Our Journey To Mexico With Youngsters… 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 positively don’t qualify as skilled world vacationers or aspiring journey bloggers. However similar to the final time we went overseas, we wished to share the main points for anybody who’s contemplating one thing comparable – particularly if it’s your first time going to Mexico. So listed below are a bunch of solutions to the commonest questions we bought. 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 common, no a part of this journey was sponsored. We paid for all the flights, lodging, meals, and actions ourselves (thanks partially to numerous saved bank card factors, which is our favourite strategy to e book huge journeys).

Boy And Dog At Boho Chic Mexican Airbnb Pool

Why Mexico?

We had hoped our household journey to Costa Rica in January 2020 can be the beginning of standard travels to different international locations with our children. We had actually loved getting out of our consolation zones, seeing how others dwell, having new experiences with our kids, and taking within the stunning sights alongside the way in which. Nicely, 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 straightforward/shut vacation spot for our first huge journey in over two years (we hadn’t been on a aircraft 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 positively made Mexico prime of thoughts.

Arkah Airbnb Rental In Akumal Mexico

Mexico additionally boasts numerous the issues we love – unbelievable nature, fascinating wildlife, colourful paintings, and (on the threat of sounding primary) the perfect tacos on the earth. Actually. The meals in Mexico is superb typically. We beloved 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 very sort and pleasant individuals – 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, similar to in Costa Rica, we break up our time between two completely different Airbnbs in two completely different cities. We beloved how this allowed us to expertise two areas of Costa Rica, so we have been excited to do 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/occasion spots like Cancun or Playa Del Carmen – and our neighbors had just lately returned from Tulum and beloved it. So after discovering an Airbnb in Tulum, we additionally discovered one other one (considerably randomly) between that Airbnb and the airport, positioned 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 automobile? 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 automobile and I’m SO GLAD we did. We briefly thought of making an attempt to get round with taxis and shuttles, however each of our Airbnb hosts extremely really helpful having our personal automobile they usually 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 automobile via Hertz forward of time and picked it up – coincidentally with a Chihuahua license plate! – on the Cancun Airport. Only a heads up that you’ll 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 tougher than driving in the US. 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 known as “Topes” that may come out of virtually nowhere, even on the highways – however they have been all straightforward to navigate.

Tope Speed Bump Sign In Akumal Mexico

Was there a language barrier?

Whereas all of us solely have a really primary understanding of Spanish (I’d classify us all as “freshmen”), it was not something we couldn’t determine with huge 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 stated “Si! Gracias!” So general we don’t suppose it’s essential to know Spanish for a trip right here, and it was a terrific alternative for us to study much more easy phrases and have some very memorable chats (the locals appeared particularly excited to talk with our children in Spanish, which additionally they beloved).

Akumal General Store With Small Taxi In Mexico

Each of our Airbnb hosts, our snorkel information, and most restaurant workers spoke fluent English, and all of us loved breaking out some newbie Spanish on the comfort retailer, the meals vans, the grocery retailer, and so forth. I took two years of it in faculty, however that was 20 years in the past so I felt fairly rusty – however I discovered myself utilizing it extra commonly on this journey. Principally for issues like easy greetings, studying directional indicators, and understanding numbers. And the youngsters 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 way in which. It additionally has a voice-to-text translation function that you need to use when conversing with others. You’ll be able to even take pictures and translate the textual content in a picture (like beneath) in order that’s useful if there’s an indication or menu that you simply need to make sure you perceive.

Screenshot Of Google Translate Phone App With English To Mexico Translation

Maybe our favourite story of the entire journey was when our snorkel information was making an attempt to inform us concerning the creature residing in a large 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!

Really, Angel was the perfect information ever, so in case you ever end up at Turtle Bay in Akumal, positively attempt to get a tour with him. There’s extra data about his tour additional down this submit.

What about foreign money?

Mexico makes use of the peso and we’re positively glad we had a bunch of pesos available upon arrival. I bear in mind being stunned by what number of locations in Costa Rica accepted and even most well-liked US {dollars}, however this was NOT our expertise in Mexico. We used our bank card for many of our massive purchases (rental automobile, gasoline, 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 they usually arrived by mail, protected and sound.

Mexican Pesos Cash For Travelers

The foreign money conversion is fairly straightforward: $1 USD is the same as about $20 MXN, so a $50 USD meal can be simply over $1,000 MXN. We downloaded a foreign money converter app, however even our children bought the dangle of creating a tough dialog as a result of the fast 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 & straightforward strategy to get a way of how costly one thing was when consuming or purchasing.

Did you are feeling protected?

Sure! Everybody we encountered was so sort and we by no means felt unsafe in any respect whereas in Mexico. Clearly we practiced commonsense measures that we use at any time when we journey anyplace like locking the automobile and never leaving baggage or different valuables unattended – however these are issues we do within the US and principally anyplace we go. The one “security concern” that required additional vigilance was strolling close to site visitors in Tulum. There weren’t sidewalks in every single place, so generally we needed to be additional cautious of passing automobiles or scooters. However it wasn’t a lot completely different than the roads in our neighborhood at residence, so our children 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 numerous noticeable safety measures round city (a lot 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 anyplace that we went. We did find yourself again at residence by round 8pm each night time, however that was largely so we didn’t should drive on unfamiliar roads at midnight (and likewise as a result of we’re too previous 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 when you have been there?

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

Breakfast Eaten At Holistika Restaurant In Tulum Mexico

Let’s hear about these Airbnbs!

Our first Airbnb was known as ARKAH and was positioned in Akumal, Mexico – a couple of 75-minute drive from the Cancun airport. We discovered it once 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 accessible 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 advanced of 4 duplex residences round a central pool/lounge space with some superbly lush walkways between every of the buildings. We fearful about it being noisy or busy with different renters round, but it surely 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 feel we noticed extra lizards than individuals, 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 a terrific, stress-free keep there. We truly ended up liking the city of Akumal much more than Tulum, so it was such a contented accident to have discovered this place!

Akumal Airbnb in Mexico With Yellow Lounge Sofas

Our Airbnb close to Tulum was known as Villa Lu’um and it’s positively the fanciest Airbnb we’ve ever stayed in, though positively 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 beneath earlier than we dragged the remainder of our stuff in. Forgive us for the vertical format. She made it to textual content her buddy with the message: “THIS IS THE MOST REAL HOUSEWIVES HOUSE I’VE EVER STAYED IN!”

Notice: It’s also possible to view this video on YouTube.

The “Villa” was a townhouse that felt extraordinarily personal, was superbly embellished, and seemed precisely as good because the itemizing pictures.

Villa Luum Mexico Airbnb In Tulum With Family

The pool was our favourite function and the youngsters 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 (form of like Uber Eats) simply so we might eat out by the pool. And the large glass doorways might totally 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 positioned in a neighborhood known as La Veleta that was fairly near the central purchasing 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 building on account of Tulum’s rising reputation. 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 seashore and the Lodge Zone the place there are extra resorts, seashore golf equipment, and classy purchasing. We went someday to test it out but it surely wasn’t actually our scene, so we didn’t remorse not staying nearer to the seashore. 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 saved 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 beloved. 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 bought the dangle of it immediately.

Family Snorkeling With Sea Turtles In Akumal Bay Mexico

We booked the primary tour of the day and have been the one 4 individuals within the group, which was nice! Our information, Angel led us via 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 understand that Angel was going to take underwater pictures the entire time, in order that was a tremendous shock (we introduced our underwater digicam to Mexico, however the tour web site stated images 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 subsequent day! It was by far the spotlight of our complete journey (Sherry referred to it as “a top-five spotlight” of her complete life). Do it in case you 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 known as Cenote Cristalino as a result of it was close to our Akumal Airbnb and the parking zone was empty (it had simply opened). So we’d suggest going proper once they open and you may 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 bear in mind appropriately) included a life jacket they usually 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 somewhat chilly, however refreshing, and it was superbly clear. The youngsters used their new love of snorkeling to observe all the fish and Sherry and I simply floated round, explored, and took 903 photos.

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 known as Holistika which is an eco-conscious yoga-retreat kind place (I might 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 set of huge murals painted on freestanding stone partitions in the midst 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 normally discover murals. Plus, a number of of them have been interactive – you may climb on or stroll via 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 hassle us in Mexico in any other case (not at our Airbnb, at eating places, and so forth) 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 pictures.

The Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Having by no means seen Mayan Ruins in individual, we didn’t need to miss this little little bit of historical past positioned 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 smart 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 bought there proper when it opened and there was an excellent breeze off of the water – so we rapidly grew to become 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 pliability to hunt out shade and depart earlier than anybody develop into mutinous.

Kids Walking At Tulum Ruins In Mexico

I positively suppose we might’ve left with a better understanding & appreciation for the ruins if we had been a part of a tour. So possibly in case you go on a day that doesn’t really feel too scorching, go for that choice? There have been tons of tour teams whereas we have been there, they usually positively had numerous 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 on the lookout for something various souvenirs, however everybody – together with Penny the canine! – beloved strolling via the varied out of doors outlets and open-air carts in Akumal and Tulum City (not Tulum Seashore, the place the purchasing was extra vogue & 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 places known as MexicArt that featured plenty of Mexican paintings, together with souvenir-sized dolls, ornaments, decor, and so forth. They didn’t enable images inside and there’s simply no strategy to convey how colourful and full of life 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 seashore is lacking from this checklist. Would you imagine that we by no means went to the seashore in Mexico, regardless of it boasting these stunning 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 numerous sargassum (innocent algae that seems this time of 12 months) on the seashores, however since we dwell a couple of blocks from the seashore again at residence, it fortunately wasn’t an enormous deal for us.

That issue could also be one thing to think about in case you’re planning a go to in June and really need plenty of seashore time although (avoiding hurricane season would possibly 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 numerous broadly well-rated spots there, in addition to some extremely really helpful meals vans and eating places that got here from our Airbnb hosts and different locals that we met alongside the way in which (at all times ask their favourite spots to eat, in case you can! It typically results in the perfect meals of our journeys & plenty of good chats with locals).

La Cuerva del Pescador Restaurant in Akumal Mexico

We usually ate one very primary meal at “residence” day by day due to some meals we bought on the native market (possibly 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 an area 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 & a terrific meal!
  • Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe (Akumal) – nice seafood & desserts
  • Burrito Amor (Tulum) – charming out of doors ambiance & good meals
  • Aldo Gelato (Tulum) – our favourite dessert in Tulum! (proven beneath)

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 by way of Tomato.mx supply
  • Roraima (Tulum) – we ordered by way of Tomato.mx supply
  • TacoBish Meals Truck (Tulum) – our favourite meals in Tulum! (proven beneath)

Taco Bish Food Truck Food In Tulum Mexico

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

We determined to carry our 3-year-old chihuahua-yorkie mutt, Penny, as a result of she’s a part of the household and an excellent traveler, similar to our earlier chihuahua Burger (she’s been a street journey champ since we bought her). We joke that she had the perfect time of all on the journey. A lot solar! A lot sleeping! A lot to smell! It additionally was a simple option to carry her as a result of we realized that it’s fairly simple 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 file 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 bought one earlier than we left!

John Sitting By Pool In Akumal With Penny The Dog

Penny simply frolicked and slept in her little provider at our toes on the aircraft, similar to Burger did (individuals at all times say “you had a canine this complete time?!” once we deplane as a result of they’re such good little quiet vacationers). After 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 straightforward.

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 out of doors seating they usually all enthusiastically greeted Penny (many additionally provided her water, which we at all times have available for her in case they don’t). We usually choose her up & carry her when going into an open-air store, or one in all us will wait exterior together with her if it’s a very crowded or small retailer that’s enclosed (or anyplace 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 enable them in, simply not into the water itself) and the ruins will not be 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 beloved them a lot).

Penny The Chorkie Sleeping Under Couch In Tulum Mexico Airbnb

Was Tulum kid-friendly?

It is 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 positively didn’t see many different youngsters there. So when 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 a lot – cenotes, seashores, ruins, and so forth – that can hold youngsters entertained and engaged.

Kid Running Through Shopping in Akumal Mexico

That being stated, 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 seems like we’ve seen and accomplished numerous the Tulum actions that curiosity us.

If we have been to do it once more, I feel we’d spend extra time in Akumal truly! It felt a bit extra laid again and was nearer to different kid-centric sights like a monkey sanctuary, an out of doors journey park, and extra cenotes. So we left feeling like there was extra to see and do if we returned. We additionally had our 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! Meaning ‘Thanks for studying!’… and sure, I checked my translation app earlier than typing that.

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