No Shoes Just Travel (2023)

RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres is a family-friendly resort located 22 miles from Cancun airport traveling north opposite Isla Mujeres, the island of the women. The resort has five pools, including two adult pools featuring swim-up bars, Tequila and Mezcal, an activities pool, and a quieter family pool. A unique feature at this resort was the bar cart bartenders with a fully stocked cart they pushed around the pool to make drinks for thirsty sunbathers. All of the bartenders were quick, efficient, and friendly. This is the resort for you if you enjoy your spirits and beer. Although I didn’t see guests out of hand with the free-flowing alcohol, they were enjoying themselves.

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Room Accommodations at the RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres

The standard room accommodations include one king or two double beds, air conditioning, flat-screen TV with satellite, refrigerator, safe, step-in shower and balcony, lanai, or terrace. Ceiling fans, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, safe, They offer free Wi-Fi but only for up to 4 devices. Guests have commented that there’s no coffee maker in the room, but others have noted that you have to ask the front desk if you would like to have coffee available in your room.

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Spacious Modern Rooms and Large Walk-In Shower

Built in 2017, RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres has spacious modern rooms with a clean, simple white décor accented in turquoise. The bathrooms included a 2-bowl sink and a large walk-in shower. Housekeepers cleaned the rooms daily, and fresh towels were provided. We had to remind the staff to bring coffee for the coffee maker, but overall we had a fully stocked refrigerator with soft drinks, water, and beer, and four full bottles of liquor on the wall, which we did not touch. It is a smaller walkable resort, so there are no carts. And no room service is provided.

Early Check-In

Our room was not ready when we arrived at noon because check-in was at 3 pm. We were given bracelets that allowed us to enjoy the resort while we waited. We had a change of clothes in our carry-on, and the bellman stored our luggage while we made our way to lunch and to have a few drinks. While at lunch, we received a message from the resort in Spanish. Much to our surprise, our room was ready early so we could check in at 1:30 pm.

Walkable Resort as Opposed to a Megaresort

Although this is a walkable resort as opposed to a megaresort, the RIU Dunamar has 740 rooms on five floors with an elevator that runs smoothly or steps that we like to use to work off all our food and drink indulgences. We asked to be on a higher floor and were given a room on the fifth floor, which offered us a fantastic view of the lagoon and a partial view of the Caribbean Sea. We used the balcony quite a bit because of the view and the comfort of the breeze.

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Sunrise and a Visit from the Bees

Although the first morning that we tried to rise before dark and partake in the sunrise, we were greeted by a couple of dozen bees who dampened our experience, causing us to run inside our room before the first light. Concerned that this was a daily occurrence, we contacted the front desk to ask them to check for a nearby hive. When we returned to our room later that day, the bees were gone, and we received a call from the front desk asking if the problem was resolved. That was the only day the bees visited us, so it must have been a freak occurrence. We appreciated the resort’s quick response and continued to use the balcony without incident.

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Rooms are Noisy, Bring Earplugs or Sound Machine

We read that the rooms can be noisy, so we intended to bring earplugs, but in our haste, we forgot them. For some reason, the people staying in our hallway were yelling at each other day and night. That being said, other couples we met on our way to the resort did not have the same issue, so it depends on who is staying in the rooms nearby. The partygoers on our floor were not respectful of those sleeping and would yell at each other outside of our room as they returned each night. Because of the long hollow hallways, the sound tends to echo, so earplugs are a must if you are a light sleeper like me.

Kids, Kids, and more Kids! RIU Dunamar IS a Family Friendly Resort.

I knew from reading the resort fam page on Facebook that the RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres was a family-friendly resort. We’ve been to family-friendly without issues, but this time it felt like the kids outnumbered the adults. I’ve never seen so many babies in Mexico! That being said, it’s possible that families were restricted from traveling for so long that they needed this vacation to unwind finally from the past three years of Covid. For those 12 years and older and at least 3.9 tall, RIU Splash Water World also features five slides that the adults enjoy too. The resort offers the RiuLand Kids’ Club for ages 4-7 and 8-12. There is a tamer waterpark next to the larger one for the wee ones.

Next door Hotel RIU Palace Costa Mujeres

Adjacent to the RIU Dunamar and within walking distance is the RIU Palace Costa Mujeres. We strolled over to this property while we were there and liked what we saw. The pools were bigger, and the atmosphere was more relaxed. There didn’t seem to be as many children there. If we visited again, we would most likely opt for this resort.

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Activities, Water Sports, and Entertainment at the RIU Costa Mujeres

Every day you can enjoy sports, activities, and an entertainment program. They have kayaks, catamarans, body boards included, and parasailing and jets skis for rent. There are water slides for those 12 and older and a water park the little ones can enjoy. The beach is a fantastic place to enjoy time in and on the water as long as it is not too choppy.

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Evening Shows, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and More…

The shows in the evening were held in the theater centrally located in the resort. Because we wake up early, we struggle to stay up for all the shows. A show featuring Madonna’s hits was entertaining. One night, we missed the Michael Jackson show because the sound system was set so loud that it hurt my ears to listen to the preshow. We tried moving to the back and away from the speakers but finally gave up. Plus, we were tired from the day’s activities.

RIU Costa Mujeres White Party

On the final night, we attended the RIU White Party at 7 pm, which was remarkable! The lead singer was accompanied by a gentleman playing the electric violin, and they were fantastic. Their costumes were futuristic, adorned with lights that changed color and glowed mesmerizingly. The dance music had the crowd on their feet and grooving to all of the fantastic tunes. The entertainment team then started a Congo line that seemed to go on for a mile, and everyone was smiling, dancing, and having a great time. It was a night to remember.

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Restaurants and Dining at the All-inclusive Resort

For your dining pleasure, there are four a la carte restaurants: Bamboo, Asian, Pompeya, Italian, Kulinarium, gourmet restaurant, and my favorite, Las Brisas steakhouse. Isla Mujeres is the main buffet for breakfast from 7 am to 12:30, lunch from 12:30 to 3:30, and dinner from 6:30 to 10:30. There are themed nights three nights a week. Pepe’s Food Grill served lunch poolside daily. The 24-hour sports bar has morning coffee and pastries, sandwiches to cook in the microwave, fresh fruit, and bar drinks. Much to our dismay, the a la carte restaurants were noisy, and not all the waitstaff were experienced like at previous resorts. But a couple of them were great. There are no reservations, but you must stand in line to be seated. If they are busy, they will give you a buzzer, but sometimes, you are too late to be seated, so make sure you go when they first open. The times are on the RIU resort app.

The Best A la Carte Restaurant | Las Brisas Steakhouse

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Our last meal was at the Las Brisas steakhouse restaurant, where we ordered the mixed grill for two. We started the meal with a nice Caesar salad and delicious homemade bread. They brought out the mixed grill, which included chicken, shrimp, steak, chorizo, grilled corn, and potatoes. Wit was delicious! We felt terrible that we couldn’t finish it. We even canceled my dessert because I couldn’t eat another bite. I highly recommend this restaurant and ordering the mixed grill for two.

Fitness Center and Renova Spa at RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres

The well-equipped fitness center or gym is open 7 am – 8 pm. For massages, body treatments, facials, and salon services, the Renova spa is open from 8 am – 6 pm. See their RIU app to reserve treatment times and view the charges for each service. Even if you are not receiving paid services, guests receive complimentary 1 hour a day access to Jacuzzi and steam. On our last day, we decided to try the spa since the weather was off and on rain. The locker rooms were spacious and clean. The first Jacuzzi we entered was warmish but not as hot as a standard jacuzzi, so we ventured to the one next to it, which was toasty. I am not positive, but I believe this could be by design because we’ve been to other spas that had both hot and cold tubs, which is helpful for your circulation if you go back and forth between them. A steam shower was included, but we decided to bypass that and return to our room to relax. To use Renova Spa and fitness center, you must be over 18 and reserve ahead of time for services.

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An Unplanned and Surprise Visit to Secrets Mujeres

We intended to visit one of the sister resorts where you have exchange privileges, but we were offered a tour of Secrets Playa Mujeres which included breakfast and $250 to be used on an excursion. We needed to listen to a vacation club sales pitch, but afterward, they paid for the cab to take us back to our resort. We are not usually the ones to attend vacation club presentations, but I’m glad we did because it allowed us to see the Secrets Playa Mujeres, which is a beautiful resort, have breakfast somewhere other than our resort, where we had to eat at the same buffet every day. We then had the opportunity to spend the whole day at the Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast close to our resort.

VIP Royal Garrafon Package for Isla Mujeres

With the certificate, we could purchase the VIP package, which includes a special VIP space with a spectacular buffet, drinks, and excellent service. In addition, we had all of the water sports included, an additional main buffet snake bar, pools, and unlimited ziplining. We had been to Isla Mujeres 2 times prior, but I did not have the opportunity to take as many photos or videos, so I was excited to have the chance to return. It was a perfect day that we enjoyed immensely.

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Punta Sur, Dolphin Discovery, and Playa Norte

Punta Sur, the southern part of the island, is home to spectacular views of the sea crashing against the gleaming rocks. There is a path dotted with Mayan statues and a pathway that snakes along the coastline with magnificent views of the island’s steep coastline. We also walked through the residential area where unique homes we love to see. Dolphin Discovery is just north of Punta Sur, at approximately the halfway point of the island, and Playa Norte, a small town, is located at the north end. We stayed within the Royal Garrafon Park where all the food and activities occur. I highly recommend a trip to Isla Mujeres if you are staying near Cancun.

Exchange Privileges with RIU Cancun and RUI Caribe

If you wanted to visit the sister resort, you would need to pay for your cab there, but there are always resort staff outside the lobby who will call for a taxi. Guests staying at RIU Cancun have full access to the resort facilities at RIU Cancun and RIU Caribe.

Important Information: All of the above information is subject to change without prior notice. Information will be provided upon check-in—transportation is available but not included. Please be aware that you must have breakfast and dinner at the booked hotel.

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