Travel and leisure trips and tips for Parents with young children
Since the early 1990’s, Cancun Mexico has been regarded as one of the most popular Spring Break destinations for college students. There is great nightlife and MTV sets up stage downtown. It is a party scene the last 3 weeks of March. What many people don’t realize is that Cancun can also be a fast and guaranteed sunny destination in winter for couples and families alike. I have been to Cancun 5 times since 1987 and have never been disappointed.
This time I was traveling with my husband and 22month old daughter. A direct flight was crucial to our plan as was and all inclusive resort. You can find both at an affordable price going to Cancun. Don’t forget to pack plenty of snacks, drinks and a new toy or book. We purchased a portable dvd player which ended up being an integral part of traveling with a toddler.
We hopped on Jet Blue from JFK and in a mear 3.5 hours went from 40 degrees and rainy to 75 and sunny skies. The Cancun airport is close to the hotel zone so your beach vacation can practically begin 5 hours door to door!
Most Cancun hotels cater to couples and families so you will find activities and amenities to please both. Almost all have kids clubs and babysitting and offer kids under 12 stay and eat for free.
This time we stayed at the newly renovated GR Caribe Deluxe, a Solaris property. It is a group of huge white Spanish inspired towers with red tile roof. You enter passed a large white wing sculpture, up the stone steps and into a marble lobby. Heavy dark wood furniture and rattan give it a Moorish feeling. You don’t feel crowded or touristy. There is a long granite bar off to the left. This lobby bar is open all day and is popular for a before or after dinner drink. Check-in was smooth and when I asked to change to a room on a higher floor my request was not questioned. The rooms are all the same, junior suites approx. 370 sq ft. Most have views of the sea or the lagoon. Bathrooms are spacious and the toiletries are high end. There is flat screen tv and a mini bar that is stocked each day with Beer sodas water juice and chips.
There is a large pool area with plenty of beds and lounge chairs. The pool has a shallow area for kids. There are also two hot tubs over looking the sea. You immediately feel on vacation at this resort. Descend 2 flights of stone stairs and you are on the beach, it’s that simple. And what a gorgeous beach it is. Crystal clear turquoise water, large waves and white sand. Life guards are on duty all day.
Days start early here and with the sunrise shining into your room at 6am( if you forget to pull your blinds!) it is time to start the day. Well maybe at 8am. But breakfast is ready downstairs and people are on the beach that early! 9:30am and the beach and pool areas are bustling. Clouds start to roll in around 2:30 at this side of the island. We saw the most beautiful and vibrant rainbow coming from a storm miles away. Folks were in awe and stayed on the beach to enjoy even when the drizzle passed over us. It was magical.
This resort is next to a sister property called Royal Solaris. It is a lot busier and not as relaxing. But it is convenient to use both properties. I had a lovely massage($75us) at the impeccably clean spa there. They also have variety shows at night and a small lounge with live music.
Back at the GR Solaris the vibe is more lowkey. There is tea in the afternoon with cookies and specialty coffees. People are playing cards and talking, playing mini golf or a match of tennis. There is a solo trumpet player at night in the lobby, quite charming,
All inclusive is a great option if the food and drinks are high quality. Being spoiled New Yorkers we are a bit hard to please, but they did pretty well. There are 3 restaurants and a buffet cafeteria between the 2 properties plus a pool snack bar. The chef tries to be very creative and sometimes misses the mark. But on average my meals were fresh and tasty. There is also a decent and inexpensive wine list if you don’t mind paying extra for a bottle. I asked to have my margaritas ‘preparada a la mano’ so I didn’t get a premade mix. And the mojitos were also great.
The property offered private babysitting for $8 per hour and the kids club was for ages 4-12. This makes it easy for mom and dad to spend some quality time reconnecting and relaxing.
Cancun can be a great destination where you don’t have to do much thinking, just sea sun eat and sleep. That is why I recommend it for both families with young children or couples. And if you are feeling the need to roam or be more adventurous, there are a number of eco parks such as Xcaret or Xel-Ha. There you can snorkel with tons of fish and be with other wildlife. Or take a ferry ride to nearby Isla Mujeres and spend the day at Garrafon water park and the Dolphin discovery center and swim with dolphins!
After 5 glorious nights it was time to return home to winter. The flight was without incident and the same 3.5 hours. Though add time for customs and New York City traffic on the return end. But we were a bit bronzed, relaxed and rejuvenated and now able to make it through to March 21st when Spring is ‘scheduled’ to begin.