A Review. Family Friendly, Celiac-Friendly, Safe, and Fun.

When we booked our trip to club med in Cancun, I went solely off of a recommendation of a friend who loves travel and took her family of 4 there twice. I sent a link to my husband to book it and really didn’t look too much into it until a few weeks before we left to let my girls see where we were heading. Once I started looking around, I realized there wasn’t a ton of info online about Club Med Cancun. A few videos here and there but nothing really explaining too much in detail. Now that we’re home from our trip, I wanted to pass along all of the details we experienced from our spring break 2024 trip.

 Things to Do:

Our girls were 8, 10, and 11 when we went. I felt like they were good ages to experience everything the resort had to offer. If you book with kids, you will have a room in the Aquamarina buildings which are near the family friendly pool. At this pool there a bar with light snacks (the food here is terrible and we didn’t eat anything here. Soggy sandwiches basically.) They’ll also have activities throughout the day for kids to participate in like bracelet making etc. There are chairs with plenty of shade and big cushy seats that are covered so I saw a lot of babies and toddlers here resting in the shade. There is even a little splash pad and a baby pool that’s probably a foot deep. My girls were too big to hang here so we just passed it each day on our way out but it was always busy and looked like a great option if you have little ones under 5 or 6.

There were also several tennis and pickelball courts that were always busy. We jumped onto 2 tennis courts after breakfast one day and hit for a while. We didn’t need a reservation, just grabbed some balls and racquets and went for it. It was so hot that the courts were busy mostly in the mornings and evenings but there were scheduled tennis lessons daily with their pro and even a casual tournament on one day.

There were a lot of people scuba diving though we didn’t. But the resort would take people out on boats about 50 yards to the reef the property is connected to. We did snorkel which my girls loved. You check in, they give you life jackets (we brought our own snorkel gear) and you just walk right out to the reef area where you’re guaranteed to see so many fish and beautiful things. My girls loved this and it was so easy to do.

The kiosk was what they called the main area where bands would play at night and line dancing was led by the entertainment crew who were really fun and amazing at getting people dancing. This was lively every single night with couples and families alike. Everyone was dancing and having a great time.

The kiosk is near the main pool which sat next to the beach. It’s a huge pool that has fitness classes daily. There is another bar here with tons of fun drink options for the kids and a crepe station that makes delicious sweet crepes made to order. They also have fries and popcorn here.

The main beach area is really the draw of the resort. It sits next to a little peninsula on the right (which you can see vaguely in the photo above) and then has security on the other side of the property so there aren’t random beach goers right next to you like a lot of the resorts had that we could see across the water. It felt very private and secure and busy without being too crowded. We always found a shaded place to sit and chairs for us everyday without getting there early. There were only a few people selling jewelry on one day that we experienced.

They had nets set up for beach volleyball where you could jump in and play anytime you wanted.

There is also a trapeze area where the kids can swing and learn tricks. This was really fun and the training for it was quick and easy. Your kid can be more adventurous in their tricks, or just swing and drop. They have classes daily set up by age groups. Adults can also join in the fun!

Next to the trapeze is an archery area where a staff member will help your kids to safely learn to shoot. This was a hit and we spent some time there while we were waiting for our trapeze time to begin. We liked having some non-beach things to do to kill some time. I think if you have a longer trip these things will be a welcome change up.

Near here, they were building a big soccer field to open next year.

There is also an indoor theater where there was something every night. Pictured is a magician that was more geared to adults. We saw a princess show – which was the resort workers dressed up as Disney princesses and pulled kids up to dance with them. My 8 year old was on the older age for this but my other two were troopers. Then there was a Just Dance party where they played the video game onto the big screens while all of the kids jumped on the stage to dance along. My kids all loved this. The last night we saw a Michael Jackson impersonator. Again, not Vegas caliber but he was a professional from the area and really tried hard to entertain. You need to take the entertainment with a grain of salt knowing it isn’t a big production, just meant to keep guests happy.

By the kiosk are shops. The gift shop was cute with jewelry and everything you’d need for the beach. There was also an adorable souvenir shop where I bought a few things crafted by hand.

Since the property is so vast there are golf carts with 4 rows of seats driving back and forth all day into the night to get you quickly where you need to go.

Food:

There are 3 restaurants, Taco Arte which is where we ate breakfast daily since it was closest to the Aguamarina (our room). They had breads, cereals, an omelette bar, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, crepes, then tamales and and a few authentic dishes which looked like meat and veggies with different sauces. They also have coffee, fresh juices, and table services for beverages or anything else you need. Here you can sit by the ocean in a covered wrap around patio. It’s all open air and beautiful. I loved being here. It was just amazing to sit and relax and eat a meal. You don’t need a reservation for breakfast and lunch but you do for dinner. We walked right in every day and got a seaside table.

The View From The Hacienda Restaurant overlooking the main pool

The Hacienda is in the center of the resort and has the most options and best food. They had a salad bar, sandwich offerings of meats and cheeses, fresh made pizza out of the pizza oven, pasta dishes, burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and also taco bar area and even a ramen station for one night. They also had fresh fruit that was amazing and a full gelato bar. They rotated different dishes nightly like sushi (beware 😂) and steak that was plated with asparagus and mashed potatoes. (Also beware). I think we played it pretty safe the whole time then a few of us wanted to try other things for the last night and paid the price.

The Brazilian steakhouse is The Estancia which is where we ate when we first arrived at 9:30pm. They had just a few offerings on their late night menu like a vegan burrito which was strangely one of the best things we ate the whole time, hot dogs, and burgers. For dinner you need a reservation to eat here. They serve steaks with a’la carte sides like mashed potatoes, salads, creamed spinach etc. We didn’t have a good experience here at all. The steaks were raw and then charred when they were recooked. The sides weren’t good at all and nothing really stood out. We actually went to the buffet after this to eat.

When we got home, most of us experienced GI issues, Some was from the food, but I really think some of it was from germs and who knows if it was from travel or the resort or what, but I would recommend to get to the buffets early so you’re the first ones to get food at the correct temps as well as first ones to use the serving utensils which were never cleaned or changed out. There wasn’t hand sanitizer readily available either, so you get what you get in terms of lots of people touching the same things and then eating.

Celiac/ Gluten Free Info:

My oldest was diagnosed with Celiac Disease not even a year ago and I was found to have the gene responsible for celiac so she and I are both gluten free. I was very nervous about this trip knowing that if we had gluten we’d both be out of commission not feeling well since we both have reactions now that we haven’t had gluten in so long. For each meal I would find a chef and let them know that I had allergy questions- I got to know them all well! Then they took me around and told me exactly which dishes we could have and which to avoid. They were very knowledgeable and even referenced friers and cross contamination. When plain rice was served, the chef went into the kitchen to bring my daughter a side of tamari to add to the rice even showing her the container that was marked Gluten Free. They took the time for every single meal in both Tacos Arte and The Hacienda and I was so beyond grateful. There was only one gelato we could enjoy out of a whole case, a meringue dessert one night, and a crustless cheesecake another. Food-wise there was enough for us to choose from and be full each meal which was a relief and we didn’t experience any reactions. I don’t know about other food allergies or how that’s handled, but I would call and ask to speak with a chef directly if you have serious food allergies in your family.

A chef showing us what was GF for our meal.

Unfortunately at The Estancia, the steakhouse, they weren’t as knowledgeable about gluten. Our server was very nice but didn’t know anything about gluten and was guessing at what might work. The menu was also unmarked. The manager did help us but nobody seemed really confident. It was disappointing since I would think the restaurant with a single page menu would struggle to know these things. Things can always change but I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant with food allergies.

Kids Club:

We didn’t utilize the kids club for our kids but we saw them everywhere. We saw 20 3 to 4 year olds at the restaurant as well as the pre teens eating and at the theater shows. We saw them treating the kids with respect and kindness and keeping the kids busy. They are activities they plan for them throughout the day and it seems like a really nice environment.

Safety:

Safety in Mexico is always something to consider especially since THIS and THIS happened while we were there, but we felt safe the whole time at the resort. They send a shuttle to the airport and are clear about where to meet. The driver wears a Club Med uniform and carries a sign with your name. The airport is about 15 minutes away from the resort. Once you reach the resort, you’ll see a gate with a 24 hour guard. When you come and go, you sign out your family and then sign back in. They keep track of you and would at least know if you didn’t return. The resort also calls cabs for you so they can know who to let in for you, and the cab comes into the resort picking you up and dropping you off in a designated area. There is also a large living quarters where most staff live so on site there is very little coming and going.  I was always very hesitant to take my girls to Mexico but this resort did a great job of making sure they’re doing all they can to keep guests safe.

What would give me pause to travel to Mexico again was our really tough situation of needing to go to the hospital for my oldest. I’ll have that story in my next post so I can detail what that process is like. I was somewhat knowledgeable but still very surprised and it scared me for the rest of the trip as I hoped nothing else would go wrong medically (spoiler alert- something else did..)

But our experience at Club Med was a great one overall. We all agreed that the people who worked there felt genuine and kind and joyful. They loved connecting with us and chatting with our kids. We enjoyed every interaction we had with the staff. It felt like a happy place to be.

Another tip I only found on a blog was to download their app once you book and have a confirmation number. It will highlight the activities for the time you’re there from morning until night along with the resort dress code (just something for fun, but optional of course) and give you a good idea of what’s going on since this info is not on their website anywhere.

 

A look at the day’s activities from the Club Med app

 

All in all, we had a great time and my girls were so happy. We even got to dine at a restaurant that was a once in a lifetime experience- check my IG Ilios highlight for that info. It was AMAZING and I’d get a reservation there if you’re in Cancun.

Check back for more on our Cancun 2024 trip.


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