Mexico Vacation With Kids On A Budget

If you are looking for a tropical vacation with the kids, Mexico is a great choice! There are plenty of things to do in Mexico with kids. Plus, you can experience turquoise waters, white sand, and plenty of fun activities for the whole family. Mexico is much more affordable than Caribbean Islands nearby with white sands and turquoise waters. Here I’ll show you great ways to go to Mexico on a budget. Mexico makes a great, affordable family vacation!

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This post will be focused on taking that tropical family vacation to the Riviera Maya area of Mexico, which is famous for its warm sunshine, beautiful beaches, and numerous activities.

Mexico on a budget pin

Planning to drive yourself in Mexico? Check out great rental car deals in Cancun!


Getting to Mexico on a Budget

All major airlines fly into Cancun, the airport that serves the whole Riviera Maya. Often, the most affordable airline getting to Mexico is Frontier. This a la carte airline runs some really good deals. Make sure to sign up on their email list to get alerted of flight deals. (We were recently able to go to Mexico for about $150 R/T.) Between signing up for email alerts and frequently checking flights on a site like Google Flights.

If you book on an airline like Frontier, you do need to buy seat assignments (usually families want to guarantee they sit together). You also have to buy some checked bags. Keep in mind that every person doesn’t need a checked bag. You’ll probably be in a swimsuit most of the time, so do not pack more than you need. We are a family of 6 and packed everything into 2 giant, checked bags.

Southwest, while not the cheapest airline, can be an affordable option during a sale. If you’re able to book at a good price, then you are good to go! Southwest does not have baggage fees (within 2 bags), and its open-seating policy means that as long as you’re on-time for boarding, your family should be able to find seats together without a problem. No extra charge 🙂

Keep in mind that fares to Mexico vary, just as any other destination. The off-season for Mexico is late summer and into fall. This is when hurricane season commences and things slow down a little. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a great vacation still (unless a hurricane actually comes through, of course 😉 )

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Where to Stay in Mexico on a Budget

In order to stay on a budget in Mexico, make sure your expectations aren’t set on luxury resorts. If you truly want to make that trip happen, but can’t afford the luxury, you need to be willing to let the luxury go. That said, there are still really great places to stay in Mexico on a budget.

All-Inclusive or non-All-inclusive? That is a good question, especially when trying to stay on a budget.

Mexico All-Inclusives on a Budget

All-inclusive often comes with a hefty price tag. But there are plenty of All-Inclusives that don’t cost an arm and a leg to stay.

We recently stayed at the Viva Wyndham Maya (<— full details) in Playa del Carmen where it was just over $100/night for a room. It was all-inclusive, meaning all our food was included, lots of activities, entertainment, pools, great beach area, and more. When you look at it that way, that is an incredible deal and a huge value!

Was Viva Wyndham Maya the nicest resort in Mexico? No. But it came at a budget price and still included a ton. We were plenty happy here.

You can find plenty of all-inclusives that can meet a lower budget. And again, keep in mind that you don’t have to worry about spending more money on food or most (or all) activities when you arrive.

Here are a few other suggestions that are pretty affordable (of course, they vary depending on the time of year).

Affordable Cancun All-Inclusive Hotels

Riu Caribe- From $188/night, but often on sale depending on time of year

Riu Caribe All Inclusive

Riu Caribe All Inclusive

Located in Cancun (Zona Hotelera), Riu Caribe All Inclusive is within a 15-minute walk of Tortuga Beach and Langosta Beach. Featured amenities include limo/town car service, a computer station, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Free self parking is available onsite.


Krystal Cancun- From $166/night

Krystal Cancun All Inclusive

Krystal Cancun All Inclusive

With a stay at Krystal Cancun All Inclusive in Cancun (Zona Hotelera), you’ll be steps from Forum Beach and Gaviota Azul Beach. Featured amenities include a business center, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a 24-hour front desk. This hotel has 5 meeting rooms available for events. Free valet parking is available onsite.


Affordable Playa del Carmen All-Inclusive Hotels

Viva Wyndham Maya (full review here for more details)– From $132/night

Viva Wyndham Maya - All Inclusive

Viva Wyndham Maya – All Inclusive

Located in Playa del Carmen (Playacar), Viva Wyndham Maya – All Inclusive is within a 15-minute drive of Playacar Golf Club and Quinta Avenida. Featured amenities include a 24-hour front desk, multilingual staff, and luggage storage. Planning an event in Playa del Carmen? This property has facilities measuring 18980 square feet (1763 square meters), including conference space. Guests may use a roundtrip airport shuttle for a surcharge, and free self parking is available onsite.


affordable hotels in mexico, beach area of wyndham Maya
Viva Wyndham Maya had a great beach at a great price

The Reef Coco Beach- Playa del CarmenFrom $118/night

The Reef Coco Beach - Optional All Inclusive

The Reef Coco Beach – Optional All Inclusive

With a stay at The Reef Coco Beach – Optional All Inclusive in Playa del Carmen, you’ll be on the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Quinta Avenida and Playa del Carmen Main Beach. Featured amenities include a business center, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a 24-hour front desk. Planning an event in Playa del Carmen? This resort has facilities measuring 8759 square feet (814 square meters), including conference space. Free self parking is available onsite.


Using Hotels.com

Another tip (and what I always do!) is to use Hotels.com to book your hotel. When you register for the website (free), you have access to their secret prices, which often is lower than what is listed above. There are so many other benefits to using Hotels.com, so find out why you should use Hotels.com here.

Things to do in Mexico on a Budget

Play at the Resort with the Included Amenities

You may book your flight and book your All-inclusive and be good to go. If your idea of a fun family vacation is to hang out at the resort and beach, then in theory, you don’t have to spend another dime. And that is a great option, because most resorts have plenty of things to do to keep their guests happy for the entire trip.

Take advantage of those resort amenities. Many all-inclusive resorts have kayaks and boogie boards. These water activities are unique, cheap (or free), and a blast with the whole family.

All-Inclusive resorts also usually have a kids club that the kids can attend free-of-charge. Activities run through the day, whether it’s building sand castles, playing in the kid’s zone, or playing water games. Kids Club is run by a staff member for the purpose of entertaining the little ones at any time of day.

However, if you’d like to get out and explore a little, there are some great, affordable things to do in the Riviera Maya on a budget.

kids club area
Kids Clubs are a great option for entertaining the kids!

Check Out the Cenotes

There are thousands of cenotes in the Riviera Maya and surrounding areas. Some are part of tourist parks that are really beautiful, but come with a higher price. No worries; there are plenty of cenotes that don’t cost but a few dollars to visit! Here are a few that are close to each other, making a great day trip!

  • Cenote Cristalino just south of Puerto Aventuras- Around $7-8 for entrance, this cenote gets up to 6 meters deep, has great fish and snorkeling, and an option to cliff dive from 20 feet above.
  • Cenote Jardín del Eden is not far from Cenote Cristalino. Entrance is around $10 (200 pesos) to this popular cenote. Here you can rental snorkels and life jackets. Closed Saturdays.
  • Cenote Azul is another popular, beautiful cenote in the same area as the previous two cenotes. Entrance is around $7-$8, and you can rent a life jacket as well.

Affordable Archeological Ruins in Riviera Maya

TULUM– Entrance to the Tulum Ruins is very inexpensive. It’s just a couple dollars a person, however, you have to pay in pesos, so make sure you have exact change (35-40 pesos per person). For just a couple dollars, you get entrance to a place that takes you back in time to the Mayan. Explores the different temples and buildings that are standing today, with beautiful turquoise waters below. Walking around Tulum can take 1-2 hours, and there are plenty of signs and plaques to read along the way.

Tulum ruins

CANCUNEl Rey Archaeological Zone only cost a couple dollars per person to enter. Here you can roam around 45 Mayan structures. From temples to burial sites, this lesser-known site is easy to get to on the southern part of Cancun.


Need more ideas?

Check out my post of Kid-Friendly Excursions in Mexico (they are varied in pricing, though!)


How to Get Around Riviera Maya on a Budget

There are a few options for getting around Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and down to Tulum on a budget.

First, you could get a taxi. Taxis should cost between 25-200 pesos for a ride within town. However…you need to solidify this price before you get in. Often, taxi drivers will take tourists for a much higher price than 200 pesos. Make sure to talk down the price. Then, it really becomes an affordable way to get around the Riviera Maya.

You could also take a colectivo, a white van that goes up and down the main highway of the Riviera Maya. Since this is a family-travel-friendly post, you may want to stick with a taxi though. The colectivos don’t necessarily take you right where you want to go, so you (and the kids) may end up walking a ways.

Interested more in safety and convenience? You can hire a driver for 5 hours in the Riviera Maya. While it may not be the cheapest option, $180 is still a great deal for 5 hours of private service, wherever you want to go, and whenever you want! We used this service last time we were there and it was awesome!


More tips on traveling on a budget! (Even with a big family).

Fun excursions for Kids in the Riviera Maya


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Take a Vacation to Mexico on a Budget!

Hopefully now you see that it is possible to take an affordable family vacation to Mexico! Using these tips, you could get some really great deals in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and everywhere in between! A tropical family vacation doesn’t have to be expensive.

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Saving money on vacation to Mexico

46 thoughts on “Mexico Vacation With Kids On A Budget”

  1. It’s pretty amazing that you can have a family trip to Mexico so cheaply! I really love the look of visiting the cenotes as well as the ruins at Tulum. It sounds like your family had a blast!

  2. These are great tips! My kids are grown. I’d love a fun solo trip to Mexico. Your suggestions gave me great ideas.

  3. Great post! I am always looking for places to visit with my daughter. Mexico has always been on the list, and I love that you have included budget tips. I also love the photos of the ruins, that is something we would both enjoy. These tips will be very helpful for planning my own trip

  4. I used to go to Mexico as a kid and adored it. I love that you’ve helped other families visit for cheap like we used to!

  5. Mexico is one of our favorite family destinations and visiting a cenote is key so happy to see you mentioned that!

  6. This part of Mexico is one of my favorite places! Totally agree about hiring a taxi rather than taking your family’s life into your hands in a colectivo – those drivers whip down the highway at 90+ mph, yikes.

  7. Love the money-saving tips! I have never been to Mexico (yet), but the cenotes look beautiful! Seams like a great destination on a budget. Saving your post for when I make it to Mexico so I can refer to it 🙂 Great post!

  8. Thanks for this great perspective, we have not traveled to Mexico with the kids but will look into it!

  9. This looks like just the right balance between fun for the kids and sensible educational stuff for adults! I’d love to visit with my kids. Thanks for your informative post!

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