Barcelo Maya Palace Vacation with Kids

Barcelo Maya Palace Review

Since most of this entire year {and a little of last year} was filled with planning our trip to Mexico, staying at the Barcelo Maya Palace, and crying over coming home to the chilly weather here in Western Canada – I thought I’d share more about our experience {and pictures} from our {2 week} family trip to Mexico. You know, try to get it out of my system and stop thinking about Paradise already! {…is that possible?}.

Barcelo Mayan Palace Pool

Transportation: Flying with Twin Toddlers and a 5 year old, with Air Canada Vacations was actually not too bad. The Twins sat on our laps during the flight and though it was a little tight for space sometimes {putting down the tray was difficult}, it was easy to keep them occupied with toys and books.

My oldest daughter watch in-flight movies and played with the Twins and the attendants were great at getting us anything we needed. We had a direct flight, which proved to be the best route, as you don’t want to fly with kids longer than necessary and transferring takes time away from your vacation.

The Barcelo Mayan Resort is an hour and a half drive from the Cancun airport. The resort is divided into sections: Barcelo Maya Beach/Caribe, Tropical/Colonial & the Palace. We stayed at the Palace which is the newest section of the resort, and it’s rated 5 stars. We didn’t have to research and choose this resort among the others, since we were attending a destination wedding and many family members were staying there.

A close up of a plant

The Grounds: in one word ‘spectacular’ – very clean and lush {and only a few mosquitoes at night}, and the architecture is amazing. Small attention to detail is carefully taken at the palace, and it shows. Being such a huge resort {the Palace guests are able to use amenities in the entire resort}, there are so many pools, restaurants and activities at your disposal.

The beaches have nice white sand, which is clean. There is some seaweed around the rocky areas, but that is normal. You can walk or take the train around the resort, and in the middle of the complex is the shopping center. It’s a huge market of shops that carries any souvenir you could possibly want. Our entire group enjoyed this center, and you can haggle on the prices there.

A tree in front of a building

Stroller: I debated on bringing little lightweight umbrella strollers for the Twins, but ended up taking my Bumbleride Indie Twin. I am thankful, as it moved effortlessly on all terrain {even the sandy beach}, and we appreciated being able to store all our stuff for the day in it {beach bags, camera bags, towels, snacks, toys and the zippered pockets for money, room keys and little belongings}. Plus, the canopies proved very helpful for keeping the sun out of the girls’ eyes and for peace when they needed a nap.

Barcelo and Room
A piece of chocolate cake on a plate, with easy

Food: We had no issues with the food at the Palace {and even took a tour of the kitchen}. When you travel with kids in tow, I recommend sitting close to the buffet as you are more likely to get noticed and have your plates cleared etc. Plus, with the trek back and forth getting plates of food for the kids, it’s nice to be closer, saving time.

The Barcy Club section of the buffets was great for finding kid-approved meals, and they are even cut up smaller for size. There was always something the girls loved when it came to the food. And, this includes the beach grill and ice cream at the pool bars too.

As for us adults, we loved the variety, especially when it came to the seafood.
There was always plenty of highchairs for the Twins, yet I have to say that sometimes it took a while for the staff to get them for us. Yet, after a while, they would see us coming and get them ready for us – which was nice. After breakfast, we always took little boxes of cereals and bananas from the buffets, with us for the day. This helped keep the kids happy while at the pools or beach, and was a good snack for those times when you don’t want to go back to the grill to eat.

A person sitting at a table eating food, with Travel and Vacation

Entertainment: There is your usual disco’s, shows and daily events. This was the first time we traveled with kids, yet surprisingly – this was also the first vacation where we took in the most activities such as kayaking, jet skiing and boating. There are always dance classes and pool games going on as well.

For kids aged 4-12, there is a wonderful thing called Barcy Club. Parents can sign up their kids for an hour or even all day – and the activity staff do various activities with them. We utilized the Barcy Club a few times, mainly when we had to take the Twins back to the room for naps. They are open in the morning until evening as well – so this is great if parents want to sneak away to a dinner alone too. And, if kids are there at mealtime, the staff take them to eat at the Buffets as well.

The Barcy Club staff were wonderful with the kids, pleasant and very energetic. Isabelle did crafts, went swimming, played games, dress-up, fed the fish off the dock, went on walks and just had a ball each time! In fact, she wouldn’t leave the resort until we found her favorite ‘Barcy Girl’ and said Bye either. Needless to say, I was impressed with their care and attention with the kids. There is also a playground and mini-golf on the resort as well.

A large pool of water

Water parks: One of the best aspects of traveling to the Barcelo Mayan with kids are the 2 water parks. There are slides, waterfalls and various water activities that would make any child giddy with delight. My daughter, who is 5, loved the water parks immensely {and even when the resort was at maximum occupancy, the water parks weren’t too busy either}.

They are kept up, clean and most importantly – a lot of fun. Even the Twins, at 21 months – were able to walk in the kids’ pools safely and run around with the other kids. Yet keep in mind, that adults aren’t allowed down the slides – so no sliding with the younger kids who can’t do so themselves independently.

Toys: I brought quite a bunch of toys for the Twin Toddlers and my 5 year old. We had a variety of toys for the plane, for the hotel and for the beach. I had purchased them all from the dollar store from home, which saved a lot of money. They were new, so a huge hit with the kids – yet I didn’t have to spend a fortune. I also got sand and water toys from the Dollar Store too. The girls had enough to keep them busy for the whole 2 weeks, and then we left these items for other kids to enjoy, when we left the resort. So, we didn’t have to haul them back home which was really nice. If you decide to buy toys {or even sunscreen} at the resort – be prepared to pay a much higher cost.

I also brought a portable DVD player and movies, which we used a few times in the hotel for the kids. This was nice, especially when you couldn’t find anything good on TV that was in English. As well, I brought my daughters Leap Frog Toys {Leapster and Text & Learn}, and these were very useful on the plane and in the hotel room. And, I was happy that in 2 weeks of play, neither of these required a change in batteries. Bonus!

Sun Safety: I brought a great variety of sunscreens, from 15 to 50+ SPF, and did reapply it often. Yet, that didn’t quite do it for us. Read more about it in my post on protecting kids from the sun in Mexico. Needless to say, wearing sunscreen clothing is a must for kids. And, make sure to always have hats on the kids too. Even though the kids were in sunlight most of the time at the pools, make sure to grab a spot in the shade. I made sure the kids got sun-breaks in the shade, to cool down, or grab a snack and a drink.

A close up of a flower

Destination Wedding: We went there as a huge group, to attend a wedding at the palace. As a guest, the entire wedding was beautiful. I loved the chosen ceremony location {at the dome off the lobby}, and the reception in the hall – complete with a delicious meal. The bride and groom made great choices, we all loved the violinist at the ceremony, the DJ entertainment and the mariachi band during dinner. The Bride and Groom were very pleased with their wedding coordinator and photographer. And, it must be a popular place for weddings, there was quite a few days that we seen a few weddings a day. Yet, the area is so large, it was never an issue. And it really is such a gorgeous location for the photos!

Other items that I am glad I brought:
~ A little container of dish soap and laundry soap. They were perfect for washing a few clothes every few days so that I didn’t need to pack too much.
~ Wipe-down plastic bibs. I only brought 4, and they were ideal for wiping down after meals, without having to bring a ton of cloth bibs.
~ Enough diapers and wipes for only a few days. This saved a lot of suitcase space! Then, we took a $20 cab ride to Playa Del Carmen and purchased more at the Walmart. It was a good outing, and the diapers and wipes are half the cost as here in Canada {brand name too!}. We also hit a great sale on sunscreen there, and got 3 bottles for the price of one in Canada.
~ Lots of wipes {see above}. I carried a pack at all times – a must have  for cleaning up after meals, changes and wiping off sand etc. We used more of these than expected!

Things I brought that I didn’t use:
~ Lifejackets for all 3 girls. My Twins are 21 months and my oldest is 5. Since my daughter can swim in the pools just fine, and the Twins were always with us, I realized these weren’t as necessary as I had thought. Yet, if the Twins were a bit older and tried to be more independent than they currently are, they might have been more useful. If you are doing any ocean activities such as boating, life jackets are supplied.
~ Watershoes. Bring these if you plan on snorkelling off the reef, as it’s very sharp. My daughter used hers once, and that’s it. I had brought a pair for the Twins, yet they never wore them once. Before we left, I read a review of someone saying that kids should wear these in the pools due to rough surfaces, and that’s why I got them. Yet, the pools we were in were just fine, and the girls’ feet were fine. But, better safe than sorry, I guess.

Well, I think that’s about it! At the time we went, there was a lot of kids there – my older daughter had plenty of friends to play with. It certainly is a family-friendly resort that makes sure that kids of all ages have a blast. And, that it was! Even though it was our first getaway with the kids, we all had a great and relaxing time.

It was wonderful to share traveling with our kids, and I know that we will partake again in the future! We all miss the beach, sun and sand terribly – so I know we will be back!


  1. Great Review.
    We have been there as well with our three kids and it is a perfect family resort.
    We stayed at the Caribe, my only thoughts were to spend a little more money and stay at the tropical/colonial at least, if not the palace.
    The beach infront of the Beach/Caribe part is one of the best in the Mayan Riveria!

  2. I loved reading about your trip. I was waiting for this. It is beautiful there and so glad you all had a wonderful time!

  3. I’m jealous.
    Those pictures are GORGEOUS.
    Think hubby will take me now? 🙂

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  5. Going to the Bercelo Maya Colonial and Tropical Beach was one of the best decisions me and my family have made. I would love to go back again

  6. Thanks for all of the details about bringing kids to the resort. We are also going for a family wedding. How did you get from the airport to the resort (which shuttle service)? Did you bring your own car seats? And if you did where did you store them during your stay? What were the cribs like at the hotel? Thanks in advance…we are really looking forward to it!

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  8. Hi, we were also in the same hotel last week. We enjoyed a lot and loved the hotel. İ Will also write in my blog in a few days. Bye

  9. Found this post after I had asked a question on one of your other ones about this resort. You’ve answered lots of the questions that I had and have made me a little less nervous about going with the munchkins on October. Thank you!

  10. Heading to the Colonial in a few weeks. Nervous about the food, milk and water with the kids. Any thoughts? Kids are 4 & 8.
    I was so sick on my last all inclusive.

    1. We didn’t have an issue at all, and that was years ago now. Hit and miss in Mexico for sure, I’ve/we’ve only had two bouts with sickness in about 12 trips. With any trip there, bottled water only just to be sure and I limit my buffet salads to just a couple. Other than that, you might stress over nothing, especially at a higher-rated resort. If anything make sure to take some meds with you, just in case

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