Ultimate 5 Day Cancun Itinerary with Kids at Hyatt Ziva


The Ultimate Family Friendly Cancun Itinerary

If you’re planning a 5 day trip to Cancun with the family, here is my comprehensive itinerary for an unforgettable trip! For my 5 night trip to Playa Del Carmen, my family and I stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun and we had the best time. I’ll walk you through the first day itinerary to the last, including valuable tips along the way. 

Okay if you’ve never been to the Riviera Maya area before you are in for a treat! Think white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, all-inclusive resorts, and so much more. I will tell you which all inclusive resort to stay at and the best places to visit from archaeological sites to underground rivers. While there are many places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula, I have found Cancun to be a great place to visit with kids. One of the best things about this popular destination is its proximity to the US, especially if you’re in the South, like me! Just a short trip away, a Cancun trip is a great option for first time travelers. 

Where to Stay in Cancun

Hyatt Ziva Cancun Hotel - Cancun All Inclusive Resort
Hyatt Ziva Cancun

The Hotel Zone is the most popular place to stay in Cancun where a lot of resorts are in close proximity, it’s not near downtown Cancun but close to all local attractions. All ferries to and from nearby islands like Isla Mujeres and Cozumel leave from there. There are a lot of tour operators that have their base offices set up here as well along with souvenir shops and convenience stores. However, there are other resorts a little farther away in Playa del Carmen which is also an incredible place to stay in.

Less touristy and also worth visiting, Playa del Carmen is about an hour drive from the airport.  It is home to another incredible resort we had stayed at, Hotel Xcaret which is a unique experience on its own. They have their own theme park, actually not one, but many! With natural sinkholes (Cenotes) and so much more to do. The reason why we chose a different resort this time was because the rates for Hotel Xcaret had skyrocketed and it was no longer an affordable option for us at this time. Highly recommend going there if it’s in your budget! However, even if you’re not staying at that hotel you can still visit their theme parks with an extra cost. 

5 Day Cancun Itinerary

Day 1: Settle in and Explore the Resort

Hyatt Ziva Cancun Hotel - Family Resort
Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Alright folks, it’s day 1 and you’ve just got to the hotel and settled your stuff into the room. Checking into the resort always takes a while but you get to enjoy refreshments while you wait! Enjoy the view from the main lobby and once you’ve set your bags into your room come down quick to grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants.

The first day should be about exploring the resort and all its amenities. Walk around the beautiful property and look at the dolphins in their expansive dolphin pool. Try to book some services for the rest of your stay like a massage or facial. You can also book a photography session at the resort or one of the other paid activities like a boat ride. 

Live Entertainment Hyatt Ziva Cancun

The nightly live music and entertainment usually starts at 8 pm so I recommend getting an early dinner to catch a show. Try to sleep a little early tonight so you can be rested for the next day!

Day 1 Summary

  • Arrive at hotel and check in
  • Explore resort grounds
  • Book services and activities
  • Dinner at El Mercado (casual dinner restaurant)
  • Watch live entertainment in the main lobby

Day 2: Splash, Snorkel, and Soak Up the Sun!

Family Breakfast at the El Mercado Buffet Cancun

Rise and shine friends! Look out the window and enjoy the stunning view of turquoise waters and white sand! Before heading down from the room, grab your pool bag and all pool necessities. Today we’re going to start by grabbing breakfast at the El Mercado Buffet which has everything you and your kids could dream of!

There’s the standard American fare like your waffles and pancakes for the picky eaters and local Mexican dishes with a ton of options. Most hotel food, especially all-inclusive resort food can be not very good quality. However, that was not the case at Hyatt Ziva Cancun. The food was good quality, well made, and the variety was insane. I would start off with a plate of local fruit and cheese and then make my way to the mains. 

Hyatt Ziva Cancun Pool

After fueling up on breakfast, I would head to one of the resort pools and let the kids play for a bit and alternate with that and the beach. No need to grab a towel from the room, the pool concierge has plenty of freshly rolled towels in a caddy. You can also get your pool inflatables blown up by the pool concierge. Order a drink at the swim up pool bar and soak up the sun! 

If you’re traveling with littles, it might be time for a nap so either lay them down on a lounge chair which is the easiest way. Or you can head back to the room for a quick shower and nap. My husband and I took turns with nap duty. 

Snorkerling in Cancun

We had purchased our own snorkeling goggles from home and that was an excellent idea. Although we had booked a snorkeling trip with a guided tour company for Day 3, we were able to snorkel at the hotel beach and surrounding area at our own leisure. It was actually the perfect place to see tropical fish and my then 7 year old thought it was the coolest thing! The water was crystal clear and we took our time snorkeling. 

If you have no experience snorkeling, don’t worry, we didn’t have any either. The beach isn’t deep at all, and all you need to do is familiarize yourself with wearing the goggles and breathing through the mouthpiece a few times before floating and enjoying the views. Trust me, no swimming skills needed. I highly recommend wearing water shoes as the beach can be rocky in places. I’m linking all the water stuff we got before the trip below: 

Kids Snorkeling Silicone Set
Kids Snorkeling Set
Wide View Mask & Dry Snorkeling Set
Adults Snorkeling Set
Rash Guard for Women Long Sleeve Swimsuits
Long Sleeve Swimsuit
Kids Water Shoes
Kids Water Shoes
Adults Water Shoes
Adults Water Shoes

After snorkeling, head back to the resort from the beach and grab some lunch from one of the street food carts outside Chevy’s or El Mercado. They serve up hot and freshly cooked tacos and other food every day that you can eat by the pool. 

Head upstairs to change from your beach clothes and now you can either rest for a bit or head into town by 5:30 pm to shop at the local markets. This is a great way to explore the local culture and visit some of the best restaurants locally. I would personally come back and eat at the hotel but definitely grab some hot elotes (street corn) while you’re out and about. We took an Uber to Mercado 28, a local flea market with souvenirs and handicrafts. Downtown Cancun doesn’t have much to offer other than the El Parque de las Palapas which is an open area where food trucks gather and events take place. 

Mercado 28 Cancun

Once you’re back from shopping grab a delicious dinner at the premier steakhouse, Tradewinds. You might need a reservation so call in ahead if possible. The wait is pretty long here without a reservation so you can watch some of the live entertainment while you wait or watch the show after dinner. Make sure to get dessert and coffee at the hotel’s all-day pastry shop, Pasteles. Everything was soo good here! Especially the molten chocolate cake and the chocolate truffles. Just a warning, it might be hard to get the kids out of here! 

Day 2 Summary

  • Breakfast at El Mercado
  • Pool time
  • Snorkeling at the beach
  • Visit local market Mercado 28 and El Parque de las Palapas
  • Dinner at Tradewinds
  • Live nightly entertainment at main lobby

Day 3: Mayan Ruins, Snorkeling, and Underground River

Mayan Ruins Cancun Tour

Get ready for a day full of adventure! It’s Day 3 of our 5 Day Cancun trip and today we are doing a guided tour that includes visiting ancient Mayan ruins, snorkeling, and exploring and underground river! We booked our tour through Viator and it was roughly $119 per person. Totally recommend getting a tour package for visiting Tulum and the ancient Mayan ruins because the tour guide makes it so much fun to learn about the local culture and Tulum ruins. The only drawback of doing a tour is you can’t do everything on your own time, you have to go at their pace which might be too fast for some people. 

Cancun to Tulum Tour Guide

The tour bus picked us up from our hotel early in the morning, and we had a group of 7 other people with us on the tour so it wasn’t completely private. Our first stop was Tulum which was about a 2 hour drive away. Highly recommend packing snacks from the coffee shop for the road and taking some towels along. The tour offered snacks and water but they weren’t amazing. Try to sleep on the ride to Tulum because you’ll be leaving quite early in the morning (around 6:30 am). 

Your tour guide will explain all relevant details to you and when you’ve reached the destination there will be a small convenience store, coffee shops and some souvenir shops as well. Enjoy the views from the historic ancient mayan ruins and make sure to look at the stunning hidden beach by there as well!

Back to the van and onto the next part of the tour which is snorkeling in the gorgeous Caribbean sea. The tour company provided all the snorkeling equipment but we used our own since we had it. Make sure to pack an extra outfit for changing into! With a baby this part was difficult because my husband and I had to take turns in the water.

Sea Turtles Cancun Snorkeling

I actually spotted some sea turtles which was really cool! Another tip is to carry cash for this excursion for tipping and buying street food if you want. The beach where we snorkeled had a small bar offering drinks and snacks but I didn’t have my wallet with me. Carrying a waterproof phone or cash carrier would have been very helpful. 

After snorkeling, grab your towels and head back to the van for the next stop. We are now headed to the underground caves to swim in a Cenote (sinkhole). Cenotes are a huge part of the Yucatan Peninsula and are a must-see. They are underground sinkholes or caves that collect rainwater over time and were used by ancient Mayans for drinking water and occasionally for sacrificial offerings! The tour also offers lunch here and while it was nothing compared to the lavish spreads at the resort, we chowed down nonetheless. They offer vegetarian options as well. 

Dinner and Live Entertainment at Hyatt Ziva Cancun

After changing into clean clothes, hop onto the van for the ride back to your hotel. Take a nap cause you’re going to be tired! Relax in your room for a bit before heading down to dinner at The Moongate (Asian Fusion) and as always, watch the nightly show in the lobby if time permits. 

Day 3 Summary 

  • Grab breakfast and snacks at coffee shop
  • Tour bus to Tulum ancient ruins
  • Bus to snorkeling
  • Bus to Cenotes 
  • Back to hotel, dinner and show

Day 4: Spa Day and Isla Mujeres 

We’ve made it to Day 4 and today is another day of rest and relaxation at the pool and beach. For breakfast you can try Tradewinds, they have the yummiest a la carte variety. If you haven’t yet booked a service at the spa, I highly recommend booking one or finding a slot for today. The massages are incredibly relaxing and the spa pool is adults only and has a large hot tub as well. I recommend going in an hour before your appointment and really utilizing all of their free services like the spa shower, the hot tub, lounge in the private area and enjoy some drinks. Really get your money’s worth! 

The kids can enjoy the kids club and water park while you get some me-time. We took a ferry to Isla Mujeres on day 4 and went a little bit after breakfast. The ferry pick up spot is walking distance from the hotel and it was a short 15 minute or so ride to Isla Mujeres. This is a small island close to Cancun and it’s quite touristy. You will need to get a golf cart if you plan on sticking around for long but we didn’t mind walking because we were only there for a few hours. Honestly, there’s not much to do here if you’re not doing a snorkeling tour or some other specific excursion. The North beach is the nicest one and even that wasn’t nicer than our hotel beach. 

I enjoyed walking around the island town looking through shops and grabbing some fruit with tajin and chamoy (my absolute favorite). Also worth trying is fresh coconut water – once you’re done with it, the vendor will open it up for you and chop it up with lime and tajin and chamoy for a delicious tangy treat. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I would go back just for that! You could explore local restaurants but honestly, food at the resort was so good I was okay heading back for food. We hung out by the beach and then hopped back onto the ferry to the hotel. 

As always, end the day with a yummy dinner and show! Just sitting by the beach under the stars is a fun way to end the day. 

Day 4 Summary:

  • Breakfast at Tradewinds
  • Spa/kids club
  • Ferry to Isla Mujeres
  • Dinner at resort and show

Day 5: One Last Swim and Flight Back Home

Folks, it’s the last day of our 5 day trip to Cancun and if you’re anything like me you would want to spend more time in the pool and by the beach! I actually went in for a second spa day because I loved it so much. It really was the best way to end our trip. After exploring the best beaches, shopping for local souvenirs, and having some amazing local cuisine, it was time to say farewell. For our final breakfast at the Hyatt Ziva, we chose El Mercado again for its incredible variety. Each time we tried something new and some old favorites.

Snorkeling in Cancun with Family

My husband went for another snorkeling round by the hotel beach and I joined him as well. By this time we were pros at using the gear and knew where to look for fish. If you swim past the lighthouse and get ahead of the rocky beach, you will see the best tropical fish ever. I was a little nervous at first but the water wasn’t deep at all and even my baby was there with us! Again, make sure you have water shoes on because I saw so many kids by the beach who couldn’t even get into the water because of the rocks. It’s only rocky for the first few feet but after that it’s smooth sand. 

An alternate activity could be the Dolphin encounter at the Dolphin pool but we preferred snorkeling one last time over that. 

Mayan Ruins, Snorkeling, and Underground River

After showering and packing up from our room we headed down for a final lunch and grabbed some snacks for the airport. Our return flight was in the late afternoon which gave us a half day to enjoy the resort. One great thing about Cancun International Airport is that the shopping options there are amazing. I’m talking about locally made pottery and very high quality kids toys (local toys like colorful musical instruments etc) and I’d get to the airport a little early just to shop. I picked up some handmade bowls and some Mexican candy. The candy will be cheaper at local shops but we forgot to pick some up so the airport it was. 

With our hearts (and tummies) full, we hopped onto our flight back to Houston. I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Cancun and stay at the Hyatt Ziva! If you found this itinerary useful make sure to save it on Pinterest for later and share it with a friend. 

Day 5 Summary:

  • Breakfast at El Mercado
  • Spa/hotel activity (e.g. dolphin encounter)
  • Snorkeling
  • Lunch, shower, checkout
  • Return flight home

Some FAQs about our 5 Day Cancun Itinerary

Where is the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun

Where is the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun?

The Hyatt Ziva Cancun, an all inclusive hotel, is located in the Cancun Hotel Zone which is a narrow strip where a lot of hotels are grouped together. It’s a touristy area with a lot of restaurants and shopping areas. There’s a lot of great nightly entertainment options here so you don’t have to worry about leaving the hotel. 

How to get to the Cancun Hotel Zone from the airport?

To get to Cancun’s Hotel Zone from the airport you can take one of the many cabs outside Cancun international airport. Check with your hotel if they offer an airport shuttle, most of them do! Be prepared to be hounded by taxi services as soon as you exit the airport! 

Is Hyatt Ziva Cancun family friendly?

Kids Club at Hyatt Ziva Cancun

The Hyatt Ziva Cancun is an extremely family friendly resort! In fact, that’s what they’re known for. In their Kidz Club they have a small water park with water slides, childcare for kids from 5 and up and daily activities for kids to do. I took Eesa and Zaki to the kids club at Hyatt Ziva Cancun a bunch of times during the trip and while it wasn’t the most spectacular kids club, it was better than nothing at all! They could have better games and toys in there but Zaki only really wanted to play on their gaming console so he had no complaints! 

Do I need pesos in Cancun?

Yes! You do need pesos in Cancun to make small transactions and for tipping services. Although most businesses accept US dollars, it’s still a good idea to keep change in Mexican pesos with you at all times. Learn from us and do this before your travel day otherwise you will be running around trying to find an ATM. There were a couple at the airport but they were out of order and thankfully we found some at our resort. 

When is the best time to travel to Cancun?

Family Friendly Cancun 5 Day Trip

The best time to travel to Cancun, in my opinion, is November. Honestly anytime from late October to January will be great weather with calm waters and no seaweed on the amazing beaches. The crowds are fewer at this time and you can also get a good deal on direct flights as well as hotels. Keep in mind, there might be a few rain showers here and there but it mostly clears up in an hour or so and we didn’t find it disruptive at all. The summer is when most people visit and it’s also extremely hot. In November, when we went, the pristine beaches had crystal clear waters at a great temperature, perfect for snorkeling and swimming. 

What to bring to Cancun family trip?

Here’s what you should bring to a Cancun family trip: reef-safe sunscreen so you don’t damage the coral reefs and marine life. Please don’t skip this! Pack extra swimwear for yourself and the kids because most hotels don’t have washers and dryers and laundry services cost a lot. I kept 4 for each of us and we kept rotating between them and would leave them to dry in the balcony on drying racks. Pool toys and inflatables are great to have with kids. You can always buy them at the resort but be prepared to pay extra. You can have the pool concierge blow up your pool floats at no extra charge. Keep sun hats because the sun is quite strong here and you would need one to lounge by the swimming pool or beach. Don’t forget to bring pool slides or beach sandals because you will be living in those mostly! I always take reusable water bottles for the kids and myself to fill up on the go.

What to do in Cancun with toddlers?

Cancun toddler friendly resort

To be honest, I was quite nervous about traveling to Cancun with my toddler, but I was wrong! It was actually quite easy to travel with my 16 month old to Cancun, especially since the Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a family friendly hotel. That’s one thing I would recommend looking for – a hotel that caters to children as well and has a kids pool or activity club for kids. Hyatt Ziva had nightly live entertainment with one of the nights being Disney themed and it was a blast! Both my kids loved it and we had a good time singing along to tunes from our childhood as well. The beach is always fun with kids, I suggest packing some beach toys from home to keep the little ones busy. 

How many days in Cancun?

A week or 5 to 7 days is the perfect time duration for a Cancun trip. This 5-day Cancun itinerary will show you exactly how to spend your time there. You can cover all the beautiful beaches, local markets, day trips to see ancient ruins in Tulum or Isla Mujeres for an island experience.

Do you have a Cancun shopping list?

Yes! I have a dedicated shopping list for Cancun on my Amazon storefront. Check it out here.

Other Family Travel Ideas

Family Friendly Trip Cancun Trip Itinerary

If you’re looking for more family friendly travel ideas, you should check out my Colorado trip itinerary. We’ve been there quite a few times and have narrowed it down to our favorite spots to visit. 

Another great local to Texas spring break trip idea is to visit the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort for a quick weekend trip. 

I’m also headed to Switzerland this summer for a second visit and I cannot wait to share that with you as well! Follow along on Instagram to see more updates. 

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