For Sofia's second beach vacay (fourth international trip) we decided to go back to Mexico: easy trip for us ("just" a 4/5h flight) and nice year round. This time, however, we went to the opposite end, to the East coast, to Rivera Maya & Tulum.
We flew into Cancun International airport and our first stop was 30min south from the city of Cancun (20min drive from the airport) at the very beginning of the Rivera Maya. We decided to travel to this location first because we were landing at night, and we did not want to drive much further (Tulum is 2h drive south) after the big travel day (since 6am).
For all ground transportation I booked the transfers with a private van & driver from Amstar, and also booked their car seat. I chose this option because I did not want to rent a car just to drive 4 times in a week. I also did not want to get in taxis with no car seat, and I did not want to bring my own car seat (so annoying to carry around, especially since we don't bring strollers on beach vacations, just the carrier). I booked everything from the US before we even left and I paid via phone. So when we landed we had a driver, a van and the car seat ready for us! And then we scheduled all other hotel transfers with them too. Super convenient and easy.
The first resort we stayed at was Dreams Rivera Cancun Resort & Spa. Far away from the city (we were looking for a more relaxed environment) yet close enough - for those who want to visit or enjoy it's nightlife. The resort was big, but never too crowded as it's so big, the beach was practically empty and super clean, and we always found spots anywhere we wanted to lay out in. The room was beautiful, we got the Preferred Club Ocean View which included a private terrace with an outdoor whirlpool. The resort offered "Unlimited Luxury" with limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining options (with no reservation needed anywhere, super helpful with a baby since we never know when we are going to be ready for food!), top-shelf spirits and natural juices, and a 24-hour room service (also amazing with Sofia, since we needed to be in the room early so she slept, and during her naps). This resort was super baby friendly with bassinets and high chairs everywhere, and all restaurants cooked the simple food I requested for Sofia (no salt even), which made the whole experience easy and relaxing. Overall, we had an amazing time and from this resort I will highlight the convenience of having everything so close, despite it being a big resort, easy to walk to and get to your room. We also loved the welcoming lobby that makes you feel you are on vacation the moment you arrive, the poolside restaurant for lunch, the gym (so complete and beautiful!) and the views from our balcony, breathtaking.
The second hotel we traveled to was Casa Malca in Tulum (2h drive from the previous spot, and right at the very end of the Rivera Maya, the other extreme), surrounded by white sand, crystal-clear waters and dense rain forest, this used to be Pablo Escobar's old mansion, bought by Lio Malca who created a unique space with contemporary art placed all over the space, worthy of a museum. We stayed at Junior Suit and it was incredible, the biggest modern room, and don't worry, this hotel may not seem like it, but it is baby friendly too. They provided a pack and play & high chair at the restaurant, and although it had an overall more honeymoon / cpuples vibe, there were other families with their babies as well. Their main restaurant, philosophy, is beyond words. Their breakfast overlooking the ocean (which is included with the room) made me want to stay there all day. Their food was also so incredible that we ended up having dinner there every night too (also convenient for Sofia, since she went to bed so early, but, it was YUM, highly recommend their quinoa salad and the fish of the day). This luxurious hotel was located within the Tulum shopping strip which includes tons of restaurants and shops just steps away (walking distance), however, they also offer complementary bikes and bicycles to cruise around. And overall, the beach there is just breathtaking and by far, the best one in Tulum, as clear and clean as it gets. So we spent tons of hours in our beach cabana ordering their amazing fresh dishes (on repeat: burrata salad, shrimp tacos & ceviche).
The third and last stop was Dreams Tulum Resort & SPA, a 30min drive back up north (strategically coordinated it this way, so the last day we wouldn't have such a long drive back to Cancun Airport). This resort was from the same group as the first one, so we knew what we were getting into: Unlimited Luxury again (which by the way, I love the peace of mind it gives you knowing you can order anything anytime and it won't cost you more). We had a Preferred Club Garden Swim-Out room which definitely was worth having as it was very nice taking a dip directly from our room while Sofia was napping, for example. The beach there was also incredible, very authentic Mexican Caribbean, and we had the Preferred Club (both in Dreams Rivera Cancun & Tulum) which meant we had access to their private beach & breakfast, which again, I personally think it was worth it because it was WAY less crowded (pretty much empty) which helps having a baby, and wanting more relaxation. This hotel was also located 10min away from the Tulum Ruins, super easy to get to and enjoy (I would just recommend not going from 12p to 3p, to avoid the heat peak and the crowds). Oh, and I can't forget to highlight their SPA and the oceanfront massage cabanas... The most relaxed I have been in a while.
When we travel for a week or more we love to hotel-bounce because, although we are in the same "area" (2-3h drive total) you get the feeling like you are seeing more, and you don't always have the same breakfast, pool, view or beach, for example. We absolutely love doing 2 nights in each spot we choose to go to because it gives you enough time to check everything out, and not enough time to get tired of anything!
I would also 100% recommend going to the Rivera Maya & Tulum in late October / early November like we did. Why? Kids are in school, it is not too cold in the US yet (people are not escaping the country just yet) and it is right before Thanksgiving and the Holidays, when tons of Americans travel to the area, so you avoid all of those crowds. Plus, the weather was just PERFECT. It never rained (it is not their rainy season) and it was not too hot or humid (it was actually incredible, 80-85F / 26-30C with a nice cool breeze at all times, and the ocean was not warm or cold). Absolutely perfect especially if you travel with a baby, you don't want to take your baby to an extreme heat or humidity or else you'll need to stay indoors at all times.
Other Tulum food & ambiance recommendations (baby friendly): Matcha Mama (acai bowls & smoothies), Rosa Negra (dinner), La Eufemia (tacos).
Take a look at all the photos below, and check out my Mexico videos on my Mexico Highlights on IG here.