When your kids keep saying they don’t want to go home, you know it’s been an awesome vacation. That was the case for our crew when we visited Azul Beach Resort in Riviera Cancun, Mexico.
Make core memories at this gourmet all-inclusive resort with swaying palm trees, sparkling sunshine and super-friendly people. Just 20 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, Azul Beach Resort offers complete relaxation for families, with delicious dining, top-shelf drinks, fun activities and toddler amenities. You could spend your entire vacation enjoying the pools, Bali beds and restaurants, but if you’re up for a few excursions, I recommend swimming in cenotes and getting slimed at Aqua Nick, the Nickelodeon water park.
Read on for how to rock your vacation at Azul Beach Resort.
How to get to Azul Beach Resort
Fly into Cancun International Airport. You can arrange for a ride with Lomas Travel to transfer you to the resort with ease. It’s about a 20-minute drive to Riviera Cancun, a tranquil setting south of the central hotel zone in Cancun. The resort is secluded, in a gated area that you don’t really need to leave.
What families love about Azul Beach Resort
Riviera Cancun is an idyllic escape, especially when the weather is cold and drab in Chicago. Temperatures average in the 70s-80s year-round and the sunshine is fabulous. All-inclusives tend to make vacation decisions easy as food, drinks and activities are all taken care of.
Azul Beach Resort is considered a “Gourmet Inclusive” and the food really is delicious. We always found dishes everyone in our family enjoyed, even our pickiest eater. We also have a food allergy among us, which the resort was fantastic about accommodating.
Azul Beach Resort is beautiful, with a sculpture-lined walking path above the beach. We met visitors from Canada, the UK and around the globe, which means people traveled far and wide to get to this gorgeous destination.
Resort rooms and activities
Choose from a range of rooms and suites, some with swim-up pools, privacy doors or connecting rooms. Our Luxury Suite had a Jacuzzi tub and a balcony that overlooked the resort and ocean. Sign up for a Karisma Insider membership for special deals and savings.
Lounge at the cool pools curved around the property or participate in a lively game of water polo. Feel the ocean breeze on the slim beach lined with palm trees and Bali beds. There are workout classes like beachfront yoga, boot camp and Zumba as well as Spanish lessons, margarita tastings, archery, dodgeball and water balloon fights. You also can visit the gym, spa or kayak.
At night, circle around beach bonfires, dance at parties with live music or be wowed by magicians and musicals like Mama Mia. Little ones love the splash park and playhouse and toddler amenities like chef-made baby food and cribs make it easier for parents.
As I stretched to meet the morning sun on the beach, the resort yoga instructor said, “Enjoy your life, for you don’t know if you’ll be capable of opening your eyes tomorrow.” Try to savor each moment. I know we hear that a lot as parents, but especially as my kids get older, I start to think about how my time with them is becoming more limited.
My favorite family activities at Azul Beach Resort included slinging the shuffleboard puck and telling jokes by the ocean, bobbing for the ball in water volleyball and spinning the foosball knobs at the teen club with my kids. When we’re active and laughing together, my family gels better.
Food and drinks
Six worldly cuisine restaurants are included with the cost, plus you can book an adult-only, award-winning, 22-course tasting meal at Le Chique. Spoon Restaurant was our main breakfast and lunch spot, with a wide variety of options on the buffet or cooked-to-order. The huge, colorful dessert station captured our entire family’s attention, especially when a chocolate fountain flowed and our kids could get creative with toppings like raspberry sauce and sprinkles.
Sienna, the Italian restaurant, was preferred by my husband and me. He dined on tender lamb shank while I forked flakey Mahi Mahi and our son spun pasta carbonara. We finished with a delightful tiramisu. Feast on flank steak, Mexican sausage and grilled chicken served in a mortar at Zocalo Mexican restaurant. The brick oven pizza restaurant outside the splash pad was even better than we expected. Parents of young children ate fresh salads and slices while littles toddled in their bathing suits in the radiant sunshine.
You can book all sorts of excursions, from adventurous to educational and experiential. My family embarked on two family-friendly adventures, one to Aqua Nick water park and the second to swim in cenotes and snorkel with turtles.
Aqua Nick is a Nickelodeon water park that opened in nearby Riviera May in 2021. Snag day passes and you can savor eight hours filled with slime parties, water slides, lazy rivers and yummy cuisine. Body slides are for the biggest thrill seekers. The three tube slides and activity pool were my family’s favorites. My daughter could bob up and down in the waves for hours while my son made many attempts at the rock-climbing wall. The slime parties and games are incredibly fun as you feel like you’re on a Nickelodeon show.
Savor the beautiful buffet, which fuels you up for a day of water fun in the sun.
I’m now obsessed with cenotes, which are sinkholes filled with water that make natural swimming pools. The Yucatan Peninsula is pocketed with thousands of them, some in caves and some in the open air. Our family took a guided turtle and cenote excursion and had an absolute blast.
We first swam in an underground cave cenote filled with cool water and stalactites. The second cenote we explored was a larger, exposed cenote with platforms to jump from. We felt young, wild and free, surrounded by lush vegetation and happy people calling us their new amigos. The third leg of our excursion included snorkeling with turtles at a picturesque beach. The Mayan culture believes cenotes have benefits that include eternal youth. Wouldn’t that be great? I’ll never forget that day playing in paradise under a sparkling sun.
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