What’s it like to travel to Mexico with COVID?
All travelers age 2 and older must have a negative COVID test taken no more than 3 days before the date of arrival BACK INTO the United States (or proof that they’ve had and recovered from COVID). Our hotel included testing onsite, so two days before we left, we all were tested via nasal swap. This testing appointment was made at the same time as check-in, so I spent no time worrying about logistics, and it only took about 15 minutes out of our day. Hot tip with kids: take in each kid separately so they don’t see what’s coming. The kids we did separately were fine: by the time that swab gets up there high enough to be totally uncomfortable, they’re done. Ellie watched Mina and Dad do it and saw them uncomfortable, so she flipped out and we had to pin her down. It was very sad. We also noticed the Cabo airport had rapid testing available, so you’d be covered via the airport if your hotel didn’t offer testing (although I think most do – they want us there)! Note: our resort included two free COVID tests with each reservation. I felt like that was a little cheap, considering we booked a large suite that included a second room, and we did have to pay $200 per test for four additional tests. Read all the fine print on your hotel’s included COVID test so you know what you’re getting into!
Is Mexico safe?
Here’s my two cents, based on experience and what hotel staff have told us: Cabo needs tourism to survive. They WANT us there. They know safety is one of our primary concerns. We’ve been to Cabo three times now, and each time, I never felt concerned for our safety. It was clear to me that our safety was the resort’s primary concern as well, and since we never left the resort, I felt completely comfortable – comfortable enough to bring our three young kids! I think the safety argument comes into play more if you’re contemplating trips into town to eat or check out the late-night bar scene/entertainment. The resorts WANT you there, so safety has been thoroughly thought through. My two cents.
Airplanes with COVID/Kids
All of us did have to wear masks during all air travel (we did our best with the kids, only one gate agent really got on our case, and he was determined to ruin someone’s day). I found it very doable so long as the people enforcing it were kind. That one rude gate agent sent me into a mini spiral on the way home! But everybody else was kind and reasonable. Hot tip with kids: I brought fun activities and snacks they didn’t know I had, so I could whip them out in case of emergencies. Tootsie pops were gold because that keeps them quiet, occupied, and at least makes a small case for being mask-less. Additional snacks included a box of sweet tarts, a bag of welch’s fruit snacks, and a bunch of cuties oranges, and some bananas. The target dollar spot rounded out the on-board activities with the “magic maker” coloring books (it’s a clear marker that reveals the photo when they scribble), and we have wireless headphones for them to watch movies.
This is our third time booking a Mexico all-inclusive trip via Costco travel, and suffice to say, I’ll do it again and again and again. While the aesthetics of Hard Rock weren’t my favorite (it’s nice, just very normal hotel-ish, I prefer a vibe that inspires me for my own home!), the food was 10/10 and the kid-friendly rating was high too.
We booked the Rock Suite, largely because we knew we’d want a place to hang out in our room while kids napped. To me, it’s not vacation if you’re tip-toeing around a dark room or managing tired kids who skipped their naps! There is plenty of square footage in the suite, and since it included both the master bedroom and a two-queen bedroom, the layout was great. The kids napped in the 2-queen bedroom, and we had our bedroom, the living room, and our size-able balcony to hang out on. Note that if you book through Costco, they offer two view types: ocean view or ocean front. You want ocean FRONT. Or at least I did. We booked ocean view because it was slightly less, but the view is off the balcony to the hard right, so it’s really only a view from the balcony railing. It would have been worth the extra to me to sit facing the ocean each afternoon!
The food was not only excellent, it was kid-friendly too. Each restaurant had options that the kids loved, so getting them to eat was never a problem (I’m sure the increased appetite from so much swimming helped). Only two restaurants were open each night, due to low occupancy caused by COVID. This was fine for us, since we did still get to go to each restaurant at least once! Reservations are highly encouraged, and staff is readily available to help you book. The Italian restaurant’s brick oven pizza is excellent, the steakhouse’s ribeye met my dairyman husband’s standards, and the poolside hot dog and french fry plate was an Ellie favorite. Other kid-friendly meals on almost every menu included mac and cheese, fries, fruit, spaghetti, chicken fingers, pizza, and I’m sure more I’m forgetting. I have no complaints about the poolside drinks, either. Hot tip, if you do book a suite, you’re given access to a VIP pool area, which is quieter, includes hotter hot tubs, and higher-shelf liquor/stronger drinks. We didn’t test this out until the last few days, but would have spent more time here if we had realized the perks sooner!
The pools. Oh my there were so many pools! Again, low hotel occupancy, so one pool (although technically open) included no food or drink service and so was quite empty. All swim up bars were also closed, but staff was ready to wait on you at any point in the pools, so this really wasn’t an issue. We did bring life vests for our kids, and I ordered a few fun floats from amazon as well. The slide pool has three slides, and the rules says 43 inches tall and 8 years old or older. The level to which that is enforced is totally dependent on the lifeguard. One day they let us one them for an hour in the morning, before it got busy, but most days we came and went as we pleased. Only one female lifeguard tried a bit harder to enforce, but the kids were being cute and her coworker seemed less inclined to worry about it, so we kept going. Even George did the slides, all by himself! (He’s 2, and probably 30 inches at best.)
This whole paragraph will be a hot tip: there is a Kid’s Zone, fully staffed that does all sorts of fun activities with the kids. It was honestly Mina’s favorite part. We learned to order the kids’ dinners with our appetizers, and once they were done eating, we dropped them off at the Kid’s Zone and finished our main courses and desserts in adult peace! That was fabulous. I believe the kid’s zone is open most of the day, but dinner time was the only time we utilized it. There is also a teen zone with arcade games and all kinds of teen distraction!
We developed a highly kid-friendly routine: wake up and crawl in bed with mom and dad for cartoons, head to breakfast with paper and crayons to color while we eat, head back up to the room for sunscreen, swimsuits, and pool floats, down to the slides to play and swim, order lunch and drinks to pool chairs, and head back up to the room by 2/3pm for naps. The kids usually slept until 5ish, and then we’d get dressed and head to dinner (and kid zone) and then back up to the room for a bath and bed time by 8pm!
If you’re considering a trip and need more info, let me know! I’ve tried to cover as many popular questions as I could think of, but I’ll gladly add to this post if you have more!
Oh, one last note: although beachfront, the water is not swimmable due to very strong currents. This is true for most Cabo resorts. As far as we know, the only Cabo all-inclusive with a swimmable beach is the Hyatt.
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