Looking for tips to travel to Mexico or some other jungle location with your baby? Perhaps you are planning to visit a resort on an island without clean tap water. Wherever it is, we’ve got you covered with the best tips for traveling in Mexico with a baby. These tips essentially apply to any location with mosquitos, a hot climate, and a lack of clean drinking water.
It may seem completely insane, but when our son was just shy of 12 weeks old we took a family trip to Tulum, Mexico. It wasn’t exactly an episode of Naked and Afraid, but I’d venture to say most people- Americans, at least- aren’t traveling with their young baby to Mexico.
Tulum is a tropical oasis on the Yucatan peninsula just an hour south of Cancun. Unlike its neighbor there hasn’t been a sweeping clear cut of the jungle making way for high rise monstrosities. Instead, the bohemian beach road runs right alongside the ocean with small, boutique properties and eclectic thatch-roof hotels.
It is the best of both worlds…ocean meets thick jungle. The thick vegetation and humidity can present a host of issues related to taking a baby along. Luckily, with a little planning and some flexibility, it can easily be done. I promise, you can do it! Read along for 12 tips for taking your sweet baby to Mexico (or any other jungle location).
1. Cleaning bottles
We all know of the health risks associated with the drinking water in Mexico, but you’ve got to clean the baby bottles. Hotels usually use filtered water for consumption in the common areas and often provide some in the room. Take advantage of the microwave or tea kettle provided in room. Our hotel provided filtered water for drinking in our rooms, and we bought some bottled water at the grocery.
When it came time to clean the baby bottles I used the kettle in the room to heat the water and used liquid dish detergent I’d packed and brought from home. A little shake and rinse got them good as new.
If you stay somewhere with a microwave, I’d suggest the microwave cleaning bags. I also would bet that the hotel would’ve washed them for me, but I hated to ask and bother with that everyday. I just did my little wash routine every morning. It was much easier if I made sure to rinse out the bottles immediately after using. Just remember to be careful; the water coming from the kettle will be boiling!
2. Take a mosquito net for the baby carrier.
While our baby was old enough to use DEET bug spray, I hated to douse him in it everyday. I bought a mosquito net that tied onto his baby carrier. It has elastic around the edges, ensuring a tight fit. It was super easy to take off when we didn’t need it. We used this net every time we went to a restaurant that didn’t have good air circulation and also when we visited the cenotes. I didn’t use this but if you are worried about those little buggers in your room, you could also take a mosquito net that fits on a pack and play.
3. Bug spray with DEET is safe for babies two months and up.
This is the jungle, and the mosquitoes are no joke, depending on the time of day and year. I’m all about protecting the environment and using safer alternatives, but ten days in the jungle calls for a little more than citronella. While the beach breezes kept them away during the day, we noticed the mosquitos a lot while inland. Off brand makes wipes that are super convenient and won’t count against your liquid total if you just do carry-on luggage. We took several packs and kept them in our bag whenever we went out.
Be sure to wash it off before entering the cenotes, but your baby probably won’t be in the cold water anyway. We made sure to apply it to our toddler daughter immediately after exiting and drying off.
One thing to note: this area in Mexico has extremely low rates of malaria. I’m a health professional and I did tons of research before we went. That said I still wanted to take precautions, if for no other reason than that mosquito bites are annoying.
4. Clip on fans
They are one of our lifesavers down here in the Tennessee summers. We clip one on the stroller whenever we go for a walk on a muggy summer day. We took one for each kid to Tulum. The blades are soft, and it stops on contact so we put it right into the baby carrier. The air circulation not only cooled him off but helped keep the bugs away.
5. “Frog towels”
(Frogg Toggs) were essential on the hot, muggy days. These super absorbant towels produce a cooling effect once the water starts evaporating. They made a huge difference! We laid little guy on it during beach naps. I also put one on him and between the two of us when we visited the Mayan ruins.
6. Choose your baby sling wisely.
I used my Solly wrap a lot when a stroller just wasn’t practical. The lightweight breathable fabric helped to keep him cool (and protected from the mosquitos). For me, it was a better option on this trip than our Ergo360.
7. Pack Sunscreen!
Tulum isn’t far from the equator and you can feel the sun beating down. I love ThinkBaby as it is zinc based and always ranks high on the EWG lists. It’s is water resistant and goes on pretty easily. We’ve been using it for four years now.
8. Choose lightweight, loose clothing
This goes for the kiddos (and yourself). SPF shirts like this are also great and keep you from reapplying sunscreen a million times.
9. Choose your hotel wisely.
Our hotel had a large, covered beachfront cabana allotted to each room. While the covering wasn’t completely solid it did help to block a lot of sun. We were there in August and never broke a sweat while sitting on the beach as the breeze kept us cool. This allowed both kids to do beach naps most days. If not, the room was only a few steps away and I could still sit on the patio and enjoy the views. A few other things to consider when booking: air conditioning, microwave/refrigerator availability, and the option for a crib. La Zebra offered all of these.
10. Consider taking a flashlight
These are great for nighttime walks on the beach or to restaurants. There are no sidewalks in Tulum or many other jungle towns, so you want to make sure oncoming cars can see you. Many hotels here provide them for guests, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a small one just in case.
11. Think about your dining setup.
Our son was still too young to use a high chair. If the stroller didn’t fit near our table, we just took out the carrier and sat him on the floor. We were always able to accomodate him. However, pretty much everywhere we went had a highchair (remember, kids live here too). If you are worried about the high chair situation I would check out the Mountain Buggy. It folds up flat for easy packing and adjusts to fit almost every table.
and enjoy; ultimately you’re on vacation!
What other tips do you have for traveling to Mexico with a baby? Do you know someone who needs these? Be sure to share on Pinterest or share the link with them.