10 Tips for Traveling Riviera Maya with Young Kids

I had plenty of anxiety before our trip to Mexico.

Set aside the fact that we would be away from the conveniences of home, like a well-stocked fridge and our own car, but we’d be traveling to a whole new country with only a vague idea of what to expect. I had sold this trip to Matt as a relaxing family getaway, so it was up to me to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Setting aside the convenience of home, I realized that babies do live and breathe in Mexico too. If we forgot anything, we could most likely buy it there or get by without.

But that said, there are a few things that helped make our trip go a lot smoother, especially with a little one. Here are a few things to consider when taking young kids to Riviera Maya.

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How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel

1. Apply for a Passport Right Away

Obviously your child will need a passport, no matter the age, so don’t forget to apply with plenty of time before your trip. There’s nothing like waiting for a last minute passport to add an extra layer of stress to your travels. Getting a passport for a baby or toddler is really easy, so you’re better off getting it out of the way first thing.

Read More: A Quick Guide to Baby’s First Passport!

2. Check for Air Conditioning

When we booked our stay at Ahau Tulum, I knew we’d only have air conditioning available at night. I thought “no big deal, we’ll be out and about all day anyway!” But I’d grossly underestimated how much the humidity would keep Evelyn from being able to nap and even opening the doors and letting the breezy ocean air in didn’t help much. It ended up not being too much of a deal breaker for us since Evelyn took most of her naps in the car, but it’s still an important detail to check.

How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel

3. Consider Bringing Your Own Milk

Evelyn was drinking whole milk three times a day (and obsessed with it too), so I was a bit worried about keeping enough on hand for her with our varied schedule. If you’re staying at a resort for your whole stay, you’ll have little problem getting ahold of it, just be sure to check with the resort in advance if they have whole milk (or “leche entera” in Spanish).

Because our hotel room in Tulum didn’t have a fridge and we’d be eating a fair amount of meals out at restaurants, we decided to bring our own milk instead. I found these single serving cartons from Organic Valley that don’t require refrigeration (seriously!), and they turned out to be the most amazing find ever! We could take a carton with us while we were out exploring for the day, without having to worry about whether the restaurants would have what we needed or how to keep it cool.

4. And Don’t Forget an Extra Water Bottle

With it being so hot, we worked extra hard to make sure Evelyn was kept well hydrated and her sippy cup was full at all times. This Swell canteen is my new favorite. We’d fill it up in the morning at the hotel and it’d keep the water cool all day!

How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel

5. Pack Plenty of Sun Protection

We went through nearly 2 bottles of sunscreen during our stay (and likely would have gone through 3 if Evelyn would have appreciated the beach more)! Because our little girl is pretty pale-skinned, I also decided to buy this swimsuit with full-sleeve rash guard. It fit her perfectly, was easy to get on and off (even when wet), and we came home with zero sunburns. Success!

6. And Natural Bug Spray

We really liked this deet-free one I found on Amazon. It worked just as well for us and smelled much better than traditional bug sprays with deet. And because it was natural, we could reapply it as many times as we needed.

How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel

7. Forget the Stroller

Depending on where you’re going, there really isn’t much use for it, with dirt paths and rocky sidewalks making up most off-the-beaten-path areas. Instead, we brought our Ergobaby carrier and used it on the few occasions where we’d be walking a lot (like the Tulum Ruins). Even then, Evelyn preferred to walk on her own most of the time.

8. Rent a Car

There are some great, cheap public transportation options in Riviera Maya, and I did my fair share of research on ADOs and Collectivos…but with a baby? No way that was going to work. We needed to be on our own schedule, and that meant renting a car was the way to go. It was actually pretty cheap and easy to get around too!

Read More: A Quick Guide to Driving in Mexico

How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel

9. Buy Essentials After You Arrive

I’ll admit, I let my anxiousness get the best of me and overpacked on diapers and wipes like a fool. Instead, find the nearest Chedraui, a Mexican grocery and department store chain, and stock up on snacks, diapers and wipes when you get there!

10. Enjoy the Local Flavors!

We bought a few snacks at the Chedraui, but for the most part, Evelyn was able to enjoy much of what was already on the menu. Fresh fruit platters, yogurt, quesadillas, guacamole, fish tacos and rice were a few of Evelyn’s favorite things that were available just about everywhere we ate!

 

Any tips you would add for traveling to Mexico with a little one?

Read Next: Travel Guide: Tulum with Kids

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How to get the most out of Riviera Maya when traveling with young kids. // Playa del Carmen | Cancun | Tulum | Mexico Family Travel | Beach Vacation | Travel with Baby | Flying with Toddler

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  1. great recommendations. thankfully, when we traveled with our little one we had most of these. Organic Valley milk was definitely a life saver, she loved drinking from the straws. and that they don’t require refrigeration was huge.
    and we also had the natural sprays and a whole lot of sunscreen. Though we also brought the stroller along with us on all 3 trips. It was great to have for us. Especially when we were in Aruba, and the trek from our room to the main dining areas was long and winding.

    • True! For those big resorts, a stroller can be a big help. Aren’t those milk cartons amazing? I wish I’d known about them sooner. I keep them around the house now for all kinds of outings!

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