Moving to Playa del Carmen with Kids

Have you decided to move to Mexico with your family? great choice! Playa del Carmen is a great place to be with kids, especially if you’re looking for a community of expats and locals.

I will always let you know on the first visit and see if you like the place. Then rent for a few months to see if you’ll be charmed by the place and the long-term reality looks different. Only then go to buy a place.

Lifestyle in Playa del Carmen with children

Playa del Carmen has a large expat community. In some areas, two-thirds of the population is expats, but I always recommend not closing in on the expat community only.

Some say Playa has no culture, but I don’t agree – those who don’t bother learning the language and just hang out with expats might say so, but it’s like anywhere else in Mexico if you get into the local community. All places like Playa del Carmen, Cancun or even Tulum have a tourist site and a local site.

Living in Playa del Carmen is generally very quiet. You might think it’s a festive town when you’re a tourist, but as a local, you’ll notice that there are no events like Christmas markets, big parties, or fairs. It’s more of a ‘jungle beach life’ but with amenities like supermarkets, beautiful apartments and shops. Fortunately not marketed.

On the bright side, there are plenty of things to do in the area. Climb into the little edifices for a few hours, stroll through the beach, head into the woods, search for lakes, or head to Cancun for the big city life…whatever you really want.

There are not many playgrounds in the downtown areas (centro), because locals often venture to places where there are no tourists. But if you ask around you you will notice that it is not as if they do not exist.

The weather is usually warm, but it can be rainy and cold during hurricane season. To be honest, we always left Playa and traveled during that time.

Very safe for families, Playa del Carmen is actually much safer than Tulum.

In general, you will have more time to spend with your family due to the lower cost of living and access to more amenities that will save your time if you are coming with a foreign salary (eg housekeeper, babysitters, maintenance). It is also why many single parents make the decision to move to Mexico with their children as well.


Cost of living with a family in Playa del Carmen

This depends on the type of place you want to live in, the age of your children, your needs, and various other factors. The minimum I would recommend for a family is at least 1500-2000 dollars.

If you have a child and skip the babysitters and school, stick to only the walkable places in the middle and don’t eat much, you can probably survive on $1,000 a month.

However, this forget about the cost of health insurance that most expats overlook and that’s dangerous – travel insurance won’t work for many things, especially if you’re coming from the US (why not.mail).

If you plan to work locally, you won’t do the same as you would elsewhere, but you will be able to afford the essentials.

Buying a car in Playa del Carmen

Once your accommodation is sorted, you can proceed to purchase a car. Do you want a car in Playa del Carmen? This depends on some factors.

If you are just a tourist, you can get away completely without it by living downtown and cycling. I know families who have managed to escape without a car even with children. However…

I’ll say you probably need a car unless you’re single. The best schools may be far from you. It’s much more convenient to go to supermarkets like Costco or Mega by car than to take them all in a taxi.

There are public transportation such as complexes. They don’t go anywhere and not everyone’s favorite mode of transportation with young children.

Many of the places where actual expats live (not the occasional expats who stay 2-3 months) are not in the center. To get there and around you you need a car. With a car, you can also explore more and take day trips on your own rather than being doomed to taxis (which are very frustrating and expensive during peak seasons).

Car shipping to Mexico

If you’re considering shipping your car to Mexico (or driving it if you’re in the US), it’s possible in some situations. You can drive and register your car in Mexico with a temporary residence permit.

If you are coming to Mexico with permanent residence right away, you will not be able to register your car in Mexico because the law requires you to buy a car locally.

In most cases, it’s not really worth bringing your car. Don’t get too attached to your vehicle as you may need to pay import taxes, sales and other fees associated with bringing a vehicle into Mexico. It is cheaper to buy and sell locally.

Healthcare in Playa del Carmen

Most minor medical problems can be treated by local hospitals and clinics. There are also free clinics in pharmacies that you can use if you speak Spanish.

You can also go to Cancun to deal with more serious problems. I was born in Cancun when I was living in Playa del Carmen.

Babysitting in Playa del Carmen

There are many childcare agencies and laymen. Personally, I recommend Kangaroo the Babysitting Crew – everyone I’ve met has been so cute and I always make it fun for the kids.

It is very easy to arrange other things for the kids like swimming lessons, sports clubs and language teachers. Most things spread through word of mouth and don’t have a website (or they’re bad), so don’t be surprised that everything is handled on WhatsApp.


The best schools in Playa del Carmen

Most parents choose private schools for their young children. The good news is that there are many great schools in Playa del Carmen.

Here are some recommended options:

cocaine Pre-school and early education camps. The Forest Eco School is almost entirely abroad.

At Lu’Um International School Waldorf School in the Woods.

English College An accredited bilingual school with plenty of extracurricular activities.

Montessori School Bilingual Montessori School.

El Papalote Education Community From preschool to high school. The Waldorf Multicultural School.

Green Arbol School Playacar An environmentally friendly school for all ages.

Yits’Atil Kindergarten to high school. Right downtown.

What about other nearby cities?

Tulum

What about Tulum? Raising children in Tulum is the worst idea ever. While Tulum is actually a popular Instagram site, it is riddled with problems.

Tulum is overrun by foreign investors who don’t care about infrastructure. As a result, the place not only pushes the locals away from it, the canal is near non-existent and things are thrown into the ocean, new roads cannot be built and the internet connection is very bad.

As a result, Tulum is getting more and more dangerous, and less local which means fewer things to actually do and schools are really bad, and awful for long stays.

Merida

Moving to Merida is a popular option in the area for families and retirees because it is safe and much cheaper than other places on the Yucatan Peninsula. You can have a wonderful villa with different bedrooms and a pool of no more than 300 thousand.

There are a lot of great schools and good beaches nearby which are safe for kids.

Before you buy, visit Merida especially in the warmer months – February or summer. For me, personally, it was terrible due to the number of insects and humidity and I wasn’t a big fan of the food there and found people not as warm and welcoming as in other places in Mexico. But, many of my friends love it.

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