We’ve just returned home from our trip to Iberostar in Riviera Maya Mexico with kids. If you are looking for an unforgettable way to experience Mexico’s beaches and relax under the Caribbean sun, then this should be your next trip. Where unrivaled white-sand beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, exciting nightlife, and history are waiting. During our trip we stayed at Iberostar Selection Paraiso Maya Suites Mexico and had an amazing time. This is an all-inclusive resort right on the beach, and although some all-inclusives can be a bit of a miss, this one exceeded all of our expectations. This resort is luxurious while also having so much to do for kids! Read along to see why this resort is one we will recommend to all of our friends who want to take an exciting, and equally relaxing, vacation with their kids.
Transportation in Riviera Maya
Getting to Mexico is fairly easy. Cancun airport which is the second largest in Mexico, is a great airport to fly into. You won’t have trouble finding flight deals but if you are looking for the cheapest flights plan your trip in August or September.
PRO TIP: When you first leave the airport, you do not need to stop and speak with the tourism desks. They are not part of the tourism board, nor part of your particular accommodations. Just keep walking and you will find someone with a sign to your resort as you exit to the parking lot.
The Iberostar property is located on the beachfront of Paraiso beach. It’s only about a 35 minute drive from the Cancun airport. Be sure to build in some time for the traffic you might encounter in route, as the roads can get busy.
If you are staying at Maya Suites you can schedule transportation to pick you up. This is the easiest option but there are also plenty of taxis that will be the most cost effective.
We don’t recommend renting a car for this visit. Once you arrive at the resort you will have everything you need there (with golf carts to take you around the resort) so you really won’t need a car. If you do choose an excursion off property you can easily find a taxi from the resort reception desk.
Accommodations at Paraiso Maya Suites
Resorts on Property
There are 5 properties side by side at this Iberostar resort. Although they are very similar there are a few differences.
- Iberostar Grand Paraiso (Grand Collection) is the adults only property and most luxurious of the properties.
- Iberostar Selection Paraíso Maya Suites (Premium Gold category) is the most upscale of the family-friendly options, with its massive lobby themed like a Mayan temple. It is the only resort in the Iberostar complex with Jacuzzis in the guest rooms and elevators in the buildings.
- Iberostar Selection Paraíso Lindo (Premium Gold category) is also upscale and shares restaurants and other facilities with the Paraiso Maya. The five shared pools include a lake-style pool, lazy river, wave pool, kids’ pool, and activity pool.
- Iberostar Paraiso Beach (Premium category) is a mid-range property that shares restaurants, pools and other facilities with the Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar.
- Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar (Premium category) is nearly identical to the Paraiso Beach aside from the decorative color scheme.
Staying at the Paraiso Maya came with its fair share of perks which included access not only to the Premium Gold amenities but the Premium as well. The higher tiers can use amenities of the lower tiers but not vice versa.
Access to the water park, kids clubs, speciality coffee shops, and more were included in the Premium gold. One of the big difference between the Maya and Lindo properties were the room sizes.
Check In at Paraiso Maya Suites
The reception at Iberostar was very friendly and helpful. The staff made us feel at home. They had a special welcome drink waiting for us which was the perfect added touch to make us feel special. It sure brought a smile to our faces and started off the trip on a great note!
At check in we received our wristbands which give us access to the Premium Gold amenities (and lower tiers) and included key access to our room.
There are golf carts available to take you and your bags to your room after check in. We chose to walk instead to get a glimpse of the resort and start to get familiar with where things were.
TIP: Ibersotar has their every own app that you can access once you check in. We loved having the daily schedule of activities at our fingertips. It also allows you to check restaurant hours and message concierge. Definitely download the app once you arrive.
You can choose from a total of seven rooms and suites, which are well-appointed and come with a balcony or terrace. During our stay we opted for two conjoining rooms. As a family of 5 finding enough space at a resort can sometimes be a challenge, but not here. These were some of the most specious rooms we have stayed in.
TIP: If you are looking for the best deals we recommend checking the website well in advance and signing up for email notifications. You may come across a decent discount if you plan and book early.
Activities at Paraiso Maya Suites
Iberostar Paraiso Maya Suites is an all-inclusive resort that offers a great deal of amenities. Some of the best we enjoyed was the wave pool and waterpark, the entertainment, and the kids club. Of course, the highlight was having direct access to the pristine white sands and turquoise waters of one of Riviera Maya’s most beautiful beaches. Here are some of our favorite activities we enjoyed during our time there.
Iluzio Show at The Grand
An immersive musical show where anything and everything is a possibility. The show combines Mexican culture, light shows, 3D videos, and modern technology. This experience was one we’ll never forget! You can dance, sing, and find your inner power. We assisted in the magic potions ritual and were left in awe.
As for the food: YUMMY!
The crunchy tortilla chips, baked lobsters, and creamy cocoa creole were all incredibly delicious. Plus, they have a wide variety of drinks – wine, spirits, beer, and even non-alcoholic options.
You can also take pictures with the crew after the show! It was a great way to remember our fantastic time at The Grand.
A must-see attraction is visiting the Theatre each night after dinner. This is included in your stay at Paraiso Maya and a great way to spend your evenings after a busy day.. We caught Alice in Wonderland playing one night after dinner and loved it!
They have everything from kids only shows to musical productions. You can check the Iberostar app on arrival to see what is playing during your visit.
The pool activities are undoubtedly our kids favorite part of the trip. Our resort had plenty of options, from the lazy river to pool basketball. There really is something for all ages.
We loved the splash zone perfect for younger kids. There were areas to climb and a few smaller slides perfect for kids 6 and younger.
If you have bigger kids that want a bit more action than you have to check out the resorts 7 water slides.
Height requirement: 3ft 11in.
Running continuously all day, the wave pool is perfect for all ages. We loved the zero entry access and found the waves to not be too aggressive so even smaller kids could enjoy.
Next to the wave pool you can access the lazy river. We loved how tropical it felt and the girls had fun finding the animal statues along the way.
8 pools on property
This is where all the action happens. I loved all the programming they had for kids and adults around the pool during the day. The water aerobics classes are excellent!
One of the highlights had to be the obstacle course for adults in the main pool. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard.
The resort has some of the best beaches in the world. So, whether you want to relax and soak up some sun or engage in extreme sports, you’ll be amazed by the diverse options.
The most popular beach activities are snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.
Like the pool, the beach has so many activities planned during the day.
For those who want to relax, there are plenty of beachside bars and cafes that make grabbing lunch pretty easy. Enjoy an ice-cold pina colada and watch the gorgeous sunsets!
One of the most impressive parts about this resort is how environmentally conscious it is. Almost immediately after we checked in we saw our first (of many) animals on property.
We witnessed the most beautiful red macaws flying around the beach. You can also go on guided tours to explore the mangroves on property and nearby coral reefs.
You might even spot peacocks in all their glory with their vibrant and majestic feathers. Plus, there are plenty of iguanas lounging around the beach!
Swans, turtles, and dolphins also visit Cancun’s beaches. Take a boat ride, and you might be able to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures.
It’s a perfect opportunity to teach the kids about animals and their natural habitat.
In their pledge to take care of the environment I was so please to see free glass water bottles in the rooms and refillable water stations all through the resort. This water bottles are free to use while staying at the resort but you can take them home for a small fee. Not only was this impressive from an environmental standpoint but this made traveling with littles so much easier!
Not only is the entire resort kid-friendly, there’s an entire camp dedicated to making your kids vacation extra special.
Our family’s experience with the Star Camp was one of the best we’ve ever had at any resort…ever! This experience is really what set Paraiso Maya as our top recommendation for families, and what sets this resort a part.
The club itself is an impressive facility, with its very own craft kitchen for the kids to use and eat from. There’s several recreational rooms, and an awesome outdoor playground with ropes courses and other fun interactive tools.
There’s 3 separate camps within Star Camp; Monkey(4-7yrs.), Dolphin (8-12yrs.), and Eagle(13-17yrs.). Each with their own experiences and areas to play. Our girls loved having their own time with other campers similar in age.
With its focus on education and leisure, there are over 140 planned activities for all of the children. From ninja courses and wildlife explorations, to archery and scavenger hunts, there was something for every interest.
We loved how the kids were able to interact and work together through games and other recreational activities. These activities were all over the resort property, not just at the Star Camp facility. They kept everyone moving and interested!
We can’t say enough good things about the camp and how easy it made our vacation. The kids could not stop talking about Star Camp after our trip to Iberostar and have been asking to go back everyday since!
Watch this video to hear my full review and see some footage of the experience yourself.
Dining at Paraiso Maya
There are more than fifteen bars and restaurants at the resort, and we were overwhelmed with delicious options! Whether it is a beachside taco stand or a multi-course dinner at the buffet, your kids will always have their smiles bright and tummies full!
There is a paradise for foodies of all kinds. From traditional Mexican dishes to seafood specialties, you’re not leaving hungry or dissatisfied!
We know food is one department that gives moms the hardest times. But you’ll be glad to know that your resort offers a lot of tasty, kid-friendly meals. So, no worries!
Here are our top picks for all the main meals.
You have to try the breakfast at Iberostar Selection Paraíso Lindo & Maya. Their famous chilaquiles are delicious, and their freshly-squeezed orange juice is amazing. There is everything you could ask for in breakfast. Homemade omelets, cereals, freshly-cut fruits, pancakes, waffles, and whatnot. The bagel and smoked salmon with cream cheese was hands-down the best!
Head over to El Tapatio for some tasty Mexican cuisine. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet with a wide variety of dishes. Tacos, enchiladas, tamales, burritos, fajitas – you name it! Oh, and the beach burgers and paella – you simply can’t miss it! They also offer room service and tacos by the pool.
Seafood lovers, you’re about to have a scrumptiously good time! Here’s some of the best dinner spots at Iberostar Riviera Maya:
Under the Sea
This restaurant is all about fresh seafood, with the catch of the day served in various ways. You’ll find all kinds of seafood delicacies, from ceviche to fish tacos.
Lemon & Spice
This Greek-style seafood restaurant is perfect for those who want to sit and enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach. The marinated octopus with mint and lemon is finger-licking good! You can enjoy baked fish, chicken kebabs, and a tomato seafood stew.
A French-style restaurant that offers an array of dishes and desserts. Their specialty is the steamed fish of the day with parsley potatoes and pearls. Whether you want salads, mushroom puff pastries, or beef burgers and fries, this is the place to be! The desserts are exceptionally delicious too.
Are you craving some Japanese food? La Geisha is your go-to for sushi, sashimi, and more. The environment here is super fun. The restaurant has large Hibachi tables and a teppanyaki show. Plus, it’s right next to the beach – what more could you ask for?
The food options are endless. If you want some paninis and pizzas, Olivetti is a fantastic choice. For tacos and burritos with a lot of sauces, head to the Taco Bar at the Shopping Centre.
There is fine dining at El Museo for the more sophisticated traveler.
Watch this video review of our trip
What to Pack for Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya is a tropical paradise. Sadly, it means the weather is mostly hot and humid. So, pack comfortable clothes that are light, breathable, and UV protected. Sun hats are also essential for protection from the sun’s scorching heat.
Besides clothes, don’t forget to carry sunscreen, swimsuits, and sunglasses. Light jackets are also a good idea as the evenings can get cool.
Since vacation bloopers are inevitable, it’s best to have a basic first-aid kit handy. For instance, if you forget the insect repellent, you’ll have to buy it in the market.
It’ll help if you ask the kids to help you pack. So, they can choose the items they need for the trip. It’s a great way to make them feel involved!
Things to Know About Riviera Maya before you go
- November is a busy time at the Cancun airport, so immigration lines can sometimes be long. Don’t worry, though. The process is very efficient and orderly.
- After you pass through immigration, the duty-free shops, and glass doors, you’ll see ATA staff. You don’t need to stop; they’re only looking to book excursions. If you have coordinated transportation, exit that area. Outside, past the mini market and outdoor bar, are the companies waiting for transport.
- Be aware of the currency exchange rates when you arrive at the airport. The local currency is the Mexican Peso, and it’s best to exchange your money before you leave for Cancun. You should get 20 pesos for USD 1.
- The transportation area can be hectic, so pay attention to your surroundings and don’t let anyone pressure you into buying a ride.
- Make sure you have cash for tipping. The locals prefer pesos, but the USD works just fine.
- Do not feed the wildlife. The animals are meant to be left alone in their natural habitat.
Ready to explore? Iberostar Riviera Maya awaits you with its endless possibilities! Whether it’s the sunny days spent soaking up some rays on the beach, or nights filled with delicious food and live music, this destination promises something for everyone! So, pack your bags and head to Mexico. You won’t be disappointed!