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Trip Report: Mayakoba Mexico with Kids!

mayakoba mexico with kids

When the weather is cold in northern Virginia, I get a case of the ‘grumpies’ and need to get

somewhere warm and sunny. That is one of the main reasons we invested in vacation home in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Sadly, it still gets cold there, so like the snickers commercial I’ve “gotta get away”. This time we headed to Mayakoba Mexico with 3/5 kids. We had friends recommend Mayakoba so we decided spur of the moment to squeeze in a 4 nighter before the kids went back to school.

Day 1: Travel Day

We embarked on our journey from IAD to Cancun Mexico. It’s a quick but most importantly direct flight and because we were so last minute with the booking we weren’t able to get our normal class of travel so we slummed it in economy plus on United. Secretly I was hoping for someone not to check-in to first class so I could get upgraded but alas it didn’t happen. I kid, I kid.

Economyplus on United is a good overall experience especially when traveling with the kids. We had the middle three (11,8,6) so travel is seamless. We were on a Boeing 787-900 which features a 3 x 3 in the economy and we sat boys three across and girls on the right (which booking the aisle and window seats you take the gamble that no one books the middle seat, and, in this case, it paid off).

If you’ve ever traveled into Cancun Mexico, you know but if you haven’t now you do... the customs/luggage process is a mess. Pro tip: use the restrooms before you get in line for

customs. The process for clearing customs took about 75 minutes then another hour to get our

luggage. By this time, it was already late in the day when we emerged to get our ride to the

Fairmont Heritage Place Mayakoba. Get a dedicated ride to the hotel in advance. You don’t want to fight through the maze of people trying to get you to sign up for a timeshare or sell you tickets to something. We met our driver and were whisked away.

The Fairmont provided us with great transportation of a new Cadillac Escalade that came

loaded with an Xbox as well as iPad to stream music so both the girl and the boys were

entertained on the 30-minute ride to the hotel. Alicia and I were met with beers (she doesn't drink beer so I got 2) and sparkling waters. The check-in process was quick and because we were late into the evening at this point there was no delay.

We booked a villa ground floor room which features three bathrooms, three bedrooms and a plunge pool with full outdoor area. It was slightly obnoxious but that was all they had left last minute. I was impressed to say the least. This was truly a condo home away from home. If we were staying longer I’m sure we would have enjoyed more of the outdoor space, but it was big enough that the full clan could stay here comfortably.

The only complaint (and believe me I was complaining) during the first night was food. (Pro tip:

make reservations in advance for dinners). We ventured out to try and grab dinner, but the

wait was over an hour with the boys (and Dad) melting down, so we tried room service which

had an almost 2 hour wait. We ate room provided nuts, sodas and called it a night.

Day 2: Fun in the Sun

Mayakoba with kids
La Laguna Fairmont Mayakoba

Day 2 began with the boys jumping on the couches and demanding food. Everyone was up and

we were the first group at the breakfast buffet at La Laguna. If you don’t know already, I love a

good breakfast buffet and this one didn’t disappoint. We were all hungry so not having to wait

for food was well received. The fruit was fresh, and they had a small (both in terms of size of

the table as well as the height) buffet table for kids. This was a welcomed touch as our 6 and 8

year-olds were able to get cereal, pancakes, and some juice on their own.

If you have kids, you know empowering them to make their own choices can go a long way to helping your day start off right. They appreciate the autonomy. They had my preferred eggs your way offering, and I ventured off my normal routine and tried some local favorites along with making my own parfait. The espresso here was not my favorite (again I’m a coffee snob) but we were able to get acceptable coffee and espresso after breakfast over at Café Maya (short walk over).

The weather was amazing. Sunny and in the 80s which was well-received in January. We chose to walk to breakfast which most of the restaurants are located at the Fairmont Hotel. This is about a 5-minute walk from theFairmont Heritage. The Heritage is condo style residences while the main Fairmont is a traditional hotel experience. After breakfast we decided to do some pool time. The water was a bit cold (my kids are spoiled with 90-degree heated pools) but they enjoyed it. There are two bars at the main pool area so no shortage of options for a cool beverage while hanging by the pool.

We headed back to the room for lunch (room service) and found the walk fun allowing us time to explore the property. There are community bikes at every turn if you don't want to walk everywhere. We had energy to burn so the walking was needed. We did some grounding on the open grassy areas which also permitted space for the boys to run, race, argue and wrestle. The Heritage provides you with a butler, a buffet close to your villa near the check-in area but to be honest we didn’t partake as the times seemed too hard to track.

There is also a huge pool right outside the residences. The atmosphere is amazing.

You get a secluded feel but plenty of options for gathering spaces. We had the butler make

reservations for dinner that night and we dined at the La Laguna restaurant outside by the

water. This was a must when traveling with kids as we were able to feed the fish and there were

plenty that came up including a larger tarpan. Dessert then off to bed.

Day 3 Part 1: Xcaret!

Mayakoba with kids
Inside one of the tunnels!

Before I go into Day 3, I’d like to take a moment to highlight the master bedroom in the

residence. It has a huge closet, great shower/tub combo area, and there is sliding glass doors

on two sides of the room. Waking up, going to bed, and getting ready ;-) is a treat. (my husband is trying to elude to the fact that seeing me naked after 16 years is still exciting).

The morning was the walk to the breakfast buffet and some quick planning for the day. Buffet

featured the same menu for the most part and like the creature of habit that I am it was a

carbon copy of Day 2 in terms of food and espresso routine. Alicia saw that there was a Cirque Du Soleil show named Joya down the street so we booked tickets for that night.

This was a much different experience than the other Cirques we’ve been to (and we’ve done all of them) as it includes a dinner. We decided to skip the dinner (bad choice) when booking the tickets but we will get more into that later.

This is next part was absolutely hands down my favorite part of the trip. I’m a hang at the

resort vacation guy but Alicia is a let’s go explore type vacation person, so we normally try and

split the trip so both get what they like. This was an explore day and although I complain I

always end up enjoying her excursions.

We grabbed a taxi and headed to Xcaret! Now, I can’t speak for all of it as this is probably a vacation onto itself, we grabbed tickets with the intent of really just doing the river float. It was incredible! They have it down so don’t sweat the process. Put your stuff in the waterproof bags (pay for it) and they will ferry it to meet you at the other end of the river. This is about an hour float/swim and is worth the price of admission.

You get to go into caves, see cool stuff, and is really an experience that you can’t get anywhere

else. (Pro tip: You need swim shoes!). You will be wearing a life jacket, so swimming isn’t

required and don’t be scared off. We also used buckle to connect our flip flops to us so you

don’t lose them as you will need footwear to walk around once you get out of the river. After

the river we had lunch outside looking at the ocean. Breathtaking! There were also little tide

pools down the cliffside which the kids got to go to and see fish while waiting for the food to


Day 3 Part 2: Joya!

mayakoba with kids

We got a ride from the Fairmont to the Cirque show which is its’ own location. We tipped the

guy well and told him what time the show ended, and he said he’d be back waiting for us as

soon as it ended (which he was). The entry process was quick, and you get to walk along a

board walk which takes you around and up the lagoon to the performance venue.

The walk moves you through some souvenir opportunities, then a bar, then restaurant. We hung out at the bar grabbed drinks and got to see some pre-show activities. This is worth it so be sure to

give enough time. This experience is unique to any Cirque we’ve ever been to.

We got champagne and treats tickets, so we got to enter a little early (but after the dinner crew) and were seated behind the dinner tables. Great views but if you want to be up close and personal (there are literal performers on your table) then you need to do the dinner experience. The show was great, unique, and the performers spoke in both English and Spanish.

Most Cirque shows don’t have spoken lines so it was cool. We did the walk back and right at the end of the boardwalk our driver was there to take us home. What a great day!

Day 4:

mayakoba with kids

The morning was the walk to the breakfast buffet and some quick planning for the day. Buffet

featured the same menu for the most part and like the creature of habit that I am it was a

carbon copy of Day 2 and 3 in terms of food and espresso routine.

After breakfast we decided to walk to the beach. There are golf cart shuttles you can grab and bikes you can use but we chose to walk (lots of complaining from the 6-year-old). It’s probably a little over a mile one way. The beach is beautiful and there is another restaurant there along with a pool. Picturesque! There are all the water sports you’d want there (jetski, paddleboarding,

paragliding, boating etc.).

We were just checking it out so hung out and checked out the kid’s club. There are kids’ clubs here at the beach, at the main pool by the buffet, and another one by the residences. We didn’t partake so can’t really comment on how good they are or not. This was a short trip so we wanted the kids around.

We used our butler again to make us reservations at the Spa and we took full advantage of

having our 11-year-old. We had her babysit her brothers with room service while Alicia and I

hit the spa. It was very relaxing. I enjoyed it and the lounge area. They had a plunge pool,

steam room and sauna. I used them all and took full advantage of the 30 minutes before the

massage. We received our treatments in two different rooms and the overall experience was

like getting a massage in a 5-star resort in the U.S. (no weird netting required). After the

massage you’re whisked to a bar area to have a drink and relax either inside or out in your robe.

We didn’t hang here too long as we needed to get back to ensure there was not a mutiny in the


We got dressed for dinner and decided to head to the El Pueblito. Cool little experience and

the kids loved the arcade. This is a SUV ride from the Fairmont but all inside the same resort town of Mayakoba.

We caught a golf cart back. I was green with envy as we drove by the golf course and next time, I will bring my sticks! There isn’t a shuttle service on regular intervals to return so you need to have

the person there call for a car. We did and were back in time for our dinner reservations. Day 4

was a George Day!

Day 5: Travel Day Home

When planning a short trip try to maximize the travel day(s) so we got an extended check-out

and scheduled a late flight home (departing at 6PM ET). This allows you to make the most of

the last “Day” on vacation. The day started per normal with the breakfast buffet and espresso

routine. We headed to the beach again then back to the main pool. Great time in the sun and

ordered a late lunch/dinner via room service while we packed up.

Another cool experience from the trip was the wildlife. There is a book on the coffee table

which talks about the local wildlife in Mexico and low and behold we saw three of them from

our living room. The coolest was a pack of Coatis. We saw one wandering by so Alicia opened

up the sliding walls to get a closer look. Then she saw another, then another then another and

low and behold probably 15 of them wandering through the yard and into the woods.

The piece de resistance for our wildlife experience was one night when Alicia and I were watching tv (40-year-old Virgin for the millionth time) in the living room having gotten the boys to finally sleep we look over at the window and see a raccoon on its hind legs with his paw on the

window. I swear I immediately thought of Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy! What a cool

experience and if you ever meet Alicia you can ask her about her other racoon experience.

We got our return drive to the airport via the chauffer service and the check-in process with

global entry made the route back to the U.S. and home a breeze.

Another passport stamp in the books.

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