Upon arriving at Fiesta Americana in Cozumel, guests ascend a modest staircase to an outdoor lobby and are greeted by a bright-smiling staff eager to make each stay as warm and welcoming as the tropical climate itself. Faux-floating chairs hang by rope fastened to the ceiling that are strung in a manner reminiscent of those on boats (fitting, considering the island’s—and the resort’s, for that matter—inherent connection with the sea), creating an exotic aesthetic.
Starboard side, you’ll notice an ocean-blue bar stocked with local tequila and mezcal, among other spirits. There’s also a seemingly ocean-sized pool with a swim-up bar, a kids’ club and a relatively small yet spacious field of grass where either soccer or volleyball can be played.
Pack all that together with seven restaurants (including Mexican, Italian and pan-Asian) within walking distance of each other, a coffee bar that also serves chocolates, pastries and ice cream, a secluded spa, a gym and a fully staffed beach basically at your doorstep, and it’s easy to see Fiesta Americana doesn’t shy away from immediately presenting the amenities you’d expect of an all-inclusive.
There’s another part of this resort that isn’t as readily apparent until you actually stay there: its character. Fiesta Americana’s character is presented in its variety of multi-cultural cuisines, shown off in its beachside beds, demonstrated in its cultural shows and, most significantly, exuded by its staff. Over the course of my four-night stay, I became acquainted with many of the staff who ultimately felt more like hosts at an extended-family gathering than hotel employees.
Whether it was Henry at the bar pouring a refreshing glass of Dos Equis one day and mixing my first-ever drink with mezcal another or Naomi in Spa Na’Ha’ relieving stress from my excruciatingly tense shoulders burdened with this ever-so difficult task of reviewing luxury resorts, there was always someone there smiling and eager to engage with me and my just-passable Spanish.
My experience at Fiesta Americana can be epitomized in one of my first meals of my stay. At La Cevicheria, I sat at a table bordered by clear-blue waters that mirrored a vibrant, nearly cloudless sky, creating this tranquil atmosphere I seldom experience in my downtown apartment back home. Nursing an early-afternoon beer, my eyes naturally settled on the horizon—“Yes, now I can see why people come here to vacation,” I thought to myself.
Then I was pleasantly interrupted by homemade chips with true-Mexican guacamole and pico de gallo that I, as someone who doesn’t pay extra for “guac” at Chipotle, returned to with each dipped chip. They were the perfect teasers to two delectable fish tacos that made my first authentic Mexican meal “inolvidable.”
It soon felt like it was time for a nap, and, fortunately, La Cevicheria neighbors rows of beach chairs, hammocks and shaded waterfront beds available to any guest on a first-come-first-serve basis. Traffic passing through Fiesta Americana is sparse in its truest meaning, so the loudest noise you’ll hear is that of the waves’ regular washing of the rocks below.
But, if you’ve waited an hour after your meal and are now looking for activity, Fiesta Americana offers snorkeling and paddle-boarding services. There is also a non-affiliated Dive House on Fiesta Americana’s beach, offering guests a more immersive outing with PADI five-star experience.
At night is when the volume increases several decibels. During the first two nights of my stay, we were treated to what were dubbed “the Mayan Show” and “the Mexican Show.” Each honored the respective culture with authentic performances, presenting a more ritual-based presentation for the Mayan Show and a more dance-oriented showcase for the Mexican Show.
In all, my entire stay really felt like the ideal, paradisiacal scenario: an endless supply of a healthy mix of familiar and local foods and alcohol, beach access with leisurely water sports in awe-inspiring waters, tastes of a new culture and an attentive staff that was happy only when its guests were. The only negative part of my stay was that I was there without my family and friends.