Mexico’s Mayan Riviera: An All Inclusive Week at the Barcelo Maya Grand Resort

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

– Khalil Gibran –

Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Mayan Riviera, Mexico, is 120 unique kilometers of eastern coast along the Yucatán Peninsula, stretching from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen.  It is a destination steeped in rich history, with the popular archaeological sites of Tulum and Coba standing as a reminder of a magnificent Mayan culture.  Travelers flock here to enjoy a plethora of activities that range from basking in the sun to ziplining, jet skiing, diving, snorkeling and exploration of cenotes, thousands of natural limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water that are part of the largest underwater cave system in the world.  It is known as a spot where pristine white shores kiss the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, framed by clear blue skies and towering palm trees swaying to a gentle breeze.

This stretch of Caribbean coastline is also famous for sprawling all-inclusive resorts that fit a wide array of budgets and desires, offering guests a chance to indulge 24/7 in gourmet food, drinks and activities.  We absolutely adore Mexico and have visited the area numerous times.  We love the direct access from Canadian cities, the ease and relaxation that comes with an all inclusive property and those perfect shorelines on which to make memories filled with sun and sand.  We have only ever had incredible experiences in this country, and in our multiple visits we have come to favor the grandeur, activities, service and layout of the Barceló Maya Grand Resort.

THE BARCELO MAYA GRAND RESORT

Barcelo Maya Grand, Colonial Pool, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

Made up of 5 sections, the impressive Barceló Maya Grand is a stunning All-Inclusive, 5 Star Resort that embodies food, festivities and fun at your fingertips.  Four of the sections (Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Tropical and Barceló Maya Colonial) share exchange privileges in which guests enjoy the elements of “Stay and Play”.  An exclusive 5th section, the Barceló Maya Palace, offers all junior-suites and suites, as well as access to the other four sections.  Each section of the hotel is extremely well laid out and self contained.

“What are the key values ​​at the heart of the hotel?  They would be commitment, love for what we do, and spirit of service. These values are the ones that make a Resort of this magnitude work….Although we are indeed a huge resort, we take care of the people that visit us. It’s not easy, and we are not perfect, but we give our best effort everyday.”

– Ivan, Barceló Maya Grand –

RESORT QUICK FACTS:

  • Located 75 km from the Cancun Airport, 20 km from Playa del Carmen
  • 2758 Rooms (Elevators to 2nd and 3rd Floors)
  • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms (on availability)
  • Common Areas Linked by Covered Walkways
  • 9 Pools
  • 6 International Buffets
  • 11 Specialty Restaurants
  • 5 Snackbars/Grills
  • 20 Bars (including Pool Bars)
  • Barcy Kids Club (Ages 4-12)
  • Teen Club and Disco (Ages 13-17)
  • Double Decker Shuttle Bus Service Between Sections
  • Maya Mall with Shopping, Casino, Strikers Sports Bar & Bowling
  • Jaguar’s Nightclub
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Church offering Roman Catholic Mass on Sundays
  • Free In-Room Safe
  • Wi-Fi:  Some complimentary Wifi is available in specific locations/times. Wifi may also be purchased as a package, good for two devices, and works well around the resort and pool areas.
  • Electricity: 110-120 volts AC, 60Hz; standard North American two-pin plug

** For a Complete Resort Map, click HERE

THE POOLS

Barcelo Maya Grand, Colonial Pool, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

With 9 outdoor pools, including shallow access areas for little ones, a semi-Olympic pool, adult only pools and the Barcy Kids Waterpark, there is no shortage of spaces to swim and splash.  Daily aquatic activities ranging from Zumba to water polo to dance parties are displayed on a schedule.  Quieter activities such as arts and crafts can be found directly next to the pool.

  • Pool Waiter Service (10:30-6:00 pm)
  • Barcy Kids Waterpark
  • Hammocks
  • Complimentary Scuba Lessons

Barcy Kids Pool, Colonial Section, Barcelo Maya Grand, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

THE BEACH

The Barcelo Maya Grand Resort sits on an expanse of pristine white sand that stretches out over 1.4 miles (2.25 km) and includes two adjoining beaches.  The powder soft sand is actually crushed coral, meaning it stays cool, even in a destination that averages a temperature range of 26 to 33 degrees C.  Whether you choose to take in a morning stroll as the sun rises, an early run or game of volleyball to stay on your fitness track or you simply want to stretch out on a beach chair and soak up some sun, this is the place to be.  You’ll notice that there are no palapas, and this serves two purposes.  The expanse of palm trees not only provide a natural shade that remains harmonious with nature, there are enough of them, as well as chairs, that even when the hotel is at full capacity there are plenty of places to relax and unwind.

Beach, Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

THE CARIBBEAN SEA

One of the greatest aspects of this hotel is that even the furthest rooms are less than a 10 minute walk to one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of beach in the area.  Crystal clear water and gentle waves allow for excellent swimming for all ages, averaging a warm and welcoming 27 degrees C.

The diving and snorkeling in the Mayan Riviera is world renowned, as travelers explore the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which extends from Cancun to Guatemala and down to the Honduran Bay IslandsThis is the second largest reef system in the world, home to 100 species of coral, 500 species of fish, loggerhead and green turtles, rays, queen conch and an annual migration of whale sharks.  While excursions are available, there is plenty of opportunity to snorkel on site at the dock.  Lifejackets are available for use (no charge). 

THE ACTIVITIES

Surf Ride, Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

There is no shortage of both inclusive and additional ($$) activities on site, providing a wide variety of adventure and fun for all ages.  The Barcelo has put an incredible amount of planning and thought into creating an atmosphere that will suit all guests, ranging from complete relaxation and romance to friendly competition, exhilarating thrills and an abundance of nightlife.

INCLUSIVE:

  • Non-Motorized Watersports (Kayaking, Aquatic Bikes, Paddle Boards, Hobie Cats, etc)
  • Scuba Lesson in the Pool
  • 2 Tennis Courts, 2 Paddle Courts
  • Gym (18+)
  • Soccer Field with Locker Rooms
  • Basketball Court
  • Nightly Theater Shows

ADDITIONAL ($$):

  • Dressel Dive Shop
  • Pirate Island Waterpark
  • Surf Ride Flow Rider ( Age 13+)
  • 18 Hole Mini Golf
  • Dolphinaris
  • Up-Spa and U-Kids Spa
  • Fly-Boarding
  • Parasailing
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Jet Skis
  • Casino
  • Strikers Bowling and Arcade

Fly Boarding, Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

THE FOOD

The food at the Barcelo Maya Grand is sure to please the palette of even the most seasoned traveler.  Start the morning with a made-to-order omelette and frothy cappuccino, or a blend of fresh fruit at the smoothie station.  Fill a plate with warm, crisp tortilla chips and pico de gallo for lunch as you take in the Caribbean Sea views from stops like the Palmeras or Mariachi Grills.  For supper, indulge in the gourmet plates of the à la cartes such as dinner with a show at Kyoto, an artsy seafood display at Mare Nostrum or a delicious Margherita Pizza with Tiramisu to top it all off at La Trattoria.  Or simply enjoy the freedom and relaxed dress code of the nightly buffet for a themed dinner that is set to impress.

  • If you are visiting during high season with a large group, email in advance
  • Book à la cartes as soon as possible after arriving to avoid disappointment
  • Dress code at à la cartes is enforced for men:  Closed shoes and long pants

CAPTURING YOUR SPECIAL MOMENTS

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones, is a family photo session, and the backdrop at the Barcelo Maya Grand is perfection.  The folks at “Passion Photo“, an onsite service were fantastic to work with.  There is no sitting fee for your session, and photos are ready the next day to be purchased individually or as a package.  You purchase the rights to the photos and they will be emailed to you as well as copied to CD so you can print as you please.

SAYING GOODNIGHT TO PARADISE

While the Mayan Riviera faces the east, the sunsets here are magic.  Pinkish hues play off the water and sand, as a vibrant orange light passes beyond the horizon, Mexico’s way of saying good night with a flair as unique as the country.  Darkness comes quickly here, but the evening at the Barcelo opens a whole new world of tide pools, theater shows and romance, the resort fully living up to the 24/7 theme.

It is important to note that this stay was not sponsored.  It was simply a multi-generational trip over the holidays to a resort we loved enough to return to.  The staff here always went above and beyond, smiling and attentive.  I had a chance to share lunch and sea views with a member of the management staff, and it is evident how hard they work, how much they care about guests and how passionate they are about this beautiful destination.  For that passion, we are thankful.  For that, we cannot wait to return.

Cheers,

Amy

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15 thoughts on “Mexico’s Mayan Riviera: An All Inclusive Week at the Barcelo Maya Grand Resort

    1. It is so worth every penny. We try have photos done every year, and as often as we can while traveling. The back ground is always changing and it is the perfect way to capture the memory of the trip and the way you all looked in that moment.

  1. I love resorts that have more than one pool option. When you are there for days, having one pool can get old really fast. I’m amazed that they have a total of 9 pools!!!

    1. The “Stay and Play” aspect is perfect! But the pools are so massive, with so much space to spread out (and they back onto the beach) which meant we actually never felt the need to move as we never got bored!

  2. Barcelo is a fabulous hotel chain and we have stayed at one of their properties while in Europe. The interiors, location and food look wonderful. And the photo session service is such a great idea too.

  3. Looks like a fabulous choice for an all-inclusive resort. I recently stayed at my first all-inclusive and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Would love to get down to the mesoamerican barrier reef someday. I’ve heard the diving is incredible.

    1. It is such a fabulous choice for sure! And yes, the diving is incredible. The hotel offers free intro dive lessons in the pool and plenty of excursion opportunities. It makes for great, accessible snorkeling for families as well right of shore.

  4. Looks like a great hotel in a beautiful setting- the colour of the water is incredible. I love the sound of the food and the pools and I’d love to have a go on that water jet pack. You all look gorgeous in your photos!

  5. This looks like a wonderful choice for a resort stay! The offerings look amazing and the pictures almost sell the resort on their own. Thanks for sharing!

  6. It looks like you had a great time at this resort! Did you find that there was a lot of people or having to queue for things? I ask because in the photos there are not a lot of other people around.

    1. Great question! We were there over Christmas and New Years and so the hotel was at full capacity. The sheer size of the resort makes for plenty of space, but I highly commend the hotel on simply having a mass amount of seating at the beach and pool areas. With a beach of this length, it is easy to find space, and on my morning walks I was able to capture alot of spaces without anyone in them. The only queues we noticed for anything was at the buffet, and they moved very quickly. Thanks for reading!

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