Our Journey To Mexico With Children… And A Canine!

Final week we vacationed within the Yucatán Peninsula area of Mexico with our two youngsters (ages 8 and 12) and sure, even our canine Penny got here! This was our second time touring internationally as a household, so we undoubtedly don’t qualify as skilled world vacationers or aspiring journey bloggers. However identical to the final time we went overseas, we wished to share the small print for anybody who’s contemplating one thing comparable – particularly if it’s your first time going to Mexico. So listed here are a bunch of solutions to the commonest questions we received. We’ll additionally cowl the place we went, what we ate, and the way we navigated the logistics of bringing a pet with us.

Sherry With Penny Dog In Front Of Colorful Mexican Storefront

Oh, and as traditional, no a part of this journey was sponsored. We paid for the entire flights, lodging, meals, and actions ourselves (thanks partially to plenty of saved bank card factors, which is our favourite strategy to e-book massive journeys).

Boy And Dog At Boho Chic Mexican Airbnb Pool

Why Mexico?

We had hoped our household journey to Costa Rica in January 2020 could be the beginning of standard travels to different international locations with our youngsters. We had actually loved getting out of our consolation zones, seeing how others dwell, having new experiences with our kids, and taking within the lovely sights alongside the best way. Properly, then Covid occurred.

This summer season (June of 2022) we lastly felt able to enterprise off on one other worldwide journey, and Mexico felt like a enjoyable and comparatively simple/shut vacation spot for our first massive journey in over two years (we hadn’t been on a airplane since Feb of 2020 when we purchased our home!). Two units of our pals had additionally just lately been to Mexico with out their youngsters – in order that undoubtedly made Mexico high of thoughts.

Arkah Airbnb Rental In Akumal Mexico

Mexico additionally boasts plenty of the issues we love – unimaginable nature, fascinating wildlife, colourful art work, and (on the danger of sounding fundamental) the most effective tacos on the earth. Actually. The meals in Mexico is superb usually. We cherished each single meal we had there. Go for the ocean turtles, however don’t sleep on the ceviche.

Tacos At Turtle Bay Cafe In Akumal Mexico

General, we discovered Mexico to be a really tourism-friendly nation with plenty of choices for lodging, actions, and intensely form and pleasant folks – from our Airbnb hosts to our snorkeling information. However extra on that in a minute.

Colorful Buildings In Akumal Mexico

The place did you go in Mexico?

We spent 6 nights in Mexico and, identical to in Costa Rica, we break up our time between two completely different Airbnbs in two completely different cities. We cherished how this allowed us to expertise two areas of Costa Rica, so we have been excited to try this once more in Mexico.

Map Of Mexico With Tulum Akumal Cancun Labeled

Our unique goal vacation spot was Tulum, a metropolis about 90 minutes south of the Cancun airport the place we flew in as a result of it appeared to be extra laid-back and nature-oriented than extra widespread nightlife/get together spots like Cancun or Playa Del Carmen – and our neighbors had just lately returned from Tulum and cherished it. So after discovering an Airbnb in Tulum, we additionally discovered one other one (considerably randomly) between that Airbnb and the airport, situated within the city of Akumal – nearly half-hour north of Tulum. That was such a fortunate occurring as a result of we ended up loving Akumal most of all! However extra on every place in a second.

Did you lease a automotive? What was driving like?

Though it was the a part of the journey I used to be essentially the most nervous about, we did lease a automotive and I’m SO GLAD we did. We briefly thought-about attempting to get round with taxis and shuttles, however each of our Airbnb hosts extremely beneficial having our personal automotive and so they have been completely proper.

John Driving In Mexico With Penny The Chorkie

We actually appreciated the liberty and adaptability of driving ourselves in every single place and we had zero points. Not a one. We booked our automotive by means of Hertz forward of time and picked it up – coincidentally with a Chihuahua license plate! – on the Cancun Airport. Only a heads up that you will want to buy insurance coverage, since your American coverage received’t cowl you in Mexico.

Penny The Chorkie In Front Of Chihuahua Car Rental License Plate

General, I discovered driving in Mexico to be no harder than driving in america. And in some methods, the Mexican drivers appeared extra well mannered! We have been very cautious to obey the pace limits, even when it meant having locals zoom previous us within the left lane – which actually occurred lower than it does right here at residence. There are additionally some quirks – like pace bumps referred to as “Topes” that may come out of virtually nowhere, even on the highways – however they have been all simple to navigate.

Tope Speed Bump Sign In Akumal Mexico

Was there a language barrier?

Whereas all of us solely have a really fundamental understanding of Spanish (I’d classify us all as “learners”), it was not something we couldn’t determine with massive smiles and hand motions. When the cashier requested if I wished a bag for the meals in Spanish, and I didn’t perceive, she held up a bag and pointed and I mentioned “Si! Gracias!” So total we don’t suppose it’s essential to know Spanish for a trip right here, and it was an incredible alternative for us to be taught much more easy phrases and have some very memorable chats (the locals appeared particularly excited to speak with our youngsters in Spanish, which in addition they cherished).

Akumal General Store With Small Taxi In Mexico

Each of our Airbnb hosts, our snorkel information, and most restaurant employees spoke fluent English, and all of us loved breaking out some newbie Spanish on the comfort retailer, the meals vehicles, the grocery retailer, and so on. I took two years of it in school, however that was 20 years in the past so I felt fairly rusty – however I discovered myself utilizing it extra recurrently on this journey. Largely for issues like easy greetings, studying directional indicators, and understanding numbers. And the children and Sherry picked up some new phrases too.

TacoBish Menu In Spanish In Tulum Mexico

We additionally downloaded the Google Translate app to our telephones, which I used a couple of instances to refresh myself on some phrases alongside the best way. It additionally has a voice-to-text translation function that you should use when conversing with others. You may even take photographs and translate the textual content in a picture (like under) in order that’s useful if there’s an indication or menu that you just wish to be certain you perceive.

Maybe our favourite story of the entire journey was when our snorkel information was attempting to inform us concerning the creature residing in an enormous shell that he confirmed us. He spoke nice English, however didn’t know the actual phrase for “snail.” So our dialog went like this:

Information: It’s a…. have you learnt the cartoon sea sponge?

Us: Spongebob Squarepants?

Information: Sure! His pet?

Our daughter: Gary?

Information: Sure!

Our daughter: Oh, he’s a snail!

Information: Sure! It’s a snail!

Actually, Angel was the most effective information ever, so if you happen to ever end up at Turtle Bay in Akumal, undoubtedly attempt to get a tour with him. There’s extra data about his tour additional down this publish.

What about foreign money?

Mexico makes use of the peso and we’re undoubtedly glad we had a bunch of pesos readily available upon arrival. I keep in mind being shocked by what number of locations in Costa Rica accepted and even most popular US {dollars}, however this was NOT our expertise in Mexico. We used our bank card for many of our massive purchases (rental automotive, fuel, restaurant meals) however arriving with pesos was nice for reward outlets, ice lotions, and tipping. We ordered pesos on-line from our financial institution earlier than we left and so they arrived by mail, secure and sound.

Mexican Pesos Cash For Travelers

The foreign money conversion is fairly simple: $1 USD is the same as about $20 MXN, so a $50 USD meal could be simply over $1,000 MXN. We downloaded a foreign money converter app, however even our youngsters received the cling of creating a tough dialog as a result of the short trick was to “take away a zero, then minimize that quantity in half.” So in the event that they noticed one thing in a present store that was $200 MXN, they’d take away a zero ($20) after which minimize it in half – which means the merchandise was about $10. It was a fast & simple strategy to get a way of how costly one thing was when consuming or procuring.

Did you are feeling secure?

Sure! Everybody we encountered was so form and we by no means felt unsafe in any respect whereas in Mexico. Clearly we practiced common sense measures that we use each time we journey wherever like locking the automotive and never leaving baggage or different valuables unattended – however these are issues we do within the US and mainly wherever we go. The one “security concern” that required further vigilance was strolling close to site visitors in Tulum. There weren’t sidewalks in every single place, so generally we needed to be further cautious of passing automobiles or scooters. Nevertheless it wasn’t a lot completely different than the roads in our neighborhood at residence, so our youngsters are well-practiced at strolling in areas like this.

Kid sitting in rocking chair near road in Tulum Mexico

I’ll say that Tulum has plenty of noticeable safety measures round city (many of the newer houses and lodges are fenced, gated, and generally even have electrical fences round their perimeters) however once more, we by no means felt unsafe strolling or driving wherever that we went. We did find yourself again at residence by round 8pm each night time, however that was principally so we didn’t must drive on unfamiliar roads at the hours of darkness (and likewise as a result of we’re too outdated and boring to be caught up in any bar scene or nightlife. Ha!).

Home In Tulum Mexico With Gate And Electric Fencing

Any tummy points whilst you have been there?

Nope! None of us had a single tummy situation on our journey. Each Airbnbs had filtered water coolers and most eating places supplied bottled water or made it clear that their water and/or ice have been filtered. And foodwise, we mentioned sure to something and every part. Meals vehicles, seafood, ceviche, smoothies, and so on. We tried all of it. And I’m glad we did, as a result of the entire drinks and meals and desserts have been DELICIOUS. Under is our breakfast from the Tierra restaurant in Tulum.

Let’s hear about these Airbnbs!

Our first Airbnb was referred to as ARKAH and was situated in Akumal, Mexico – a couple of 75-minute drive from the Cancun airport. We discovered it after we have been reserving our journey and wished to increase our time in Mexico longer than the 4-nights that our Airbnb close to Tulum was obtainable for, so we primarily selected it as a result of it was en path to Tulum, didn’t have a minimal night time’s keep (we stayed for two nights), and was dog-friendly. Oh, and it was tremendous inexpensive – solely $77/night time!

John And Sherry Standing At Arkah Airbnb in Akumal Mexico

ARKAH is a small complicated of 4 duplex residences round a central pool/lounge space with some fantastically lush walkways between every of the buildings. We nervous about it being noisy or busy with different renters round, however it was shockingly quiet and serene. Moreover the renters within the unit above us (we noticed them out on their balcony a few instances and waved), we barely noticed one other visitor there. I believe we noticed extra lizards than folks, truly.

Pool At Arkah Airbnb In Akumal Mexico

The residence itself was very merely furnished and the kitchen was a bit rustic (I needed to gentle the range with a match!) however we had an incredible, stress-free keep there. We truly ended up liking the city of Akumal much more than Tulum, so it was such a cheerful accident to have discovered this place!

Akumal Airbnb in Mexico With Yellow Lounge Sofas

Our Airbnb close to Tulum was referred to as Villa Lu’um and it’s undoubtedly the fanciest Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in, though undoubtedly not the costliest (it was $280/night time – nearly what we used to cost for one aspect of the Duplex!). Sherry shot this fast video under earlier than we dragged the remainder of our stuff in. Forgive us for the vertical format. She made it to textual content her good friend with the message: “THIS IS THE MOST REAL HOUSEWIVES HOUSE I’VE EVER STAYED IN!”

Notice: You can even view this video on YouTube.

The “Villa” was a townhouse that felt extraordinarily non-public, was fantastically adorned, and appeared precisely as good because the itemizing photographs.

Villa Luum Mexico Airbnb In Tulum With Family

The pool was our favourite function and the children didn’t tire of it despite the fact that we now have a pool at residence. It was nice for cooling off after exploring every morning, and we twice ordered meals to the home utilizing Tomato.mx (kind of like Uber Eats) simply so we might eat out by the pool. And the large glass doorways might absolutely retract into the wall for a completely open first-floor residing space.

Kids Playing John Reading At Airbnb Pool In Tulum Mexico

Villa Lu’um was situated in a neighborhood referred to as La Veleta that was fairly near the central procuring and eating places of Tulum City, which meant we might stroll to some eating places from this Airbnb (in contrast to our place in Akumal). La Veleta may be very a lot beneath development because of Tulum’s rising recognition. It wasn’t too noisy, however the roads have been fairly bumpy. We joked that they reminded us of our clay/sand road again at residence in Florida that additionally will get potholed and bumpy after rainstorms.

Unpaved Street With Gated Homes In La Veleta Tulum Mexico

Our Airbnb was a couple of 20-minute drive to the seaside and the Resort Zone the place there are extra resorts, seaside golf equipment, and classy procuring. We went someday to test it out however it wasn’t actually our scene, so we didn’t remorse not staying nearer to the seaside. Having the ability to stroll to Tulum City was very nice, so location-wise, we actually preferred this spot (though we preferred the eating places, walks, outlets, and actions in Akumal much more than something we did in Tulum).

What actions did you do?

We stored this journey a bit extra low-key than our Costa Rica trip – plenty of stress-free, consuming, strolling, and extra consuming – however we did do a couple of excursions that we actually cherished. Beginning with our favourite of all:

Turtle Bay Snorkel Tour in Akumal

The day we arrived we booked this snorkel tour with Akumal Ecological Guides to hopefully see some sea turtles. Although we’ve sea turtles right here in Florida, we haven’t noticed many within the wild, and this was an opportunity to see them up shut! The tour included snorkels and life jackets and, despite the fact that none of us had actually ever snorkeled earlier than, everybody received the cling of it straight away.

Family Snorkeling With Sea Turtles In Akumal Bay Mexico

We booked the primary tour of the day and have been the one 4 folks within the group, which was nice! Our information, Angel led us by means of a roped space of Akumal Bay that’s solely accessible with a information, and over the course of about 45 minutes, we noticed SEVEN large sea turtles. Proper in entrance of us. It was superb.

Close Up Of Sea Turtle Swimming In Akumal Bay Mexico

We didn’t notice that Angel was going to take underwater photographs the entire time, in order that was an incredible shock (we introduced our underwater digicam to Mexico, however the tour web site mentioned pictures was not permitted so we left it again at our Airbnb). We loved this tour a lot that we virtually booked it once more the following day! It was by far the spotlight of our total journey (Sherry referred to it as “a top-five spotlight” of her total life). Do it if you happen to can!

Swimming In A Cenote

Cenotes (pronounced SIN-oh-taze) are just like the pure limestone springs we’ve in Florida, besides these within the Yucatan extra typically have dramatic caves as part of them. There are a bunch everywhere in the area, however we ended up at one referred to as Cenote Cristalino as a result of it was close to our Akumal Airbnb and the car parking zone was empty (it had simply opened). So we’d suggest going proper after they open and you can have the entire thing to your self!

Family Swimming Under Cave At Cenote Cristalino in Akumal Mexico

The admission (which transformed to about $8 every, if I keep in mind appropriately) included a life jacket and so they additionally had lockers and snorkels for lease too. It stayed uncrowded sufficient throughout our go to that we might simply keep close to our bag, so we skipped the locker, and we had introduced a snorkel with us from residence that we shared together with our underwater digicam, which was nice to have.

The water was slightly chilly, however refreshing, and it was fantastically clear. The children used their new love of snorkeling to look at the entire fish and Sherry and I simply floated round, explored, and took 903 footage.

Colorful Sign For Cenote Cristalino In Akumal Mexico

The Holistika Artwork Stroll

This was truly inside strolling distance of our Tulum Airbnb – inside a resort referred to as Holistika which is an eco-conscious yoga-retreat sort place (I’d virtually use that description for many of Tulum). After consuming at their restaurant for breakfast, we adopted the trail again to the general public “Artwork Stroll,” which is a group of enormous murals painted on freestanding stone partitions in the course of the jungle.

Do What You Love Mural In Holistika Art Walk Tulum

The artwork was colourful and enjoyable, and the peaceable pure setting was such a distinction to the city environments the place you often discover murals. Plus, a number of of them have been interactive – you can climb on or stroll by means of them. It was SUCH a cool expertise.

Boy Walking Up Steps Of Holistika Mural Art Walk

Our solely remorse is that we didn’t apply bug spray first! General the bugs didn’t actually trouble us in Mexico in any other case (not at our Airbnb, at eating places, and so on) however they have been extra noticeable within the jungle-like surroundings of the artwork stroll. This may need been our favourite factor to do whereas in Tulum although! Go early (once more, we went proper after breakfast) – we have been the one ones there! So we might take our time & snap one other 908 photographs.

The Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Having by no means seen Mayan Ruins in particular person, we didn’t wish to miss this little little bit of historical past situated proper on the coast in Tulum. We opted to not go as a part of a guided tour in order that we might have extra flexibility and the jury continues to be out on if that was a good move as a result of we all know firsthand how a lot an superior information can add to an expertise.

Kids Walking In Front of Castillo At Tulum Ruins Mexico

On one hand, it was very popular – despite the fact that we received there proper when it opened and there was an excellent breeze off of the water – so we rapidly turned sweaty messes and I knew we had about an hour or two tops to spend there earlier than everybody melted. So I’m glad we had the flexibleness to hunt out shade and depart earlier than anybody turn out to be mutinous.

I undoubtedly suppose we might’ve left with a better understanding & appreciation for the ruins if we had been a part of a tour. So perhaps if you happen to go on a day that doesn’t really feel too sizzling, go for that possibility? There have been tons of tour teams whereas we have been there, and so they undoubtedly had plenty of fascinating stuff to share.

Retailers in Akumal & Tulum City

Second solely to the snorkel tour, everybody’s favourite exercise was most likely simply perusing the outlets in each cities. We weren’t in search of something quite a lot of souvenirs, however everybody – together with Penny the canine! – cherished strolling by means of the assorted outside outlets and open-air carts in Akumal and Tulum City (not Tulum Seashore, the place the procuring was extra trend & high-end, I’d skip that with youngsters).

Shopping in Akumal Mexico With Lots of Palm Trees

Our favourite was most likely a store with a number of areas referred to as MexicArt that featured plenty of Mexican art work, together with souvenir-sized dolls, ornaments, decor, and so on. They didn’t permit pictures inside and there’s simply no strategy to convey how colourful and energetic all of it was. We went into three completely different MexicArt shops on our journey, and the one within the plaza in Akumal was most likely our favourite.

Colorful MexicArt Souvenir Shop in Akumal Mexico

It’s possible you’ll discover that the seaside is lacking from this record. Would you imagine that we by no means went to the seaside in Mexico, regardless of it boasting these lovely Caribbean waters?! We have been technically visiting in hurricane season and the Caribbean occurred to be fairly tough and uneven whereas we have been there. There was additionally plenty of sargassum (innocent algae that seems this time of yr) on the seashores, however since we dwell a couple of blocks from the seaside again at residence, it fortunately wasn’t an enormous deal for us.

That issue could also be one thing to contemplate if you happen to’re planning a go to in June and actually need plenty of seaside time although (avoiding hurricane season may yield much less warmth, calmer water, however peak season pricing, so it’s all a stability).

Tulum Mayan Ruins Beach With Sargassum Algae Build Up

The place did you eat in Mexico?

We love Mexican meals right here at residence, so we have been excited to come across some extra authentic-style fare in Mexico. We hit up plenty of extensively well-rated spots there, in addition to some extremely beneficial meals vehicles and eating places that got here from our Airbnb hosts and different locals that we met alongside the best way (at all times ask their favourite spots to eat, if you happen to can! It typically results in the easiest meals of our journeys & plenty of good chats with locals).

La Cuerva del Pescador Restaurant in Akumal Mexico

We usually ate one very fundamental meal at “residence” day-after-day because of some meals we received on the native market (perhaps some eggs and toast with a great deal of contemporary fruit for breakfast – or some easy sandwiches for lunch) after which loved the opposite two meals from a neighborhood restaurant or meals truck. Right here have been a few of our favourite meals:

  • La Cueva del Pescador (Akumal) – proven above, our favourite meals in Akumal!
  • La Buena Vida (Akumal) – our favourite ambiance in Akumal & an incredible meal!
  • Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe (Akumal) – nice seafood & desserts
  • Burrito Amor (Tulum) – charming outside ambiance & good meals
  • Aldo Gelato (Tulum) – our favourite dessert in Tulum! (proven under)

Jungle Decor At Aldo Gelato Shop In Tulum Beach Mexico

  • Tierra at Holistika (Tulum) – our favourite ambiance in Tulum!
  • Cafe Don Tomas (Tulum) – we ordered this through Tomato.mx supply
  • Roraima (Tulum) – we ordered through Tomato.mx supply
  • TacoBish Meals Truck (Tulum) – our favourite meals in Tulum! (proven under)

Taco Bish Food Truck Food In Tulum Mexico

How did you deliver a canine? Was Mexico dog-friendly?

We determined to deliver our 3-year-old chihuahua-yorkie mutt, Penny, as a result of she’s a part of the household and an excellent traveler, identical to our earlier chihuahua Burger (she’s been a street journey champ since we received her). We joke that she had the most effective time of all on the journey. A lot solar! A lot sleeping! A lot to smell! It additionally was a straightforward option to deliver her as a result of we realized that it’s fairly easy to fly from the US into Mexico with a canine (no quarantine or something like that).

Penny The Chorkie Sitting In Sun Panting In Tulum Mexico

We’d flown with Burger a number of instances – together with a ton of spring break journeys to Florida and even to Alaska for our honeymoon! – so flying with a canine isn’t new to us. All we wanted to do to get Penny into Mexico was an official well being kind from our vet inside 5 days of our departure. The shape verified that she was updated on her vaccines and confirmed no indicators of sickness or parasites.

Initially, we have been informed we solely wanted her rabies document to enter Mexico, however each Mexican and American customs officers requested for her well being kind from the vet – so we’re very glad we received one earlier than we left!

John Sitting By Pool In Akumal With Penny The Dog

Penny simply frolicked and slept in her little service at our toes on the airplane, identical to Burger did (folks at all times say “you had a canine this complete time?!” after we deplane as a result of they’re such good little quiet vacationers). Once we arrived on the Cancun airport customs, we have been guided to a particular room for Penny to be visually “inspected” to ensure she appeared wholesome. It was tremendous quick and simple.

As soon as in Mexico, we discovered it to be extraordinarily dog-friendly, so we introduced her alongside on all of our strolling and eating excursions. We solely visited eating places with outside seating and so they all enthusiastically greeted Penny (many additionally supplied her water, which we at all times have readily available for her in case they don’t). We sometimes choose her up & carry her when going into an open-air store, or one in every of us will wait outdoors together with her if it’s a very crowded or small retailer that’s enclosed (or wherever with meals, like a market). Zero points with that. Once more: our impression was that it was tremendous dog-friendly, extra so than most spots within the US.

Dining Outdoors in Tulum Mexico With Dog Under Table

Clearly, canines can’t come snorkeling or cenote swimming (though some locations permit them in, simply not into the water itself) and the ruins usually are not dog-friendly both, so for these adventures we left Penny on the Airbnb for a couple of hours and he or she relaxed on the chilly concrete flooring (she cherished them a lot).

Penny The Chorkie Sleeping Under Couch In Tulum Mexico Airbnb

Was Tulum kid-friendly?

This can be a widespread query on-line and one which we researched earlier than selecting it as a vacation spot. We didn’t discover Tulum un-friendly to youngsters (ours had a good time!) however we undoubtedly didn’t see many different youngsters there. So whilst you’re not going to seek out boundless toy outlets and sweet shops, that’s probably not what we search for when planning a journey vacation spot. So to us, there’s nonetheless loads – cenotes, seashores, ruins, and so on – that may maintain youngsters entertained and engaged.

Kid Running Through Shopping in Akumal Mexico

That being mentioned, I don’t suppose we’d return to Tulum once more quickly. Not as a result of we didn’t prefer it, simply because it appears like we’ve seen and performed plenty of the Tulum actions that curiosity us.

If we have been to do it once more, I believe we’d spend extra time in Akumal truly! It felt a bit extra laid again and was nearer to different kid-centric points of interest like a monkey sanctuary, an outside journey park, and extra cenotes. So we left feeling like there was extra to see and do if we returned. We additionally had our absolute best meals there (take me again to La Cueva del Pescador and La Buena Vida!) and we’d like to go snorkeling with the turtles once more.

Kids Swimming in Cenote In Yucatan Mexico

In order that’s our not-so-brief overview of our household trip to Mexico! Gracias por leer! Which means ‘Thanks for studying!’… and sure, I checked my translation app earlier than typing that.

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