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Traveling to Mexico with a Baby or Toddler

Traveling to Mexico with a Baby or Toddler

Mexico is a very baby-friendly destination. The country is beautiful, so it’s no surprise that many people looking to escape winter chose Mexico.

You don’t need to stress when traveling to Mexico with a baby or toddler, it’s a great spot for all ages and a pretty easy destination for the first trip with a baby or a fun trip with a toddler!

I’ll be focusing on beach destinations in Mexico in this post because I feel like most people are looking to explore Riviera Maya with a baby. We’ve been living in Playa del Carmen on and off for years now and my second son is actually Mexican – he was born in Cancun, so I can tell you everything about a baby in Mexico. I can say I have experience with taking kids to Mexico from birth to preschool 😉


Is it Safe to Take a Baby to Mexico?

Yes! It’s a short flight away, there’s a huge variety of baby products everywhere, no threat of any infections or diseases and locals are very accommodating with babies. Around Yucatan Peninsula, most people will speak some English, or if they don’t they’ll find someone who does making it an easy destination to travel to.

Use a sun hat, a rash guard for swimming, and baby-safe bug spray and sunscreen and you’ll be fine.

I do feel like many bloggers still present traveling to Mexico with a baby or kids with an American mindset of “it’s scary, so take precautions”, but you can relax a bit and don’t need to stay at the resort and rely on organized tours only. Quite honestly, especially the Riviera Maya region is much safer than if you were to take your baby to New York City or Chicago. Remember, kids live in Mexico too!

Toddler captivated by the sight of his father holding a baby in Mexico's enchanting cenote waters.

Traveling to Mexico with a Baby or Toddler

Best Places to Visit in Mexico with a Baby

You can’t go wrong with Mexico! Even a place that’s not the most kids-friendly like Tulum still has some options for families with young kids.

If you’re looking for a nice beach and explore a bit I can recommend anywhere in Riviera Maya, but for a slightly more local vibe, I recommend Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Puerto Morelos. There are plenty of wonderful apartment rentals that are convenient when you’re traveling with a baby to Mexico.

If you’re into resorts, there are various resorts all over the place that cater to families. While most kids clubs in Mexico accept kids older than 4 years, if you want some time alone the resorts also offer babysitting services.

Whatever you decide, I highly recommend getting an apartment with a pool. Mexico along with the resort of the Caribbean might get hit with a seaweed wave and if that happens you won’t be able to get into the ocean (you could, but it will be pretty yuckie). Pool is crucial in those circumstances.

This is why Playa del Carmen is a great place for families, because you can find a ton of apartment rentals with a pool within walking distance to the beach, restaurants, or shopping. Then, you can rent a car or do a tour for day trips.

Mother unwinding on a beach chair with her young children, embodying a relaxing beach day in Mexico with a baby.
Holden – 2 weeks old & Dylan – 21 months old in this photo

Babysitters in Mexico

Babysitters in Mexico are wonderful and incomparably better than anywhere in the US. Don’t be afraid to use them!

Resorts have their own babysitters (it’s usually someone who’s working at their kids club) and you can tell them whether you want the babysitter to stay in the room with the child, or go to the beach, take them to kids club and so on. We hired a babysitter at the resort once and quite frankly we had to hire her a few more times during our stay because my son (1.5 years at the time) didn’t want her to leave and kept asking when is she coming back to play again.

If you’re staying outside of the resorts you’ll have many options for all ages. In Playa del Carmen there are a few wonderful agencies – I mentioned them all here. We had a ton of different babysitters and they were all wonderful, coming with a bunch of activities and always super engaged with the kids.

Plus, it’s affordable – it’s usually a maximum $10 an hour, or $15 an hour for two kids.

Baby enjoying a playful moment as a pretend skipper on a boat, making memories in Mexico.
Holden in Bacalar Lagoon was 12 months old

Baby Products and Diapers in Mexico

Everything is available in Mexico. Most American and European brands and more are available in Mexico without issues. You can buy diapers, wipes, other baby products, and formula at a big grocery store or any pharmacy.

Brands like Similac, Hipp, Nan, Enfamil are available in Mexico. In fact, there is WAY more choice of formula in Mexico than in the US and it’s always been that way.

Little boy with sunglasses, excited for a pool day at a Mexican resort, complete with a baby-friendly float.

Baby Food in Mexico

I actually brought a ton of formula from Mexico back to the US, because they sell European formula for an affordable price.

If your baby eats purees you’ll be able to purchase them in Mexico as well. Gerber jars are popular, and you can purchase some pouches but it’s mostly fruit.

Baby trying out snacks at a quaint café, experiencing the local cuisine in Mexico with family.

As you can imagine all resorts have things like high chairs and cribs. Many apartment rentals also offer some baby gear.

High chairs at restaurants in Mexico are a hit or miss. Various tourist restaurants have high chairs, but they often run out. Especially if you’re traveling with another family with kids and need 2 high chairs, consider bringing your own harness or other portable one.

Well-stocked baby accessories aisle in a store, perfect for those traveling through Mexico with infants.
Lots of baby toys and products at Liverpool department store

Baby Water in Mexico

A lot of people worry about the water in Mexico, especially with a baby. I’ve spent years living in Mexico and quite frankly never had a single issue with the water. I brushed my teeth with it and did what locals do when my baby was born – I washed my bottles with tap water.

In hotels, I used a kettle in the room to heat the water mixed with liquid dish detergent and a brush. Otherwise, in a rental, a brush will do (Mexicans are not very big on dishwashers for some reason).

I did wipe it with a paper towel afterward and it was absolutely fine, but some friends brought their microwavable bags for bottle cleaning – it’s an idea if you’re renting an apartment.

Apart from cleaning bottles and dishes, drinking tap water isn’t recommended! Hotels and resorts provide you with bottled water and if you’re renting an apartment the reception usually offers to replenish a giant jug of water for a dollar or two.

Baby bottle-feeding under the glow of festive lights at a Mexican restaurant, a family-friendly dining experience.

Do Babies Need Car Seats in Mexico?

The good news is that Mexico uses the same car seats as the US, so your car seat will be legal (it’s not legal in Europe).

Babies should be in a car seat regardless of the rules for their own safety, but depending on your situation you might not have to bring your car seat from home. Here’s why:

If you’re traveling to a resort and not planning on leaving it you can basically order transport with a car seat. Cancun Airport Transportation provides car seats for even infants and I actually do that quite often in Mexico, because the car just shows up with a car seat installed and I don’t need to install anything myself after a long trip.

If you’re renting a car to drive around then I recommend you bring your own car seat

When it comes to taxis it’s tricky, because it’s not unusual for a taxi to come with no seatbelts. Most locals just use public transportation (minibusses) and carry their babies in carriers, which brings me to the next point.

Peaceful baby nap in a stroller by the beach, while mom enjoys the serene Mexican coastline.

Is Mexico Stroller Friendly?

I do recommend bringing a stroller to Mexico because it’s hot and humid so carriers all day long isn’t the greatest idea. If you’re staying at a resort, it’s also nice to have a small travel stroller by the pool.

For off-resort exploring, keep in mind that most sidewalks are uneven or don’t even exist, so with a stroller you will be doomed to touristy streets. However, we always manage with a stroller just fine.

Families with their young ones out for a stroll on a lively Mexican evening, the joy of exploring Mexico with babies in tow.

Renting Baby Gear in Mexico

It’s definitely possible to rent some baby gear in Mexico or if you prefer you can buy some things. Things like bottles, toys, umbrella strollers, cribs, and anything baby-related can be bought at any bigger supermarkets or pharmacies.

Renting is available from sites like Baby Gear Rental, but quite frankly it’s so affordable it might be cheaper to just buy whatever you need.

Kids in their bedtime attire in a crib, a common end to a day filled with adventure in Mexico with toddlers.

What to Pack for a Trip with a Baby to Mexico

If you’re flying to Cancun pack lots of spare milk, snacks, and toys in your carry-on luggage. Once you get off the plane lines to immigration at Cancun airport are long and kids will be bored. Have a stroller and some entertainment ready for them.

Then, once you pass immigration you’ll be waiting for your checked luggage for a while and there’s no shop to buy snacks in that area so come prepared!

1. Bug Spray and Bug Net

Mexico has a lot of bugs! Depending on the age of the child you can use a big net on top of the stroller or spray the kids with bug spray for the evening.

My kids always get attacked by mosquitos regardless of the DEET, but without it it would be impossible. You don’t even have to bring your own if you’re staying outside of a resort – they sell kids-friendly bug sprays at every corner.

Baby sleeping peacefully in a stroller by the pool in Mexico, embodying the ease of vacationing with a baby.

2. Rain Cover for the Stroller or Umbrella

The weather in Mexico is slightly unpredictable. It can be a beautiful sunny morning and then suddenly it starts raining, and most of the time it really pours. Always have a raincoat for the stroller and an umbrella or a lightweight raincoat for a toddler. It’s warm enough, so nothing fancy is necessary but you will get wet.

And speaking of a stroller… if you’re bringing one keep in mind that streets might be busy, more narrow, or full of uneven pavement. A cheap umbrella stroller will be your nightmare, so get yourself a good travel stroller.

Little adventurer in a blue raincoat splashing in puddles, enjoying a rainy Mexican day with bright yellow boots.

3. Sunscreen or SPF Shirts

Mexico’s sun is strong so babies and toddlers will get a lot of sun. SPF shirts are great and keep you from reapplying sunscreen a million times, but you might want to apply some on kids’ legs.

4. Consider Taking a Flashlight or Candle

There are occasional electricity cuts, especially in places like Tulum, so you might want to have a flashlight or candles ready. My husband always feels very proud of himself when there’s no light and he uses a flashlight to give the baby some milk.

Curious baby in a tropical print onesie and a fluffy white cat gazing out at a lush Mexican garden from a beachfront home.

5. Floatation Device

If you’re planning on going on a boat tour or to a cenote (which I highly recommend, even with a tiny baby – my son visited his first at 3 weeks old!) bring your own life jacket.

I’ve never found a resort, hotel, or rental place that offers an infant floatation device. They just expect you to either have a baby in a carrier or go without it. In some spots even toddler sizes are hard to find, so we always bring our own. It doesn’t take up too much space in the suitcase, but it makes things easier.

Anything else like sand toys or fun floaties can be bought cheaply anywhere in Mexico, but a life jacket for a baby isn’t something you can easily rebuy.


Things to Do in Mexico with a Baby

I always say that you can do everything with a baby or toddler anywhere unless they actually ban you from bringing them. Especially Riviera Maya is such a family-friendly destination that many activities are available for all ages.

Whether you want to find a local spot to hang out or go to one of the adventure parks like Xcaret, it’s all possible and enjoyable with a baby or toddler.

Do you have any questions about traveling to Mexico with a baby?

Nicole Rickard

Thursday 21st of March 2024

This was exactly what I needed! I’ve spent so much time googling which formulas I can buy in riviera maya and this blog was the only information i could find and it covered every question I had. Baggage fees are so expensive now that I’m trying to decide if I bring an entire tub of enfamil to be safe and not run out which would waste space and luggage weight or if I bring what I think my baby will need and have the option of buying there if we needed. I really appreciate all of the info on here. We need more informative mom blogs like this. Thank so much!!

Ivy

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Something I haven’t found on any of these travel blogs is how to safely wash an infant. My son loves putting his wash cloth in his mouth which worries me when we are in Mexico. Should I preboil bathing water or just use baby wipes as a bath alternative?

AnnaEverywhere

Friday 12th of January 2024

Are you staying at a small town apartment, hotel, or a resort in touristy destination? If you're staying at a hotel or resort they might have water purification system actually :) Bathing a baby in pre-boiled water or with baby wipes sounds extremely excessive. Remember that kids all over the world tend to drink pool water and when they did the tests 75% of pools anywhere in the world of contain harmful bacterias - yet, kids are fine. I wouldn't let the infant drink the water in Mexico directly but that shouldn't stop you from bathing them - just take away the wash cloth or replace it with a sponge. Millions of Mexican and expat kids bathe daily and they're fine, so don't stress over it too much.

Brittni Schilli

Friday 8th of December 2023

Hi! We are leaving Tuesday, 12/12 for Tulum. We will fly into Cancun and then transport to our resort in Tulum. My baby is on Hipp Anti reflux due to severe reflux. My shipment has been lost and now the new is delayed and will not arrive on time :(( it’s been a big mess for 3 weeks now. I have just enough formula to get through part of the trip. You mentioned some stores there sell Hipp. Can you tell me where, please? I’m going to see if I can purchase some when we are driving from the airport to Tulum.

Thanks!!!!

Sarah

Sunday 17th of December 2023

@Brittni Schilli, I was coming here to ask this exact question as my baby is on the same Hipp anti-reflux formula. We’re staying closer to Cancun but let me know please if you were able to get it! I may bring some back too as it seems the deliveries here keep taking longer and longer.

AnnaEverywhere

Friday 8th of December 2023

Don't worry, lots of places have it. For sure Farmacias de Ahorro has hipp and other brands (they had a ton of anti-relux and other special ones to the extend I was confused at some point). There's one in Tulum, but the ones in Playa del Carmen are bigger and therefore have more stuff in stock. It's on your way from the airport. I usually go to FARMACIAS DEL AHORRO Calle 30 (https://maps.app.goo.gl/ozkCpkFipsFPzRNq6)

Agnes

Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

This was a great post thanks so much! I am travelling with my 18 month old in a couple weeks and I was just wondering what you did with milk - did you purchase regular cows milk at the store for your son to drink? Or was that provided at the resort?

AnnaEverywhere

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Every resort or hotel will have milk, so that's not an issue. If your room has a fridge you can also just get a milk at any store or 7eleven.

Stephanie

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

I am on the fence about taking our baby who will be 5 months old by the time of the trip in July, my main concern is the heat and finding distilled water. How did you manage your two week old and the heat? Did you have to sterilize their bottles or used distilled water?

Steffy

Friday 20th of October 2023

@Anna Karsten, hi! Do you have recommendations where to hire a car? Al the car companies get bad reviews on google for scamming..

Anna Karsten

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

Don't worry! Remember that there are plenty of local and expat babies living in Mexico and they're doing just fine. It gets hot in July, but not too bad (it's much hotter in other places we used it live around the US). You can buy a stroller fan for your baby and that combined with a shade works.

You don't need distilled water. You can boil normal bottled water if you're super worried, but regular bottled water works just fine for healthy babies - that's what everyone does. We sterilized bottles the traditional way before the first use by boiling them in the pot, but if you actually look into it you'll see that sterilizing bottles nonstop is not necessary for healthy infants who have access to clean water sources and aren't premature and/or with health issues.

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