If you are looking at Mexico for your next epic family getaway and wondering which place packs the best of the coast and cost, and offers maximum value without breaking the bank, then Cancun it is! But when is the best time to travel to Cancun? This resort town gracing the Yucatan Peninsula has its tropical soul plugged in just at the right places. Sandy white beaches, spectacular shades of sea blue, warm Caribbean waters. Delicious dining, adventurous landscape, historic fun, and culture galore. You can never have enough of Cancun.
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To entice children, Cancun offers innumerable kid-friendly activities and family-friendly resorts that will give an immersive holiday experience. Come in any season, and Cancun will never disappoint you! You will never run out of choices to fill up your day with action, thrill, and excitement. That said, the only gripe is to find the right time to come to Cancun. When is the best time to travel to Cancun when the crowd is thin, and deals are sweet, the weather is good, and nature erupts with beauty? Oh! There is one such sweet spot. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in to know when the right time to travel to Cancun with kids is.
Best Time to Visit Cancun
Due to its promise of a cost-effective holiday and a slew of nightclubs and effervescent nightlife, Cancun has been a hit with the Spring Break crowd. Come mid-March and early April, US students swarm into this coastal city! Restaurants and nightclubs explode with party revelers leaving little peace that you would crave from your beach holiday. After all, this is a break for your city-weary soul as well. What’s the point in seeing a sea of people here?
So, when is the best time to travel to Cancun? We recommend the shoulder season of April, May, June, and November to be an ideal time for family exploration of Cancun! Let’s see why.
Winter (December to March)
Winter brings out the best of this tropical paradise and is therefore considered a high season. The weather is just right and the water is refreshingly cool. All the outdoor activities like ruin visits and jungle adventure parks are best done during this time. The days are mostly sunny and dry and humidity is at its yearly low. Airfare and room rates are also comparatively cheaper than other resort destinations. If you don’t mind people and waiting in lines, winter is indeed the best time to travel. Just avoid the spring break time!
Spring (April to June)
The months of April and May are part of the shoulder season. You can find decent weather, warm water, cooler deals, and minimal crowds. The risk of rain is low and you can do all the adventure activities with little to no waiting. May is also when sea turtles come to the shore to nest. This is an incredible event that should be witnessed as a family. Also, whale sharks make their annual appearance in the nearby water and it is a delight to observe these gentle giants in their natural habitat. June ushers in the hurricane season. Though in the last three decades, only two incidents of the hurricane have been recorded.
Summer (July to October)
With the scaling temperature and humidity and hurricane season in full swing, the summer months here are the wettest. You will definitely get a great deal by way of exorbitant resort discounts and everything but many rides and tourist spots remain closed during this season. It is not that we don’t encourage you to try out Cancun during its rainy summers. But only if you are armed with realistic expectations. Enquire with activities to see what is open on the dates that you will be traveling. Plan ahead and you can keep disappointment at bay!
Fall (September to November)
The temperature cools down as summer bids adieu. By the time November comes, rains have also almost cleared out. September is the last month to catch some whale action. But your trip might be disturbed by frequent spells of rain. November is another secure month before the winter tourist avalanche descends on this coastal gem.
Where to Stay in Cancun with Kids
The resort island of Cancun has been in the making for four decades now! It is absolutely safe to travel with children here. You will come across plenty of police patrolling at all the key tourist spots and activities. The planned development of Cancun as a tourism hotspot meant dividing the city into neat zones: with a beachfront resort-filled strip called Hotel Zone or Zona Hotelera and the more residential and lively El Centro or the Downtown area. For a stay at an idyllic beach area far from the maddening crowd of Cancun, we suggest two other areas, Costa Mujeres and Puerto Morelos. Let’s take a quick dip to know more about these places and what should actually decide where you should stay.
If you are a first-timer in Cancun hunting for an action-packed holiday, the Hotel Zone will be your best bet. All the mega-resorts, malls, restaurants, beaches, sightseeing starting points, and nightlife will be available at your fingertips. This area is easy to navigate with trouble-free public transport and wide avenues. Parents with young children should avoid the northernmost point of the Hotel Zone called Punta Cancun. It is a popular party zone . Young kids might not welcome the noise of the revelers after a day full of activities.
For a more local vibe and budget-friendly stay options, the Downtown area takes second place in the popularity chart. Do cultural activities like visiting ruins or local parks and markets rank high on your priority? Stay at El Centro, just west of Hotel Zone. In fact, if you are on a leisure trip of a fortnight with your family at Cancun, consider shifting to El Centro after a week at any of those beachfront properties at Hotel Zone. This will give you a unique taste of Cancun, real and heartwarming with glimpses of small local businesses and charming streets after all the buzz of a big resort. The downtown area has a lot of shopping and dining options and is deemed a safe place with great connectivity.
For families that have either visited Cancun on multiple occasions or are looking for a tranquil and relaxing beach vibe to break away from pulsating Cancun, all you have to do is travel 30km north to come to Costa Mujeres or Playa Mujeres. You will get all the seclusion you want, with wonderful luxury properties, fifty shades of blue, and an emerald green Mexican landscape. Spend your days lazing at Isla Blanca, or catch the sunset at Chacmuchuch Lagoon. And if you are lucky or visiting in the appropriate season, you might witness huge flocks of pink flamingos. So serene!
For a mix of beach and culture, escape from the hustle-bustle of Cancun. Go for a short drive of 45 minutes to Puerto Morelos. It’s located in the middle of Hotel Zone and Playa del Carmen. This sleepy fishing village boasts of some of the most stunning and untouched beaches as mainstream tourism has not spoiled it yet. And a lot of interesting Mayan ruins are located nearby. Ideal for swimming and snorkeling, you can also explore nearby cenotes and the Botanical Garden.
How to get around Cancun with Kids
When you are in Cancun, every second counts! And that’s why it becomes crucial to figure out how to get around the city to save time. And when you throw kids in this mix, safety and reliability plus the price of every ride also become super important. But you can rest easy with Cancun, for its connectivity is excellent!
With frequent buses plying between key tourist spots within Hotel Zone and Downtown Avenida Tulum area at a flat rate of 12 Pesos per ride, it’s easy, cheap, and available round the clock.
You can arrange uber or car rentals online. If you compare price, of course, a taxi ride comes at a comparative premium rate than a bus ride. So we suggest that you go for a taxi if you are coming from the airport or taking a drop while exiting the city. Self-driving is not often encouraged because narrow roads, speeding, and colossal traffic jams may make driving around cumbersome. Also, a collision damage waiver is added to the rental that is charged daily.
Both the Downtown area and Hotel Zone are pretty pedestrian-friendly. Beaches are always almost near your toe-tip! There are daily ADO buses for places like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, or Chichen Itza. If you go island-hopping to Isla Mujeres, take a fifteen minutes ferry ride from the mainland. Once at the island, don’t fret and rent a golf cart to explore the whole area.
How Much Time to Stay in Cancun with Kids
Oh well, if things would have been ideal and pockets would burst out with money, we all would surrender ourselves to endless days soaking up the groovy Mexican sun, going on daily adventures to forests, or exploring the marine underbelly of the Caribbean Sea. But we have to keep things real! With a smattering of stunning beaches, fascinating ruins, and a copious amount of children’s activities, families may find it confusing to assign a particular length when it comes to how many days should be ideally devoted to a holiday in Cancun with kids.
Now that you know the best time to travel to Cancun Mexico, the next thing is to calculate how long to stay. For an introductory experience of Cancun, a week in this Yucatan gem is best. You can begin your stay here by visiting ruins and beaches that are located smack in the middle of the Hotel Zone. Add a fun twist to the first night with a Pirate Show, which is greatly entertaining for children and adults alike.
The next day can be a day-long excursion to the Mayan wonder of Chichen Itza. Afterward, stop at Mercado 23 to sample some local goodies like traditional toys for the kids and delicious Mexican snacks for all. It is less touristy and considered a more authentic Mexican experience.
Now that children are a little bit settled, set day 3 on a high note with an adventure outing at any of the eco-parks like Xcaret or Xel-Ha. Or if you want to explore a local aqua and amusement adventure joint, there is Ventura Park in the Hotel Zone.
With three days packed with energetic activities, keep the fourth day for some rest and relaxation. It is a sin to ignore the paradisiacal beaches that Cancun offers. Add a cherry on the day with a sunset at Parque de las Palapas.
The day after, break away from the land to pop in some vitamin sea. Choose from an array of excursions and we root for a day trip to Isla Mujeres. Its crystal clear pristine water is most suitable for doing a glass-bottomed tour at MUSA, the underwater museum. And if your kids are keen, then swimming with the whale sharks (seasonal activity) or visiting the Turtle Farm should feature in your day’s itinerary.
After a lazy day, bring back the energy and take your family to Playa del Carmen. After all, the holiday should end on a high note. This glitzy resort town is just 45 mins drive from Cancun and is popular as Riviera Maya’s trendiest spot. Trust us, we have just covered the tip of the iceberg which is only that much good for an introductory trip! To see some more kid-friendly activities, read on.
Things To Do in Cancun With Kids
Teen, tweens, or toddlers, Cancun has a tonne of offerings when it comes to kids. After all, families are a Mexican obsession. They want to have entertaining activities for all age groups to enjoy so that no one feels left out. The soft sands of a Caribbean beach, a host of water sports, marine meet and greet with underwater creatures, Mayan and Aztec ruins, adventure parks and pirate shows, cenotes, and jungle trails, the list is just endless.
And on top of this exhaustive choice, the other cherry on the cake is the pocket-friendly pricing of various activities that one doesn’t usually see in other resort destinations. Not in a mood to pay a dime? There are some amazing things to do in the city that come absolutely free of cost.
If you are looking for a public beach to take your baby or infant, Playa Marlyn is a good choice. It is a public beach with lifeguards and has bathrooms and showers. Sometimes parents of young children are in two minds regarding the ruin visits. Chichen Itza can be done very well with a stroller; of course, you cannot climb the ruins with one. But the squares are pretty broad and flat enough to give a bump-free stroller ride if the wheels are thick and sturdy.
Use a baby carrier in case you want to climb the ruins with your child. Kids of any age cannot resist animal interaction and Cancun has several cute ones to offer. Take them for a watching and supervised petting of wild animals at CrocoCun Zoo. Also, Interactive Aquarium at La Isla Shopping Mall is a must-do. Here, kids can learn about the marine magic of the Mexican Caribbean and touch stingrays and turtles and watch an exciting dolphin show.
Little older kids
Kids who are a little older and are stoked by the stories of pirates of the Caribbean can enjoy a pirate show aboard an authentic 18th-century Spanish galleon. For some aqua adventure in the Hotel Zone, a half-day at Ventura is the best choice. They can zip-line, swim with the dolphins, enjoy huge waterslides or ride a rollercoaster. For low-key days, parents should check out two shopping venues with their own distinct flavors.
La Isla Cancun Shopping Village is an open-air shopping complex. Kulkukan Mall is an enclosed one, perfect for a rainy day. For a true Cancunense experience that is to taste the authentic local life of Cancun, step out of the Hotel Zone to visit Parque Las Palapas, the public park. It is perfect for a family hangout and to catch a stunning sunset. And guess what? It is free!
Things to Eat in Cancun
Robust bold flavors, tongue-tingly spices, comfort-inducing dishes crammed with healthy and fresh ingredients, and fruity-flirty drinks and desserts that you can never have enough of! This country’s culture couldn’t truly be laid out in a more palate-pleasing manner than this.
From Mayan enchiladas to Aztecean guacamole, from immigrant fares like Tacos al pastor to endless concoctions of corn in every form, we have known and loved Mexican cuisine even if we have never visited the land. That’s why it becomes an absolute necessity to take a bite off some scrumptious local fares when you are in Cancun, Mexico.
Cancun is as touristy as it gets. But in several of its trendy local pockets, it hides foodie affairs that you will love to be a part of. Let’s start with the gourmet local Yucatan cuisine, the area specialties from this part of the peninsula. Kick off your day with a simple yet delish dish of Huevos Motuleños, a fried tortilla topped with a myriad of fresh ingredients and doused in a spicy salsa Roja.
For pork lovers, some divine porcine pleasure awaits you in Cochinita Pibil, a slow-roasted suckling pig wrapped with banana leaf and left to roast underground. Food can’t get any more local than this! Papadzules is Yucatan’s response to enchiladas, but much more ancient and delightful. Dipped in a pumpkin seed sauce flavored with epazote, corn tortillas are packed with a filling of hard-boiled egg with a tomato and chile topping.
Still don’t feel like home? Sip some sopa de lima or lime soup, one of the heartiest dishes from this region that will warm you to your core if nothing else. Flavored with some local tangy lime and topped with fried tortilla strips and slices of habanero, this soup is comfort food in a bowl. Other Mexican foods to try in Cancun are Marquesitas, Castacan (Fried Pork Belly), Salbutes (like Panuchos but not with refried beans), Pozole (a local doughy drink), Sikil Pak (Mayan pumpkin seed dip), Tikin Xic Fish and Panuchos Yucatecos.
Local fare aside, you will get a thriving culinary scene of top-notch international gastronomic events here. Many renowned chefs drop by Cancun occasionally to set shop at many of their luxury resorts and start a new eating adventure to inspire the city’s food trail. If you are a food-savvy tourist, all your needs will be met in Cancun!
See, with a little bit of plan and prep it is not that difficult to appease the weather Gods of Cancun to find the exact stretch when you can visit here without any hassle. We hope that with our detailed coverage of this fun holiday destination, you have gathered ample knowledge to start building up your dream family vacation. When is the best time to travel to Cancun? It is best answered with what you want out of this place. It is absolutely safe to bring your kids here for an unparalleled Mexican experience. The local culture adores kids and you will always find acceptance and feel welcomed as a family wherever you go.