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Need advice--traveling w/ kids

San Francisco, CA
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Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Is PDC a good place for family vacation? I was looking at Playa Maya which appears budget friendly and right on the beach.

When would be a good time for travel? Aside from the chance of a hurricane, what's the weather like in Oct-early Nov?

Do we need a rental car or is there plenty to do in walking distance? We have a 3 yr old and newborn and I don't want to take them in buses/taxis without their car seats.

My vacation wish list includes:

-Easy access to beach (don't want to lug the kids and their gear, sand toys, towels, snacks, etc.) too far

-Swimming pool for my son (assuming the ocean won't be calm enough for a 3 yr old unless there are kiddie areas w/o waves like in Hawaii)

-Close walking distance to restaurants (good local food) and some shops

-Somewhere nearby to snorkel. My husband and I will be trading off w/ snorkeling and playing on the beach w/ the kids.

-Oh, and not too expensive!

Taylor, MI
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7 reviews
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1. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Carters,

I have stayed at the Catalonia Riviera Maya in 2007. We liked it so much that we are bringing our 4 kids and getting married in a few weeks (11, 13, 15, 19). The resort is not that big at all. It is 2 complexes in one (Yucatan & Riviera Maya) There is a lagoon off to the side that is perfect for kids because it is blocked by coral so there are absolutely no waves. There is also great snorkeling out by their coral bridge (shallow water) and the ocean itself isn't that rough (Nothing like Cancun) The resort is in a gated community and is about a 10 minute walk to the marina where there are shops, restaurants and excursions. Some peoples negative reviews about the resort is the small beach area and the rocky entrance to the ocean. If you bring water shoes you will have no problem getting out in the ocean and finding a nice big calm area to swim in. The beach is fine for all of us, just not no long miles of beach to walk. The beach consists of the 2 Catalonia resorts and the Dreams Puerto Aventuras complex right next door. Any other questions feel free to contact me

St. Louis, Missouri
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2. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Hi Carters~

Glad to see you made it over here to the PDC forum. This is a terrific place for families. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Two things I want to mention: If you're still interested in the european plan type of hotel, you can pm coloradowanderer. She is a "travel on a budget" expert and even has links to tip sheets, etc.

Or if you're leaning towards Playa Maya, you can send the owner, Steve a pm....he seems really great and posts here all of the time. I'm sure he would be willing to answer any questions you have about the area.

Also, mentioned above is the Cat Riv. Maya, which is really an ideal place for young kids. It's one on my list to visit with my own. One thing they also have is an ice cream shop on the resort that is sure to please any child:)

San Francisco, CA
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3. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Thanks roostergirl. I really have no idea where will end up staying. This all started from looking at pics of my son from our trip to Kauai a year and half ago. Then we switched from another Hawaiian vacation to Cancun because we found something for nearly half the price (I'd been looking at 2 bedroom condos in Hawaii). I'm glad you suggested PDC. It seems more our pace. My husband's excited about taking a vacation and wants to book something asap, so I have to get busy researching! Thanks again for your help.

CT
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4. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

We have visited Playacar for 4 vacations during 2005-2009. We have stayed at the Sandos Playacar 3x and the Iberostar Lindo once. We loved both places. The Sandos Playacar fits your needs except for the snorkeling. This year we went to Akumal for snorkeling and we saw a sea turtle, colorful fish and a sting ray. It is only a 30 minute cab ride.

Another resort we almost booked because of the beach and snorkeling was the Barcelo. These are all good family vacation destinations. Have fun planning.

San Francisco, CA
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5. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Is Akumal a good place for us to stay? I was looking at condos there. It sounded like the water there was rocky and great for snorkeling, but no good for a toddler to splash around in. Oh my, so many wonderful places to choose between!

Oregon
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6. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Hello,

We are staying at Playa Maya in December in the Jr. Suite. I like the fact that the hotel is on the beach and close walking distance to shops and restaurants and has a pool and serves free breakfast.

This will be our 2nd trip to this side of Mexico. My son is now 6 years old. Our first trip, we were in Cancun and visited Tulum, Xcaret and Isla de Mujeres.

I would recommend the Crocodile Park. My son went there when he was almost 4 years old and loved that place.

San Francisco, CA
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7. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Silver, which Barcelo? I looked and 5 came up. The one I happened to check prices on was less expensive than Sandos...$ will be an important deciding factor.

Also, seems like lots of people recommend the AI's. Why exactly is that? I've heard the food at those places isn't very good. And by looking at the pics they seem HUGE. I'm wondering if I'd be able to let my husband hang out at the bar while I take the kids to the beach...but it looks like it could be a long walk depending on where our room is located. Maybe he can drink while we take naps instead? BTW, I'm not as nice as I sound. Hubby isn't used to being w/ the kids 24/7 and we might both need a break from each other at some point ;-)

Thanks to everyone for their input!

St. Louis, Missouri
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8. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Carters-

You just made a great point. Say for example you stayed at the Sandos, which by the way is great for families, you could book a riviera suite. Ask for a ground floor room near the swim up bar, bring a baby monitor and just hang out in the pool right in front of your sliding door. I haven't done this, but have read that it works well and also with the Hacienda suites too, just not as nicely updated.

As far as the AI food goes, I have to be honest and say that it can be hit or miss. But for the most part, the food is usually very good. When we travelled last fall, we brought our 4 and 8 year olds (Iberostar Quetzal), and they loved the food. My son had a field day at the yogurt and fruit bars. My daughter loved the fried eggs and homemade donuts for breakfast and lots of other varieties for lunch and dinner. They even enjoyed the ala carte restaurants. I think we enjoyed it because we didn't have to worry about budgeting out money, getting dressed and going out for meals, grocery shopping, cleaning up, etc. But the BEST part was that we hardly said no the entire week. "Mom, can we have ice cream?" "SURE" "Mom, can we have a soda?" "SURE" "Mom, can we have nachos?" "SURE" "Mom, can we have another ice cream cone?" "SURE"

Well, you get the idea. It was a GREAT vacation for us all.

Springfield...
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9. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

Playa Maya seems to fit your wish list. Right on the beach, has a pool (but water is normally pretty calm), one block from 5th Ave (shops and restaurants). AND prices are very reasonable. It's also in a great location. Not really any good snorkeling from the beaches in Playa -- Cozumel is just a ferry ride away though (or further south of Playa).

San Francisco, CA
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10. Re: Need advice--traveling w/ kids

That would be fabulous--baby napping in our room while we watch our toddler in the pool...close enough to listen for her.

Roostergirl, you also bring up a good point about AI's though. I don't want to risk paying for mediacore (or worse) food that I'm stuck w/ for the week and would rather venture out to some more authentic restaurants...but I have a 3 yr old who would prefer more Americanized cuisine, and of course ice cream.