All-inclusive Cancun- A budget conscious vacation that doesn’t sacrifice quality

For families traveling on a budget, a trip to an all-inclusive beach front resort in Cancun is an ideal way to plan for an enjoyable vacation any time of year.  For those of you unfamiliar with all-inclusive resorts, once you check in, all of your drinks and meals are included.  There are no unexpected fees which allow you to kick back and relax.  AMResorts Now Sapphire, Now Jade and Dreams Riviera Cancun are luxurious full service getaways overlooking the Caribbean Sea.   Their attention to detail is evident in all aspects of the resort’s offerings.  From the varied menu selections to the relaxing spas and energetic youth program activities, the staff happily caters to the needs of each family member.  We easily slipped into a relaxed vacation mindset as soon as we were settled in our spacious room.  The only challenge we had during our stay was deciding which fabulous restaurant to eat in every day.  Somehow, we managed.



Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun Starting at $247
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Now Resorts& Spas offer a variety of beautiful accommodations to suit any size family.  Guestrooms are all nonsmoking rooms, have high ceilings and plenty of space to spread out.  The flat screen TVs have familiar network cable programs and internet access allows you to stay in touch with things back home as much or as little as you like.  One room would be fine for a family of four but if you prefer a bit more space, you can opt for adjoining rooms which are ideally set up with one king bed in one room and two queen beds in the other.  Both rooms have large bathrooms with hot tubs, a separate sitting area and great views of either the beach or garden areas.  You’ll pay a bit more for the beachfront views but the sunrises are spectacular!  The plush bathrobes, whirlpool bath, minibar and 24-hour room service really could tempt you into staying cuddled up in your room with good books, but you’d miss out on all of the other fabulous parts of the resort–  like the restaurants!


Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic fine dining date, casual beach front fare or just want to float over for a drink of the day from the pool bar, these resorts offer plenty of tasty options.  Each day, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet with a wide variety of familiar favorites, local selections, custom omelet orders and exotic fruit juices all while watching the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea.  There are plenty of kid friendly choices to suit even the pickiest eaters and there are lowered buffet counter heights so the kids can see their special menu options.  For lunch and dinner, we decided to try as many restaurants as possible to see if the quality was as wonderful from place to place.  It was!  Everything we ordered was presented so beautifully, tasted fantastic and was full of delicious flavors.  There is a no-reservations policy but we never had to wait more than five minutes to be seated.  The Paramour, an adults-only fine dining restaurant, was an ideal way to spend the last night of our stay.  The food presentation, wine pairing and service were delightfully top-notch.

Kids Activities

The Explorers Kids Club is an adventure waiting to happen for kiddos from 3-12 years old.  Starting each day at 9am, parents can sign in their children for a day filled with arts and crafts, movies, and outdoor games. Under the watchful eyes of the American Red Cross certified staff, the kids engage in all sorts of playground, beach and pool games as well as create some adorable, Mexican themed arts and crafts.  We saw the kids create decorations that were then used on the dinnertime buffet tables for resort guests.  The play areas are clean, colorful and safe.  The Mayan rock climbing wall at the Dreams Riviera Cancun and the Now Sapphire’s kids splash pool and playground look like so much fun that even the grownups want to play there.  But they can’t, it’s for kids only, 3-12 which made lots of the kids feel like extra special resort guests…and they are! The Explorers Kids Club is open until 10pm and babysitting services are also available separate from the Explorers Club.

The Now Entertainment team also coordinates daily activities for teens ages 13 to 17 in the Core Zone Teens Club.  We saw Spanish lessons, water polo, beach volleyball and ping pong tournaments that kept the kids engaged, laughing and making new friends.  The schedule of activities changes daily and is announced in the resort’s “Sundial” newsletter which is delivered to your door each morning.  With the kids safely engrossed in their activities, it was time for some pampering at the spa.


If you want to really indulge your senses, there are wonderful spas at all three of the resort properties.  We were warmly greeted with cucumber water then given a tour on what amenities were available to us during our spa visit.  As I slipped on the warm, fluffy robe and slippers, I felt my tensions melt away.  Besides the massage, my favorite spa experience was the outdoor cascading Jacuzzi but I did not have the courage to take the cold water plunge as the final step in the hydrotherapy circuit…maybe next time.  The staff was friendly and professional and the décor was a tropical paradise.   Take the time and treat yourself to a spa visit.  You’ll be glad that you did!  Additional costs apply and vary depending on the services provided.  Spa promotions are offered daily so check with the concierge or read the “Sundial” newsletter for the latest deals.


Ground Transportation and Airport Shuttles

Getting to the resort from the airport was a breeze!  After clearing customs, we followed the AmResort signs and easily found a uniformed representative from the shuttle bus company.  We were directed to wait for our driver at a designated spot and just moments later, we were climbing aboard a new, air conditioned van on our way to the resort.   The drive took about fifteen minutes on a four lane highway.  We even passed a few familiar fast food restaurants!

Ground transportation via airport shuttles can easily be arranged through the resort as part of any type of vacation package.  Of course, an additional fee would apply but the convenience is worth it!  You can always opt to rent a car and drive to the resort but unless you plan to go sightseeing on your own, I would suggest taking the shuttles.

Holiday and Family Specials

To add to your holiday cheer, there are a variety of family friendly discounts available at the Now Resorts.  Special holiday dinner menus will be offered at each of the Cancun Now Resorts and the Kids Explorers Club will feature unique holiday-themed crafts.  Rest assured, NFL games will be shown on big screen TVs in the sports bars as well as outdoors at a starlit tailgate party.  In between the games, you can work off your holiday meal while playing flag football on the beach with other guests.

Please visit the Now Resorts website to take a virtual tour of these beautiful resorts and to see the latest travel specials available.

Disclosure:  Thank you to the Now Sapphire Resort for hosting me on this Mexican adventure.  As always, the opinions expressed in this article are my own. 

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About the author

Lisa-Marie Leihy loves to explore new places across the world and blog about her Sunshine State adventures with her family at Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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