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Club Med Cancún Yucatán: A Family Vacation Fit for All Ages

Club Med Cancún Yucatán: A Family Vacation Fit for All Ages

One thing's for sure: You won't hear your kids complain about a lack of activities!

Sun, beaches, culture, amazing food, and fun activities aplenty. Sounds like paradise, right? That’s exactly what you’ll find at Club Med in Cancún Yucatán, Mexico. Don’t fall for the old stereotype of Club Med being only for adults; the resort brand specializes in all-inclusive family-friendly vacations—ones during which you’re sure to never hear “I’m bored!” from your kiddos, tweens, or teens (is that even possible?!).

Club Med Cancun opened in 1976, and was the first resort in Cancun, which means it had the pick of the land. And boy, did it pick right! The 22-acre resort is located on the Northeast tip of the Yucatan peninsula, which means you can see the water wherever you are on the campus, with three beaches and adjacency to the world’s second largest coral reef.

I recently had the opportunity to stay at Club Med Cancun for a weekend and scoped out the property, so you can hit the ground running—and not miss a thing!

the beach at club med cancun yucatan mexico
Katelin Walling

You better believe that the first thing I did after checking in was change into my bathing suit and scope out one of the beaches.

An abundance of family-friendly accommodations

While Club Med Cancun does have rooms for couples who are pre-kids, parents who are escaping for the weekend while leaving the kids with Grandma and Grandpa (it’s doable with direct flights from NYC!), or older parents whose kids have flown the coop, a lot of the resort is focused on family suites. Bonus: All of the rooms at Club Med Cancun were recently renovated, so everything is up to date!

There are three room styles to choose from at Club Med Cancun, which determines where on the resort you’ll be centrally located. The main club and deluxe rooms are located at the heart of the resort near the main dining area (La Hacienda), pool, and spa, and can fit one to four people. Aguamarina is geared exclusively to families and features 60 family suites, which include two rooms: one for the kids and one for the parents. Plus, in an effort to make Club Med Cancun even more family-friendly (I didn't know that was possible!), the resort is in the process of building Aguamarina 2, another 60-suite building exclusively for families, which is slated to open this summer. Both Aguamarina buildings are located near the tennis courts and Taco Arte.

Jade, the third area to stay at Club Med Cancun, is the resort’s five-trident luxury area, which features deluxe rooms and suites. Jade has a private pool, bar, and beach that are accessible only to those staying at Jade, so if you want a little more privacy with your kids or are those parents who left their kids with Grandma and Grandpa for the weekend, this area might be just the relaxing accommodation you’re looking for (while it’s not an adult-only area, I could count the number of kids at the pool here on one hand the entire weekend I was there). Jade is located between the heart of the resort and Aguamarina, which makes it easy to choose either La Hacienda or Taco Arte to fuel up for breakfast before lounging on the beach or taking advantage of all the activities the resort has to offer.

freida kahlo mural club med cancun yucatan
Katelin Walling
The whole resort is colorful, and the rooms are designed in a Mexican haciedna style. You'll even find artwork in various areas, including this one of Frida Kahlo, which is located at the main entrance of Taco Arte, Beach Lounge. 

Holy guacamole!

But more on those activities later, let’s talk about food! One of the best things about all-inclusive resorts is the dining—and Club Med Cancun definitely isn’t lacking. The resort has three restaurants on its campus: La Hacienda, a buffet eatery with five themed dining rooms; La Estancia, an Argentinian grill; and the new Taco Arte, Beach Lounge, which focuses on local Mexican culinary specialties. With all three restaurants, plus the new creperie—which I’m kicking myself for not getting to during my stay—there is always a restaurant open for all your snacking desires.

For breakfast and lunch, La Hacienda and Taco Arte offer buffets featuring salad bars, an array of international dishes, local Mexican cuisine, and delicious desserts. Meanwhile for dinner, La Hacienda stays as a buffet but with a different theme each night (while I was there the themes were Around the World, Heart of Europe, and Dolce Vita Dinner), and Taco Arte and La Estancia have menus to order from (I highly recommend the cactus tacos if you’re not a meat- or seafood-eater).

salsa, chips, and guacamole
Katelin Walling
My Instagram caption that day was "Eating all of the guac is not being basic when you're in Mexico," but really, that was my mentality for the whole weekend.

Plus, the best thing about being a millennial at Club Med Cancun is avocado or guacamole is available at every meal. Every. Meal. You better believe I took advantage of that, and of getting fresh guac, salsa, and chips at the Jade bar when I wasn’t relaxing on the beach, flying on the trapeze, or snorkeling.

But what really surprised me was the fact that baby food is available at La Hacienda for all meals including formula, baby cereal, and a fresh-made puree of fruits and vegetables. They’ll even blend up whatever combo of fruits and veggies you want for your child.  

All that said, there is absolutely one thing you must not miss at Club Med: the white chocolate bread. I considered stealing (okay, asking for a wrapped) a loaf to bring back with me to the city. Seriously. It’s. That. Good.

“I’m bored having so much fun!”

Remember how I said earlier that you’re unlikely to hear the words “I’m bored” uttered (or more likely whined) on this vacation? That’s because Club Med Cancun has so many activities on campus that I was unable to participate in them all (well, that, and I mostly lazed on the beach during my free time).

Don’t believe me? Here’s just a sampling of activities: archery, gym and fitness classes, windsurfing, tennis, sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, basketball, beach soccer, snorkeling, table tennis, beach volleyball, water polo, mini golf, kayaking, and paddle boarding. And a scheudle of the next day's activities (dance lessons, game tournaments, pool parties, and the nightly entertainment) around the resort are conveniently left in your room each night.

The one thing I couldn’t wait to tackle: trapeze, especially after my epic fail in Punta Cana—I couldn’t even hold on for a complete swing forward! This time, though, I managed to hold on and almost get my knees hooked to swing upside-down (that gym membership is really paying off!).

If you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks, Club Med also offers deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, golfing, and spa services.

Bonus points for the resort: Club Med has Wi-Fi across the campus for guests, so your tweens and teens won’t have to go through social media withdrawal—though we're almost positive they won’t look at their phones during the day, well except to take pictures.

club med cancun yucatan trapeze
Katelin Walling
If you look up where the guys are on the trapeze, you'll see a tiny tot climbing the ladder to have a go a swinging on the trapeze—talk about fearless!

Club Med for Kids

Even though you’re on a family vacation, sometimes it’s nice to have the option to drop the kids off at a child care-like facility so you can sneak in a massage or have a date-night meal while at the resort. And Club Med has you covered with Mini Club Med for ages 4-10 and Club Med Passworld for ages 11-17, both of which are included, and Petit Club Med for ages 2-3 (this one costs extra because children younger than 4 stay at the resort for free!). Heck, with these options and the ability to play or hang out with their peers, your children may prefer spending some time away from you!

The Mini Club Med group schedules are packed with fun activities including kayaking, sailing, arts and crafts, cooking, pool time, and sports—all allowing the kids to take advantage of the resorts full offerings. Plus, kids can either eat dinner with the kids’ club or have dinner with the family and then go back to see their new friends for some evening entertainment. Meanwhile the Passworld schedule is based on who’s there and what they want to do.

Other child care choices for the younger set include private babysitting for all ages and Pyjama Club, a group babysitting service from 7pm-12am—both viable options for date night child-care coverage (for an extra fee).

Immerse yourself in culture

As with most resorts, Club Med Cancun offers a variety of day excursions to get off the resort and experience Mexico, from fishing and swimming with dolphins to cruises, horseback riding, and exploring ancient ruins. The group I was with visited Tulum and stopped at a cenote on the way back to the resort.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the ancient Mayan civilization and told us so much about the ruins of Tulum—and she had an answer for every question we threw her way. After exploring the ruins, there’s a little shop area where you can buy tchotchkes from local merchants (I walked away with some pottery and a shirt with embroidered flowers on it) or treats for a little pick-me-up after a few hours in the sun.

After exploring Tulum, we stopped at Kantun-Chi, an ecopark that is home to several cenotes, deep sinkholes in limestone that have a pool of water at the bottom. We donned lifejackets, helmets, rubber swim shoes, and snorkels and goggles, and we descended a wooden ladder into the dark. What awaited us at the bottom of the ladder was a glorious cave filled with stalactites and limestone formations and crystal-clear water. Hands-down, this was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had and can’t wait to explore another cenote.

cenote at kantun-chi in mexico
Katelin Walling
If you plan to visit a cenote in Mexico, make sure you bring a waterproof case for your phone to snap some really cool photos of the limestone formations.

And you don’t even have to leave the resort on an excursion to experience the abundance of cultures. While the whole resort has a Mexican hacienda vibe with bright colors and art all over the place, Club Med employs people from across the globe. Plus, all employees are encourage to sit with guests during meals making everyone feel like they’re part of one big Club Med community.

If you’re like me, one thing’s for certain: After your family’s stay at Club Med Cancun, you’ll be hooked on Club Med for all your future family vacations. So crack open that Club Med passport, and put a stamp on this location. Stat.

Main image: An aerial view of Club Med in Cancún Yucatán, Mexico
Courtesy Club Med


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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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