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17 36812 Sun August 25, 2013
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
94% of reviewers $2,038.29 8.8

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Description: Hotel Riu Yucatan
Avenida Xaman-ha, Manzana 3, Lote 1, Condominio Playacar
77710 Playa del Carmen
Quintana Roo - Mexico
Tel. +529848772050 Fax. +52 984 877 2051

Location/General information

This recently refurbished beachfront resort is located in the Playacar resort complex adjacent to a championship golf course and just a 10-minute walk from Playa del Carmen’s main streets.
507 deluxe, colourfully decorated guestrooms in a Mexican hacienda building style offer a variety of amenities, including a mini-bar and a liquor dispenser. Riu Yucatan offers tantalising and varied buffets and on the spot cooking stations. Delightful theme nights will satisfy your taste for Mexican and International cuisine, along with the extensive entertainment options available all over the Riu Resort complex.

* Located in the Yucatan peninsula, 3 km/ 1.9 miles from Playa del Carmen
* In Playacar’s resort area, along with the Riu Palace Mexico, Riu Palace Riviera Maya, Riu Playacar and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels
* Main building and 2-storey buildings
* Mexican "Hacienda" style architecture
* Surrounded by 40,000 m2/44,000 sq. yards of lush gardens

* On the beachfront
* Complimentary sun loungers on the beach
* Next to the Mexican Street
* 800 m/2,650 ft. from a shopping centre
* 55 km/34 miles from Cancun Int’l. Airport
* Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners

More Riu Yucatan Information

Site Admin

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 19830
Review Date: Thu July 13, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: friendly staff, lush jungle grounds, perfect pool , fantastic beach, great food and beverage!
Cons: nothing important enough to note as a particular negative of the resort

The Riu Yucatan was my first Riu (June, 2001), so it, of course, holds a very dear spot in my heart. We have stayed at the neighboring, Riu Palace, the past two years, and, although we found it to be an absolutely wonderful resort, I always found myself going to the Yucatan for breakfast, lunch, evening entertainment, and drinks at la Cantina. So, this year we booked back at the Riu Yucatan. THERE ARE NO REGRETS. We had a most amazing and wonderful time. Travelers: my husband (51), me (49) and a dear friend (37) traveled to the Riu Yucatan Sunday, March 12 to Sunday, March 19, 2006.

Our flight (USA3000 charter with Apple Vacations) into Cancun from Philadelphia went smoothly, with flight time of about 3 hours and 15 minutes. Clearing through Cancun Immigration and luggage pickup was a breeze, and we handled our own luggage (I find it so much easier to keep track of our luggage this way). We found our Apple Representative waiting by the shuttles. In less than 15 minutes we were loaded up and on our way. We found the trip to be a little slower than it has usually been in the past. I believe the speed limit has been reduced in most places, and by the number of police we saw along the highway, it is also being enforced. We entered Playacar at the north end and drove by the new condominiums, houses and the new Riu Palace Riviera Maya. The new Palace is huge! We passed the Playacar Plaza, the Riu Playacar and as we got to the Riu Tequila, the shuttle driver nearly turned in there, and my husband, said, “no, the Yucatan is on the left." And the shuttle driver turned and smiled, “you’ve been here before senor?” Oh yes, we certainly have! As we drove in the Mexican Street of shops we smiled broadly. The vegetation is making a wonderful comeback following the ravages of that terrible Wilma when she came ashore in fall of 2005.

Overall: The Riu Yucatan is a fantastic resort. It is a good resort for guests of all ages. It is a great resort for families or couples. It is a super resort if you want to meet new friends, but is just as perfect a fit if you want to keep to yourself and enjoy a quiet time on your own. It is as action packed as you want it to be.

Reception Area: We arrived at 10:30 a.m. and were told by reception that our rooms would be ready at 12:30, so we had a light lunch, a few pina coladas and made our way back. Then we were told our rooms wouldn’t be ready until 2:30 p.m. So we went shopping to the Playacar Plaza, and headed back to la Cantina for a couple more pina coladas. We got our two rooms at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. Check in time is 3 p.m., so we certainly didn’t make a deal out of the late room availability because it was obvious that the resort was near capacity. Our complaint was that we were told to “come back in two hours” each time. Had we been told “rooms will not be available until after 3 p.m.” we would have spent the day on the beach. It made our travel day seem a bit longer than it actually was, but we got settled into our rooms in Building 8 and absolutely enjoyed every minute of settling in with cold Coronas in hand. The rooms had no musty smell at all, probably because they had been used earlier in the day. We had requested rooms near to the pool, and reception told us we could have them in two days. However, we decided we liked our rooms very much, and chose not to move. Our check out was also less than satisfactory in that the young man at the check out was busy chatting on the phone while he was handling my account. He didn’t know how to use Riu Class Card points for my phone charges, so he had me sign off on my account while still talking on the phone, without resolution of my account. I believe that the reception staff is the weakest part of the resort, and I have written to the sub director at the Riu Yucatan asking that they take a look at their practices. These minor issues, however, were quickly put aside, and I make note of them only as a recounting of our experiences.

Room: Fresh, spotless, cleaned every day, fresh bath and hand towels and wash cloths every day. Fresh flowers were put in the room by our housekeeper. The room has more than ample storage and hanging closet space. The heavy curtain dividing the sleeping and dressing areas is easy to use. The shower was great! The safe was easy to use and large enough to keep our cameras, jewelry and passports. The key for the safe is now on a cord, easy to wear or tie to a bag handle. We took our room key and put it on the safe key cord, which made it very easy to keep both keys handy. Our room—8101--was on the first floor, and our patio overlooked the lovely garden and walkway between Buildings 8 and 9, and the lobby entry with The Bull. I took an automatic nightlight. I plugged it into the outlet in the dressing area, and found it gave the room a warm touch. It also saved my toes from being stubbed during the night! The room location was quiet and very lovely. Our refrigerator was stocked regularly with water, Corona, orange soda, mineral water and Pepsi Light. We were very happy with our room and the upkeep of our room during our stay.

Meals: We chose to eat breakfast on la Hacienda’s patio most every morning. It is lovely there, and was usually our breakfast location of choice, even when we stayed next door at the Riu Palace Mexico. The breakfast choices are extensive, and had a good variety from day to day. Regular offerings, such as the French toast, bacon (best bacon I’ve ever had), fresh donuts and potatoes, found their way to my plate every single day! Fresh fruit, a tremendous assortment of breads and pastries were inviting as well. And, I always ate at least one Mexican menu item at each meal. Everything was outstanding. We ate most of our lunches at la Margarita, although we took lunch at the Riu Tequila one day, and another day we ate at la Hacienda. Also, one day, they had a beach party and grilled burgers and hot dogs on the beach. Everything, without fail, was to our liking! If one goes hungry at the Riu Yucatan, one has only to look in the mirror to find the fault! We ate every dinner at la Hacienda buffet, usually enjoying seating on the patio. They had a separate cooking station on the patio each night adding to the large selection already found at the main buffet. We found the dinner buffet to be varied and delicious. The staff is wonderful, friendly, always smiling and oh so helpful. Other guests raved about the specialty restaurants all week, but we really enjoyed the open seating time for the buffet because we were able to stay at the pool/beach/bars until we were ready to move on to dinner, rather than watch a clock for dinner reservations. I applaud Riu for having this arrangement, and hope they continue with it! I will make one note on this—because popular tables (specifically those on the patio) are used over and over and over again, it does keep the staff busy setting and resetting tables. Be patient with them as they adjust to this type of seating plan. It is considerably different from the two reserved seating times that meant that each table was set and reset only twice for the evening. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed all of the meals during our week’s stay, and will do exactly the same thing on our next trip!

Bars: One word—FANTASTIC. The Riu Yucatan 2005 renovations have added so much to this resort. La Cantina is in the lobby area, and is now open from 10:30 a.m.-7 a.m. Cozumel is the original pool swim up bar, and is still wonderful. Tulum is the new pool’s swim-up bar, and is actually in its own pool area with a whirlpool, and a number of “tables” and seating area in the pool itself, in addition to the stools at the bar. It is not a part of the new large pool, but there are steps on each side of the bar allowing for very easy entry and exit. Tulum also has patio level walk up area that is absolutely perfect for beverages when you are relaxing on the beach or poolside. The Tequila and Mezcal plaza bars are located just off the pool area, and are lively areas of fun. We found ourselves at the Tequila plaza bar for many a late afternoon beverage, and, we had our St. Patty’s Day party there! (J. Cruz still has my shamrock headband!) La Cantina, Tequila and Mezcal all have cappuccino machines, so you can have your favorite coffee drink made fresh no matter what time of day! The bartenders are outstanding, funny, entertaining and very attentive. Give them a chance and they’ll make your vacation. They were particularly funny when a number of young boys were given permission by their parents to do “boom booms.” The children’s version of the boom boom did not, of course, contain alcohol, but the bartenders gave the same grand display of banging the board on the bar and then cracking the shot glass on the board for the kids. Although I’m not sure I would have had my children doing that, the bartenders took it all in stride, and made it a fun event for everyone seated at the bar. We drank a wide variety of drinks during the week, and we enjoyed them all—from pina coladas and bloody mary’s to ice cold Corona—they offered it up just right! I just can’t tell you how much fun we had, thanks in no small part to the wonderful bar staff at the Riu Yucatan!

Pools: The pools are beautiful. The original Riu Yucatan pool ends at a “channel” and bridge that crosses over the center of the two pools. You cannot swim under the bridge. To the beach side is the brand new pool with built in tile loungers (I didn’t get to try them, but they look fun) and wonderful steps to make entry and exit of the pool very easy for all ages. The aerobics and games are held in the new pool. The old pool tends to have more families because the kiddie pool is adjacent to it. The small pool area around the Tulum swim-up bar is self-contained, and has its own whirlpool area. There is also a separate, larger whirlpool area between the new and old pools. There are plenty of loungers around the pools, however, since Riu Tequila guests are also vying for space, this area does tend to be crowded during the busiest (warmest) parts of the day. We always went to the pool later in the day when it was easier to find loungers. This brings me to a continuing peeve of mine. Putting towels on loungers to save them and not using them for hours is just silly. So much wasted lounge time. We refused to resort to that tactic and had a very enjoyable week. The resort asks guests (IN WRITING) not to do this. However, most people ignore this request, and in so doing are discourteous to each other, and the battle continues. I hope that the resorts will devise some technique to stop this practice. Until that time, the great lounger debate shall go on. There are plenty of palapas for shade, and, in fact, they were building two new ones while we were there. The towel shack is right next to the pool and is open from 7:30-6 p.m.

Entertainment: The Animacion team is outstanding. They are gently insistent, without being overbearing, inviting folks to join in activities. Horseshoes, air gun, water polo, volleyball, dance lessons, aerobics, bingo and Spanish lessons. They work very hard to get people involved. And, they WORK HARD period. I saw them lunching with different guests during the week, giving even their break times back to the guests. And the shows in the evening are fun and entertaining. The Riu Yucatan team is outstanding, and I offer them an enthusiastic round of applause. The Horror Show was entertaining, as was the Ms. Riu Contest, just to mention a few. The Mariachi was wonderful, as usual, and the Mexican night found banners and colorful lights strung around the plaza near el Templo (stage area) and vendors selling arts, crafts and jewelry. There was a fantastic band playing great dance music before and after some of the shows, and dancing with my wonderful husband on the plaza under the full moon found me enjoying easily one of the best moments of my life.

Spa: My friend had her hair cut and colored at the Renova Spa on the Mexican Street at the Riu Yucatan. They did a beautiful job on her hair. Their prices are posted, but I would caution you to understand all of the charges up front before they begin to work on your hair. There were charges that my friend did not know about until after the work was completed. In conclusion, they charged her only for the published price, but it is best to make certain that you understand exactly what you are going to be paying before they begin. I had two simple braids with beads done at the beach Massage Hut and they were inexpensive ($2US each) and well done. The masseurs walk the beach offering “free trial sessions” to entice you into their lovely hut. None of us took advantage of the massage services but I believe that it would be a beautiful experience.

Grounds: The grounds are returning to their lushness. Having been there before, it is evident to me that there is vegetation missing because you can see much more of the buildings. Those who are not familiar with the pre-Wilma Yucatan would probably not notice that a storm even hit. Nature’s pruning job actually has helped the vegetation to quite some degree because new growth is bursting at the bottom of most of the plants. Nature has a way of taking care of itself. There are still some trees propped up while the plants roots recover, but they’ve done a very nice job of making those “props” blend in with the scenery. The grassy areas are lush and rich, and the flowers and crotons add splashes of color everywhere. In short, the Riu Yucatan is as lovely as ever. The grounds crew maintains everything very well. The walkways and patios are always clean and fresh. My sincere appreciation is sent out to those who maintain the grounds!

Playa del Carmen: The town is looking fantastic! Fifth Avenue is lovely and lively, with most shops running normally. There is still Wilma damage noticeable for those who care to look for it, but restaurants, shops and bars are open and busy. The trees are looking good, and we were really quite happy to see the place looking so much like its old self. We loved walking into town, and spent two mornings there. We had a few Sol’s at the little swing bar on the corner, and had a few shots of tequila at the Tequila Barrel. We were serenaded at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed the town’s atmosphere. Playa del Carmen is a true gem, and I would hope everyone visiting this area of Mexico takes an opportunity to spend at least some quality time there.

Shopping: The Playacar Plaza (across the street from the Riu Tequila) is still very convenient and a nice place to shop. There are many different shops with nearly everything you would need or want. Pricing is competitive with those shops you’ll find in Playa del Carmen, although the town has many, many more shops. The Riu gift shops are also very nicely done. The prices do tend to be a bit higher, but the quality of the merchandise is excellent, and you certainly can’t get more convenient than that!

Security: I am very comfortable with the level of security that the Riu staff offers. The few minor instances where security was involved (young folks getting a little out of hand)—security staff were professional and subtle in their approach and quick in resolution. I also felt very safe on walks along the beaches and streets in and out of Playa del Carmen.

Snorkeling: My husband and friend went snorkeling from the Riu Yucatan and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. It was $30 per person for 45 minutes of snorkeling with a half hour trip there and a half hour for return. They would definitely do that again.

Taxi: We used taxi service twice and found the drivers friendly, informative and helpful.

Beaches: I saved my favorite part for last. The beach at the Riu Yucatan continues to be, in my humble opinion, among the finest on the stretch. It is wide and deep, and there are plenty of palm trees. Some palms, granted, have been pruned back since Wilma, but there is new growth everywhere, and before long, they will be back fully! The sand is white, soft and it is difficult to find any fault with it. Riu staff continuously roam the beach in search of empty glasses, which they stack amazingly high as they carry them off the beach. We found no stones or rough shells anywhere. The slope is still gentle going in and out of the water, and after especially windy days, you’ll still find the occasional sand bar building just off the beach. That seems to attract bait fish, and there were quite a few colorful large fish swimming in these areas to the delight of the guests crowded around them with their water cameras. There are plenty of loungers and different types of areas to relax in—by the water’s edge, under one of the many rows of palms, off to the south side of the pool area in a much more secluded setting, or near to one of two sets of stairs that lead up to the pool level. My husband and I walked south along the beach, past the end of the developed area to the spot where coral reaches out of the water and onto the beach. There, you will find stranded, two large wave/weather buoys that were tossed there during Wilma. They are a great photo opportunity. Just past the coral outcropping, you will find the beach changes drastically from white, soft sand, to shell fragments. It is quite beautiful, but much more difficult to walk upon. We also walked north as far as we could go along the beach. Construction was still underway at the Royal Hideaway, with a scheduled reopening for late March, 2006. I believe we were able to walk 6 resorts, and then the waves crashed against another seawall built to keep mother nature from destroying what man has developed. This stretch of beach was very deep back in 2001 when I first visited the area, and, as with all of the changing sands over time and weather, it could very well be that way on my next visit. I know but one thing--watching the sun rise from the Riu Yucatan beach is an almost spiritual experience for me, and on my last evening there, I stayed on the beach until nearly sunset, walking to the water’s edge, looking north, south and out upon the turquoise Caribbean, sending promises on the wind, that I would return soon.


Registered: June 2006
Posts: 43
Review Date: Thu July 13, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Beach, Staff, Wildlife
Cons: Reserving of pool loungers, No coffe facilities in room

I posted this review on the Trip Advisor website (where i also have a previous review posted about the Riu Palace Oceana in Tunisia) but i thought id leave one here too.

I just got back from two weeks at the Yucatan staying June 15th to the 29th. The weather, despite thunderous internet reports, was fabulous with only one heavy downpour at 4am and a light 5 minute shower one afternoon.

We had prepared ourselves the best we could based on peoples hints and tips that we had gained from both this forum and also from Trip Asvisor.

Well, from looking at some reports on Trip Advisor i dont know what hotel the people who gave this hotel 2/3 stars visited but the Yucatan at which we had the pleasure of residing was fantastic!

The staff simply couldnt do enough for you. All staff members from gardeners to cleaners to chefs greeted you with a smile and 'buenos dias'. Goodness knows how many times a day they must have said that but they never ceased in their politeness and respect for holidaymakers. The animation team truly looked like they loved their job which ultimately had a positive effect on all the activities they organised.

The grounds were extremely well maintained. From 6am the gardeners began tending to the vast landscaped gardens which has a destinct 'jungle' feel. The wildlife is spectacular. The Agoutis (large rabbit/rat creatures) were adorable and loved a grape or two! Iguanas basked in the sunshine and the Howling Monkeys played in the trees around the grounds. Combined with the tuneful birds with their comical calls, it made you feel as if you were in a jungle! Litter on the grounds was non existant. The beach was lined with Palm Trees which provided shade. NB: (The day we left they were planting more palm trees which were to replace those damaged/lost in the hurricane)

Beach: What can i say..when i first saw the beach i could only think of paradise. White powder sand, clear turquoise sea, palm trees and a gentle breeze. Perfect. Empty cups are collected, albeit very comically, from a beach attendent who perhaps holds the world record for the tallest tower of stacked cups. (Seriously, it was about 4 meters high!) There are a few passing traders who will try and sell you cigars or silver but they never press you, you simply just dont react to them. I recommend taking full advantage of the complimentary water sports, Kayaking and Pedallos as well as snorkels and boogie boards. Great excercise and alot of fun!

Pool: The pool was cleaned nightly and the poolside area was always clean. I dont know if it was my own personal preferance for a quieter holiday but i found the pool area too noisy and cluttered with sun loungers for my liking. Combined with the noise of the entertainment and kids/adults in the pool i personally preferred the beach for a far more relaxing, peaceful atmosphere. The pool water was also WARM as in getting into a bath WARM. If you want to be refreshed in the heat of the day, the pool is NOT the place to take a dip. The sea is cooler and far more refreshing. Great swim up bars though and if you can be bothered getting up at 5am to reserve your seat, the large shelters provide tonnes of shade.

Rooms: Cleaned daily extremely thoroughly. After a day at the beach youre often met with a cute towel 'origami' creation left by the maid (My favourite was an elephant) though i cant imagine how many towels they must have gone through! The minibar is restocked every 2 days but should you require and more drinks before then, they wont hesitate to drop some by. Rooms are airconditioned but also have a fan for an extra breeze if required. Satellite TV showing many english channels in all rooms. Bathrooms have a main curtain rather than a door although the toilet has a locking door.

Food was varied and on the whole very tasty. I remember reading alot of peoples comments on how the food was very boring/lack of choice. Well i must dissagree, although i guess if you stacked your plates high with all 150 different foods on day one as some people did, you could get rather bored of it after 2 weeks. The amount of choice was actually a little daunting and i found myself walking round for a while just trying to take it all in! Seriously, i dont know where some people put it! The soup variety changed every day and were very tasty. Best advice is to keep to one style of food each night rather than piling everything on your plate. I strongly reccomend the steak house for a change of scenery and a really tasty steak though remember mozzie spray!

Entertainment: The evening entertainment was on the whole very well thought out and!! The Myan and Carribean Shows are not to be missed! Great for kids too as its very lively and colourful. The awarding of the riu yucatan 'bumbags' to winners of the days activities is a little cheesy but hey, everyone who won got up on the stage so they were all up for it!

Ok now to the 'truths' part of the review. Having read on trip advisor, some peoples comments about the hotel, i thought i better clear some things up according to my own experience.

CUP SIZES: I'd heard many a report about the 'miniscule size of the cups' so i already made provisions and bought a thermos mug. When i got to the hotel i almost laughed. The cups were perfectly addequate in size. What is so bad about getting up once in a while and taking a short stroll to the nearest drinks dispenser??

SHADE:Ok so a downside was the completely unecessary 'reserving' of sun loungers around the pool from around 6am onwards, many which lay without any people on them most of the day. I felt the hotel should have a stricter policy in stopping people doing this as its unfair to those guests who wanted shade round the pool but were unable to get up at a rediculous hour. HOWEVER i found that on the beach, contrary to previous reviews, there was plenty of shady spots under palm trees (even more since this review as the day i left, they were adding more palm trees to the beach) and plenty of sunloungers for everyone. Alternatively, bring your own sunshade or make a 'sunbed shade' by turning one on its head and resting it over your lounger.

SERVICE: The staff were always at your becking call. They called a couple of times during our stay just to check if we were satisfied with the holiday. Our television was broken on our arrival but it was replaced within 10 minutes. Any maintenance issues were dealt with promptly.

BEDS: The beds are firm. Perhaps more than most are used to at home but i never found it disrupted my sleep or was uncomfortable. I believe the hotel makes provisions if padding is required but i personally found it to be ok.

TOPLESS PEOPLE: Yes there are people who go topless on this resort. After a while you just dont notice.


ASIAN RESTAURANTA little dissappointed with the Asian Restaurant - Food was not very hot and there wasnt much atmosphere though staff were great and the room had lovely oriental decoration. Plates on the main buffets are not hot so food tended to go cold quicker.

DRESSCODE:I personally like to dress smart at night for my meal however some people just didnt care. Smart Casual was not always observed and some people simply just threw a pair of tiny shorts and a scruffy tshirt over a bikini. I saw someone get turned away from the restaurant for attempting to eat their evening meal soaking wet in a bikini!! I just think that kind of behaviour is an insult to the hard work of the staff who try to create a nice atnmosphere in the evenings.

In all this was an exceptional resort amongst a paradise setting which along with some fantastic excursions (I HIGHLY reccomend the Sealife Plus Package - Swimming with Dolphins, Manitees and Sealions, and also for those wanting something truly special and unforgetable(Thompson holidays only); Chichen Iza by Air - a 45 minute flight on a 12 seater plane to the ancient ruins of Chichen Iza) created a truly memorable holiday. Hope you like it as much as we did!


Registered: September 2006
Posts: 36
Review Date: Fri November 3, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $770.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Friendliness, Service, Quality
Cons: Towel Saving Early in the Morning on Loungers

October 14 – 21, 2006

Sunquest Vacations from Toronto on Skyservice

Nine of us left on a Skyservice flight destined for Cancun on October 14th. We were lined up on the runway at 6 a.m. with another Skyservice flight due to leave 10 minutes behind us. Who would make it there first, we wondered. The flight was uneventful and went by quickly. We landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule and ahead of the second Skyservice plane due in so Customs wasn’t busy on arrival.

At the airport, if I hadn’t known the routine of having to run the gauntlet through the timeshare people, I would have been lost. They tried to make us believe that the Sunquest bus had already left and another one would be here in 20 minutes. We said, no, no, that can’t be right to them and exited the terminal. There was no Sunquest sign in sight for directions to our bus. After passing a lot of people holding other signs, I finally spotted our Sunquest rep holding a tiny sign in front of his stomach instead of up in the air. He told us which bus number but not where it was located. We finally found it around back of the terminal. We had to wait almost an hour for four people. The timeshare vultures probably consumed them. Our bus had people to be dropped off at the Yucatan and RIU Palace only.

Arrival at the RIU Yucatan was by 11 a.m. We were directed to a corner of the lobby, given welcome drinks, we filled in the required paperwork, got our wristbands and headed to the front desk to get room keys and stickers for the luggage that showed our room number. The operation was seamless.

Our group was split between building 5 (front row centre block of rooms) and building 8 (back towards the front entrance and street side of the property). We all headed to the buffet for lunch at 1:30 and to the beach for the afternoon.

I had requested a cot in our room as I was sharing with another couple. The room was spacious enough that the cot really wasn’t necessary. The room set up was perfect having an alcove separated by a curtain, which contained the sink, wall to wall closet, stand-alone shower and toilet. There was always privacy if required when my friend’s husband was in the room at the same time.

It’s true about the early morning towel saving on the pool loungers by 7 a.m. Pickings were slim even at 7, especially to keep our group of 9 together when we were scattered across the resort. We gave up trying to do this because we were either in the swim up bar or in the ocean together anyway and always managed to find each other for supper. The resort isn’t that big that it was a problem finding anybody during a walk around.

The three a la cartes were excellent. Our favourite was the Mexican, ending with the flaming Baked Alaska presented to the whole room with the lights turned off, closely followed by the Steakhouse and then the Asian. What spoilt the Asian that night for us was a group of 12 women celebrating an upcoming wedding on Saturday; they called it a “hen party….a British tradition, I’m told. They pulled snap crackers the entire time and were so noisy, it was difficult to have a conversation at our table even though they were at one end of the restaurant and we were in the middle. The food at the Asian was very good and there is much more than just sushi…that was just a small area of what was offered. Their feature dessert was baked ice cream. It reminded me of a deep fried chicken ball but with ice cream in the centre instead of chicken, lol.

The main buffet was split in half with duplicate food stations for each half. Ice sculptures and carved watermelons graced the serving tables. The service was too good. After waiting a short time for some pasta cooked to order, I returned to my table only to realize I would like some bread. My plate was cleared by the time I returned with the bread. When my friends noticed it gone, by the time Gail caught up to the waiter he was dumping the plate into the garbage as she was telling him “stop”, lol. Lesson learned! Don’t leave the table if you are not finished with your plate.

All the wait staff and bartenders were always smiling.

The weather for our entire week was in the 30C range. The ocean waves ranged from calm as glass for snorkeling right off the shore (a school of angel fish came in for bread that people would throw them) to a couple of days that the waves were so rough, you got a good pummeling when knocked over. After those two fierce days of heavy wave action, the beach was eroded to the point there was quite a drop-off as you exited the water.

We saw four weddings that week; one on the beach and three in the garden. All beautiful and well planned by the coordinator. One wedding party from the UK, the groom had full tux with tails, black, very formal and he was uncomfortably hot as was the fathers of the bride and groom. That heat is just too much for traditional wedding attire for the men. They really suffer in the sun and no air conditioning in the lobby.

There was lots of action on the beach from vendors selling massages to air gliding to banana boat rides and jet ski rentals for those looking for something more than reading a book, catching a nap or just jumping in the waves.

The two swim-up bars were always busy but the bartenders always had a smile or some antic to amuse their patrons.

The week went by in a flash and now I can’t wait until “the next time”.


Registered: November 2006
Posts: 59
Review Date: Mon April 16, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Food, Beach, Staff, Did I mention food, Location, Guests
Cons: Fire Ants

Well it is now day 2 back in civilization? And my photos are posted to my Flickr pages, and I thought I would write a bit of a review.

Here is a link to my PHOTO page... I cannot seem to post photos on the photo area here...

Eight of us travelled to the Yucatan on February 4th from Calgary. The departure time was a very reasonable 9 am, and we left right on schedule (hats off to Sky Service). This has nothing to do with the Yucatan, but the service improvements with Sky Service were very noticeable since the last time we flew with them three years ago. There was more leg room, the food was decent, seats were actually comfortable. The trip went by smoothely and we landed in Cancun ahead of schedule.

One tip to make your flight more comfortable and checkin a bit quicker would be to pay the extra fee to pre-book your seats. This way you can get aisle seats, or window seats, whichever you prefer, just don't do it at the last moment.

Transfers to the Yucatan
Having run the gamut of timeshare people in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta we knew the drill quite well... hold onto your luggage and get outside the terminal and look for the signs held by your tour comany agent. Once outside we had no problem finding our agent, and the waiting luxury bus. It was a nice treat to be offered a cold cerveza on the bus trip to Playa Car. The bus trip was uneventful, except for a near side swipe... (to be expected on the Mexican Highways) I suppose.

The Yucatan was the first stop of the bus, and we were the only eight people getting off there. There was no line up at the front desk, and we were offered a nice glass of punch. As we arrived after 4 pm the rooms were ready, we got all the keys promptly along with a map to the resort. Our friends that were already at the resort also greeted us, so we felt right at home immediately. Our rooms were all in building 3 (close to La Hacienda). We were all on the ground floor (which we prefer), the rooms were spotless, no smell, and the a/c was purring along quietly keeping the rooms nice and cool.

Very shortly after we settled in, and had a drink, and walked down to the beach it was time for our first meal (dinner). We all met up at La Hacienda, and got tables on the outside balcony. The buffet was a little confusing at first, until we realized that there are actually duplicate stations, so you can start either on the far right, or in the middle and you won't miss a thing. The variety of food at the buffet was excellent, it had something for everyone in our large group. Our favorites included the Prime Rib, Paella, the Pasta Bar (which is outside on the patio), the Mexican dishes, Pizza (for my son), Fish for my daughter, Salads, Fresh fruit, it was all very, very good.

We ate at two of the a la cartes during our stay, the Oriental, and the Steak House. We were not dissappointed with either of them. The Sushi was very nice (no raw fish), and the Peking Duck was delicious. We are used to excellent steaks (coming from Alberta), and the Rib Eye steaks served at the steak house were a bit thin, but the meat was tender and tasty. The only dissappointment was the soup in the steak house... it was not hot enough and as a result had a metallic taste... some of us liked it, but I thought it was borderline disgusting.

Breakfasts were excellent, the eggs a bit greasy, but with a large topping of salsa, and some of the fresh pastries, it was all very tasty.

We ate lunch at the hamburger/pizza buffet by the pool almost every day, and it was sometimes difficult to find a seat, but tables turned over quickly so we never had to wait long.

While we were there we had one strong rain storm which damaged the roof of the restaurant by the pool... but we were amazed to see them make the repairs even while the restaurant was in full use. The craftsmanship was obvious as they wove in the new palms to totally replace one whole side of the roof in two days.

Bad food at Xel-Ha
We all did a day trip to Xel-Ha for snorkelling, which included a buffet lunch, over half of our group had tummy troubles after that, not bad enough to ruin any vacations, but a pain none the less.

We did not participate in many of the activities, but the one observation I might make is that they do not seem to have as many activities happening throughout the day as we have seen at other resorts. We enjoyed the (soccer) games every day at 4 pm on Tennis Court Number 3. It lasted only an hour, but we met some great people from Europe and Mexico there, and it usually ended up being vs. the world. Some of us did the Ping Pong tournament (or Pig Pong as the Animacion Staff called it).

The Nightly Show
Our kids loved the shows every night. They went early and got front row seats. Our favorites were the Mayan night, and also the tribute to Michael Jackson. What a talented group they have.

The Beach
From our walks around the area it became very apparent that the Yucatan has one of the nicest beaches. It is crowded, and difficult to find a lounger sometimes, but we heeded the advice of others on this board, and went down early to become TOWEL Junkies...

A quite amusing story, one day we had been down the beach early and reserved six loungers with the beach towels we brought with us from . After breakfast we went down to the beach to find that one of our chairs had been taken, and the towel had been thrown on one of the five remaining chairs. No big deal, if we needed another chair we could find one and drag it over... but anyway, I said the kids (quite loudly)... I wonder who would have the nerve to "Steal our Chair"... then I went to get a beverage... when I came back one of the kids said to me.. "we know who took our chair"... they pointed to the sand where you could a trail in the sand from where the chair had been to where it was now in the group beside us. No wonder this group of people from a European country did not look us in the eye for the rest of the day... sad for them really.

On the topic of the towel reservation system, and towel theifs, etc. While we were at Xel-Ha, this epidemic continued, almost all of the chairs there had towels on them, while people were off for hours snorkelling, tubing, or eating... more towels on seats than people actually. Anyway I did manage to find a seat with no towel on it once, and sat in the shade for a bit... then a lady came and asked me if the seat beside me was vacant. I told her it was available... then she disappeared... then a pregnant lady came along and was about to sit in the seat... when the first lady ran up with a towel in hand, and kicked out the pregnant lady saying, "I was just getting a towel for the seat"... I was laughing so hard on the inside... I got up and gave my seat to the pregnant lady... Why can't people just sit in a chair when they need it, and let it go when they don't?

Dinner in Playa Del Carmen
The adults from our group went into town one evening for a very fine meal at Ajua (just off of 5th Avenue). The food was excellent, service was outstanding. Only complaint was the prices were a bit steep.

The Gardens at the Resort
Are beatiful, very lush, and there is little evidence of Hurricane damage. It was such a treat to see the Howler Monkeys almost every day, the Agouti's running around (those are the rabbit like rodents running around the resort, in case you ever wondered what they were called).

Well I have rambeled on for quite a bit now... we are planning to return to the Yucatan in a couple of years (for our daughter's 18th)... until then we will really miss it.

The ONLY Downside
My wife and one other person in our group were really, really bothered by some kind of insect bites, that were itchy, and inflamed. I don't think it was the mosquitoes, as there were not very many of them. I suspect it might be the red ants (fire ants) that are all over the beach, and also on the court. I had a few bites from them also, but they did not bother me at all.

I would rate this resort as a solid 4.5 star, and wish I was on my way there now, instead of watching the snow fall.


Registered: April 2007
Posts: 18
Review Date: Tue May 8, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Beach, Bars & Food
Cons: Checkout and coming home

We just returned from the RIU Yucatan and had a great time. We travelled with a group of 50 , April 21st -28th.
With a group so large the RIU accommadated us and made check-in a breeze. They actually gave each of us an envelope with keys, towel cards and hotel maps to us on our bus. We exited the bus and were welcomed with music and margaritas. We arrived at the resort at about 9:30pm so they wanted to make sure we made it to dinner before it's close.
Our room was very spacious and clean. We didn't have a musty smell as others have mentioned and the air conditioner was ice cold. The beds were firm but did not have a problem at all sleeping. The room safe , closet and dressing area were good size. We stayed in room 7124, which was right off of the main lobby. This was a little father from the beach/pool area, but it worked out fine for us. The main lobby bar was open through the night, so that was usually our last stop every evening.
The bartenders at all of the bars were excellent! They were very entertaining and comical. Filiberto can make one mean margarita and Donas was on top of his game all day!
The food was very good. The breakfast buffet usually had the same choices every morning, but there are so many we didn't get board. Lunch was a buffet, either at the main dining room or the Margarita near the pools. We preferred the main dining room for lunch, it had more of a variety. For dinner we tried the steakhouse one night and it was very tasty. We never made it to the other specialty restaurants. The main dining room's menu changed every night and we ate at the pasta bar 3 times.
The pools were beautiful. The first day we started at the pool bar. Very nice with tables and stools built in. The only problem is everyone doesn't get out to use the restroom. Later that day , after going to the ocean for a couple of hours, we noticed the water wasn't as clear as the pool next to it. We didn't go back in the rest of the week. There was another bar in the bigger pool which we used instead.
The beach was so nice. We never had a problem getting a chair. Finding one in the shade is a different story. The sand never was too hot to walk on, even though the temperature was high 90's. The resort offers windsurfing, catamarans , boogie boards and snorkel gear for free. We tried the boogie boards and just floated in the waves. Some of the waves were pretty strong, enough to knock you over.
We went down to 5th ave shopping. We took a cab for $5 each way, well worth it. Just remember things like flip flops, sun lotion, etc are much more expensive there than the US. My flip flops broke on the 2nd day and I ended up paying $18 for new pair. That's after searching for an hour for a "deal". You can negotiate at most stores there but some have fixed prices.
I was a little disappointed at check out. We had an early flight and had to leave the resort by 6:30 am. I thought there would be some kind of continental breakfast (coffee, juice, danish) to send us off. There was 4 buses of guests leaving around the same time.
Overall the RIU Yucatan made our vacation wonderful and very relaxing. I would definately revisit this resort in the future.

Site Admin

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 19830
Review Date: Wed May 30, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $2,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: staff, beach, pool, food, drinks, location, grounds, entertainment
Cons: ...sorry, can't think of anything...


…arrival: we flew out of Philadelphia International aboard USA3000…flights were on time, security was painless (except for rude folks who continue to try to argue their way onto flights with clearly prohibited items) …food aboard USA3000 is now available at $5 each…they do have free juice service, and free soft drink/water/coffee service…alcoholic beverages are available for $5 each as well…NO CASH accepted, credit card or ATM cards only…Immigration was a breeze, and we got green lights at customs in Cancun, however I did watch as two other passengers got the red light, and they looked through their things in no time flat…don’t worry about getting the red light! won’t be delayed much at all!...our bus transfer to our hotel was speedy, comfortable and enjoyable…timeshare folks were few and far between, and none approached us...

…departure: we each bought two bottles of Kahlua at the Cancun duty free shop and they bubble wrapped them for us…there is only one problem this might pose…in Philadelphia, for example, passengers with connecting flights must claim their luggage and go through security again…if this is the case for you as you travel, please contact the TSA directly to know what the guidelines are for your carry on luggage at that point…if you are again required to dispose of any liquids or gels over 3 ounces, you may find your bottles confiscated…

Check in and Check Out:

…check in was smooth, orderly and courteous…we were in a group of 18 who arrived with Apple Vacations, and they instructed us on check in procedures as a group…the location (la Espuela—the old disco above reception) left much to be desired, since it was dark and stuffy—not at all a proper way to spend the first half hour in paradise…I’ve suggested to reception that they should consider a brighter, breezier location…that being said, they did a good job on check in and we were able to get our room assignments by about 1:30 p.m…

…check out was just as smooth and effortless, and we had plenty of time to grab a bite to eat before our transfer bus arrived…please note that the bellhops do not begin getting bags from rooms until 7 a.m., so if you are departing prior to that, you’ll need to handle your own luggage…this, in itself, might be enough good reason to request a room near to the lobby…


…that wonderful tropical smell (the one we still have on our luggage and have grown quite fond of) met us at the door to our Yankee Candle air freshner hung on the bathroom door and freshened the room a great deal...i also took a night light for the bathroom which worked great...the hair dryer was very good...there was shampoo and soap provided, along with a shower cap...the Riu Yucatan staff was kind enough to upgrade us to a suite facing the plaza…we were on the third floor of block 6…our balcony faced the Iberostar, and our large picture windows faced the blue Caribbean…it was a lovely room, and would be outstanding for a family…there is an entry foyer with table and lamp, short hall with the first door to the right leading to the bedroom, the second door to the living room, and the door to the left to the bathroom…the bedroom had a large closet with two full-length mirrors…the safe is inside this closet, and was plenty large enough for me to keep our travel documents, digital camera, cell phone and wallets…two double beds pushed together…yes, the beds are firm…we slept like babies…there was an extra blanket in the closet that we never needed…there’s a desk/dresser…two night stands (a clock radio) a small table and chair and TV…there is a patio door to the balcony from the bedroom…there is a doorway into the living room that can be closed off with heavy, lined draperies…we usually left that open, but, it was quite easy to allow one person to sleep and still enjoy the second TV in the living room…there was a table and chairs in that room, the two picture windows looking out the plaza and beyond and another patio door leading to the same balcony, another dresser with TV, a sofa, coffee table and end table with lamp…this room also had a large closet and the liquor dispenser and fridge…there is a ceiling fan in each room…the bathroom had long vanity with double sinks and full wall mirror…to the left was a full size tub and shower, and to the right was a door leading to the toilet and bidet…the air conditioning was perfect all week, never a need to adjust it a bit! we’ve . found during every visit to Riu (this was our fifth), housekeeping did an amazing job with cleaning the room, and we were treated to towel animals 4 times, and fresh flowers, candy and small ceramic gifts twice…we tipped our housekeeper each morning, with a note of thanks and cash on our pillow…our fridge was stocked regularly, and, on our first day we found no diet pepsi, I made a quick stop at reception, and we had diet pepsi within an hour…reception will tell you the hours of service available for mini bar refills and housekeeping…it’s a good idea to keep that in mind…you won’t be disappointed!...


…. during our previous visits, we found ourselves loving the main buffet so much that we never bothered with the specialty restaurants…this time around, two friends joined us for their first visit, and they were enthusiastic about trying the different ala carte restaurants…we owe them a debt of gratitude because we enjoyed every single minute of our experiences…when we dined at the ala carte, we had 6:45 p.m. reservations which we found gave us plenty of beach/pool time and left time to get ready for dinner…again, we’re so glad we gave them a shot…they are all outstanding!...our two friends continuously commented (it was their first Riu experience) that how any one could possibly find fault with the selections, quality and presentation of food was beyond them…of course, I know I feel this way, but it sure was nice hearing it from first timers!

la Hacienda: …we dined at the main buffet for 7 breakfasts and enjoyed everything very much…the monkeys were quite active just off of the veranda, so if you enjoy breakfast and a show, that’s a great spot!...we also had two lunches at the main buffet, and it was outstanding…there is a much wider variety of foods at the main buffet versus la Margarita’s lunch choices, so, if you are feeling restricted at la Margarita, do venture to la Hacienda…beach cover ups are fine for breakfast or lunch in the main buffet, but wet bathing suits are not allowed…we had our dinner meal in the main buffet 3 times and found everything to be delicious…my husband absolutely adores their soups…two in our group had a passion for pasta, so they thoroughly enjoyed the pasta station each evening on the veranda…seafood night was outstanding, with a special large seafood pot of varied shellfish and fish…it was simply delicious…they had peel and eat shrimp with a tower of shrimp on metal netting high above the assortment…several ice sculptures and a sea theme decoration added to the beauty…the coconut ice cream is still as fantastic as ever, and there’s a chocolate fountain too…fresh strawberries were presented on a carved ice tray, and other fruits and marshmallows were also available…if you’re a chocolate fan, you won’t want to miss that!...self serve water, beer, wine, soda, juices (fresh), juices (fountain), coffee, latte, espresso, cappuccino are available…if you want Kahlua with your coffee, you can ask your waiter, and he will bring you a glass to pour into your coffee…in the morning, your waiter will ask if you want coffee, and they will bring you a carafe to your table, and also milk--hot or cold (as you prefer)--as well…staff was outstanding, as always, and we always enjoyed eating there…drink specials were displayed and offered each evening outside of la Hacienda…

la Margarita: we enjoyed 5 lunches at this great poolside buffet…we never tired of the wonderful fish, burgers, salads and fries…oh, and the great pizza!...our group hated to admit how much we loved the pizza…but it was great…oh, and the French fries…with guacamole and fresh salsa…yum!...and the mini ice cream cones and self-serve ice cream…oh yea!...word of warning though, dining at la Margarita…DO NOT leave your food unattended…the clever birds are everywhere, and they won’t think twice about stealing some of that beautiful plate you put together for yourself!...self-serve beer, soda, juices, and wine are available…staff was friendly and courteous, and it is always enjoyable to eat there…

Mexican Steakhouse: …in a word, fantastic…the appetizer assortment is so HUGE that you barely need to have a meal…they offer a choice of 6 different entrees (2 different cuts of steak, shrimp, rolled pork, vegetables and pasta, and enchiladas) and they are presented beautifully…the meal was served with a sweet or baked potato or rice and vegetable…everyone raved about their dinners…2 had pork, 3 had steak, and one had the shrimp…the service was outstanding, and, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience…a light dessert included a cheesecake, strawberry and chocolate mousse cups, again, presented beautifully…it was just enough to give a sweet ending to the meal …the Mexican Steakhouse is held in the Riu Tequila’s beach club, and so, is right on the beach…there was a wedding reception being held there while we dined, and they all appeared to have a wonderful time…two thumbs up on this specialty restaurant!...staff is great and you have plenty of time and never feel rushed…

Mediterranean Steakhouse: another fantastic experience…the meal started with Caesar salad which was fresh and delicious and a two-colored artichoke soup that was served half and half in the bowls making for a lovely presentation…everyone, to a person loved the soup…you’ll have a selection of 6 entrees (2 steak cuts, land and sea kabobs, pork medallions, chicken breast and a vegetable soufflé)…the meal was served with a twice baked potato and a mixed fresh cooked vegetable (zucchini, onion and carrots)…dessert was delicious Baked Alaska…there was also a wedding reception when we dined here, and they, too, looked to be having a fantastic time…an enthusiastic two thumbs up for this restaurant, which is held in la Margarita…you have plenty of time and the fantastic staff here make you feel special and well-attended to!...

Shangahi: we ate here twice, does that sum things up? …I’m not a sushi expert, but our three friends are, and they thought it was fantastic…every thing that I tried was delicious…my husband raved about the soup…I tried 4 different sushi and enjoyed everything…warning: the wasabi is very hot!...the duck, pork, chicken and beef on the buffet was fantastic, and the noodles, rice and vegetables are also delicious…and, last but not least, THE FRIED ICE CREAM IS AMAZING! must try it…the staff are enthusiastic and friendly, and the restaurant is lovely and comfortable…they serve a fresh plum juice as a starter and, it just keeps getting better as the time goes by…this is a wonderful restaurant and I urge you to try it out…


la Cantina (lobby bar): open from 10:30 a.m.-7 a.m….usually folks hanging around waiting for friends to join up, having a pre or after dinner drink…or just hanging out…it is a comfortable place, with friendly service and a lovely breeze…there are plenty of tables in the adjoining area so that you can sit with friends…we saw many folks playing cards here…perfect spot for that!...

Mezcal (plaza bar): open from 6 p.m.-midnight…mostly an after dinner, pre-show crowd…great service and cappuccino machine…

Tequila (plaza bar): open from 10 a.m.-midnight…excellent spot to get out of the heat of the day, many folks who don’t like hanging at the pool bar find this the place to be…great bar service, many tequila boom booms served (warning, when they slam the board on the bar to get everyone’s attention, try not to spill your beer—yes…I speak from personal experience)…cappuccino machine available here as well…we had all of our fiestas here, and the bar staff were wonderful…gracias guys!...

Tulum (pool bar closest to the beach): open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m…some days it was crowded, other days not so, but it was a great place to cool off when the sun got a bit strong…the tables in the pool are great, and the whirlpool was especially refreshing…the stairs into the pool can be very slippery, so please be careful…FANTASTIC service from Kristell…be sure to say hola to this sweetheart…there were children in the pool bar on some mornings, but it usually wasn’t an issue after folks started sitting there and drinking…we used the close of this bar to signal time for us to head in to our rooms to prepare for dinner…Lord help us if they stayed open till midnight…*smile*

Cozumel (pool bar closest to la Margarita): open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m…didn’t usually appear to be crowded, although we never went there for a drink…that pool tends to be filled with more children playing, and so, it is a bit more family oriented…

Fiestas: …we met a number of wonderful Riu Bambuers at our fiestas…please, by all means, take the time to set a date, time and location to meet up…it is always a bit awkward at first, but meeting up with “new friends” is a wonderful way to spend the time at your paradise…

Pools: …you’ll get towel cards at check in, and you can turn these in for fresh towels after 8 a.m. in the morning…they ask that you kindly turn the towels in for cards (not fresh towels) by 6 p.m. when the towel shack closes…the pools were lovely, comfortable and fun…I finally tried the tile loungers in the pool and found that I floated off of them…that wasn’t much fun…*laughing*…there are stairs going into the pool closest to the beach and that makes it easy to get into and out of…the children’s pool is usually busy with toddlers, but the older children go into the main pool…there were floats and tubes in the water at times, but not always…there are plenty of palapas for shade, and there’s also a pergola with tables…you could usually find at least one lounger any time of the day and we were happy that there weren’t many lounger hogs…also, there are lots of palms around the pool that offer at least some shade for the sun-weary guest…there is a dispenser with juices, soft drinks and water, and there’s always a supply of cups and ice…there’s also a nachos and cheese dispenser and you can serve yourself…

Whirlpools: …there is one between the pools, and one in the swim up bar pool…both get used, but it was never difficult to find a time when no one was in…give it a try, it is relaxing…

Beach: …the beach is beautiful…plenty of shade from the palms that dot the beach…no drop off from the beach to the surf while we were there…plenty of loungers, surf as calm and blue as one could ever dream…constant breeze off of the water making it feel cooler than it was most of the time…enough area that you can pull some chairs to a quieter area to get away from the pool/beach crowds…the beach is well lit in the evening, and our strolls there often found many people sitting in loungers, looking out over the water to the lights of Cozumel in the distance…

Animacion: …the staff was outstanding…they organized competitions in horseshoes, volleyball, darts, ping pong, paper airplane design and toss, guess the movie title, water polo, , bingo, soccer and air gun…they held Spanish, dance, aerobics, stretching and water aerobics classes…they were unfailingly courteous and enthusiastic…it is amazing that day after day these wonderful young people entertain, amuse and assist all ages and manner of guests…and, on the occasion when a guest is rude, they handle it with a smile and move on…my hat is off to these fine staffers!...on our last day, the entertainment staff danced with a member of each of the Riu staff divisions on the resort…housekeeping, gardeners, bartenders, waiters, reception, painters had representatives!…that was fantastic fun!...

Evening entertainment: …there was a mini disco each evening on stage to entertain the young folk, that included competition and some evenings, a pinata…the day’s competition prizes were distributed, and then--the shows—they were varied, and well done: the Michael Jackson show continues to be the most popular, with a standing room only crowd…parody night, movie night, the wonderful Mariachi, karaoke, Mayan show, Caribbean show, Around the World, Horror show…two nights there was a dance band on the plaza before and after the show…

Non motorized water activities: …there are four Hobie Cats…I never saw all of them out at the same time…there are boogie boards, pedal boats, kayaks, and wind surfers…

At additional cost: …diving, snorkeling, parasailing, banana tube rides and jet ski are available at an additional cost from the Scuba Caribe on site…

Gym: …the gym has moved to the west end of the Mexican Street at the Yucatan’s entrance and is well equiped…I didn’t work out, but I stopped in to check it out…the equipment looks to offer a well-rounded workout…you enter through the Renova Spa entrance and it is well and professionally appointed…

Renova Spa: …I had two braids with beads done in my hair for $2US each braid at the massage hut on the beach…I also had a full body, soft tissue massage on the beach and thoroughly enjoyed it…I got a 15% discount for showing my Riu Class Card…

Apple Vacations: …we found the Apple representatives to be helpful and courteous at all times…we were greeted at the airport and all questions were answered well…our transfers were convenient, comfortable and on time…we will travel with them again…

Playa del Carmen: …we walked into town twice, once early in the morning to shop…and one evening to party…both walks were fantastic…the ruins along the way are lovely during the day and in the evening…we took a cab back to the resort both times for $4US…we gave him $5US…Playa is an incredible place…it is safe, fun and charming…it has changed a great deal in the 6 years I’ve been visiting…you’ll find many upscale shops and restaurants…fewer mom and pop shops…except on side streets…Fifth is a long, never-ending carnival of sights, sounds, smells and tastes…you must spend time here…our favorite swing bar, Pez Vela was fun as always, with strolling serenades for our enjoyment…and The World Famous Tequila Barrel was grand fun as well!...there is much, much, much more traffic along Xaman-Ha now…and, there are cabs available everywhere…ask for one at your Riu reception desk, or seek one at any intersection, or along 10th Avenue at the south end of Playa…

Shopping: …we did most of our shopping at a ceramic shop, a drug store for vanilla, and the Playacar Plaza for shirts and hats…I continue to find the Plaza to be a fantastic shopping spot…prices are set, so, if you’re a haggler, then best to head into town for fun…but, the prices are what I want to pay, so…it works for me!...we also bought Kahlua at the duty free shop at the Cancun airport…

Internet Service: …your Riu Class Card will double the minutes you get on the Internet (room is located immediately to the left and behind the reception desk)…$3US for 40 minutes (instead of 20 minutes) is a good deal…the Internet room opens at 8 a.m. and I saw it open as late as 10 p.m.

Cell Phone Service: …I used my Cingular (the new AT&T) phone there without any problems…I had full service in the room, by the pool and on the beach…I was able to send photos home, and check messages without any problem…there are cell towers everywhere now…on the drive down the highway into Playa, that was the thing that struck me the most…towers everywhere…

Crowd: …the resort was much less crowded than we’ve been used to in March…probably 75% capacity would be my guess…more Germans than we’ve met in past years…incredibly, we met a family of 6 that live just a few miles from us here in Pennsylvania…it is a small world, afterall...ages ranged from infants to grandparents with a good mix of couples, families and singles…it is definitely not a “singles or couples” resort though…I would put the emphasis on family atmosphere for the most part…

¿Habla usted español? …don’t speak Spanish? worries! don’t need to speak or understand any Spanish to enjoy Playa del Carmen and your resort…from the moment you step off your plane in Cancun you’ll find English signs…indeed, many of the billboards lining the highway are in English…most menus and instructions will include English/German/French translation, and, if you don’t understand something, ask questions!…most of the Riu staff understand and speak at least some English and, quite a few more of the Animacion team also understand and speak some German and French…you’ll find many Mexicans in the Playa area do speak at least some English…but folks, if you do speak, or are trying to learn Spanish, please do use it, and ask for help with your Spanish because the staff do enjoy helping you become more familiar with this beautiful language…

Other: …a rainbow appeared within hours of our arrival...coincidence?...*smile*...the beach at the Riu Playacar is looking very good, the vegetation is coming back better than ever (after Wilma in 2005), and it continues to be a lovely resort…I would definitely consider a stay at the Playacar…the Riu Palace Mexico is beautiful as usual…the beach has definitely taken a hit, but there is still swimable beach and, so much beach still available, that I would stay there in a heartbeat…yes, there is erosion all along the beaches there, but, if I’d never been there before, and I walked out onto that sand and gazed upon that bluest of blue waters, with Cozumel shining in the distance, it would never occur to me that it wasn’t absolutely the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen in nature…it is paradise…the Riu Tequila is beautiful as always, and that most lush of settings is gorgeous…we didn’t investigate the Riu Lupita or Riu Palace Riviera Maya this time…the lights and sights on Cozumel were much more obvious this year…it seems that there are many more large buildings visible from our shore…also, the lights now twinkle along nearly the entire length of the island…it is magical to see at night…my husband bought cigars in the lobby of the Yucatan and is very happy with them…they are there most nights…the vendors were set up in the lobby of our hotel on Mexican Night because there was a risk of rain…it was a clear evening, and I missed the vendors on the plaza that night…their tables always add to the festive evening…

Overall: …it was a fantastic vacation…I can think of nothing to improve upon (save for the location of the group check in procedure)…we have been thinking about staying in town, however, we are now officially spoiled, and we look forward to rebooking our return to paradise at the Riu Yucatan in the very near future…if you have any questions, please pm me…I know I probably forgot lots!

The End


Registered: May 2007
Posts: 6
Review Date: Fri September 14, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good location, great service and good times!!!
Cons: Only the people that may have not been having a good time!!

We were at the Riu Yucatan from September 1st through the 6th and had a wonderful time. Once we got to Cancun and through immigration and Customs we took the ADO bus from the airport to Playa and then took a $5 taxi from the bus station to the hotel. It was very easy, cheap and safe. I would suggest taking the ADO if you want to save some money like we wanted to. It cost us $40 total for transportation going there and back.

Upon arrival, the hotel was clean and looked amazing! We were greeted with some corona and check in only took about 5 minutes! We were in our suits and to the beach within a half hour! The grounds are well kept and our rooms were cleaned daily with the mini bar stocked every other day. Keep in mind that the little fridges in the rooms are stocked with warm beer, pop and water. If you drink everything in your fridge and it is re-stocked it might be another day before the new beers and things are cold. We thought our fridge was broken but it turned out that ours was re-stocked right before be arrived so we had to wait till the next day before our things were cold. No big deal - good times! the rooms did not have a musty smell although we saw a few little ants on the floor one day - no big deal either, good times still!!

The beach was awesome and there was plenty of room for everyone all day long. It was hard to find room around the pool usually but you just have to roll down to the beach and all was good! The beach isn't as big as it has been in the past but it still doesn't take away from how cool it is and how much fun sitting there all day long can be. We did do the dreaded "beach chair save" most days, just because we were a group of six and wanted some prime spots - haha! Lot's of topless women (which was great for us American men!) we don't see that much here. Keep an open mind about it and roll with it. It's not our custom in the states but to others it is their custom.

The food was great and there was a lot of variety for everyone's taste. We didn't make any reservations for the other places to eat because the buffets had more than enough and were very good! We tried out the Playacar one night for dinner and it was good as well. We actually snuck in because they usually don't let you eat dinner there, just breakfast and lunch. one of the waiters told us that we weren't supposed to be there but he wasn't going to tell - good times - ha!!

We went to Xel-Ha for a day which is well worth it, just bring comfortable shoes because its more walking than you may think. 5th ave. downtown is very cool and you can find lot's of great places to eat and drink for a very low price. The people in Mexico are very gracious and friendly. bring lots of small bills for tipping!

All in all this was a fantastic resort as well as the whole Playacar area of Playa Del Carmen and we will return there hopefully soon.


Registered: September 2006
Posts: 40
Review Date: Thu September 20, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything
Cons: nothing

My wife and I traveled to the RIU Yucatan in late Febuary 07/ This was our first trip to Playa del Carman but wont be our last. We have always stayed with RIU resorts and we will also continue to do so in the future. Our trip from Victoria via Skyservice was nothing special but nothing bad either just time consuming.... We arrived in Cancun and after wading through the time share hounds we boarded our bus for the RIU Yucatan. We arrived at the hotel at about 6PM and met Felix our check in host who was terrific. I had emailed the hotel a week before going asking for a room close to the beach or pool area, With a smile we soon will not forget Felix gave us our room key and off we went to find that our room was within steps to both the pool area and the beach in the last building to the right. I went right back and gave him $20.00 for his excellent choice of a room for us.
If your thinking of staying in this resort DO NOT HESITATE JUST BOOK IT!!! everything to do with this hotel resort was "PERFECT". The food, the drink, the service, the pools, the bars, and the shows were AWESOME...... There are some people who love to complain no matter how well they are treated in these resorts but they must remember they ARE NOT AT HOME. We have been to Punta Cana, Cabo, Vallarta, Mazatlan and more and we have never found a bad RIU Resort yet.

The staff in the Yucatan did everything to take care of us when asked, with a smile and a chat at all times.... the grounds are wonderful and you can walk around and take it all in. Playa del Carman is a short 5 minute cab ride (5bucks) and its a wonderful little town with lots of shops and things to do, and it is entirly safe even at 2am we found out. Cozumel is a short ferry trip away and a great place to have lunch and walk around.

All in all this was again a very wonderful vacation, served up by wonderful people and worth every dime we spent. If you wish to get more info or pictures please contact us at

Site Admin

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 19830
Review Date: Wed October 10, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: ...beach, grounds, pool, staff...everything!...
Cons: ...if i think of something, i'll add it here...

Preliminaries: We spent Friday night at the Renaissance Hotel near the Philadelphia airport. It is a lovely hotel, and our room was lovely and quiet. We had a couple of Coronas at the sports bar downstairs, watching the Phillies win. We had a wonderful night’s sleep and were well prepared for our trip the next day.

Shuttle and Philadelphia Airport: We took the free shuttle to the airport, and left our car at the hotel for free parking. The ride to the airport was uneventful (as it should be) and we were dropped at the terminal for U.S. Airways International flights. There was no line at the check in counter and we breezed through without a problem. Security and the 3-1-1 checkpoint went well. We headed to our gate and had a bite to eat at the snack bar. It was freezing in the terminal! In the future I will pack a fleece blanket to use at the airport!

Flight: Our flight boarded on time, and we were in the air by 8 a.m. The plane was very cold as well. I was thankful they had a blanket. The in-flight movie was “Next” with Nicolas Cage, and watching it made the 3 hour, 10 minute flight speed by. The flight was less than half full, no problem getting to the restrooms or having enough room for carry on luggage. They served a breakfast for $5, but we had already eaten at the airport, so, no worries. We enjoyed a complimentary soda and completed our immigration and customs forms.

Cancun Airport: Then we landed at the Cancun airport. I was amazed at how many people didn’t complete their immigration and customs forms during the flight. Security would not allow them to proceed very far beyond the arrival gate if they hadn’t completed them. Do yourself a favor, complete the forms in flight, and, don’t forget that you will need the tear-off immigration card (tourist card) to leave Mexico. Keep it with your passport and you will save yourself unnecessary hassles. By the time we got to the luggage carousel, our luggage was there. Our next stop was the restrooms--where I mistakenly entered the Men’s Room. Totally embarrassed, I then went to the Ladies Room. I admitted to the waiting line of women what I had done, and two others had done the same thing. I remarked, “wow, they have urinals in the ladies room?” A resident of Mexico replied “yes, we are very advanced!” We shared a laugh, and I headed out to meet my husband. He also saw what I had done, and I was teased about that for the rest of the week. Customs was uneventful, yippee, we got the Green Light! We headed out through the “timeshark area” and they are now restricted to kiosks lining the outside perimeter there, make no mistake, they still shout and try to get your attention, but it is much easier to exit than it used to be. Outside of the airport we immediately found our Best Day Travel representative and he directed us to our awaiting shuttle. We were boarded within minutes, and along with one other American couple who were staying at the Royal Playa del Carmen, we headed to the Riu Yucatan.

Transfer Van Ride: We enjoyed the drive south along 307. There is a great deal of new construction and road work being done along the highway. New resort and condominium construction sites dot the landscape. The shuttle ride to our resort was uneventful, and, we enjoyed the opportunity to see the Royal and a bit of Playa del Carmen before heading to the Riu Yucatan. Our shuttle driver enjoyed talking to us and said that he is learning more about the English language talking about things with his passengers. All in all, a great experience with the Best Day Travel folks.

Check in: Not sure why, but there always seems to be some snafu when it comes to our check ins. This time, it was more of the same. Carlos (Reception Desk) was fantastic, however, in getting everything sorted out in no time at all, even finding us in la Margarita while we were having lunch to assure us that everything was getting sorted out. I dropped my wallet without realizing it, and another guest told me about it (huge thanks). Losing my cash, ID and cards would not have been a good start to our stay in paradise. We had an appointment with our Best Day Travel rep after lunch, and when we met with him, Carlos informed us that our luggage was taken to our room and we were set for our stay “no worries.” We headed to our room, 1201, and discovered that the wonderful Riu people had upgraded us to a suite. Not necessary for us to enjoy our stay, for certain, but a very nice gesture. They told us they consider us VIP’s. I had to laugh at that! We asked Carlos about the dinner reservations I had been given through email--for our anniversary dinner that evening. He said he didn’t know anything about a reservation, but he would check on it. It wasn’t a terribly important thing, because we do love la Hacienda’s buffet, but we thanked him for checking into it. (Read more on this below.)

25th Anniversary Celebration: Now we come to our “excuse” for having to go back again so soon—our 25th wedding anniversary! We dined at la Hacienda’s buffet that evening. The “Spice Girls” were dining next to us, a lovely group of ladies who vacation together at the Riu Yucatan each fall for 3 weeks at a time. They were an absolute delight! We struck up a conversation, and we told them we were celebrating our 25th anniversary. They wished us well. We were thoroughly enjoying our first night in paradise when, to our great surprise, our server, Laura, and a whole band of wait staff serenaded us. They gave me a rose and gave us a heart-shaped cake with a candle on it. I sat there with tears of joy streaming down my face. I can’t tell you how happy I was at that moment. It was an absolutely magical evening. As we left the dining room, Carlos rushed to our side. “I have dinner reservations for you at the Mexican Restaurant, oh my no, you have already eaten, yes?” And so, as it was, the chapter on the check in confusion was closed. No worries, we had a wonderful anniversary celebration.

Pools: The pool bar in the west pool wasn’t open on a number of days. This was mostly likely because the resort wasn’t very full. If you don’t like crowds, this is a great time to travel here. The pools were exceptionally warm. They do their very best to keep them clean, skimming them throughout the day. I wish more folks would rinse the sand off of themselves before leaving the beach—many people use the pool bar as a rinse off spot, and of course, that makes the pool more sandy and cloudy. Also, we noted quite a few people had inflated floats in the pools. They are listed on the rules as not being allowed, and they are a bit inconvenient as they’re sometimes blown around hitting other people.

Bars: The bars and bartenders were fantastic as usual. Give them a chance and they love to perform and interact! On two days, the plaza bar closest to the beach wasn’t open. Again, I suspect because the resort was at low capacity.

Children: We were surprised that there were so many children at the resort. We had expected to see fewer because of schools being in session. They were never a problem and added quite happily to the laughter and fun around the resort.

Animacion: I won bingo one day, and got my certificate and an Animacion Team Bag as my prize on stage that night! I took part in stretching and Spanish lessons, but this year I passed on water aerobics. The team is outstanding, never failing to smile and to pleasantly encourage folks to participate. Water polo, horseshoes, air gun, volleyball, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, bingo, ping pong (and beer pong), water aerobics, regular aerobics, stretching, bocce ball. There’s something for everyone! Or nothing, if that’s what you prefer!

Beach: It is absolutely beautiful. The water is incredibly warm and most days, the surf was gentle enough to float out in chest deep water. We did have storms at sea a few evenings, and that brought red flag surf. You can still go into the water during the red flag surf days, but there is strong wave action then, not the rolling surf that I adore. Plenty of loungers on the beach, and the palms are full and provide a great deal of shade if you need it! A massage hut on each end of the beach, and Scuba Caribe at the southern end of the beach!

Grounds: The incredible lushness that I found at the Riu Yucatan back in 2001 has finally returned after the pruning it got from Wilma back in 2005. It is gorgeous. We didn’t see the monkeys on this trip, but plenty of agouti and the beautiful kitties were there nearly every day. We also saw a lizard or two roaming the grounds.

Lazy Days: I did not get up in time to see a single sunrise this stay. For those of you who know me, you must be quite shocked. It seems that managing to sleep in a bit gave me much more energy to party all day and enjoy the evening shows as well. I’m not sure what I’ll do next stay, but, it was just fantastic. Each day I walked to la Hacienda for a coffee for Mr. Rainbow, and then we would get our beach/pool stuff together and head to gaze on that incredible water. After relaxing for a bit, we would head back to la Hacienda for a quick bite to eat. Then back to the beach/pool. We never had difficulty getting loungers together, and, indeed, even well after 8 or 9 a.m., we were able to get two loungers under a palapa right by our favorite pool bar. Bloody Mary’s were the usual early order of the day, with Coronas waiting until after a delicious lunch at either la Hacienda or la Margarita. My favorite is still the pizza and fries with sides of pico de gallo and guacamole. Either a small sweet treat from the baked goods or a mini cone of vanilla ice cream finished off lunch quite nicely. We ended our afternoons at the plaza bar, learning to drink tequila with a sangrita, thanks to our wonderful bartender friends Jose M., Fausto, Benito, Leo, Santos, Kristell and J. Cruz. Delicious! One day we had reservations for dinner, but for the rest of the days we had no timeline so it was “don’t watch the clock,” playing games or just relaxing until the shadows grew long.

Magical Evenings: Dinners were fabulous as always, the buffet at la Hacienda never disappoints, and we especially enjoyed the pasta station on the veranda. That is a portion of the buffet that is often overlooked by guests; and I would recommend trying it if you haven’t already had the pleasure. Our dinner at the Mexican Restaurant was exquisite. We both had the Garlic Shrimp, and I finally got to try the delicacy ‘corn smut.” For those of you that don’t know what that is, it is a fungus that grows on ears of corn. Please, if you like mushrooms, give it a try! I gave my sweet tooth a treat each evening. The Key Lime Pie is absolute heaven!

We went to a show most every evening. We saw the Mayan Show at the Riu Yucatan and at the Riu Playacar. The shows were similar, but the cast put their own unique specialties into the shows making them more of a joy rather than a repeat. We saw the Caribbean Show which showcases mostly dancing, but there was a gentleman who performed a swinging ropes routine that was fantastic. I apologize for not knowing exactly what this routine is called, but it was simply amazing. It reminded me of a jump rope but it had clickers on each end that hit the stage in rhythmic precision. I look forward to seeing this again! We missed the Karaoke show because we were at la Cantina in the lobby. As always, my absolute favorite is the Mariachi with Edgar Fernandez. I finally remembered to buy a CD to bring home with me, and now I can listen to his amazing voice all the time!

I took my Philadelphia Eagles jersey with me and we watched the first quarter of the Eagles game at the Riu Tequila sports bar. The game wasn’t nearly as interesting in paradise as it is at home, so we packed it in and headed to the Riu Playacar where we were lucky to catch their version of the Mayan Show.

The moon was near to half full and it was perfect timing for each evening to see it rising above the horizon, glimmering off of the Caribbean. One evening there was a cruise ship anchored with full party lights blazing. The scene was something off of a post card and, although we didn’t have a camera, it is burned upon our memories for all time. We always ended our evening with a walk along the edge of the beach.

Playa del Carmen: We took a bag of donations from a kind lady from Pittsburgh, PA to the Peanut Pet Shelter in Playa. The owner met us at the Beer Bucket so that we could give him the supplies. Andy is a wonderful gentleman, and we applaud his efforts in operation and continued success for his “no kill” pet shelter. If anyone wants information about this facility, or possibly making a contribution or donation, please contact me. We then headed down Fifth Avenue in Playa where we met and chatted with a professor at the University of the Americas. She teaches English and explained to us that books for children (in Spanish and English) are very expensive, and that if we wanted to bring inexpensive books to the library there, they would be much appreciated. I know that at times members here on our board are curious as to what they can help with as far as donations go, this might be a possibility. We also toured the Luna Blue Hotel and Garden in Playa. We met the owners who are wonderful people. If we ever consider a break from our All Inclusive stays, I believe this is where we might go. The hotel is just beautiful. We bought our souvenirs and caught a cab back to the resort. Oh, and we learned the Playa handshake. When I meet up with you all, I’ll teach you as well.

Massage Hut: I had two braids put in my hair on the beach. The price was $2 per braid and they finished in no time!

Internet Room: The Internet Room (just to the left and around the corner from the Reception Desk) now offers a timed card purchase making it more convenient if you don’t want to use all your time at once! Also, you still get double the minutes when using your Riu Class Card.

Cell Phone Use: I used my AT&T/Cingular cell phone to make several phone calls. The service strength was as good, if not better than at home!

Tips: We did tip our room attendant $2 every day. We got quite a few lovely towel art pieces. We also tipped our fridge refill guy/gal. I made envelopes to put the tips into, and that seemed to work well. You must let them know that money is for them because they will not take money unless they know it is theirs. We also tipped our waiters and bartenders as we went through the week. All I can say is, if it feels right to tip, tip. We let our heart be our guide.

Suggestions: When you catch a cab, ask “how much to go to…….?” before you get into the cab! Take a nightlight, it gives the room a homey, lived in feel. Embrace the “smell of the tropics.” I’m still picking up my bag and taking a deep breath which reminds me of Mexico. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people around you. Sure, there are some language barriers, but, a simple “hola, English?” or “German?” will determine whether you can communicate effectively. And, remember, a tequila boom boom knows no language barriers! We met some fantastic new friends this trip, as usual. We hope that perhaps our paths will cross again at our Riu. If nothing else, we will keep in touch with them and share memories now and again. Take bubble wrap along to pack fragile souvenirs, and take insulated mugs, which double as protective cylinders for fragile small items as well!

Return home: We had a 10 a.m. pickup scheduled, and so we had plenty of time to pack, have a bite to eat, and be on our way. Our best day travel van picked us up on time--after we got a surprise send off from new friends we had met during our stay. We picked one couple up at the Royal Playa del Carmen and headed back to the airport. Our trip was uneventful, and we were sent off to check in by our Best Day Travel representative. Check in and security went without event. Our flight was delayed by an hour because of fog in Philadelphia that morning. Otherwise, all went well, the flight back was less than half full and I finished the book I was reading. We had just a bit of turbulence over North Carolina, but other than that, a totally fine trip. Our shuttle ride took us back to the Renaissance Hotel where we loaded up our baggage and headed on our 72 mile drive home. The cats were happy to see us. We spent the rest of the evening talking about our next trip to Mexico and the Riu Yucatan—home.

Final thoughts: Your Riu vacation is what you make of it. If you go to your Riu expecting the world—everything perfect, you are likely to be disappointed. If you go to your Riu expecting opportunities to eat, drink and be merry in the most wonderful of locales, then you are bound to have an exciting and invigorating experience. The people I come home to are jealous. They say “what happens to you when you go to Mexico? I never feel that way when I come back from trips!” I tell them, you’ve never gone to a magical Playa del Carmen Riu resort. Or, maybe it is the lizards sitting on my hat? Whatever the case, thanks for taking the time to read my review.
Adios mis amigos!


Registered: March 2008
Posts: 11
Review Date: Fri May 9, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Loved the Resort!
Cons: Food could of been better

I love the Resort.....Didnt care for the city...not many americans,would of expected more with deals that are out there.......GREAT TIME!!!

Site Admin

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 19830
Review Date: Thu July 31, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $2,598.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Staff, grounds, food, drink, beach, location, everything.
Cons: Pools: unruly children create dangerous situations, pool water needed more attention on some days.

July 20-27, 2008—Our trip to Riu Paradise—Riu Yucatan—Playa del Carmen

Travel to Cancun:

We spent the night near the Philadelphia Airport and our 7:40 a.m. flight to Cancun was on time. We arrived in Cancun 3 hours and 15 minutes later. Our Immigration, baggage claim and Customs were a breeze. We found our US Air Vacations/Best Day Travel representative waiting outside and we were loaded onto a well air-conditioned van. The trip to Playa del Carmen is one we always enjoy, and we were the first to be delivered to our resort.

Arrival at the Riu Yucatan:

The Reception staff was very helpful, they had all of our arrival confirmations, and welcomed us with our refreshing cocktail. They also presented me with a lovely rose. Our room was not ready, so we had a chance to enjoy lunch and a few drinks. When we were assigned our room (in Building 1), I went to take a look. We had requested close to the pool, but no other preference expressed--except to have our friend (arriving two days later) located near to us. I was dismayed to discover that our balcony had a wall instead of a rail. I know it seems a minor thing, but the time I do spend in my room, I enjoy sitting on the balcony taking in the views. I went back to Reception, and they indicated they had assigned us their best room available (a king size bed). They were very understanding, and moved us to Building 6. We were well pleased with the room, as it had a wonderful oversized balcony. (Note: I didn’t realize that the Yucatan had any walls instead of rail balconies. I now know better to ask for that in the future as one of my preferences.) Our fridge was stocked, towel art and a paper flower decorated the bed, and we settled in with an ice cold Corona and a bit of a relaxed time on the balcony.


The room was very clean, air conditioning and ceiling fan superb, with towels, face cloths and face towels aplenty. The beds had the firm mattresses we love! We requested a blanket on our second day, and the room attendant made our bed up with one. The water pressure was great, all of the plumbing worked fine. There was an iron and ironing board in the closet. Shampoo, body wash and shower cap were provided on the vanity. The hair dryer worked great. The liquor stocked in the room was tequila, rum, vodka and whiskey. The fridge was stocked with orange soda, water, Corona, Pepsi and I had to request Pepsi Light, which they did restock. Our balcony was beautiful, and we looked out over the plaza and main walkway.

I’m pleased that they indeed gave our friend the room directly across from us, and we appreciated that very much.


We absolutely adore the bars and the bartenders at the Riu Yucatan. It was probably time for us to leave because they all seemed to know our names and what we were drinking all the time.  I know that I will forget someone, but applause go out to J. Cruz, Kristell, Israel, Jose M., Benito, Victor(s), Fausto, Donas and Abraham. Coldest beer and best drinks! They are always there with a beautiful smile, ready to entertain and serve. My new favorite is Corona with a salt-rimmed glass. Delicious! Don’t miss the café con leche y Kahlua too. Yum! Also, they have a separate Martini menu at the bars, I had the Martini Blanco, and it was very good! Also, of special note...all but the pool bars are serving negra modelo on tap! This is in addition to the ever popular Corona!

Breakfast: Probably my favorite meal of the day. I love the variety, and although I often ended up eating the same thing because I loved it so much, there was always a great selection. The donuts are delicious, of course! They had champagne for mimosas too, that was quite nice!

Lunch: We ate at la Hacienda’s main buffet for lunch twice, and the selection there is much more extensive than at la Margarita’s, but we enjoyed that as well because it is more casual. My new favorite dessert was a ¼ cup of pepsi, filled with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, can you say Black Cow Float! Simply delicious. We also found a Riu staff member who we met at the Riu Palace Mexico a few years ago, it was great to see him again.

Dinner: We ate at the Mexican Restaurant (Tequila Beach Club) on our second evening. Tropical Storm (soon to be hurricane) Dolly was roaring outside, and the roll-down shades sheltered us from the weather, it was quite exciting to sit that close to the water during this stormy time. The food was delicious. I had the garlic shrimp and my husband had the burrito. The Mexican is our favorite specialty restaurant. In la Hacienda, the food continues to be wonderful, especially their delicious soups. Don’t miss out on the pasta bar on the patio!

Animacion: Without a doubt, this was the best Animacion team composition and energy level we’ve ever seen. They worked all day to keep folks involved. I applaud them for their efforts and energy. Activities included: bocce, darts, beer chug, horseshoes, soccer, water aerobics, crazy games (every day, either pool or beachside), ping pong, stretching, air gun, fruit carving, towel art, dance lessons, dance contests and bingo. Yours truly won bocce one day, and I was a finalist in the “sexy dance” contest. Prizes were given out on stage before the evening’s entertainment began.

Evening Entertainment: While we were there we saw the wonderful Mariachi, Rocky Horror Picture Show (don’t miss that one!), Cinema night, Mayan show, Tropical Show, Around the World and Michael Jackson. We didn’t get to see Mama Mia, but we did see rehearsals for that--it looked great. We also missed Karaoke night. All of the shows were enjoyable, and most evenings a live band performed music to dance to on the plaza before and after the show. The staff often brought guests onto the dance floor for a dance.

Wildlife: We didn’t see as many iguanas this time as we usually do, but we did have a gecko in our room. The howler monkeys were very active, especially at 5 a.m. *yawn*. The agouti are still plentiful, and there are a couple of cats near the main lobby.

Photo Ops: We saw the professional photographers with iguana, parrots, a toucan and a monkey. These photos make nice souvenirs and they offer them in the lobby after 6 p.m. They were $9US each.

Pools: The pools were refreshing, and not nearly as warm as I expected them to be. The first 4 days they were clean and clear, the last days of our stay, however, the pools began to get cloudy, and especially the pool bar called Tulum, was pretty bad. They partially drained that pool on the last day, but the refill didn’t improve it much. I believe they may have a filtration problem, and they are working to correct it. There are a good number of palapas for shade all around the pool area, and we didn’t have a problem finding our spot each day. The lounge saving does continue. Alas, I fear this will always be difficult to control. There were floats and tubes in the pools all the time. We were quite dismayed at the way young children were allowed to jump into and around the pools. I sincerely wish that parents would control this, but I have urged the Riu Yucatan to gently do this as well. The unruly behavior can be annoying to other guests at times, but it is certainly dangerous for children. It might be a good idea to restrict children from going into the dedicated pool bar area. The granite topped tables that surround that pool serve as dangerous objects as the kids splashed and horsed around. That’s just my two cents worth.

Beach: The beach is looking as good as I can remember it. There aren’t as many palms there “yet” but they are working diligently to protect and rebuild the sand there. We experienced no difficult cliffs to navigate, and we had easy access to both sets of stairs. The good beach conditions were true for the Riu Palace Mexico, Riu Playacar, Riu Lupita and Riu Palace Riviera Maya as well. In fact, we were able to walk the beach all the way to the RPRM for the first time! The whales that have been installed along the beaches fit in with the scenery pretty much, they really seem more like natural rock outcroppings now. We did notice signs further north along the beach at other resorts warning guests expressly to stay off the whales; but at the rest of the resorts, including the Riu’s, playing along and on them is a major sport. My husband saw lots of fish huddled along the whales. The water was rough the first few days as a result of T.S. Dolly, but when it calmed, it was as calm as ever. I was able to stand in shoulder deep water without a worry. At times, crews are pumping sand back onto the beach from outside of the second row of whales, and when they do that, the water is occasionally cloudy, but always blue. There were no rocks anywhere, but there are more shells to be found than in past years. There is still a nice area of palm covered loungers to the south and north of the pool area at the Yucatan.

Grounds: Gorgeous and lush again, Wilma’s pruning has left healthy growth everywhere. It is much as I remember it the first time I went there in 2001. Not as many flowers to be seen as in May, but lovely just the same.

Riu Playacar: The Playacar is beautiful, their animal-shaped bushes and trees are looking great again. Their beach area is very nice too. They serve the same wonderful peanuts at their bars as the Riu Palace Mexico—the Riu Yucatan doesn’t, I wonder why?????

Riu Tequila: The Tequila did look quite empty, I wonder if they aren’t booking as heavily in preparation for their renovations. It is still a lovely resort, and I wandered around taking many pictures early one morning, and have come to appreciate how pretty it already is. I am looking forward to the wonderful things they’ll do with renovations. Their beach club and beach area are also looking very good! The Tequila lobby has a “Life is Good” shop where the Corona shop used to be. We went to the la Piñata disco one evening, and there was no foul smell. The music wasn’t bad either! We actually stayed up until 1 a.m. that morning. I know, what a shocker!

Riu Palace Mexico: The beach is looking wonderful. No worries there folks. This resort is just amazing, period.

Riu Lupita and Riu Palace Riviera Maya: The Lupita’s beach club looks great, good size lower beach as well. It was great to see this beach area looking so healthy. The RPRM has a gorgeous upper and lower beach. The pool area is just incredible. Lots of palms here for both resort’s beach areas.

Playacar Plaza: There’s a Starbucks in the Plaza now. My goodness, what’s going on?  The shops were great as usual, and we found pricing very similar to Playa. There are no empty storefronts, and there is a huge silver store in the central area again. Beautiful! (By the way, the Starbucks in Mexico do not take the Starbucks gift cards.)

Playa del Carmen: We spent one day in town, dropping donations of Crayola crayons for the children’s hospital, and donating an old license plate to the Beer Bucket on Calle 10 between 5th and 10th Avenue, we had a few Coronas there. We also stopped at the Pez Vela for a Sol and a swing on their bar stools. Town is lively and lush again and it was good to see so many people there!

Cabs: We asked Reception to call us a cab to head into Playa. She said, 5 or 10 minutes, we turned around, walked the entrance and the cab was already there! $5US for three of us to go into town, and, our cab driver was very pleasant! When we were ready to head home, we simply walked along 5th Avenue until we came to a cross road and found a cab immediately. No worries!

Return home: The transfer van picked us up early (nice!). We had two more stops at the Princess and the Royal Playa del Carmen. The trip takes longer now that more and more speed bumps are being added as more and more turnarounds, and crossroads are added. We got to the airport on time, and left through Terminal 3. We had a bit of a wait through check in, but breezed through security. Warning: the prices for food and drink at the airport have skyrocketed. It was $7.50US for a small bag of pretzels! We shopped at the Duty Free for our tequila and Kahlua, and boarded our flight on time. The flight home was rather bumpy, but we arrived early in Philadelphia, only to wait for an international gate because severe storms in the area had delayed other international flights. So, we got to spend a little more time with the lovely folks on Flight 812.

Thanks for reading my report, I just got pricing for our return to Playa in December this year. Adios mis amigos!

Rainbow & company.

Playa Beach Bum

Registered: November 2008
Posts: 34
Review Date: Sat January 17, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Location; Hotel Staff; All-Inclusive Is Perfect For Family Vacations.
Cons: NONE !!!

Just returned from the RIU Yucatan and thought I'd do a brief review of our trip:

Likes: RIU Yucatan hotel; the beach; aquamarine water; waking up in paradise; tequila boom booms; white powdery sand between my toes; drinking out of coconuts; full moon (red) over the Caribbean; Eduardo and all the bartenders; Zereques, Howler Monkeys, and Iquana Lizards; para-sailing and seeing all the amazing hues of blue; 85 F degree weather; tequila boom booms; all the Animacion entertainment team; fire dancers; 5th street in Playa Del Carmen, including Spiderman, Gold Man (sitting on a gold toilet in the middle of the street), Carlos & Charlies, and the picture of 2 monkeys on my head; tequila boom booms; towel art; "The Perfect Couple" show; swimming in the ocean on my 50th birthday; chocolate smoothies and coconut ice cream; hot chocolate; fresh fruit; cold Coronas; snorkeling; the Mayan ruins in Tulum; mojitas; room 4321; and the best part: seeing the smiles on my wife and 5 kids faces. Did I mention tequila boom booms???

Dislikes: Ah, ah, ah, ok, I think I got one Cuba Libre that the bartender forgot to put a slice of lime on the glass... All in all, a PERFECT vacation - I can't wait to go back again!!!


Registered: December 2008
Posts: 15
Review Date: Thu February 19, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Staff, cleanliness, facilities, beach
Cons: Food began to taste the same, animacion shows are amateur

I stayed at the Riu Yucatan from February 4-10th, and went with my wife and 5 other couples. We've never stayed at a Riu resort, and our only other time somewhat near Playa Del Carmen was last year when we stayed at the El Dorado Royale. The El Dorado Royale had nice facilities and food .. but was also a lot more expensive . With that said, we would chose the Riu Yucatan over the El Dorado.

Check in: We booked through Worry Free Vacations and everything went smoothly. We arrived at the resort at 2ish, and our rooms were ready to go.

Beach: The sand is smooth and soft. The beach was also in good condition, at least compared to the El Dorado. It was windy and the beach was red flagged every day, but the water was warm, beautiful and the boogie boarding and bodysurfing was great. There were always loungers at the beach, even enough for all twelve of our group.

Pools: We never hung out at the pool, with the exception of the swim up bars one day. They were nice, but cold. You have to get to the pools early to get a lounger. The hot tub was not a hot tub ... colder than the pools, but we never wanted to use it anyway. The area is a little crowded around the pools, but again, we were beach combers so it didn't bother us.

Tennis courts: There were three, but one was converted into a "soccer field." The courts were almost always open, and it fairly good shape. One had a few cracks, but nothing to complain about. We hit the courts most of our days there.

Bars: The bars are great, good quick service. Happy bartenders. We mostly hung out at Riu Yucatan's bars, but did hit the sports bar at the Tequila. Pretty nice at the sports bar. We checked out La Pinata at the Tequila, but there were only four people there at 11 at night including the 2 bar tenders. Not a real happening place there. Drinks were great, and the cerveza flowed like water!

Rooms: The rooms are a little outdated, in fact, our room had a Southwestern USA feel with pictures of cactuses on the wall. The beds were also two doubles pushed together. They were extremely hard, but I heard you could request a pillow top. We didn't, but should have. The maid service was outstanding. Our rooms were spotless. The fridges also had sodas and cerveza. We left a note for our maid, with a tip, asking for Pepsi Light (they only stock it with Pepsi, Miranda and 7Up unless you ask for Pepsi Light) and we got it. We asked for a few more cervezas and got that as well.

Food: We ate at all restaurants and enjoyed the Mexican restaurant and steakhouse the most. We didn't particularly enjoy the Asian restaurant. The buffett place was good, but the food all started tasting the same after a week. We cannot really complain about the food.

Evening entertainment: It was a little amateurish, but we weren't expecting Broadway quality either.

Going to town: Cab rides were $5 US. We didn't hit up Senor Frogs or anything like that. Just a little shopping and a few cervezas at a few small places. Prices were high in town (it is getting very Americanized with 3 McDonald's, a DQ, and a couple of Burger Kings, couple of Subways, a Papa John's and a Johnny Rocket's ... I am just glad I didn't see a Taco Bell!)

Wildlife: The agoutis are all over, we only saw a few iguanas and we didn't see the monkeys until the last few days. There were some baby howler monkeys, which was cool to see.

Annoyances: My only real annoyance was the guy from Scuba Caribe hard-selling us on para-sailing, jet ski rentals, etc. I understand he is doing his job, but that got a little old.

Tips: Someone on here had recommended bringing a candle, which was a great tip. The room was a little musty, not Riu's fault but the climate's, and the candle helped freshen up the room smell. I had heard about mosquitos, but we didn't encounter any. Also, make sure you eat before you get to the Cancun airport for your return flight. $2.50 US for a can of Diet Coke!

I hope this review helps you out. I really enjoyed this website when I was planning my trip.


Registered: February 2010
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sat May 1, 2010 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: clean, lots of activities, food was great
Cons: sometimes the drinks were a bit weak

The resort was beautiful. The people were so friendly. They could not do enough to make your stay perfect. The beach was unbelievably beautiful. We would go back tomorrow.

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