You Should Take Your Toddler to Mexico

Our Mexico trip was full of firsts for our family. It was our first extended trip with Marcella- two weeks in Mexico! It was also our first chance to really travel the way Mike and I like best- low to the ground. We stayed in AirBNBs, ate a half ton of street tacos and made very few plans more than an hour in advance.

On this trip we visited Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancun. We stayed in sweet AirBnbs, and one resort in Cancun.

Marcella loved it. I’ll admit that we are pretty lucky that our two year old is a lot like us. She loves novelty, loves trying new food and is a pretty damn good traveler for someone her age. 

But also it was because Mexico is just as lovely as I remembered. It was the perfect place to travel with a toddler for so many reasons.

It’s So Vibrant

Seeing Mexico through Marcella’s eyes has been a magical experience. Things that I would probably gloss over- the vendors on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, were pure magic to her. She examined all the crafters wears, said “hi!” to every painted skull and had a hug for every plastic frog outside Senor Frogs. She danced every time we  stumbled on live music, she oohed over parrots and she sang to the street art. Even mundane things like riding on the bus were so exciting to her.

It was so much fun watching her discover a country that I already love.

They Love Kids Here

Mexicans could give even Italians a run for their money with how much they adore children. Everywhere we went people smiled and exclaimed over “la principessa!” This doesn’t really surprise me as Mexicans are hands down some of the nicest people I’ve encountered around the globe.

So Much to Do

We took it pretty easy this trip with just a couple destinations and only a handful of must-dos, but we still got to have so many great experiences as a family. 

We went to the beach of course, swam in pools and visited cenotes. We saw the ruins of Tulum. Marcella’s favorite morning was probably our visit to the Crococun Zoo, where she got to pet crocodiles and snakes, feed parrots and wild dogs, and see real live monkeys. This kid really seems to love reptiles. Weeks later she is still asking me if we can get a pet crocodile.

Hello Mexican Food!

Everyone knows that Mike and I are food obsessed, and we’ve been #soblessed that our child seems to have inherited our gluttonous genes. The primary thing we wanted to do in Mexico was eat, and oh boy did we.

Mexican food is great for kids because it’s so versatile. Picky kids can just eat meat and tortillas, whereas more adventurous ones can pile on toppings. Marcella loved trying different sauces and went wild for guacamole (poor deprived child, the avocados in Italy suck).

Is Mexico Safe To Travel With Kids?

Mexico gets a bad rap for being violent. And while that’s not incorrect, the actual situation is a lot more nuanced than that. There are parts of Mexico you should absolutely not go to right now. And there are parts that are totally chill and calm. My personal opinion after spending 7 months on the west coast and 2 weeks on the east is that I feel entirely safe there. I’ve felt far more nervous in certain neighborhoods in the United States than I’ve ever felt in Mexico.

If you use common sense and pick your destinations carefully, than yes, Mexico is safe to travel, with or without kids. We were in Mexico for two weeks. The only time we were ripped off was attempting to take a taxi to the resort in Cancun to meet Mike’s family. The only place we got food poisoning was at the resort buffet.

If anything I would say my only real safety concern was the crappy, sometimes non-existent sidewalks, and the traffic. There were a couple times we found ourselves walking on the side of the road while semi-trucks whizzed past. Marcella thought that was cool, Mom not so much.

We Will Be Back

About halfway through my trip I found myself already planning our return to Mexico (next time Oaxaca and Mexico City are on the agenda). I don’t really know when that will be, as we have our hands full exploring Europe right now, but I know we will be back. Mexico is affordable, interesting and full of delicious food. It ticks all my boxes.

 

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