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
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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!
7. First week of December is a great time to go.
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!
9. Book a room with a private pool.
10. Be careful with the complimentary “resort” dollars.
11. You don’t need pesos—USD currency works just fine.
12. Don’t forget to tip!!
13. There’s Instagrammable photo ops all over the resort!
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!
16. The resort is basically bug-free.
17. Try an excursion but don’t feel you need to book it before you arrive!
- READ my Travel Guide to Xenses, a Sensory Amusement Park by Xcaret in Riviera Maya (Mexico) – Coming Soon!
18. Haggle a little, it’s okay!
19. Go with friends or make some new friends!
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!
21. A LOT of weddings take place at Dreams Riviera Cancun!
22. Be kind. Enjoy!
- Travel Guide: 14 Instagrammable Spots to Snap a Perfect Picture at Dreams Riviera Cancun (Mexico)
- Headed to Mexico? Here’s 4 Reasons to Book with an AMA Travel Agent
- Travel Guide: 10 Foods to Try at Dreams Riviera Cancun (Mexico All-Inclusive Resort) (Coming Soon!)