Earlier this month, I took a girls trip aka my own created spring break to Cancun, Mexico to experience my first ever all-inclusive resort. As I sit here peeling my burnt skin, I can’t help but dream of being back on a sandy beach with a cocktail in my hand and my girlfriends by my side. Ahhh, the good life. If you’re in the business of booking an upcoming trip down south, I encourage you to read my full review of the Ocean Riviera Paradise.
Pin this to save for later!
Full Review of Ocean Riviera Paradise – Cancun, Mexico All-Inclusive Resort
The Ocean Riviera Paradise is a massive, modern resort located on Riviera Maya. See Google Map screen shot below. It has multiple housing sections including El Beso Adults Only (this is where we stayed), a Family Section called Daisy (hello kiddos) and Eden, the Privilege/Exclusive Section (if ya got it, flaunt it). There are four large swimming pools, one for each section plus the most beautiful pool located just feet away from the beach. The resort features 10+ restaurants, numerous bars, a 24 hour gym, coffee house, spa, a few small shops, piano bar & lounge, casino, bowling alley, ice cream store, theater, and more! This place is seriously huge and it feels like you are in a small village filled with happily burnt tourists.
I’m pretty sure the swim-up rooms cost extra, but we were on the 3rd floor and it was great.
I loved these floor tiles!
Getting There from Cleveland:
We flew from Cleveland to Cancun directly on Frontier Airlines…and only had a small delay due to snow and deicing the plane. Budget airlines = not always the best service. From the Cancun (CUN) airport, it took about 40 minutes via shuttle to get to the resort. Once we got there, we didn’t leave! While there were many options for off-site excursions (read: stop asking me if I want to ATV), my friends and I decided on pure beach relaxation. It was great!
L to R: Mary Kay, me, Rachel and Jenny
If you’re planning a group vacation with friends or family, it’s always important to decide on a per person budget. Everyone needs to be on the same page or else someone will end up frustrated. (See more tips here on how to plan a perfect girls trip.) The four of us agreed to $1,000/per person and we wanted to maximize the number of nights away. We put a priority on the length of stay over amenities. We ended up booking directly through the hotel versus going through a travel agent as the price ended up being much cheaper (see “The Bad & The Ugly” below). Three of us were flying from CLE and one was coming from CLT. For two rooms for five nights and six days (+ all-inclusive for four girls), we were able to stay in budget! HOORAY! This price included round trip flights for all (plus checked bags), shuttle transportation to/from the airport, and all of our food and drink. If you think about it, it’s actually a pretty amazing deal!
Overall, we had a truly unforgettable vacation and my first all-inclusive experience was everything I thought it would be and more. Here’s a few highlights of the resort:
- The rooms were modern, clean and very large. They included a sitting room, terrace, California King Bed (in El Beso section) and luxury bathroom (think HUGE tub and separate room for toilet).
- WiFi was included throughout the entire resort. While it wasn’t the strongest signal, it was still very nice to have.
- I would be remiss to not mention the weather. While I know the resort doesn’t have control of this, we had perfect weather…80s and sunny! Gracias a Dios.
- There was almost no bugs…like anywhere. This spider and bug phobic person rejoiced!
- The main buffet “La Locanda” where we ate a majority of our meals was delicious. There was a huge salad and fruit bar (I was obsessed with the pineapples and mangos), multiple different stations (Mexican corner, Italian make-your-pasta area, Asian create-your-own-ramen buffet, etc.) and a huge seating section. We did try two of the restaurants but preferred the buffet as everyone got to choose what they wanted. If you’re a hard-core foodie, this might not be the best all-inclusive resort for you. Click here to view all of the dining options.
- Some would say the beach wasn’t amazing. There was seaweed and it was a bit rocky. Honestly, this didn’t bother me at all because I’m more of a dip-my-toes-in-the-water-but-spend-the-rest-of-the-time-in-my-chair-reading-and-sun-bathing type of girl. Up to your own preferences I guess!
- The resort staff were seriously amazing. I’m not a high maintenance girl, but they have to deal with a LOT of crap from tourists. I never once saw a staffer roll their eyes or look angry at a customer.
- Every morning when I woke up, I heard birds and wonderful tropical sounds outside my door.
- While we didn’t opt for top-shelf liquor, I thought all of our drinks were delicious. My favorites were the margaritas and plain old G&Ts.
- Almost everyone spoke English (ugly American comment here), but it was helpful.
The Bad & The Ugly
While we had an amazing experience at Ocean Riviera Paradise, I have to be real with you and let you in on a few of the less rosy moments during this all-inclusive journey.
- When we first started looking at resorts, we consulted a travel agent for options in our budget in Mexico. While she was super helpful, the rates and flight options changed almost daily! I know this wasn’t her fault, but it was extremely frustrating and it felt scammy. Again, I know it wasn’t her fault but this made us want to do our own research.
- Speaking of travel agents, I now realize why people use them! Thank goodness my friends are well-traveled because booking directly was CONFUSING. Add in the language barrier, extra costs AFTER pressing purchase (and they have your credit card information) and you have four nice girls dropping F-bombs. Everything ended up being fine but Ocean Riviera Paradise needs to step up their online booking game.
- In order to get a beach towel, you had to render your “towel card” given to you at check-in. No towel card, no towel. While I can see how this cuts back on waste, it made you feel VERY uneasy to leave your towel anywhere as a lost towel resulted in a $90 fee. Starting an sunrise, sunbathers begin to reserve seats (aka leaving their towels on chairs) while they get breakfast and/or do their morning routine. Everyday I said a little prayer…“Please don’t let anyone steal my towel.”
- If you don’t like kids, don’t come here. There are A LOT of families with young children.
- The El Beso Adults Only section is R-O-W-D-Y (said in my 7th grade cheerleader voice). Think foam parties and reggaeton music. While we embraced this party atmosphere, I would try to book in the Eden section ($$) if you are hoping for peace and tranquility.
Instagram (above) versus reality (below).