Mayan ruins, colorful coral, lively nightlife and swampy mangroves surround Cancun, perched on the Yucatan peninsula at the heart of the Mexican Caribbean. However, when it comes to top-end resorts, it’s all about the beaches – the legendary white sand, blue sea, blazing sun beaches of this sublime stretch of coast, which quite simply hosts some of the finest sun-lounging shoreline in the world. Whether you’re looking for kids entertainment, romantic seclusion or all-night bars, this collection of the five best all-inclusive resorts in and around Cancun will have precisely what you need, and a whole lot more.
Among the original players on the all-inclusive hotel scene, Club Med has one of its flagship resorts situated a short distance outside Cancún. The company has chosen a sublime position for this resort, which nestles on its own spike of headland between a blue-green lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. And it undoubtedly makes the most of this gorgeous location, with accommodation in colorful bungalows overlooking the ocean and a restaurant on stilts among its wide range of dining options. All this is enclosed by three perfect beaches, and the more adventurous can head a little further out to sea to dive, snorkel and water ski. Club Med is also a particularly good choice for families with kids, and always has lively child and teen clubs to keep restless youths entertained.
Also check out Hopper's ranking of the five best hotel bars in Cancun for ideas on where to stay in town
Spilling out onto the sand of the Playa de Cancún, the Hotel Riu Caribe has it all: four themed restaurants, two pools, a nightclub, a gym, a spa, terrific ocean views and much more. It’s a great choice for families, with a chilled-out vibe and a wide range of activities including table tennis, volleyball, golf, snorkelling, windsurfing, kids clubs, catamaran trips and bike rentals. But there’s also plenty of life for those looking for more excitement, too, with a string of excellent bars including a 24-hour sports bar.
Check out this list of under-the-radar all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean for more ideas on where to holiday
Just down the beach from the Riu Caribe, Riu Cancun has a similar vibe, and is possibly a little livelier than its western neighbor. It’s a great place for those looking to party, with shuttle buses trundling into Cancun to drop revelers off at any of a variety of clubs, and scooping them up later in the night. Once back at the hotel, there’s a 24-hour sports bar where those unwilling to sleep can grab a beer and burger, which always has a lively atmosphere after 3am. But the resort’s been carefully designed so this intoxication-friendly side doesn’t interfere with the experience of families looking to relax.
The Hotel Riu Cancun is also on Hopper's list of the five best hotel pools in Cancun
Still on the same stretch of beach as the Cancun and the Caribe, the Palace Las Americas is the Riu chain’s most upscale offering, and tends to draw a less party-oriented crowd of honeymooners and older couples. It boasts all-suite accommodation along with a pool, jacuzzi, gym, sauna, and a spa wellness center, while the hotel’s gastronomy encompasses Mesoamerican and European flavors. Lodging at Las Americas gives you access to all the facilities of the neighbouring Riu hotels, so you can still enjoy the 24-hour sports bar and Pacha nightclub should the urge for some late-night fun seize you.
Not sure whether you want to visit Mexico or Jamaica this year? See Hopper's Destination Battle: Mexico vs Jamaica
The Villa del Palmar has found its own little nook on the Cancun coast, located close to the Playa Mujeres resort complex but a short distance from the main hotel zone. This means there is easy access to all the attractions of this area, including the famous Playa Mujeres Golf Course, but also a certain sense of seclusion at not being placed at the heart of the tourist hurricane. The hotel’s 415 suites ooze contemporary style, and the range of tasteful touches include plant-decked patios slung with colorful hammocks. The excellent restaurants, choice of five pools and popular kids clubs make this an especially good choice for families.
Also see Hopper's ranking of the five best all-inclusive Club Med resorts in the Caribbean, which includes a Cancun resort