For spring break we went to Cancun and Cozumel. This area is fantastic for families with teens or tweens. We ended up experiencing both Riu properties in Costa Mujeres north of Cancun. Here’s a break down of Rui Dunamar and Riu Palace.
While in Cancun we stayed at three different hotels, which is a bit ridiculous, but somehow it just worked out that way. Basically, after I found out my sister would be in the town, we extended our stay which ended up putting us at another hotel. Spring Break can be a busy time to visit, so be sure to book in advance!
Two of the hotels we stayed at were the same brand and next door to each other, which makes it less crazy. Riu Dunamar Costa Mujeres and Riu Palace Costa Mujeres. I am going to break down both of these hotels for you in this post.
Table of Contents
Riu’s Spring Break Policy
Now a few people thought taking my kids to Mexico during spring break was crazy. They assumed that there would be college kids partying everywhere and maybe there were, but when you stay at a Riu property this is not an issue. They have a spring break policy in place that I felt like was worth sharing.
- Spring Breakers (either groups or individuals, regardless of age) are not allowed at any RIU property, at any time during the year.
- RIU Hotels & Resorts, reserves the right to withhold admission to any Spring Breaker.
- The hotel reserves the right of admission and may request clients to show passport or official ID to prove full identification.
- Guests can and will be removed from the property at their own expense in case of any disturbance or complaint from other guests or hotel staff.
- Parties in rooms are not allowed.
- Spring break groups or unruly behavior is not allowed all year round at any RIU property.
Bahia de Mujeres Beach
As I mentioned Riu has two properties in Costa Mujeres. They are both family friendly all-inclusive resorts right along the Bahia de Mujeres beach 40 minutes north of Cancun, 21 miles from the airport and 11 miles town.
Both resorts are 45 minutes north east from the airport. There’s not much up here other than a few hotels. If you want a getaway where you mainly stay at the resort both of these would be a great place to stay. It’s two hours from Playa Del Carmen and 40-45 minutes from Cancun.
The beach is super nice with soft white sand. Both hotels are newer and they’ve planted a lot of palm trees down on the beach. There is wait service down at the beach for both resorts.
Riu Land Kid’s Club and Water Park
The Riu Land Kid’s Club is situated in between Riu Dunamar and Riu Palace in front of the water park. Both resorts share the kid’s club and the water park. These benefits are included in your stay. Sadly, there’s no teen club and my teens were unable to run wild until all hours of the night.
The water park offers games everyday around noon and the kid’s club offers a variety of things like sandcastle building, crafts, parties, games, competitions, treasure hunts, sports, and more.
Now I am going to break down each of the two resorts. I am starting with the slightly less expensive resort.
Riu Dunamar Costa Mujeres Resort
Our stay at Riu was peaceful, delicious, and we would return.
Dunamar Family Suites
They have rooms perfect for families with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
We stayed in one of their non smoking two bedroom family suites. Our room had 2 bedrooms, one with 1 king size bed and the second with 2 double beds, one living area with sofa bed.
Our room only lacked two things: hair conditioner and a bathtub.
We had a balcony, radio, bathrobes, safe, shower only, ceiling fan, coffee/tea maker, soundproof room, hairdryer, telephone, television, free internet access, iron, ironing board, DVD player, maid service, mini-bar including a liquor dispenser, and most importantly air conditioning.
It’s all inclusive and the mini fridge has beer and there’s 4 bottles of liquor in the rooms.
We could see the ocean from our room. I think all the rooms can see the beach.
The property boasts a lot of pools, two of the pools include a swim up bar. Now you need to be at the swim up bar earlier than the pool closes. I went around 6 PM and the pool bar had just closed, my disappointment was profound. The pool was open for another hour and I had to sit in the pool without the drink. It was awful and according to Noah I had a bruh moment.
Splash Water World is the water park they share with sister resort, Riu Palace Costa Mujeres. I tried to get Jonah to go ride the water rides, but he refused. I went to ride them myself, but they were closed. I noted that they did indeed look fun. Their hours are much shorter than the regular pools and we never managed to catch the water park actually open.
What is included in Rui Dunamar Costa Mujeres All-Inclusive!
- All meals, snacks, domestic and imported alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in all hotel bars and restaurants.
- Free wellness & beauty facilities including the hot tub and fitness center.
- Free sports, activities and entertainment program including snorkel gear, kayaking, introductory scuba diving lessons in the pool, beach volleyball, french bowls, darts, and a catamaran.
- Free entry to the disco (drinks included, obviously) open from 11.00 PM – 2.00AM.
- Regularly refilled minibar and liquor dispenser in the guest rooms with rum, vodka, tequila, and gin.
- RiuLand kids’ club (4-7 & 8-12 yrs)
4 Speciality Restaurants and a Buffet
Like all good all-inclusive resorts they offer a variety of places to eat, each a different type of cuisine. Restaurants were average. Some have a dress code, but it seemed only half the people were honoring the dress code. The kids and I noticed that many of the people dining along side us did not adhere to the dress code, which of course meant we were the best dressed. Dress code: Main restaurant: gentlemen – no sleeveless T-shirts. Theme restaurants: gentlemen – no sleeveless T-shirts, long trouser.
They do not serve breakfast until 7 AM, so if you are leaving early for an activity or the airport you are not going to be able to have breakfast. You can go into the sports bar and get a coffee and grab a muffin. Otherwise, you will starve.
One nice thing about all Riu properties is not needing to make a reservation to dine. It’s all first come, first serve. I hate it when I really want to eat somewhere and can’t get in. It’s the worst.
Pompeya Italian restaurant: When I am in Mexico I want to eat tacos, not Italian food. So I can’t say whether this place is any good or not, we never tried it.
Bamboo Asian restaurant: We were not fans of this restaurant. The others were better, go to one of them instead.
Kulinarium restaurant: We dined here our last night and it was quite enjoyable. The food was good, but not over the top. Here were are during our dinner.
Las Brasas Steakhouse: Sadly, we never made it to the steakhouse.
Isla Mujeres: This is the buffet. We were only able to hit the buffet once and it was on the Mexican themed night. The food was good, as expected since we were in Mexico!
Riu Dunamar Amenities
- Aerobics (water)
- 5 Bars – one of the bars is massive and connected to the nightly entertainment area and one is a sports bar with billiards and air hockey.
- Beauty Salon ($)
- Children’s water playground
- Computer Rentals ($)
- Entertainment – They have either a show every night or a party. Both are excellent.
- Fitness Center with free weights and machines
- Gift Shop
- Ice Machines
- Internet Access
- Laundry Service ($)
- Massage Services ($)
- Poolside Beverage Service as well as a swim up bar.
- Restaurants (5)
- Security (24-hour)
- Spa ($)
- Towels (pool) – They give your a card that you need to use to get towels
- Umbrellas (beach/pool)
- Watersports (non-motorized): snorkeling, kayaking if the wind conditions are good. While we were there the wind was crazy bad, so no water activities.
- Wedding Coordinator/Wedding Site
- Whirlpool inside the spa that they let anyone use.
We stayed two nights here at the Dunamar resort and then we move next-door. The property next-door is slightly nicer, because it is the palace property.
Riu Palace Costa Mujeres
Sadly, we were only able to experience Riu Palace Costa Mujeres resort for one night. We tried to experience as much as possible, but obviously couldn’t do it all.
I liked our room. Although the room was the smallest one we stayed in while on our trip, we had plenty of room. My only complaint would be it being too open. Depending on the ages of your kids this might not be an issue. But I’ve got teens and they need a bit of privacy. A bathtub out in the open just isn’t going to work for our family. Eden and I did use it to hot tub in. 😂 If you are traveling with teens, you might need a second room, because of the bathroom situation. The toilet is separated from the room, as is the shower. Unlike the other resort this one has conditioner.
Riu Palace Costa Mujeres has five swimming pools, two with swim up bars. Several of the pools have layout chairs in the pool. Having loungers in the pool is one of my favorite things. I find it an ideal way to spend the day.
FYI: The bloody Mary’s at the swim up bar are just ok, which I wasn’t too surprised about. They are not spicy enough, I need to have heartburn all day or it’s just not spicy enough. Get a Pina Colada instead.
According to many reviews I read this is a phenomenal beach. It was quite nice when we were there, but it was extremely windy. The waves were great for boogie boarding. They do offer some wait service down on the beach. The website says that there are hammocks down there, but I saw none.
We ended up heading back up to the pool to escape the wind. The wifi did work on the beach for us and at the pool.
Food and Drink at Riu Palace Costa Mujeres
There’s an abundance of places to eat, including Japanese, Italian, Fusion, Mexican specialty restaurants, Steakhouse, 6 bars, as well as Patisserie&ice cream parlor, Pepe’s Food Grill lunch time. You do not need a reservation to eat at any of them. They are all first come, first serve.
Buffet: We loved the buffet here. They buffet restaurant is absolutely massive. The only thing you cannot get at the buffet is cocktails, it’s beer, wine, and champagne only. However, during the breakfast buffet, there’s a make your own Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar. You must eat here at least once for each meal of the day.
Mexicano Zarape: The other place we loved eating was the Mexican specialty restaurant. It starts with a buffet of appetizers and then your choice of main course and dessert. All our food was wonderful. The quesadillas at the buffet were the best I’ve ever had! They are only open during the evening from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM.
Bar Pasteleria: This is a cappuccino bar opens up at 7:00 AM and for those dying for coffee in the morning like me this place is a must. I ordered two vanilla lattes at a time, because the resort is quite spread out and I didn’t want to have to walk all the way back just for a second cup. I heard people ordering all kinds of various coffee creations and they seemed to be able to accommodate any request.
Riu Palace Costa Mujeres Amenities
- Activities Desk to help you book excursions ($)
- Aerobic Classes and water aerobics
- Bar (swim-up)
- Bellman/Porter Services
- Bicycle Rentals
- Boat Rentals ($) I personally saw no boats for rent, but the site says there are some available.
- Dry Cleaning
- Fitness Center with exercise classes
- Front Desk (24-hour) they will call you a taxi.
- Game Room
- Gift Shop
- Golf (nearby) ($)
- Hospitality Desk
- Free Internet Access (high speed, wireless)
- Laundry Service
- Medical Services ($)
- Parking including a valet parking option
- Ping Pong
- Security (24-hour)
- Snack Bar
- Renova Spa: A spa with massage services, sauna and Jacuzzi. They also offer hair services.
- Squash Court
- Tour Desk offering tours & excursions ($)
- Towels – You have to turn in a little card in exchange for towels down at the pool These are the towels you will also use at the beach.
- Trail/Track (jogging)
- Travel Agency ($)
- Umbrellas (pool)
- Volleyball: water volleyball and sand volleyball
- Watersports non-motorized included and motorized for a fee.
- Wedding Site plus a wedding coordinator
Now this location will eventually be epic, but right now, not so much. I suppose, I could gloss it over, but the location is 40-60 north of Cancun. Currently, there’s nothing around except a few other hotels. This is why you are seeing epic deals to fly down and stay here. I saw one the other day that was $599 from Houston to stay at Riu Dunamar. As soon as I saw that it was a deal with Riu, I knew it had to be one of these two properties out at Costa Mujeres.
I highly recommend renting a car if you are staying here. If you are planning on doing various excursions you will spend hours and hours on a bus. Save yourself the hassle by renting a car. This entire area is easy to drive around in. Get a Cancun car rental for $11 a day!
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Both hotels are near the same tourist attractions.
- Isla Mujeres: 11 miles – 50 minutes by car and ferry
- Las Americas Cancun Mall: 11.3 miles
- Market 28: 12 miles
- Selvatica: 46 milies – 1.5 hours
- Xplor: 56 miles – 1.5 – 2 hours
- Chichen Itza: 141 Miles – 2.5 Hours
- Holbox Island: 105 miles – 3 hours by car and ferry
Save $20 on Cancun things to do!
More About Cancun
Where to stay in Cancun:
- Grand Bahia Principe Tulum a Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort
- Live Aqua
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya
- El Dorado Royale
- The Grand at Moon Palace
Wich riu do you recommend staying ?
The one where the bathtub is not out in the middle of the room.
thank you I am going in December I will see!!!!
Hello! Is it worthy paying more for the Palace? Can you use all the amenities of the Palace if you are staying at the Dunamar? What about the food and beverages? Are they much better at the Palace? Thanks a bunch for your help!
If you stay at Palace you can use everything at Dunamar but if you are staying at Dunamar you can not use Palace. Our room at Dunamar was better. I would take a long look at room choices based on what you need.
DID U VENTURE NORTH FROM DUNAMAR I HEAR THERE IS A WIND-SURF /BAR JUST NORTH
No, we never did.
I just wanted to say thank you for the room tour of the RIU Dunamar!! I have been trying to find a video of the family suite layout. We will be traveling in August with our family and are already excited. Thank you, again!
We like our coffee. Can you take a travel mug for coffee? Did you see anyone doing this? We will be at the Dunamar.
I do not believe that I saw anyone doing this, but I think it is a good idea. It’s a long walk to the coffee shop.
How would you compare the quality of food between Dunamar and Palace? Same or one is better than the other?
I believe that if you stay at Rui Palace you can also eat at Dunamar restaurants but not the other way. I do not recall there being any difference between the good. Our room was better at Dunamar.
Thank you for all the info! So helpful! Question… are there golf carts that drive you around the resort? Or shuttles to travel between Palace and Dunamar? I’ve never stayed anywhere without that and I can’t seem to find anything about it. Thank you!
No, not golf carts. But it’s a super short walk.