Family is the Focus in Mexico

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Waterpark at Great Parnassus  All-Inclusive Resort & Spa in Cancun.
Waterpark at Great Parnassus All-Inclusive Resort & Spa in Cancun.

Cooking classes for kids, circus activities, and Mayan cultural experiences are just some of the offerings—beyond the kids clubs—found at these Mexico properties.

riviera maya
Families can learn about Mayan culture, while also having fun at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya. The Xcalacoco Experience includes activities such as the Jade River Adventure, Path of the Senses, and Sandos Survival. The experience focuses on four cultural events that allow guests to learn about the culture and heritage of the Maya. The remaining two events this year take place during the Autumn Equinox in September and the Day of the Dead in November.

The property’s Aquapark was recently renovated and features splash areas and fountains, 17 water slides, multiple play areas, and lifeguard supervision. There’s also a family swimming area at the main pool with a kids area.

Family fun ranges from nightly entertainment at the theater to beach volleyball, sandcastle-building, snorkeling and more. The property also offers a baby club for ages 2 to 3; a supervised kids club for ages 4 to 12; and a teens activity program offering music, pool tables, beach soccer and more. Room rates start at $179 pp per night dbl. The first child is 50 percent off the rate, and the second is free, staying in the same room as the adults.

The oceanfront Great Parnassus All-Inclusive Resort & Spa, located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, offers something for everyone in the family, especially the little ones—a pirate-themed waterpark, mini-golf, a theater featuring live performances, a movie theater, and kids club activities.

The Treasure Island Water Park features giant slides, a pirate ship, and water towers; it’s sectioned into two areas—one for smaller kids and another area that looks like a mini-castle with slides for the bigger kids. The Teen Lounge offers billiards, ping-pong, darts, glow parties, movies, and Xbox and PlayStation video games during the day; at night, the Teen Lounge offers projected TV shows, sporting events, and music videos, as well as activities and contests. Dining at The Carrousel is a great option for kids, as it serves kid-sized portions in a buffet style. For a tasty treat, kids will enjoy the Crepiere, a bakery serving fresh pastries, crepes, ice cream and more.

Accommodations in the Family Room, which start at $222 per night, feature one king bed or two double beds, bunk beds and a trundle; a private furnished balcony with partial ocean view; cable TV; a bathroom with both a shower and a tub; and 24-hour room service. Standard room rates start at $204 per room dbl; two children 12 and under stay free when sharing with parents. Here’s a perk—mention this editorial for a free upgrade to a Family Room (if available).

At the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, the Fiesta Kids Club features a pirate ship in the kids pool area with three slides and three water cannons. Fiesta Kids also coordinates pool and beach games, and competitions, as well as arts and sports activities for the littlest of guests. The Teens Club lures this bunch with video games, pool tables, music, movies, and sporting activities. An information area allows teens to feel independent as they pick which activities they’d like to take part in throughout the day. Room rates start at $435 per night for a Deluxe Oceanview Room.

Hacienda Petac, located near Merida, Yucatan, is a private hacienda chock-full of family activities. This season, the property has added creative children’s cooking and adventure activities.

The Children’s Adventure package begins with a scavenger hunt for the whole family in Merida’s food market where everyone aids the chef in collecting local ingredients for a Yucatecan dish. Next, a sightseeing excursion around Merida’s central square with a stop at a sorbet shop is sure to put a smile on the kiddies’ faces. Once back at the hacienda, Mom and Dad and their little helpers get to work in the professional teaching kitchen. But cooking isn’t all that’s in store. How does kite- and piñata-making sound? And for little archaeologists, their task will be to find the buried Maya treasures scattered around the property. While the little guys are busy, parents can escape to work on their tan or squeeze in a Maya-centric massage in the Hacienda’s private spa.

The property is equipped to keep everyone entertained with a heated pool and jacuzzi, a game room and media center, as well as offsite activities such as swimming in the cenotes, climbing the ruins at Uxmal, or setting out on a boat ride in search for flamingos. The luxury, 7-bedroom Hacienda Petac is a restored estate on 250 acres. Rates for 5-14 guests range from $1,500 to $2,000 a night (a minimum 4-night stay required) and include all meals, soft drinks, and airport transfers. The Children’s Adventure package is available for a supplement of $150 per child per week.

Located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the all-inclusive Club Med Ixtapa Pacific offers families an array of services, as well as kids and teens clubs sectioned by age groups. Little athletes can explore their talents with Little Basketball, Little Golf, and Little Tennis lessons—30 minutes each with equipment. Those who would like to stay out of the sun can opt for the Petit Chef program where little ones ages 4 to 10 learn to cook local dishes—parents can pass by after for a tasting.

And as if that wasn’t enough to give little ones their own vacation experience, there’s also La Sirena—a children’s restaurant within the Mini Club Med offering activities during meal times—a playground, and a kids pool. Parents will appreciate babysitting services, as well as the baby feeding and equipment room with all the essentials to prep baby meals, including bottle warmers, sterilizers, a microwave, meal mixers, and more. There’s also the Baby Corner, located in the main restaurant, serving savory baby foods and complete with equipment needed for baby meal prep; and the Baby Restaurant, located in the La Sirena restaurant, where a team of chefs creates meals to satisfy babies’ specific needs.

Teens, ages 11 to 17, who like to get pampered can enjoy the Teen Spa for beauty and wellness treatments. They’ll also have the opportunity to run away with the circus during the Flying Trapeze and Circus Activities program where they’ll learn to walk the tight rope, fly through the air, or juggle like a clown. Family-friendly excursions include a swim with the dolphins, kayaking, horse or pony riding, archery and much more.

Kids under 4 stay free; ages 4 to 12 receive a 50 percent discount; and those 13 to 15 get a 40 percent discount on stays. Room rates start at $739 per adult per week for an early booking for summer 2016.

puerto vallarta
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, overlooking Banderas Bay, offers guests its Unlimited-Luxury experience where everything is included such as top-shelf spirits, theme parties, and daily and nightly activities.

Mom and Dad can take time for themselves while kids are enjoying the Explorer’s Club for ages 3 to 12. It offers kids a variety of activities, including treasure hunts, sandcastle contests, cooking lessons with the chef, an ocean trampoline, euro-bungee, camp-out adventures, and big screen movies on the beach. Plus, to ease parents’ minds, beepers are provided for parental control. The Core Zone Teens Club for ages 13 to 17, offers nightly supervised social events such as bonfires and disco mixers, a snack bar with non-alcoholic drinks, video games, an archery and pistol range, air hockey, football, a basketball court, water activities and much more.

Families can explore together through various tours and excursions such as seasonal whale watching (December-May), swimming with dolphins and sea lions, and Eco-Adventure tours featuring canopy tours, ziplining, hiking and more. Rates for the Single Parents promotion for the Unlimited-Luxury experience start at $5,496 for a Junior Suite Oceanview Double. No single supplement for single parents traveling with at least two kids valid until Dec. 22, 2015. Standard rate starts at $6,696 and includes up to $200 resort coupons.

Hanging with Raggs
The Palladium Hotel Group has added Play at Palladium with Raggs at the Grand Palladium all-inclusive luxury resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. The new program brings five Ragg characters into the kids programs with meet-and-greets, dining, and musical experiences. The Raggs characters’ rockin’ musical live shows will also be a key component of the Grand Palladium Resort experience.

contact information
Club Med Ixtapa Pacific: or

Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun:

Great Parnassus All-Inclusive Resort & Spa: or 

Hacienda Petac: 

Now Amber Puerto Vallarta: or

Palladium Hotel Group:

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort: