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Traveling to Mexico with kids – Everything you need to know

Welcome to the ultimate Mexico with kids travel guide! Whether you’re a seasoned family traveler or a parent planning your first family road trip, this blog post is here to help. Get ready to embark on a memorable journey to Mexico with your family!

Mexico is a lively country with a fascinating history and an interesting present. It’s extremely diverse with ancient ruins spread out all over the country, lush jungles, metropolitan cities and instagramworthy beach towns. Traveling to Mexico with kids is a great idea.

It’s impossible to explore Mexico in one trip, which gives you an excuse to come back and travel to different parts of this amazing country! Once you know how many weeks you’ll travel it’s time to pick a region. Will you go for a family vacation in the Riviera Maya or have time for a family road trip through the Yucatán Peninsula? Or go west and explore Baja California? Or is your family more into hiking through the rainforests in Chiapas? The choices are endless!

Once you’ve picked your family’s best Mexican destination with kids it’s time to start planning for your trip. The must do’s before you can work on your ideal Mexico itinerary. In this post we’ll share our best tips for navigating Mexico with kids. Let’s get into the incredible world of Mexico family travel!

Read more >> Ultimate Yucatán Peninsula Family Road Trip Guide

Read more >> Where to stay in the Riviera Maya with kids: Cancun vs Playa Del Carmen vs Tulum

An iguana is sun bathing on a large rock in Tulum Mexico
A man enjoys a zipline adventure through the jungle. His arms spread in excitement

Best age to visit Mexico

Mexican culture is extremely family-orientated, people will almost always be welcoming to kids. Mexico is a large country that offers it all: lush jungles, ancient ruins, vibrant cities, tropical islands and amazing food!

Because each region is different, there’s something for everyone to enjoy no matter where you go. When it comes to the best age to visit Mexico with kids, every age has its pros and cons.

Mexico with a baby or toddler

Traveling to Mexico with a baby has its advantages, there’s little to no language barrier when you stay on the beaten path. Large supermarkets sell the popular sunscreen, diaper and baby formula brands and there are enough delicious and healthy food options for young kids and babies starting with solid foods.

On the downside, the humidity and thick vegetation in large parts of Mexico can be challenging and exhausting for both parents, babies and toddlers. Bring bug spray, mosquito nets, sunscreen and clip on fans and make sure your accommodation has airconditioning. A pool is also kind of a necessity, when you start exploring early in the morning you can head back to your accommodation when the heat becomes to much for the young ones and hang at the pool.

Make sure your itinerary is not jam-packed. When you start the day with an activity you not only avoid the heat, but also the crowds. That means little to no lines and as a result happier tots! Another tip is to save museum visits for the hottest time of day. The airconditioning feels like a blessing and the kids won’t mind staring at art for a while, when it’s not interesting enough for them to enjoy.

The Palenque ruins in Chiapas - Mexico

Things to do in Mexico with babies and toddlers

Beaches

Babies and toddlers will enjoy spending time in the sand and the water. Mexico has so many lovely beaches and bounty islands that it will be hard to pick a favorite. You can’t go wrong with a beach vacay. Popular Mexican islands for family holidays are Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox, Cozumel and Isla Ixtapa. Best beach towns or cities are Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, Loreto, Los Cabos and Mazatlán. And if you get a chance to swim in one of the many cenotes in Mexico that are kid friendly, don’t hesitate to do it. It’s a great experience for kids of all ages.

Read more >> 10 Things to Do In Playa Del Carmen with Kids

Read more >> 13 Things to Do In Tulum with Kids

Ancient Ruins

Ancient ruins are also fun for young kids. Lots of the ruins can be climbed. Often times only the main pyramid is off limits. Our 3yo couldn’t get enough of places like Palenque, Calakmul and Ek Balam. He was acting like a little Indiana Jones.

Climbing down the Acropolis Chik Naab at the Calakmul ruins in Mexico
The Palenque ruins in Chiapas - Mexico

Cities

Lot’s of cities have interactive museum for kids to enjoy. And while not every kid enjoys looking at displays of ancient Mayans doing everyday stuff, or toddler was mesmerized by it. Maybe the fact that he knew there would be an ice cream break at the end of the visit, kinda helped us… Another thing toddlers will enjoy is the presence of music. No matter the city, there was always a square where people were making music and dancing. In every city you’ll also find parks with playgrounds so keep an eye out for them while planning your Mexico family trip.

Things to know about Mexico

Capital: Mexico City
Official language: Spanish
Currency: Mexican Peso
Visa requirements: Citizens from most countries can travel to Mexico without getting a visa before they travel. They’ll get a 90-day visa on arrival. Some others need to apply for a Mexican ETA. Make sure to check your country’s entry requirements well ahead of time.
Timezone: GMT -5 in Cancun, GMT -6 in Mexico City, GMT -7 in Cabo San Lucas and GMT -8 in Tijuana
Power Plug Type: Type A with two flat parallel pins and Type B with two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin
Voltage: 127V supply voltage and 60Hz
Measurement system: Metric (Celsius / kilometer / kilogram / liter)
CDC and WHO recommended travel vaccines: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies. In some regions malaria medicine is also advised. Always call your doctor for pre-travel advice when it comes to vaccinations and medication.
Safety rating: Ranked 140 on the Global Peace Index

Kid friendly Mexican dishes

No ultimate Mexico with kids travel guide is complete without talking food! Most of us have had Mexican food before. Taco’s, nachos, guacamole and quesadillas are famous examples. All of these dishes are very kid friendly. Our toddler is a picky eater but loved taco’s with chicken and ate his weight in fried corn tortillas dipped in guacamole.

Other child friendly dishes are Cochinita Pibil (slow-roasted pork) and empanadas.

Our absolute favorite are marquesitas we had all over the Yucatán. A sweet or savory treat, depending on how you stuff the thin wafer. You can fill it with cheese but also with peanut butter and banana, Nutella or jam. Our kids couldn’t get enough of them and to be honest, neither could we.

Getting a delicious Marquesita in Playa Del Carmen - Mexico

Mexicans and Coca Cola

Coca Cola is a big part of Mexican culture. More coke is consumed in Mexico than in any other country (per capita), about 16 liters per person per week. It’s easier to find than bottled water!

We heard that Mexican coke tastes better than any other version, so we put it to the test. It might also be because of the heat and the fast that coke is a great refreshment, but we agreed. Why does it taste different? There’s cane sugar in Mexican coke.

Obviously, coke isn’t a healthy option. And it was hard for us to see that kids as young as 2yo drink coke daily. I did some research and found lots of articles stating that about 15% of children aged one or two regularly drink coke or other soft drinks. And even 3% of babies under 6 months! This results in kids having to remove their milk teeth at the dentist.

Mexicans don’t just drink it because it tastes good. They use it as medicine and use it in religious ceremonies.

Unsurprisingly Type-2 diabetes is called the biggest killer in Mexico. Knowing this takes out all the fun we had searching for Coca Cola signs.

Mexico: a safe family travel destination

When we told people about our plans to go to Mexico, the most asked question was: is Mexico safe for families? Mexico is generally safe for travelers. Just use common sense, research the area you want to visit and don’t flaunt with valuable items like jewelry, camera’s and smartphones. When traveling to an unknown destination, whether that’s IcelandThailand or Mexico you always need to educate yourself. Know what you should or shouldn’t do, what the most common scams are (more on that later) and what you can wear.

Mexico is one of the top visited countries in the world and it wouldn’t be if Mexico was dangerous to travel to. Sure, we’ve all heard about coca production in Mexico. But the violence that comes with that is mainly between the different gangs. When you stay in tourist destinations know that local authorities are working hard to keep popular areas safe for travelers. Only use official taxi’s, don’t wander around in the dark and don’t go hiking through the jungle, unless it’s a road leading up to a sight.

View of El Castillo at the Tulum ruins - Mexico
Cenote Zaci In Valladolid - Mexico

Kind of a scary title, but don’t let it put you off.  The first thing to remember is that in any country you’ll encounter scams in the same way. Mexicans are friendly and warm people. They appreciate the money we as travelers invest and are always happy to help. But like in any country, you should be aware of the most common scams.

Souvenirs

This is actually a worldwide thing. You can get the same souvenirs everywhere, but there is a difference in prices. If you want to buy a miniature El Castillo you can get it in a small town in the area for a reasonable price, or you can buy it from one of the vendors at Chichén Itzá and pay double.

Gas stations

When driving around in a rental, know that you can’t pump your own gas. There’s always an employee doing it for you. Always check if the numbers on the pump are reset to zero. Otherwise you’ll not only pay what the car in front of you paid, but they add your gas to the bill. You’ll end up paying double.

The best strategy is to tell them to fill it up to a certain amount. That way they can’t overcharge when the pump is set to zero and they start filling up. We made sure that we never needed change, and got the exact amount in our hands before stopping at the gas station. When it was time to pay we showed them the bills and told them exactly what we had in our hands, before giving it to them. That way they can’t say that you didn’t give enough.

Renting a car

Renting a car in Cancun - Mexico

Lots of tourists got scammed when picking up a rental. Here’s how:

Forcing additional insurance on you last minute

Renting a car in Mexico seems pretty cheap when you book it online from a local rental company. But when you’re ready to pick it up, you’ll be surprised with lots of additional costs. Service fees, compulsory insurance and basically everything you can think of.

They’ll tell you that you’re required to purchase Personal Liability Insurance. Surprising you with a hefty fee. Instead of renting via a local company, book via an international car rental site like Discover Cars and get full coverage. At the rental office they will still try to sell you additional insurance, so print out your reservation and show them that you already purchased it.

Avoid America Car Rental

Lastly, some rental companies have a tendency of refusing to provide you with the car you rented. They’ll tell you that they only have larger cars left, of course to get you to go for it and fork over hundreds of dollars extra per week.

Unfortunately, these are not incidents, if you’re booking with local rental companies. It happened to us when picking up our car at America Car Rental in Cancun. After refusing and debating for over 45 minutes, we gave up and called Discover Cars. They couldn’t convince the clerk either and found us a car at Alamo. This car was in a higher price range, but we got the money reimbursed from Discover Cars (albeit months later, but still). And the service at Alamo was great!

Very long story short: avoid booking through America Car Rental. We were not the only ones at their office who didn’t receive the car they rented. They weren’t as lucky as we were and left without a car or paid hundreds of USD extra for an upgrade.

Avoid renting a car at airports

Picking up a rental car at airports is much more expensive than picking it up downtown. And the chances of getting scammed aren’t as high. Take a shuttle, taxi or the ADO bus to your next destination and pick up your rental there. Prebook it, because you don’t want to get stranded at the start of your trip.

Book your rental car at Discover Cars

We highly recommend renting a car at Discover Cars. They work with local rental companies all over Mexico, you can get a great deal and there are no hidden fees.

A little boy running through the sand at a beach club in Tulum - Mexico

Best time to travel

December to April

The best time to travel to Mexico is the dry season. The dry season starts in December and lasts until midway through April. This is winter in Mexico and that means its cooler and less humid, with temperatures between 20° and 25° Celsius. Dry season is the high season which means that prices are at its highest and you should prebook accommodation and a rental car.

Just a little warning for people who want to visit the Riviera Maya in March or early April. This time of year the Riviera Maya is filled with partying Spring Breakers.

May to October

Low season in the peninsula. Rainy season starts in June and ends at the end of October. June, September and October are the months with the most rain and the occasional hurricane. Lower prices, lesser crowds and temperatures between 23° and 33° Celsius.

Most of us travel with kids in July and/or August, when it’s hot (27° to 35° Celsius) and humid. You can experience heavy rainfall from time to time, since it’s rainy season.

We visited Mexico during this time of year and we could deal with the temperature because we used the mornings for sightseeing and the afternoons chilling in the shade, sea or pool. We saved visiting places with airconditioning (like museums) for the hottest times of day. Our Mexico family trip lasted 4 weeks and we only had one full day of rain and an afternoon, that’s it. We enjoyed it, since it was quite refreshing.

In July and August crowds are large and prices are as high as in the high season, so book ahead.

Road tripping through the Yucatán Peninsula with kids

There is one region in Mexico that is very easy and fun to road trip through. We highly recommend renting a car to explore the entire peninsula for 3 to 5 weeks. If you’re interested you can check out our free Yucatán Peninsula family road trip guide.

Read more >> Ultimate Yucatán Peninsula Family Road Trip Guide

How to get to Mexico

My family and I like to use Expedia for flights. And we always opt to book a flight and hotel, at least for the first night. Just to ease the start of our family vacation. When arranging everything yourself, Expedia is a good starting point. But always compare prices by visiting more than one booking site.

How to get around in Mexico

To book your transport for your family trip to Mexico, whether by air, bus or ferry, we recommend using 12Go. This is a user-friendly website that will show you all the different price options and comparisons as well as reviews from fellow travelers.

There are many bus companies in Mexico, the most popular being ADO. They travel about anywhere in the peninsula. Whether you use them as an airport transfer or to get from one town to another, ADO is a way cheaper option than a taxi. And they’re always clean and have airco.

How to stay healthy while traveling to Mexico with kids

We can’t fully prevent health problems while traveling, but there are some things you can do to stay as healthy as possible.

Food and drinks

One of the main reasons to travel is to eat local food. The Mexican kitchen is one of the most popular and kid friendly in the world, so of course you want to enjoy all that is on offer to you. But how can you avoid getting sick after a meal in Mexico? Here are some tips:

  • Bring napkins to clean cutlery or bring your own cutlery. Especially when eating from street food stalls. We try to avoid single use napkins or plastics so each family member has their own set of bamboo cutlery (knife, spoon, fork and straw) that we clean as soon as we get back to our apartment. We highly recommend the cutlery by Jungle Culture
  • Only eat at busy restaurants and street food vendors. If the lines are long and the tables full you know the food will be fresh. And you can also be certain that the food will be good. It’s a win-win situation
  • Be cautious of fruit. Buy fruits you have to peel like bananas, pineapple, oranges and mango
  • You shouldn’t drink the tap water in Mexico. Always drink bottled or filtered water. As a traveler you can avoid buying plastic water bottles if you get a LARQ bottle. UV-light cleans the water in the bottle and also cleans the bottle itself after you’ve used it. Get your own LARQ bottle and always feel safe drinking water from taps all over the world.
Finishing up dinner at Amate 38- a restaurant in Playa Del Carmen - Mexico
Day of the Dead art near the entrance of the Tulum ruins - Mexico

Travel First Aid Kit

Having the best first aid kit for travel abroad offers you peace of mind! A good travel first aid kit contains items equipped to deal with cuts, bruises, sprains and breaks. And should also be filled with over the counter medicine for insect bites, fever, pain and nausea.

There are plenty of first aid travel bags on the market that are pre-made. But these won’t contain over the counter medicines so add these items to the kit yourself:

  • paracetamol for kids and adults
  • nausea and vomiting medicine
  • ORS for kids and adults
  • coughs and colds medicine
  • allergies tablets (anti-histamine for bites, stings, hay fever and sudden allergic reactions)

If you have to stock up on something while on the road, don’t fret. Pharmacies can be found in every city and in big cities most of the staff will speak basic English. If they don’t, use the iTranslate app to translate the text on the box if you’re not absolutely sure about what you’re being offered. We also ran into lots of small pharmacies in smaller towns, but didn’t visit them, so I don’t know if you can get what you need there easily.

Traveling with prescribed medication

When traveling with prescribed medication you should:

  • Bring your medication passport
  • Take your pills and medical equipment with you in their original and correctly labelled packages
  • Carry your medicine in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription
  • If you or any of your family members take medication that fall under the Opium Law (aka Opium Act), you should take appropriate action well before embarking on your trip. Our family has lots of  experience with this, so I wrote an article about it for you.

Read more >> Traveling with medication that falls under the Opium Act

Colorful buildings in Campeche - Mexico
Drinking peanut butter coffee at the Coffee Roasting Company in Cozumel - Mexico

Vaccinations

Travelers to Mexico are advised to get vaccinated for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies. In some regions malaria medicine is also advised. This is in addition to the childhood vaccinations that are part of your country’s vaccination program.

Always call your doctor as soon as you know where you’re traveling to, because some vaccines need to be repeated once or even twice before your departure. You should only take pre-travel advice about vaccinations from your doctor.

Travel Insurance

Don’t forget a travel insurance for your Mexico trip! Heymondo covers medical emergencies, theft, delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and more, with 24/7 worldwide assistance and medical chat. All Sas Crossing Countries readers, get 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Other travel insurance companies worth checking out are World Nomads, Safety Wing and Travelex.

Planning a family road trip to Mexico

Getting your Mexico road trip with kids right involves some serious planning. It starts months before the trip, choosing the destination, planning the route, arranging visa, renewing passports or ID’s and checking if you need medical declarations. And don’t forget renting a car or camper and/or buying flight tickets.

Planning a family road trip can get pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my eBook! I’ll be holding your hand every step of the way. Just to make sure your family road trip through Vietnam will go smoothly.

Get my FREE ebook >> The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip

This is the end of the ultimate Mexico with kids travel guide. I hope you enjoyed it and you’re ready to plan your family trip to Mexico. If you have any questions regarding a Mexico family trip, check out my other Mexico posts. You can also shoot me a question in the comments.

About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloDownload my FREE printable bucket lists

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About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloDownload my FREE printable bucket lists