Dreaming of a family vacation in Mexico? The tourist hot spot that is Cancun can be a mixed bag.
Created by the Mexican government in the 1970s as a utopian beach destination, Cancun's very success is precisely what turns off many travelers today. The azure waters, sugary-sand beaches, and proximity to Mayan ruins are still compelling draws, but Cancun's once-dazzling appeal has been somewhat dimmed by overdevelopment and the relentless churn of millions of annual visitors.
Happily, gems remain and one of them is definitely Club Med Cancun Yucatan, a gorgeous resort blessed with what is arguably the best location in Cancun.
The resort is less than 5 miles, or a 15-minute ride, from Cancun International Airport. Set on its own 22-acre peninsula at the south end of the Hotel Zone, Club Med boasts a beautiful sweep of white-sand beach, and if you round the point you come to a private stretch of the seaside with snorkeling over coral and yet another beach area with water sports. The resort also has a lagoon side with waters protected from large waves.
For many families, Club Med Cancun Yucatan offers the best of all worlds. You get the beautiful beach, excellent dining, hassle-free all-inclusive pricing and family-friendly programming Club Med is famous for, but all at a distance safely removed from the crushing tourist trap.
This resort underwent two major renovations in 2014 and 2017, emerging with several dozen new guest rooms and a new Petit Club Med, plus a newly revamped resort center, main pool, outdoor theater, and Passworld teen club.
One way that Club Med stands out for families is the kids' programs, which focus on keeping children active and learning. There are water sports, tennis lessons, and a circus school with a trapeze. For tweens and teens, Passworld is a cool place to hang out, with teen-friendly counselors and activities like DJ mixing and hip-hop dance.
- Petit Club Med for kids ages 2-3
- Mini Club Med for kids ages 4-10
- Club Med Passworld for kids ages 11-17
- circus school with trapeze
- chic lounge areas by the pool with canopied day beds
- multiple restaurants with a la carte dining as well as snack bars
- lessons in windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding
- tennis instruction
- beach volleyball, soccer, fitness center, outdoor yoga and more
- for an extra charge, scuba, golf, jet skiing
- on-site theater for performances put on by the counselors, professional dancers, and kids' programs
- Club Med's Baby Welcome program for infants provides amenities upon request in guest rooms (You can request items such as a crib, stroller, infant bathtub, and bottle warmer.) Throughout the resort, you'll find high chairs in restaurants, and babysitters are available for a charge.
The resort offers 436 guest rooms and 18 suites. There are three levels of accommodations: Club rooms (partial views of the ocean or lagoon), deluxe rooms (full views of ocean or lagoon, plus balconies) and suites (full ocean views and balconies). The category is determined by the view and whether there a balcony, but the level of comfort is mid-range for all rooms.
The exception is the Jade Villa luxury concierge-level building, which feels more upscale and also offers room service, ocean view suites, and upgraded amenities packages (private car from the airport, bathrobes, laundry service, stocked mini-fridge, and more).
Keep in Mind
- standard guest rooms can only accommodate a family with only one child plus a baby or toddler who can sleep in a crib. If you have two kids, you'll need to get two connecting rooms or book a suite
- baby amenities don't include cleaning/sterilizing supplies
- families who bring strollers should request rooms on the ground floor since units have three-stories but no elevators
- teens are not permitted to go water skiing or wakeboarding
- at the pool, canopied day beds get "claimed" early in the day, so plan to be an early riser if you want one
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher