Know Before You Go: Travel Guide to Dreams Riviera Cancun (Mexico) All-Inclusive Resort Vacation

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This winter, Mike and I spent a few days on an all-inclusive resort vacation on Mexico!

It was our first time in Mexico and we chose to stay at Dreams Riviera Cancun
(see my blog post about how an AMA Travel agent helped us decide where to go!)

We were so happy with our totally relaxing all-inclusive resort experience, we were talking about when we could come back to Mexico before we had even left.

If you’ve landed on this post, perhaps you are considering staying at Dreams Riviera Cancun, or have already booked and are counting down the days to your sure to be unforgettable vacation!

I hope this list of 22 tips and things you should know about the resort, based on our experience (we stayed for 5 days during the first week of December 2019), helps ensure you make the most of your all-inclusive Mexican resort vacation!

Note: this blog post isn’t sponsored! ’m always just happy to share our travel experiences on this blog with you!

Travel Guide to Dreams Riviera Cancun (Mexico) All-Inclusive Resort Vacation – 22 Things To Know Before You Go

Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico Guide Know Before You Go Tips
Share my blog guide to Dreams Riviera Cancun! 22 Things to Know Before You Go.
1. No reservations are required!

Maybe that’s why you ended up booking Dreams Riviera Cancun—it was definitely a deciding factor for us! We really like being able to drop into whatever restaurant, at whatever time, we please. We didn’t want restaurant reservations to dictate our resort reschedule! Being a no reservations required resort was a huge perk for us. Dreams Riviera Cancun has a Japanese restaurant that offers a Teppanyaki experience where they do recommend you make reservations, but typically if you go later in the evening, they’ll have Teppanyaki spots available for walk-ins as well. 

Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food - No Reservations
No reservations required at Dreams Riviera Cancun!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food - No Reservations
Show up and they'll have a seat for you!
2. Plan for first dinner and second dinner!

This is a very Mike and Linda thing to do. Make the most of your Dreams Riviera Cancun all-inclusive resort experience by eating dinner twice! Most dinner restaurants open by 5 p.m. and remain open until 11 p.m. We would typically have our first dinner around 6 p.m., go do some kind of activity, and then head to a different restaurant by 9 p.m., sometimes 10 p.m. This way we were able to eat at multiple restaurants, multiple times throughout our trip! lol the dream, right. 

We like planning multiple meals at all-inclusives (this was our first Mexican resort all-inclusive but we have also done this eating tactic on cruises, and at a Cuban all-inclusive!) because we’re able to try everything at least once and then return to our favourites. On this trip, we ended up doing second dinner at the Japanese restaurant nearly every night!! 

Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food
We were spoiled with good food at Dreams!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food
I loved all the seafood!
3. There’s a lot of good food—but it can sometimes be inconsistent.

We really enjoyed the food at Dreams Riviera Cancun. There is great variety—Italian, Japanese, Mexican, French, Seafood, American and more! Service is fairly quick (some restaurants, some times, it feels like food is coming out almost instantly). And most of the dishes are quite beautiful too—great plating! 

However something to keep in mind is that consistency really does vary.

I ordered the same soup at the same restaurant over a few days and they come out presented completely different. My guacamole in a restaurant tasted better than the guacamole by the pool one day, but then the pool guac was amazing the next day.

We met a couple named Gary and Jenny from St. Louis who said they were having the hardest time finding the best/right margarita—all the bartenders seemed to make it differently. My drinks ended up primarily being Mud Slides, Pina Coladas and Miami Vices and the presentation on both Mud Slide and Miami Vice was always different every time, lol! Still all really delicious, but sometimes not a whole lot of consistency.

I will be writing a separate blog post recommending some of my favourite dishes I tried at the resort, so be sure to read that at the link below:

  • READ my Travel Guide: 10 Foods to Try at Dreams Riviera Cancun (Mexico All-Inclusive Resort) – Coming Soon!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food
Daily chips and guac!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food
Sometimes your fav dishes may look different the next day, lol.
4. There’s an app or that!

Dreams Riviera Cancun offers free Wi-Fi, with strong signals across the resort, from room to pool to beach! They also have an ‘Unlimited Connectivity’ app you can download that loads up restaurant menus, hours of operation, and daily entertainment schedules (like the fire show!)

The app is pretty useful—reminding us when certain restaurants were open, letting us peruse the 24-hour room service option, and letting us know that they was Karaoke Night in the lounge from 9:30-10:30 p.m. one evening during our stay.

Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Nightly Shows Entertainmentahttps://www.dreamsresorts.com/en_us/resorts/mexico/riviera-cancun.html
Big turnout for the fire show at Dreams Riviera Cancun!
5. 24-hour room service has great variety—but no alcohol. 

We gave the 24-hour room service a try on our first night and were pretty satisfied with our meal! It is a limited menu compared to what you can get at the restaurants of course, but totally satisfies any cravings.

Room service took about 45 minutes to arrive (might be longer during more peak / dinner hours) but something to note is that you can’t order drinks! Not a big deal for me, lol. Something to note for Mike. 

6. Chairs by the beach and infinity pool are taken early!

Technically you’re not allowed to reserve chairs at the pool. The official line is after 30 minutes of inactivity, staff will clear out towels, which did happen to us once. However they won’t take your bag so you could technically reserve that way. The pools at Dreams Riviera Cancun open at 8 a.m. (however sometimes there are workers cleaning the pool in those first couple of hours) and most chairs at the infinity pool are taken almost instantly. If you’re not an early riser you may not get a great seat but there are lots of chairs available so you should be able to snag some spot by the water.

If you don’t care to be seated close to the infinity pool, there are still a few other pools with respective chairs at Dreams including shallower pools that are more kid/family-friendly. We preferred spending time in the infinity pool but I also read in the shallow pool one day during our stay! 

Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Pool
Reading in the pool!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Pool
Posing by the pool!
Dreams Riviera Cancun Mexico - Instagrammale Photo Op Spots - Places to take a Picture - Infinity Pool
LOVE the infinity pool at Dreams Riviera Cancun!
7. First week of December is a great time to go. 
We were told by a few servers that we picked a great time to be there (Dec. 4 – 9, 2019). Their rainy season was in the months previous and this was like the start to their busy season so it wasn’t actually very busy at the time, and the weather was just perfect. We got about 27-28C degrees and sunshine each day of our trip. 
It was perfect! I had friends go to Cancun the week after we went and it was raining much of the time. 

We felt like we really lucked out with the weather!
8. Watch the sun rise over the ocean and snap photos on the beach!

During our early December trip, the sun rose around 7 a.m. each morning and set just after 6 p.m.

One  of my favourite mornings was spent on the white sand beach watching the sunrise, listening to the ocean waves crashing, and of course—snapping some (I think) lovely, lovely photos on the beach. Being at the beach that early also ensured “front row” seats to the ocean. It was a perfect, lazy morning reading books, drinking pina coladas, and enjoying nature’s beauty.

I also think sunrise will give you far less crowds than sunset! 

Dreams Riviera Cancun - Instagrammable Photo Op Spots - Places to Take a Picture - Mexico - Beach Sunrise
Stunning sunrise!
9. Book a room with a private pool. 
We sprung for a room with a private plunge pool and couldn’t have been happier with our decision. Our room was just steps away from the pool and beach, but also included a hot tub and private pool of our own! It was the perfect little patio. Our room was 2151 and we were told it is one of the best rooms at the resort (however there are also rooms with private pools that open right out onto the beach—which is classified as the best lol). Our room is listed as a ‘Premium Deluxe Suite with Private Plunge Pool.’ When we booked, the difference between a regular room and this room was about $500 per person. We felt it was worth it, though I do also think an ocean view room from the upper floors would be nice because you’d have a better view (and angle for pictures) of the pool and beach too! 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - Instagrammable Photo Op Spots - Places to Take a Picture - Mexico - Private Plunge Pool
Plunge pool for private photos!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Infinity Pool Private Plunge pool
We LOVED our plunge pool!!!
10. Be careful with the complimentary “resort” dollars.
One of the resort perks the resort lists is that you can get a few hundred dollars in luxury “resort cash” that can be used on whatever you want in theory—often spa/massage experiences. The thing they don’t tell you is that this resort cash is in exchange for your precious vacation time— attending their Unlimited Vacation Clubs presentation which is about a 4-hour presentation where they try to get you to buy into their club program which is in theory supposed to offer you better rates, rooms and experiences for your future vacations at their resorts. You do get to visit the other hotel (Breathless, an adults-only resort) and get breakfast, plus the spa experience (it was a really lovely spa experience!) but honestly really not worth it. (Don’t believe them when they say the presentation will be 1.5 hours. It’s definitely 4 hours. lol) 
11. You don’t need pesos—USD currency works just fine.
American cash is widely accepted in Mexico and often things you might be interested in buying are listed in both Mexican pesos as well as USD. We exchanged $200 USD for our 5 days, and used it primarily for tipping. It was more than enough for our 5 days. Speaking of tipping…
12. Don’t forget to tip!! 
The resort workers really don’t make that much money (there’s a rumour that servers only make $4 USD per day). So tips are greatly appreciated. We tipped anywhere from $1-$3 USD for most servers, bartenders, and drivers, $5 for really exceptional service, and $5 daily for our cleaning staff. I also gave a tip to some hostesses because I wasn’t sure if they ever get tipped, lol. Depending on the server, if you give them a bit higher tip then they will go out of their way to get you more drinks, make you fancier drinks, etc., though they should be really nice and give you great service regardless. We were taking pictures at the Dreams Riviera Cancun LOVE locks and a worker stopped and offered to take our photo. We tipped him afterwards and he said we really didn’t have to, but we insisted! We also asked a server if all the servers split their tips evenly and they said no—so (if you believe the answer lol) anything they make in tips goes right to them and likely makes a huge, positive impact on their finances. Come prepared with cash to tip because it’s a nice thing to do and they’re working hard to make sure your vacation is amazing. 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Drinks
One of the nicer-looking drinks I got after tipping! lol
13. There’s Instagrammable photo ops all over the resort! 
From their LOVE locks to their giant, twinkly light tree, to of course the infinity pool and beach, and MORE—there are many spots to snap a perfect, Instagrammable photo at Dreams Riviera Cancun. I’ve blogged a separate post outlining all of the not-to-be-missed photo spots. Read at the link below!! 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - Instagrammable Photo Op Spots - Places to Take a Picture - Mexico - Heart
We heart Dreams Riviera Cancun.
Dreams Riviera Cancun - Instagrammable Photo Op Spots - Places to Take a Picture - Mexico - Heart
The night view of the heart is great too!
14. We felt really safe!

Now to be fair, we were almost entirely on the resort during this vacation so it’s not like we were really in any situations that would be dangerous lol. But you do hear increasingly on the news that Mexico isn’t safe, and even some resorts had some dangerous situations happen, but we never felt uncomfortable during our time there. I think it just entirely depends on where you go and what you’re doing. We felt fully safe at this resort! 

15. Bring your own pool floaties! 
We bought a pizza pool floatie and a pink flamingo pool floatie from Canadian Tire back home, along with a small, portable air pump from Amazon to bring to Mexico so we would have fun floats for lazy pool days! The floaties also obviously make great photos. I named my pink flamingo Francine. She was very durable and the talk of the “town” (resort) lol. The quality was also amazing and they inflate easily so you can pack them up and take them home to stow away before your next big pool vacation.  
Dreams Riviera Cancun Mexico - Instagrammale Photo Op Spots - Places to take a Picture - Infinity Pool
Just me and Francine (my floatie) in the infinity pool!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Pool Floaties - Infinity Pool
Bring your own Pool Floaties!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - Instagrammable Photo Op Spots - Places to Take a Picture - Mexico - Private Plunge Pool
Bring your own Pool Floaties!
16. The resort is basically bug-free.
Dreams Riviera Cancun is very clean but also very much bug-free! Google tells us that’s because they have a lot of geckos roaming the grounds, and geckos end up eating up all the bugs (which actually isn’t a great thing. Apparently the geckos are considered invasive lol). There were some teeny tiny bugs in and around our hot tub, and we saw some ants outside Xenses Park when we went on an excursion, but beyond that, at least speaking strictly about the resort—no bugs to worry about! This was in stark contrast to our ground level experience at a resort in Cuba several years ago, where there were cockroaches trying to get into our room each night omg. 
17. Try an excursion but don’t feel you need to book it before you arrive!
We were browsing different excursions before we went on our vacation but we didn’t commit to anything until we got there. Depending on who you booked with (we did AMA Travel with WestJet Vacations), there will be a representative on site that can help you decide on an excursion or you might just want to end up booking and doing your own excursions or exploration. A couple we met from Calgary ended up renting a car for a day just to drive around on their own and visit the town nearby towns Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. Another couple we met from Michigan did an excursion to the Mayan Ruins. I would have loved to spend more time in the towns and visiting the ancient ruins as well, but knowing we only had 5 days on this trip, we decided to do just a half day excursion so it didn’t take too much time away from the all-inclusive lazing about (which was the primary reason we wanted to go on this trip—most of my vacations are too go, go, go, so this lazy vacation was something Mike had really wanted to do for awhile now). Chichen Itza is a very popular excursion (its one of the Seven Wonders of the New World) however it’s a 3-hour drive away from the hotel so it ends up being anywhere between 8-13 hours away if you end up doing that one. 
 
We had a few excursions narrowed down before we arrived but then stumbled upon the Xenses sensory amusement park by Xcaret while waiting to check-in. Images of the park—full of optical illusions and Instagrammable spots) came up on the TV in the lounge and immediately got my attention. We googled a bit and then asked our excursion representative for more information and ended up picking Xenses!! 
  • READ my Travel Guide to Xenses, a Sensory Amusement Park by Xcaret in Riviera Maya (Mexico) – Coming Soon!
Xenses Amusement Park by Xcaret - Maya Rivera Cancun Mexico Excursion
There are many optical illusions at Xenses Amusement Park!
Xenses Amusement Park by Xcaret - Maya Rivera Cancun Mexico Excursion
Our excursion to Xenses Park was so fun!
Xenses Park - Amusement Park by Xcaret - Cancun Riviera Maya Mexico Excursion 3
Multi-colour light maze at Xenses Park!
18. Haggle a little, it’s okay! 
There are some night markets and day markets on the resort, as well as people trying to sell you hats, necklaces and excursions along the beach. It’s totally okay to haggle down the price a little bit. I ended up getting two hats for $25 USD (original price would have been $15 USD for one hat), and a girl Taylor we met said she was able to get a hat for $20 USD at a different vendor (I think my deal was better lol but hers was down from $27 USD for a hat). I also got 2 magnets for $10 USD versus the original price of 1 magnet for $7 USD, just for asking. You don’t want to totally lowball the sellers of course, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s any kind of discount they can offer. 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Unlimited Food - Beach Hat Beach Bums
Beach bums with the hat we haggled for! lol
19. Go with friends or make some new friends!
I’ve mentioned a few of the friends we made during our few days at the Dreams Riviera Cancun—I have to say, it can be so easy to make new friends when everyone is in the vacation/I want to have fun mindset (and well okay, drunk lol). Gary and Jenny from St. Louis were a hoot. Kevin and Taylor from Michigan were fun. Ali and Molly from Calgary (Alberta—represent!!) were great too. It’s not a huge resort so you do end up seeing a lot of familiar faces and bumping into one another a fair bit. Mike is a pro, sociable, friend maker (I am fairly good at this too but I don’t prefer to do it lol. Introverted extrovert and what not), so when I needed a nap or called it a night early, he was happy to go mingle with new friends at the bar. I told Mike, we had so much fun with our new friends, imagine how much we would have had if we’d come with our existing friends! lol.
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - New Friends
Dinner with our resort friends Gary and Jenny!
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Friends Infinity Pool
Pool time with our resort friends Taylor and Kevin!
20. It’s a smaller, but lovely resort—and family-friendly too. Do your research and determine the ‘vibe’ you want. 

Dreams Riviera Cancun is part of the AM Resort chain, which also owns nearby Secrets and Breathless resorts. We learned that Dreams is great for couples and families and kids. Kids actually stay, play and eat for free, so it’s super family-friendly! We didn’t find this to be a detriment to our vacation though, just a slightly different vibe. For families there are smaller pools, wading pools, and an Explorers’ Club area where kids can get dropped off and babysat throughout the day. There’s also kids menus and kids food sections at the buffet, as well as kids drink sections at the some bars. I think it would be a really wonderful vacation spot for families! 

Breathless and Secrets are adults-only, where Breathless is sort of meant to be the party resort (there’s topless pools lol and the pools are separated a bit more depending on the vibe you want, whereas Dreams the pools are all pretty close together so the kid/family-friendly vibes are sort of ever present). Secrets is typically for honeymooners. I really enjoyed Dreams and I think I preferred it to Breathless based on just a quick tour we got of Breathless, but Mike found the vibe much more adult and fun at Breathless (like DJ paying music on a raised platform above a pool fun), plus the decor is far more new and modern-looking. If/when we go back (and if we are still kid-less) we may try something like a Breathless, but I really adored our stay and experience at Dreams Riviera Cancun, it was truly incredible (and it is still a stunning resort—even if not ‘modern’). Also this is really just a base level assessment and entirely based on our preferences—please do your research as well lol.
21. A LOT of weddings take place at Dreams Riviera Cancun! 
We were there just 5 days and saw different wedding set-ups for at least 10 weddings!! There were 5 weddings happening in different spots of the resort in one single day alone. It makes for some really beautiful, pop-up / temporary Instagrammable photo ops, and also some loud party music in all corners of the resort in the evening. The decor is just stunning, but keep in mind that means sometimes an area might get fenced off during a specific time. You could certainly feel the love in the area though! And it made us contemplate celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary (still 4 years away as of writing this post in December 2019) at an all-inclusive in Mexico. 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico - Wedding Honeymoon Resort
There are many perfect wedding settings at Dreams!
22. Be kind. Enjoy!
I love all-inclusive experiences because there’s this incredibly exciting buzz throughout the resort. Everyone just wants to have fun and enjoy their vacation. Sometimes things might go wrong, maybe you get the wrong dish, your server is slow or there might be a line-up, or something. Just relax! You’re on vacation. Be kind. The people working at the resort are doing everything they can to make sure you have an amazing vacation. Appreciate that!. We overheard some pretty grumpy people here and there during our few days at the resort and I just wanted to end my tips guide with a reminder that we should all just be good and decent people—especially when you’re basically living it up in paradise at the Dreams Riviera Cancun in the Riviera Maya! 
Dreams Riviera Cancun - All Inclusive Resort Mexico Guide Know Before You Go Tips
Share my blog guide to Dreams Riviera Cancun! 22 Things to Know Before You Go.
— 
So that’s my Travel Guide to Dreams Riviera Cancun. 22 tips / things to know for your stay at an amazing, all-inclusive resort in Mexico!  I hope you enjoy your vacation and I hope this post helps you get the most out of your stay at the Dreams Riviera Cancun (or any other Mexican resort—I’m sure more than a few of these tips would apply no matter what resort you pick in Mexico!!)  
Check out my other Dreams Riviera Cancun Mexico blog posts:

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