Cozumel With Kids: our family vacation

When I wrote my post yesterday about 11 years with the husband and our 5 years of wedding anniversaries, I realized I never posted about our family vacation to Cozumel! I only posted the beautiful sandy beaches. This post was saved in my drafts with only 2 photos… I think I took SO many photos on the trip I was overwhelmed! So here we go… 5 months later! I had a lot of people tell me they were considering a trip like this, but weren’t sure about doing Cozumel with kids… so I’ll try to share some of what worked for us.

Cozumel With Kids: Family Vacation

cozumel with kids

The trip was planned for my brother’s 30th birthday, although he ended up being unable to come :( So it was the 4 of us and my parents. We watched Living Social and Groupon for deals and ended up buying 6 nights at the all-inclusiveย Park Royal Cozumel.

Turns out to be a little difficult to fly into Cozumel! We were going to fly into Cancun (after connecting in Texas) because it was much cheaper. But then you either hop on an itty bitty plane over to Cozumel or you taxi down to Playa del Carmen and ferry over to Cozumel. Hassle with 2 small kids and lots of luggage, eh? We got lucky and ended up catching a flight right into Cozumel for not much more than the Cancun gig (flying out of Chicago and connecting in Texas). And there’s like one flight a day out of Texas to Cozumel so we left Rockford at 2am (2AM!!!!) to catch our flight in Chicago. Yikes. Anyway, now you know how to get there ๐Ÿ˜‰ We survived and it was a wonderful vacation! And Ryan (now 4) still talks about the TWO (whoa!) planes we had take to get REALLY far away!

cozumel with kids

We traveled with a 1.5 year old girl and a 3.5 year old boy. Luckily we flew with my parents so we were armed with extra help. Some logistics if you’re planning a trip: we brought a double stroller (Contours Options LT Tandem) and are sooo glad we did, it was perfect. We used it through the airport and checked it at the gate–Ryan sat it in most of the time and the other seat carried Ryan’s convertible car seat while I wore Rebecca with our Ergo. Rebecca sat on laps on the plane and Ryan sat in his car seat. His car seat kept him IN his seat, which was great. Rebecca was a bit more work to keep entertained (and quiet) on the plane. We passed her back and forth, read lots of books, and when all else failed–cookies.

cozumel with kidsCozumel with kids: Ryan being wonderful, my parents trying to entertain Rebecca (ha), cookie face, and music time!

Park Royal was nice. The resort is across the street from the ocean, but we had an ocean view from our room (which connected to my parents’ room) and there’s a short underground walkway to get to the beach so there’s no walking on the street (nice for kids). There’s a large pool in the resort, a nearby kid pool (with activities) and 2 smaller pools out on the beach with the infinity type view to the ocean. There’s a number of restaurants and beach bars. If we needed to eat when the restaurants were closed, the grills had pizza, burgers, nachos, and grilled cheese. Everything was included. They had shows at night–Steve and I went to one and it was all in Spanish so we pretended to laugh when everyone else did, haha. We walked the kids all over the resort in that double stroller. We had a room with 2 doubles–Ryan slept with one of us in bed and we used a hotel crib for Rebecca that worked out really well. During nap time, we either all stayed in the room or Steve and I (and my parents) traded off who stayed behind with the sleeping child(ren).

cozumel with kids

We spent a LOT of time in the water. Mainly the large pool near our room. It had a shallow area where Ryan could stand with a waterfall and it looped around and under bridges… it was fun! Ryan had a life jacket and had just learned how to swim on his own.

cozumel with kidsCozumel with kids

Above left: swimming in the main pool. We bought floaties in the gift shop.
Bottom left: Ryan in the kiddy pool. They supplied those rafts and other toys. Above him is a playground with 2 slides and a bridge. You can leave your kids in there (there’s an employee babysitter, a sandy area, an indoor area with games and toys, and it’s fenced in). We never left our kids, one of us always sat in there with the kids because they didn’t really watch the water. It’s mainly to leave older kids.
Above right: nursing Rebecca in one of the infinity pools by the ocean
Bottom right: a few times a day the employees gathered around the main pool to sing and dance!

The beach was small. It was like a little cove, guarded on both sides by coral and rocks and a pool/swim-up bar/grill on each side. At first I was disappointed. I like the wide open beaches and wanted Ryan and Rebecca to experience that! But actually, it was PERFECT for the kids. There was no where for them to run away! The water was shallow for quite a ways out, too. It make a trip to Cozumel with kids much easier (and more relaxing), I think. But don’t let me fool you–this will NOT be your “sleep on the beach” super relaxing beach vacation that you took before kids. It will be NICE, but your kids are still there and they’re still the same as when you’re at home ๐Ÿ˜‰

cozumel for kids

We went into town for a little bit one day (so hot!) and it was a short cab ride. We also did a sunset catamaran sail and we were actually the only ones on it… very nice! Ryan was terrified to move at first, but by the end he was a little too carefree, haha. We kept warning him about falling off the side! My mom got off to snorkel, too.

cozumel with kids

If you’re considering Cozumel with kids… do it! It’s nice to stay all-inclusive, there were plenty of food options and pools and swim-up bars. They even had babysitting. I can’t remember how much it was (like $20/hour?). They come to your hotel room (it was the same employee that manages the kiddy pool). We tried it. She came to our room and we chatted and stayed a bit, but Ryan was not having it. We had just wanted to go out for dinner–one of the restaurants doesn’t allow kids. But oh well! Steve and I went there another night while my parents stayed with the kids. We were lucky to have them there with us!

cozumel beaches

11 comments to Cozumel With Kids: our family vacation

  • joanna garcia

    Looks like you guys had lots of fun love the infiniti pools! I know how it is to fly with a baby so it was good you were armed with extra help!

    [Reply]

  • What a nice post! I’m glad you had such an enjoyable stay on the island with your little ones! Hopefully, you’ll think about returning at some point. If you do, consider letting Baby in Paradise help you out by renting the baby gear from us so you don’t have to bring it down with you. We are hear to make it as much like home as possible!

    [Reply]

    Emily Dickey Reply:

    This is great! I didn’t know Baby in Paradise existed when we went there… good to know, thanks for sharing :)

    [Reply]

  • You bet! Please let your friends with little ones know about us, too! Best …

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  • Rain M

    hi there. my husband and i are planning on a june trip here with our (will then be) 16 month old. i am SO nervous! lol. please please i would love some recs on the car service you took to and from the airport (did you book ahead of time?), did you exchange for pesos at home or in cozumel? the kids did okay without a mini fridge in the room? (i am planning on going to get a case of water from uhm, somewhere. is there a somewhere btw?)

    the catamaran sailing trip looks awesome. did the kids enjoy themselves? my lily is a DAREDEVIL and will probably hurl herself off of the catamaran the whole ride so maybe we’ll nix that idea ๐Ÿ˜‰

    thanks so much for this post. i’ve been stalking tripadvisor reviews and uh, not so helpful. “WHY DONT THEY HAVE ICE CREAM?” <- apparently that's a thing to complain about.

    [Reply]

    Emily Dickey Reply:

    Hi Rain! You’re going to love it! Here are some more details:

    -We took a car service, but didn’t purchase it ahead of time. After you get your luggage and go through customs, etc, you’re exiting the airport and there’s a little desk for airport transfers. We just went to the desk, told them our hotel name, and bought tickets. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was this (or a company very similar) – http://www.cozumel-tours.com/airport-transfers.htm – but we didn’t buy in advance. If I’m remembering correctly, the prices seem similar so you probably could buy now if you wanted!

    -Everyone takes USD, we didn’t need to exchange any money for pesos. Being at an all-inclusive resort, we didn’t spend much anyway, but we did go into town and buy things at the convenience store on-site, but they convert the price to US dollars for you.

    -We were okay without a fridge… we didn’t spend much time in the hotel room anyway I guess. But you can probably ask the hotel to put one in your room? They have to have some available for people that need them for medical reasons. They might charge extra for it, but if you’re a breastfeeding/pumping mom, that’s a medical reason ๐Ÿ˜‰ There is a little convenience store by the main pool with snacks and drinks! Also a little dive shop across the street by the beach with more souvenir type things and swim floaties.

    -The kids loved the catamaran trip! Our 3.5yo was scared at first and wouldn’t let go of the ropes in the middle of the boat, but by the end he was running around (a little too much!!!) Our 1.5yo actually stayed put pretty well and she’s usually a runner, too.

    Good luck and have fun!!

    [Reply]

  • Wow – this looks really relaxing! Btw I also just followed you on Twitter. Great blog! Looking forward to connect!

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  • Janie

    Hi Emily! I found this post during a Google search, and I loved reading through it. We’re taking our 16-month-old to the very same resort in June, and your post got me excited! So glad your little ones enjoyed it. I’m just wondering – do the rooms have bath tubs? I looked at a few pictures and it looks like just showers. Wondering if we need to bring a little inflatable pool for bath time! Thanks so much :)

    [Reply]

    Emily Dickey Reply:

    Hi Janie! Ohh, I’m trying to remember and I’m pretty sure you’re right – no bath tubs, just showers. You can bring an inflatable one if you want, but honestly I’d just hold a 16-month-old in the shower with me (and then yell for the husband to come get him/her once I was done washing them so I could shower). There are also those little outdoor showers by the pools/ocean to rinse off after swimming. Hope that helps! And have fun!!

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    Janie Reply:

    Thanks so much for answering my question, Emily! I think I’ll just stick my daughter in the shower with me. I’m sure that will be easier! I had one more quick question – do you think the bathroom is big enough to put the hotel crib in? I know that sounds bizarre, but we’ve done it before & it worked out well. She sleeps much better in her own, quiet, dark place! Is the crib the hotel provides a traditional crib or PNP? I looked at a few pictures, but couldn’t quite make it out. Thanks again. :)

    [Reply]

    Emily Dickey Reply:

    Haha, not a weird question, we definitely would have done the same, but the bathroom was not big enough. But… outside of the bathroom it was a little space where the closet was and a counter and still around the corner from the main area with the beds, so we scooted the hotel crib in there. Made it hard to get to the bathroom if we needed, but we made it work! We brought portable speakers for our iPod to play white noise for her, too :) That’s how the layout was in our room, anyway. And the hotel crib is not a PNP, it’s more like a regular crib, wooden, but smaller and on wheels. It worked great!

    [Reply]

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