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My husband and I went to Los Cabos, Mexico on our honeymoon and loved it. We already knew from that experience that Cabo, while known for its nightlife and spring break party culture, is also filled with stunning scenery, incredible food, and plenty of opportunity for family-friendly adventure and relaxation. We jokingly refer to it as the poor man’s Hawaii, but truthfully it’s so much more than that. We were excited to plan a trip back this fall.
Still, Cabo with kids? We were definitely a little nervous about bringing our 16-month-old along with us, so we did some research before we left to help us decide how to plan our trip and what type of gear to bring along. We ended up having an unforgettable vacation, and our toddler loved it!
(Though these tips refer primarily to Cabo – most of this advice is helpful for travel anywhere in Mexico with kids!)
Here are some tips and highlights from our trip if you are considering going to Cabo San Lucas with kids!
Choosing a Family Friendly Hotel or Resort
Choosing where to stay is a big decision if you are traveling with a baby. We stayed at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort and some features we loved were having a kitchenette in our room, lots of kid-friendly pools, and kid-friendly dining and a marketplace right at the resort. We also stayed there on our honeymoon as a family member gifted us a timeshare use. It’s amazing, but a little spendy.
The good news is, there are a TON of awesome hotel and resort options in Cabo all with unique views and amenities. It is a tourist destination, after all.
Before booking a place I would recommend making a couple of decisions about your trip to help you get the right fit.
First, determine if you would like an all-inclusive resort experience or not, and second, determine how you will be getting around on your trip. Based off of these decisions you can narrow down your options much easier and get the best bang for your buck. For example, if you are going all-inclusive you wouldn’t necessarily need a kitchen in your room. And if you aren’t renting a car you might prefer a more centralized location with beach access.
And while we didn’t mind the scorching August heat on our honeymoon, we were grateful for our decision to travel mid-October this trip. We enjoyed the smaller crowds, beautiful weather in the mid to low eighties, and perfect breezy evenings. Similarly, May and June are great months to visit as they immediately follow peak season but still experience milder weather.
All-Inclusive Pros and Cons
There are obviously pros and cons to purchasing an all-inclusive package at a resort, with one of the biggest draws being unlimited adult beverages. As we were traveling with a baby and I was pregnant it would have been nearly impossible for us to eat enough food to justify the cost of an all-inclusive package on our trip. We also love to venture out during the day and try local restaurants, so we happily passed on all-inclusive.
However, if we had been with a larger group or if we hadn’t rented a car and were planning to stay at the resort majority of the time I think this option would have made a lot more sense.
Transportation in Cabo with Kids
There a few things you have to decide in advance about how you will get around in Cabo with your baby. The primary options of transportation available to you are renting a car, hiring taxis and/or private transportation, or taking the public bus.
As I mentioned, we rented a car on our trip because we like to go on excursions and day trips and wanted to travel with our car seat and keep it installed. It cost a little under $600 for the full week with the insurance protection (which we would highly recommend). My husband also LOVES driving in other countries and can’t resist the opportunity, so this is almost always our method of choice for getting around.
However, if the only transportation you need is to and from the airport and possibly dining out a few times you’ll probably save just by opting for taxis and shuttles. Legally, car seats aren’t a requirement in Mexico. But personally, I would still recommend traveling with your car seat (they’re free to check) and installing it for your trips to and from the airport and any other significant rides as it’s going to be safer for your baby than riding in your lap. Note: If you arrange private transportation from the airport through your hotel you can inquire about a car seat rental. Though not available in taxis, some of the private companies do have options available.
If you’re traveling on a budget and are super adventurous the public bus is the cheapest option. Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips to offer you about the bus as we’ve always driven, but Tripadvisor has some great info on how the system works if you are interested. Just make sure where you are staying is close to the main route!
Adjust Your Expectations
While it’s true there are seemingly limitless opportunities for adventures and excursions to do with KIDS in Cabo (ie snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, zip lining) – you can’t do most of those things with a baby. And this is where the question comes in…”is it actually worth planning a vacation with a baby? Will we still have a good time in Cabo?”
Our answer is a resounding yes! We had an amazing vacation, even with baby in tow. And as new parents, we think it’s as important as ever to break up the monotony of the daily grind with time dedicated to having fun and relaxing together.
But it’s still wise to approach any big vacation with realistic expectations. We knew our resort had amazing pools that we would be happy to spend time lounging at every single day, and we did just that! By the end of the week, our toddler would grab her pool floaties and bang on the door to beg us to take her to the pool. A huge success in our minds as she won’t even go in the bath!
Definitely plan on taking it easy and lounging at your pool, taking afternoon siestas in your room, and enjoying the simple pleasures of delicious food and views. For excursions, I’d consider taking a boat ride to the Arches or a sunset cruise, but avoid any of the all-day activities.
My extremely adventurous husband knew we were in for a chiller vacation and even read some books! (Say, what?!) The truth is, we needed it. We were pooped.
But no skydiving for us. Not this trip, anyway 😉
Again, this might be different if you are traveling with friends or family. But just be prepared to go with the flow and set realistic expectations and you will have a great time!
Our Cabo Highlights
Some highlights for us with Hazel were window shopping and dining at the marina. We had some excellent food at Captain Tony’s Bar and Grill on the waterfront and enjoyed strolling around. (Bring stroller or baby carrier.)
The best local taco joint we went to was Tacos Guss, and it did not disappoint! There was a smattering of locals and tourists coming in for the amazing tacos, which were cheap and came with a huge plate of toppings and salsas. So good! We had to hold Hazel there but it was completely worth it.
My personal favorite experience of the trip was taking a drive over to San Jose Del Cabo to visit Flora Farms. Their restaurant, Flora’s Field Kitchen, boasts delicious farm-to-table plates with fresh ingredients from the organic 25-acre farm on site. It was an absolute paradise, and completely kid-friendly. Don’t forget to stop at their fresh, handmade ice cream cart before you leave!
What you will need to pack for your baby obviously depends on their age, but there are a few things you should definitely bring with you regardless if going to Cabo with kids.
I already mentioned we traveled with our own stroller and car seat. As they check for free when flying this was a no-brainer for us. (Don’t forget that your child will also need a passport!)
A swimsuit, swim diapers, sun hat, pool floaties, and baby sunscreen are a MUST for a vacation in Mexico. However, all these things can be found for purchase fairly easily, especially if you are renting a car. We stopped at WalMart (yes, they have a WalMart and Costco in Cabo) on our way to our hotel and picked up all the essentials we would need for the week, including groceries and diapers and wipes for Hazel. This allowed us to avoid checking a bag for her.
Hotel gift shops often sell baby essentials such as diapers as well, but you will pay double or triple the cost.
If you have a walker, pack swim shoes. This was one regret of ours as they would have been great for Hazel to wear into the pool to play around with her toys on the steps or to grip better in the kiddie pool.
The Intex Kids Travel Air Mattress is my favorite toddler travel bed. It fits a standard crib sheet and has walls to keep kids safely tucked in. Hazel loves it. It’s perfect for ages 15 months plus who no longer sleep in a crib or pack n’ play. Otherwise, cribs can be rented from your hotel. Make arrangements in advance.
One of my other favorite products for traveling is actually disposable bibs. I’m obsessed. It’s so wonderful to travel with these when you don’t have access to laundry. Sometimes I can find this brand at The Dollar Tree but they are also available on Amazon for a great price.
Of course, you’ll want to pack plenty of snacks and several toys/activity books for your flights – but other than that I really don’t recommend stressing out about bringing a ton of gear! As long as you have swimsuits, cover-ups, and sandals you are set up to have a good time.
Cabo is more baby-friendly than we anticipated and we had an incredible vacation with our 16-month-old! I hope these tips can help you plan a great trip for your family and that you feel encouraged about bringing your baby along.
Planning your own trip to Cabo with kids? Feel free to comment below with any questions! I’d love to help!
P.S. We did get food poisoning from some bad burgers on the last night of this otherwise perfect trip. Check out my Facebook Post for the behind-the-scenes story of surviving the worst day of travel ever. This blog IS called Welcome to the Circus after all…