We stayed, as a couple, at the Riu from April 26-May 3.
We flew Sunwing - prearranged our seats for $15 each. If you want a window seat and to sit beside the person you are going with I would recommend doing so. Very easy to do online or you can even call Sunwing and they will do it for you. They offered breakfast, champagne, a softdrink/juice, nuts, and a chocolate during the flight (pretty good for a 4.5 hour flight). I didn’t mind they food - the omelet is better than the french toast. If you ask for extra nuts they will usually give you more too!
Airport and Shuttle:
They used the exits at the front and back of the plane so it was pretty fast getting off. There was a little bit of a wait for luggage - maybe 25 minutes. Getting through customs was a breeze - press the button and hope for green. When you step outside the airport you will see Taxi’s and shuttle busses. Just look for your Sunwing Rep if that is who you booked through and they will point you to the right bus. We were offered beer outside of the bus for approx. $5 each. We declined because we thought they would sell beer on the bus- they don’t sell beer on the bus so you’re better off to order it outside or just wait until you get to the resort. During the 40 minute ride to the Riu you will see a lot of dry land, some beat up buildings, nicer buildings, and even a prison. Do NOT worry about the scenery - the closer you get to Mazatlan the better it looks!! One you arrive at the Riu you stay on the bus for about 5 minutes - during this time they give you information and put your bracelets on (very efficient).
Check in and First Impressions:
Once you step into the resort you are offered beer and juice (take one of each). You may also be offered Tequilla - it is very delicious! You get a sticker to put on your luggage - you put your room number on it and once your room is ready they will bring your luggage up to your room. They keep your luggage in the lobby and it is watched. My fiancé wanted to put some things from his carry on back in his luggage and as soon as he unzipped his luggage someone that worked at the resort came to make sure it was his luggage and not someone else’s. We had to wait a couple of hours until our room was ready. We decided to get lunch and hit up the pool while we waited (the time flew by!).
We had a room with a king size bed on the 16th floor. Gorgeous view!! The room was very spacious, clean, and nicely decorated. The mini bar was fully stocked. The beer and pepsi in the mini fridge were our favorite - he gave us extra when he would restock it too! There is shower gel in a dispenser in the shower. There are 2 bars on soap and a wrapped shower cap on the vanity. The bed is a little hard but the pillows made up for it. There is a blanket in the top of the closet to use if you feel cold.
Breakfast was our favorite meal of the day. I loved the fresh pancakes, fruit, hash browns, cappuccinos (tasted like a french vanilla from Tim Hortons), and eggs benedict.
Lunch was the same every day. There was plenty to choose from - pastas, burgers, hot dogs, meat dishes, veggy dishes, potatoes/rice, desert, and icecream.
Dinner is very similar to lunch except that there is more to choose from. The soups at the dinners were my favorite! There was a lobster bisque that was to die for! The Italian restaurant served they same things that they had at the buffet. The Asian restaurant was very good. The spring rolls are worth the reservation alone!
One of the best parts about the buffet restaurants is that they allow you to bring food out of them. I brought my fiancé dinner one night because he was too tired to make it down and he brought me breakfast the next day to return the favor. We brought a lot of fruit to our room one night and packed it to bring on an excursion the next day - the bananas at the buffet have so much flavor.
The snacks at the sports bar are decent. They taste good but I think a burger that I had one night made me sick. I have a pretty sensitive stomach so I’m not 100% sure that it was the burger.
We went to the restaurant that you come across first when walking down the beach to the right of the resort (just up the stairs). The chips and salsa they serve you first are very tasty. The coconut shrimp is the best of the different kinds of shrimp. The lobster was okay. You didn’t get very much with it and the butter get hard pretty fast. One of our friends got the steak and it was better than the lobster (better price too - $13 for his meal). The exchange rate was good at this restaurant - $1 = 12.4 pesos. Pay with American if you have it.
Some reviews I saw prior to our trip complained about the coffee at the resort. Get a cappuccino at the sports bar (with or without Bailys) and you will be more than happy! We got cappuccino 2-3 times a day.
**if your room is located on the same side of the resort as the sports bar there is an exit behind the pool table that will take you just outside of the elevator
Pools and Ocean:
We only spent time in the pool with the swim up bar so I can’t comment on any of the other pools. The pool that we were in was the perfect temperature the whole trip. The bartenders at the swim up bar were fantastic! Very quick to serve you, made great drinks, very friendly to everyone, and they seemed to love their jobs. Nemo is the man!! That atmosphere at that pool changes every day. One day the pool will be the party place from the morning till the night and the next day it will be a little dead. I think it’s because the partiers from the day before need a break! There are little booths along the side of this pool - makes it great to socialize.
The ocean was beautiful. The sand was very soft and there were a lot of nice sea shells to collect. I can’t swim so I didn’t go out to far from the shore. My fiancé went out a bit further and he said the waves were rough but a lot of fun. The life guard won’t let you go out too far if it’s dangerous and if you wind up too far he will come in to save you. There was a nice breeze on the beach so if you tanned out there you wouldn’t get too hot.
The staff at the Riu are the best I have encountered on any of the trips I have been on (Dominican, Cancun, Mayan, Puerto Vallarta). They are very hard working but they don’t seem like they are. They are always so positive and friendly. If you need anything at all they are more than happy to help. They definitely made the trip.
On the shuttle bus to the resort we forgot our pouch that held all of our money and our passports. The lady on the bus went through the lobby and search for me. She got my name from my passport and I heard her calling for me. She returned our pouch and there was no money missing.
We forgot some money on our night stand when we went for breakfast one day (approx. $50). When we got back to our room everything was cleaned and all of the money was still sitting on the night stand. We didn’t have anything go missing (jewelry, money, etc.) during our stay at the Riu.
I read in some reports about theft at the resort so I was nervous. I do not think the staff was responsible for anything going missing! I am very thankful to the lady from the bus and the maid that cleaned our room for not taking advantage of the mistakes that we made!!
We went deep sea fishing with Emilio. The boys that went the day before us caught a 200 pound marlin so when we went we were hoping for the same luck. We weren’t as successful as them but we did catch a Bonita (ate it raw on the boat with salt, pepper, and lime - delicious!!). We also saw a marlin skip across the water, saw 2 huge sea turtles, and almost caught a shark (he was very tricky!)
Emilio forgot to get the salt, pepper, and lime ready for us so it cost us fishing time in the morning for him to grab. He also forgot to tell the crew on the boat that we were supposed to go battle fishing (off the shore for 2 hours. He is a very nice man but these mistakes didn’t impress us.
We went to the market instead of the golden zone and got much better deals. The market is indoors and is very fun! There weren’t many tourists here so you really felt the Mazatlan atmosphere. The people that worked in the shops made it a challenge to get a good deal but it was all in good fun and you eventually got them down to the price you were willing to pay.
The cathedral across from the market is beautiful. If you go on the cathedral property you get a very serene feeling. We bought a couple of crosses from a lady that worked there. The money that we spent went to good causes - I can’t remember what exactly.
There were 2 little girls playing music beside the McDonalds across from the Cathedral. We tipped them and bought them ice cream. A lot of the time the money that they are tipped goes to their family/parents so we felt good buying them ice cream because it was something that they could enjoy- especially on that hot afternoon.
There is a huge liquor store in the main road right across from the coast. The liquor here is priced amazingly!! Even better than the duty free. Don Julios was practically free at this liquor store.
Our cab driver was fantastic! He took us on a tour of the city, gave us plenty of tips, offered to come shopping with us to help us save money, and met us where he was supposed to. I have his card at home and can’t remember his name. If you want to know who he is please message me and I will tell you his name and phone number. He drives an open taxi with a shark fin on the top.
Everyone that we came in contact with were very friendly. We made a lot of friends that we plan on keeping in contact with. If you are a bit shy and would still like to make friends just bring Red Solo cups and start a flip cup game like Quinn did. There was a group of about 20 of us that would hit up the theatre bar and disco almost every night. We didn’t have to go out of the resort to party on any of the night because we had such a wicked group of people at the resort!!
There are some locals that come to the resort. They were all very friendly and we made friends with some of them. The only issue we had was when we were in the Jacuzzi. We were there first on one half of it. There were a couple of Mexican woman on the other side. As time progressed more and more of their friends joined them. As soon as one of us would go to the bar they would move into our space and “take over”. We were eventually so squished in there that we decided to leave down to the beach. One of the girls with us had an injured knee so we asked them nicely to be careful around it. They just laughed and became a bit more aggressive (moved closer to her knee among other things). They were drinking and this could have easily happened with other Canadians/Americans but I think it was the language barrier that caused the situation to escalade.
The weather was beautiful the whole time that we were there. In the afternoon it was in the early to mid thirties every day. It cooled down at night but I never had to put a sweater/pants on. The breeze during the day was very refreshing. The sun is very strong in Mazatlan. I went tanning before I left and I still burnt (even with sunscreen on). I never burn here at home without sun screen on. I would recommend bringing sunscreen with you even if you are very tanned to begin with. Better to be safe then have to pay big money for it at the resort.
After getting souvenirs and alcohol our luggage was about the same weight when we left. The scales from the Edmonton airport and the Mazatlan airport must have worked in our favor. They weight your luggage together if you live in the same house hold so no need to try and balance out the suitcases when you pack everything up. Once you get up stairs there is a shop. Don’t but any liquids at this shop because you will not be allowed to bring them past Customs. There are 2 duty free shops on the other side of customs. If you plan on getting cigarettes you should get them at the duty free shops in the airport instead of on the plane (sometimes they run out on the plane).
If you have any questions please feel free to message me!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.