6 Reasons To Visit Riu Dunamar

The up-and-coming resort area of Costa Mujeres, Mexico, is giving Cancun a run for its money. Here’s a look inside one of the first new all-inclusive resorts to open there.

In December 2017, Spanish hotel company Riu Hotels & Resorts opened its 18th Caribbean all-inclusive resort, Riu Dunamar. A 40-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, the 740-room newcomer is one of only a few on Costa Mujeres — an area just north of Cancun that is poised to become the area's next hotel hub. We recently checked in for a few nights and here are six reasons why we loved the property.

Riu Dunamar beach
Backed by vast tracts of untouched mangrove and jungle, Riu Dunamar sits on a sugary 6-mile-long sweep. From the resort, the beach stretches south to Cancun's Hotel Zone (you can see the iconic high-rises in the distance) and a mile north. Accessed through dunes, the beach features dozens of palm trees and an army of chaises arranged in their shade. The surf, though invitingly warm and turquoise, is lively and best for strong swimmers; everyone else can stay content with complimentary drink service directly to their lounge chair. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar
Riu Dunamar pools
When it comes to Caribbean vacations, there are two types of people: beach people and pool people. If you're the latter, you've hit the jackpot at Riu Dunamar, where there are four pools for your swimming pleasure. The all-oceanfront lineup includes a designated quiet pool (complete with ramp for wheelchair access) on the southern end, plus a lively activities pool (water aerobics, anyone?), another with a swim-up bar, and the largest pool, with aqua loungers for in-water sunbathing. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar

Related: Best Cancun All-Inclusive Resorts

Riu Dunamar restaurant
Since it has four specialty restaurants and a main dining room, the chances of guests going hungry here are slim to none. Isla Mujeres is an indoor/outdoor venue, which serves a comprehensive buffet-style spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. None of the four specialty dinner restaurants — Pompeya (Italian), Kulinarium (elegant Caribbean), Bamboo (Asian) and Las Brasas steakhouse and — cost extra or require reservations (you're given a beeper if the restaurant is full), and Pompeya also serves lunch on select days. Seven bars round out the offerings, and although there's no room service, serve-yourself snacks (fruit, nachos, sandwiches) are available 24/7 in the Sports Bar. But wait, there's more! Every room has a mini fridge stocked with beer, soft drinks and water, as well as a liquor dispenser with full-sized bottles of rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar
Splash Water World at Riu Dunamar
Kids both little and large will love Riu Dunamar's water park, the brand's first in Mexico. For little ones, the Riuland section has a splash park with a wading pool, palm tree fountains and fish-faced slides. The water park itself (which will be shared with neighboring Riu Palace Costa Mujeres when it opens in November) has five-story slides and a giant helter-skelter offering wet and wild fun for guests more than four-feet-tall. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar
Riu Dunamar resort room
There are four other Riu resorts within Cancun's Hotel Zone (Riu Palace Costa Mujeres will be the sixth once it opens). And guests staying at Riu Dunamar can enjoy the facilities of two of them — Riu Cancun and Riu Caribe — at no extra charge. Transportation isn't provided (a cab costs around $30 each way) but once there you can chill on Cancun's famous strip and sample one or two other resorts for a minimal investment of time and money. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar
Riu Dunamar pool
So what will all this cost you? Probably not as much as you think. Depending on the time of year, rates can be as low as $75 per person, per night rising to $175 over Christmas. But on average, a stay here costs about $100 per person, per night, including all food and drinks and most activities (spa treatments and excursions are priced separately). If you live in a major metropolitan area, you could spend that much on dinner alone! Bonus: Children ages 3 and younger stay free, and kids 4 to 12 are half-price. | Courtesy Riu Dunamar