Cancun is more or less synonymous with the all-inclusive vacation. So it might surprise you that Mexico’s most famous stretch of Yucatan coastline is also home to some appealing and family-friendly resorts of the non-all inclusive variety, too. Follow our lead to these best non all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, where you can vacation steps from the sugarcane beaches and blue water backdrop that make the resort town famous all over the world.
1. JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
For a luxury hotel that caters to family travel just as well as multi-generational and couples’ travel, look no further than the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, in a prime location fronting the beach in Cancun’s Zona Hotelera.
The property offers an ongoing Family Fun package that guarantees connecting rooms for your gang and wraps both rooms into one nightly rate that also includes a $50 resort credit per room (for a total of $100 to spend at the hotel’s restaurants, lavish spa, and more). The package also includes free breakfast for two kids under age 12 and kids’ club access for two kids between the ages of four and 12. Do note that a three-night minimum stay is required to enjoy the package’s benefits, but trust us—you’ll want even longer to enjoy this gorgeous property just steps from the balmy Caribbean waters.
Among the many highlights for families are a family pool steps from the beach, a Kids Spa where they can get Mayan Princess manicures, and a pool where you can learn the basics of scuba diving on an artificial reef.
2. Marriott Cancun Resort
Right on the beach directly south of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, this less expensive Marriott property next door is another great bet for families looking for a non-all-inclusive resort in Cancun that promises plenty of fun. The same Family Fun package, with guaranteed connecting rooms and the other perks, is also on offer at the Marriott Cancun Resort for stays of three nights or longer. Oceanfront rooms are worth the splurge so you can wake up and enjoy sunrise over the Caribbean Sea right from your balcony. And the onsite restaurants mix things up with options that include a sports bar, Japanese teppanyaki, Thai, Italian and more.
3. Grand Fiesta American Coral Beach Cancun
While all-inclusive rates can be arranged here, the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun operates mostly on a la carte room rates and caters to a crowd that prefers the feel and ambiance of a non-all-inclusive resort. Everything you’d want in a Cancun family vacation awaits here, with a gorgeous pool winding through the heart of the property and overlooking the sea, and a quiet stretch of beachfront for basking in the warm waters and soft sands. The hotel is right next to the ferry that leaves regularly for Isla Mujeres, so it couldn’t be easier to plan a day trip with the family during your stay. Take advantage of the day rates at the onsite kids club, one of the best in Cancun, to enjoy what’s arguably the most indulgent and beautiful hotel spa on all of the Riviera Maya. At Gem Spa, chakra-balancing treatments incorporate gems to get you to that well-balanced vacation state you’ve been craving.
4. The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun
Who needs an all-inclusive resort in Cancun when you can rent your very own beach villa equipped with a full kitchen along one of the best beaches in Mexico? The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun caters to families with villas, standard hotel rooms and studios, and a coral reef right out front that you can fin out to from the beach for a snorkel session. Other amenities include multiple pools, a FlowRider surfing simulator for some friendly family wave-riding, and an onsite kids’ club. Did we mention the resident iguanas you can feed at the hotel, too? Breakfast is served buffet style daily, and other onsite restaurants mix up your options with things like seafood, wood-fired pizzas, artisanal ice cream and other international treats.
5. The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas and Spa
Your family will feel utterly pampered in the oceanfront villas—complete with kitchenettes or full kitchens, washers and dryers, marble bathrooms and separate living and dining rooms—at The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas and Spa in Cancun. There’s an onsite activity pool with a waterslide, as well as a dedicated kids’ pool at this perennially popular property right in the heart of Cancun’s Zona Hotelera, and you can choose to dine at the onsite restaurants or walk to nearby shops and restaurants. One of Cancun’s top family attractions, the Interactive Aquarium Cancun, is also within a short stroll of your room.
6. The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
For a five-star oceanfront stay among the most luxurious resort in all of the Maya Riviera, make it the gold standard at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, a long-standing Yucatan property and established family favorite for a beach vacation. Think crystal chandeliers, marble floors and oriental rugs in the common spaces. And in your oceanfront room, of course, it’s all about views of that sparkling turquoise Caribbean Sea out front. Give the kids a treat with some time at the hotel’s kids’ camp, where they’ll enjoy activities that might include learning how to make piñatas and going on scavenger hunts. Other amenities at the resort include nine onsite restaurants and a world-class tennis center with a children’s pro on staff. From May through September, the family can take part in the property’s interactive sea turtle conservation program.
7. Hotel Krystal Cancun
With an optional all-inclusive plan, the 502-room Krystal Cancun is a family-friendly hotel where you can also choose to book a simple European-plan room for your stay along this gorgeous stretch of the Yucatan Peninsula. Right near the Punta Cancun Lighthouse and the Cancun Convention Center, the property has both a Mexican and international restaurant for onsite dining. Children get a kick out of the waterfall feature in the kids’ pool, and there’s a kids’ club just for them. But the property’s vast and beautiful beach is where it’s at for building sandcastles in the powdery sand and basking in those warm Caribbean waters.
8. Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla
Right next to the Nichupté Lagoon in Cancun’s Zona Hotelera, the new Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla puts you within a quick stroll of the beach, as well as shopping and dining—all within the comfort of a familiar hotel brand with a la carte room rates. Parents can retire to the hotel’s rooftop bar when it’s time for a sundowner drink, and there’s a rooftop pool and a kids’ menu at the hotel’s pleasant restaurant, too. The overall feel is definitely more urban than beachy, but the vibe is stylish and the hospitality as inviting as the warm Yucatan sun.
Longtime travel writer and adventurer Terry Ward lives in Florida with her husband and young son and daughter. She’s constantly on the lookout for the next Scandinavia Airlines Kids Fly Free deal to save money on flights to Norway, her favorite place to visit both in the winter (Northern Lights!) and summer (Midnight Sun!). A travel writer since 2001 (read: long before the kids came along), she’s written for such publications as Endless Vacation Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Scuba Diving Magazine, among many others. Find Terry on her website, Terry-Ward.com.