Family with young kids - Cancun or Cozumel vacation?

My wife got two free airline vouchers from her client, to be used before Jan 8th. Normally, I would automatically say “Carribean! Sailing!” but the money just isn’t there this year. So instead we are going to Mexico, the flights are much cheaper. Flights to Cancun are $500ish, flights to Cozumel 620ish. Decent hotels in Cancun are more expensive, so It turns out pretty much to be a wash. I am scuba certified, so it’s tempting to ditch the wife and kids and go to Cozumel, but that isn’t really fair. I mostly want to relax, get away from the cold, and let the kids (boys, 2 and 8) have a good time. Any opinions?

I went to Cancun with my parents when I was pretty young, and it was a good time. As long as it’s not Spring Break I think it would be fine.

Never been to cozumel, but Puerto Vallarta is a nice spot and very laid back.

Here’s a suggestion go in-between: Playa Del Carmen. Fly into Cancun, hire a cab over to Playa Del Carmen. There is a really nice beach there, so that should occupy the kids. And you can take the ferry over to Cozumel to do some diving. Playa isn’t nearly as built up as Cancun (but it’s getting there).

The problem with Cozumel is that there aren’t as many nice beaches for the non-divers. There are a couple, but I think the beaches in Cancun are nicer.
The problem with Cancun is (aside from mediocre diving - I’ve heard) that it is really built up. So if you can’t deal with potential crowds, then you may not have a relaxing time.

One other option if you go with the Playa Del Carmen plan is that you can do cenote (cavern) diving just down from Playa. I did a cenote called Dos Ojos, and it was one of the most amazing dives of my life: crystal clear, fresh water, swimming around cave formations, and then emerging into these pools filled with sunlight.

I was going to suggest Akumal - which is further south of Playa - and has (apparently) great scuba. We spent one of the best weeks of my life in Akumal.

Playa Del Carmen? You’ve got to be kidding me! Playa Del *Nurse *Carmen! Beach of me!?

That looks pretty good.

I second Playa or Akumal. Akumal has decent diving. Cancun is way too built up IMHO

Between Cancun and Cozumel, I go Cozumel all the way. It’s a little more laid back and quieter, not as crowded, not as “party” oriented (although there’s plenty of that if you want), getting through the airport is not as much of an agonizing timeshare salesman ninja mob fight, and the diving is much better. I spent my honeymoon in Akumal and didn’t like it near as much as Cozumel, but I admit that our resort there was a little subpar and the dive waters were churned up by storms.

We took the kids to Puerto Vallarta through MLTlast year for a week over Christmas. There was a lot to see and do there and for the five us (6/8/14 at the time) with two rooms, it ended up being about $3K with flights being $250 a person and the hotel the remainder. We went diving one day, did a canopy zip line tour, rented a Jeep and drove to Sayulita, played on the beach and parasailed, and did a lot of shopping.

(We just booked a trip through MLT again (honestly, I don’t know anyone who works there) to Jamaica for a week leaving 12/26 but the flights per person were $300 on Northwest when bought with a hotel).

As for Cancun v Cozumel, my co-worker who goes to both frequently says that Cancun has nicer beaches (Cozumel is rocky except right at the resort) and there’s much more to do in Cancun.

We were in Cozumel last year, and it is on the Caribbean… the water is so clear you can see the bottom from the boat. It’s a lovely town. We took the day (we were on a Carnival cruise) to explore the town and had a lovely time. We weren’t looking for kid things to do, but we’ll be back with them next year. I do recall a mini-golf, and I am sure there are plenty of other things to do. That was our favourite part of the entire cruise.

We want to go and spend a few days, maybe a week. Unfortunately, our next visit will be on another cruise (Dave’s work is paying).

Cozumel, definitely. It was a good bit cheaper when I went ten years ago.

Holy cow. Ten years. Obviously, it’s time to go again.

We stayed in a private home down there - which means we had to make our own margaritas and walk into town for meals (or cook) - but the house was beautiful.

PlayaCar is great - I went there on a worry free thingie a few years ago. Our resort was an all-inclusive (one of the RIUs, but I forget which one), although we did rent taxis to go see the town too. Nice. Quiet. More international than I’d expected - there were a ton of German, French, and English tourists in addition to all us pasty white northerners, and I found that hella cool.

The ruins of Tulum are close, and Chichen Itza isn’t out of the question (tho’ it is a long ride. We went, but if I had small kids, I’d probably rethink.) We didn’t do the cenote, but I seem to recall a waterpark/aquarium type place not being too far that’s family friendly that could be fun.

The beach at PlayaCar is outstanding - it’s flecked with gold. (Or goldish stuff; at least it was when I was there.) Really, really pretty, but doesn’t translate to film well. I think I liked that part the best.

Really, give the beach of you a look - I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Oh, nice. I bet that was worth the walk.

This is the biggest reason to choose Cancun in my opinion. You have water parks, feed and swim with the dolphins, feed the sharks, para sailing, beaches, tons of resturaunts, including a fair share of fast food places that the kids will be familiar with and not a long drive from the airport.

However, on a budget you might be better off in a spot where there is less to spend money on.

I asked my co-worker who has repeatedly traveled to both and his reaction was an immediate, “Cancun.” His reasoning is that Cozumel is a nice resort but there isn’t a lot of variety for families.