Traveling with children in Mexico

Mexico is a country that greets families with open arms. Restaurants, attractions, coffee shops, and, yes, most public spaces would happily welcome children and make them and their parents feel welcome.

Family is a pivotal aspect of Mexican society and culture, and it's very normal to see three or four generations seated at a restaurant table sharing a meal, particularly on weekends.

Children may be less willing to play with exhilarating Mexican flavours than their parents are, but Mexico has plenty of places to serve familiar foreign cuisine. Italian restaurants are plentiful; food such as eggs, steaks, bread, rice and cheese is available everywhere, and fresh fruit is abundant. Simpler Mexican foods, such as quesadillas, burritos and tacos, or steaming corn cobs straight from the street cart, are a good way to introduce children to local tastes.

Restaurants have children's menus on the table; if they don't, you can ask for a children's menu and one will be delivered to you. Their workers are used to children and will typically have high seats or additional dishes for sharing, or cook anything that is not on the menu, if needed. Most chain restaurants even offer children's playgrounds.

Mexico has some excitingly different places to stay that will please most kids—anything on the beach is a nice start, and rustic cabañas (cabins) have a sense of adventure (but pick one with good mosquito nets). Most hotels have a strolling style and open-air space – courtyards, pool areas, parks. Beach hotels around the country are family-friendly.

Family rooms and kitchen rooms are commonly available, and most hotels can place an additional bed or two in a room at a slight extra fee. Cots will not be included in budget accommodation. Much of the accommodations have wi-fi connectivity, and children's TV channels will also be visible at the mid-range and top ends.
Recommended regions for kids:
  • Yucatán Peninsula: Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the surrounding islands are built to make vacationers have fun. The region is full of fantastic beaches offering any possible aquatic sport, hotels built to make life simple and attractions ranging from jungle ziplines to cenotes swimming (sinkholes). Other areas of the peninsula are perfect if your children love visiting the ruins of Maya.
  • Central Pacific Coast: The Pacific coast presents all sorts of fun in, on and below the ocean and the lagoons. There's a wide variety of places to go, from elegant Puerto Vallarta to easy-going Zihuatanejo and endless smaller spots.
  • Mexico City: The capital keeps children content with a world-class aquarium, a convenient children's museum, a first-rate zoo, children's entertainment and games, and parks and squares full of space and fun.
Try to travel in little pieces of up to a few hours. Many Mexican busses screen non-stop movies (in Spanish), most of which are family-friendly and can help divert children from a boring trip. Whether you're riding with a kid or a child, consider investing in luxurious busses for extra room and convenience.

Car renting and, on some routes, flying are alternatives to busses. If you choose a child protection vehicle, the big foreign rental companies are the most reputable suppliers.

Generally speaking, children over six years of age would profit more from a recreational trip to Mexico than children under this age. This is partially due to long flights, but also because Mexico is a culture-filled country, and slightly older children may gain more experience than young infants will have.