If you guys saw my recent Instagram posts, I was in Cancun for a long weekend trip. We stayed at the Riu Palace Peninsula, which is one of the four Riu hotels in the Hotel Zone (the central area where all the resorts are located). There is actually a total of five, but the Riu Dunamar is not in the Hotel Zone.

We booked a package that included 3 nights at the all-inclusive hotel + shuttle rides from/to the airport through Costco Travel (shuttle is optional). If you have a Costco membership, this might be worth looking into (You also get some extra perks)! If you’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort or are just interested in staying at the Riu Palace Peninsula in the near future, read on.

View from the 9th floor

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I broke this post down into five things you should look for in an all-inclusive resort!

Friendly Staff: 3.5/5

During my stay, the staff was almost 50/50 when it came to friendliness. The restaurant, cleaning and front desk staff were amazing. The staff on the beach (the towel pick-up stations, water activity stations)? Not so much. They just seemed really annoyed, lazy, and picky about which clients they want to talk to and ignore. I’d say about 90% of them spoke English fairly well, were not difficult to understand at all. After all, it’s Cancun- they have the tourism game down. They know what they’re doing and know how to sell you, so don’t fall for everything they try to sell!

Cleanliness: 5/5

The resort was super clean. Even with my picky self, all the facilities in the room and around the resort were very clean. The cleaning staff also did a very good job turning around the rooms quickly after other check-outs. We switched our rooms on the second day for a better view, and we were able to check in to a new, clean room very quickly.

Food Options: 4/5

Riu Palace Peninsula has a total of 5 restaurants, 1 cafe, 1 sports bar that also serves food and snacks, and 1 cafe. There was also a crepe/waffle stand at the hotel lobby on Saturday. Luckily, there was a wide range of options from Japanese to Mexican to Italian and more, but resort food can get old easily. As I mentioned earlier, there are a total of four Riu hotels in the Hotel Zone (Riu Cancun, Riu Caribe, Palace Las Americas and Palace Peninsula). If you’re staying at one of the Palace hotels like we did, you have access to all of the other hotels as well. This is great when you are tired of your resort food and want to check out some other food options!

What is Included: 4/5

The all-inclusive details included all meals, snacks, beverages, an in-room minibar (all beverages included), a 24-hour room service, kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing, boogie boarding, fitness classes, yoga class, Internet, and daily night entertainment at the resort. I only didn’t give it a 5/5 because of the water activities. We were excited about kayaking and windsurfing, but the staff thought the waves were too strong for kayaking. For windsurfing, they asked for a one-time instruction $65 fee. Not worth it, so we just spent the money on an amazing excursion outside of the resort.

Price & Location: 3/5 

For an all-inclusive, just taking advantage of the food and drinks alone will get you your money’s worth. However, we went the first week of spring break, so the prices were slightly high (Over $300). It seems like they go as low as $114, so we definitely didn’t get the best deal. But at the same time, if you think about the all-inclusive factors, it’s not bad at all! Just be aware that there are some really good deals out there for a short weekend or a random weekday trip. I gave a 3/5 for the price and location because it wasn’t extremely cheap for being so remote from the central downtown area.

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  • A dollar goes a long way: The hotel staff gets paid an average of 50 cents an hour. By American standards, this may seem crazy but it’s the reality for many in this part of the world. Therefore, tips are greatly appreciated. Start your day tipping and receive great service for the rest of the day! $5 is even better for when you need extra attention.
  • Ask for an ocean view room: Even if you didn’t pay extra for an ocean view room, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The hotel is most likely not booked completely. You might get yourself a room with great views without the extra fees.
  • Strong or watered down: If you’re a heavy drinker and want stronger alcohol, get your drinks early. As the day goes on, especially at night, the resort staff watered down the drinks a LOT.
  • Water activities: We didn’t get to kayak because the waves were too strong and they only allowed windsurfing for those who knew how to. The staff asked for a $65 fee for a one-time instruction. However, snorkeling gear and boogie boarding are also a part of it, so be sure to take advantage if you’re staying at Riu Palace Peninsula!
  • Adult-Only Villas: There is an adult-only villas section with an adult-only area and pool. This may be for you if you want something more exclusive and a quiet time.

Can’t wait to share the rest of the pics from Cancun with you guys! Stay tuned for more posts 🙂


A Cup of Owl