered. About day 5 it started to wash back out again. We went to cenotes and swam there, and our cabanas had a pool too. My kids loved the cenotes more than the beach!

Pic of one of the cenotes attached. This one had a zip wire into it and a bar and restaurant beside it.

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