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“Very Good Hotel with Excellent Service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Caribe

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Hotel Riu Caribe
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 5.5, Lote 6-C | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #38 of 179 Hotels in Cancun
Certificate of Excellence
Riverview, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Very Good Hotel with Excellent Service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

I traveled to the Riu Caribe Cancun from December 22 - 27 2012 with my wife and parents who are in their 70s. I was a bit reluctant having been to Cancun before and knowing what a party town it is. But the Riu Caribe Cancun was a great choice and catered very strongly to families, with still plenty of entertainment and bars for younger people. The hotel is also on the northern end of the hotel zone so it is not immediately close to a lot of bars and a rowdy night life area.

Location - the location on the northern end of the hotel zone means it is a bit quieter area but still lots to do and the beach is pretty narrow. But that makes it great to be able to see the Lagoon on one side of the hotel and the Caribbean on the other. All we had to do was step outside our room in the open-corridor and take some great photos of beautiful sunsets over the lagoon. One thing we loved about the location is that it is only a couple of blocks from Playa Tortuga and the terminal for the Ferry to Isla Mujeres. Be sure to take the Ultramar as the Mexicano costs the same but is literally 4 times slower. They told us this was because there was a problem with the engine but the Ultramar is sleek, modern, and fast.

Service - the service was impeccable and we left feeling like we had met friends there. Franky at the pool bar which is the steakhouse restaurant in the evening when he works is a lot of fun and will make you some great drinks. The front desk staff was also great as they very efficiently took care of changing our room when we did not get the one initially that we had reserved. They took care of everything while we were out the next day on a tour and had our luggage waiting for us in a room with a fantastic view of the pool and beach.

Restaurants - there is one main buffet restaurant that gets pretty wild with all the people going through. As expected the food is mediocre at best. But the service is excellent and overall it is much better than the majority of buffet restaurants at an all-inclusive. Be sure to reserve the Mexican restaurant as the atmosphere, service, and food is excellent. They take reservations from 07:00 to 11:00 a.m. every morning for the three specialty restaurants that are the Mexican, Asian, and Steakhouse. We did not eat at the Asian restaurant but the menu looked appetizing. The Steakhouse provided superb service and the steak was ok. But the atmosphere is not to be missed as it is an open-air restaurant by the pool and views of the Sea (if you can see it in the dark).

Pool - the swim up pool bar is excellent and the pool itself is large and spotless. There are very comfy seats in the water to stay cool. The staff does a nice job of hosting pool games all day that are entertaining but not too loud and obnoxious. There are plenty of chairs under the shade of an umbrella if you get there early. We spent an entire day just relaxing, swimming, and drinking. It was one of the best days of the trip!

Beach - there are lots of beach chairs crowded together because the beach is so narrow. The color of the water is a beautiful aqua blue-green, as seen in photos of Cancun. There was some seaweed but the staff did a good job of trying to keep things as clean as possible. They also have a booth with a good selection of water sports tours from trips to Isla Mujeres to Jungle Tours on Waverunners. There is also a real nice beach bar that is away from the pool with a nice view of the beach. We were therer at the end of the day and it was quiet with great service, as usual.

Spa - my wife and mother enjoyed a pedicure and manicure at the spa which they said was excellent. For the location, it was reasonable priced at $60 for both the manicure and pedicure.

Overall we had a very enjoyable time. I would recommend this hotel and would go back myself the next time we are in Cancun

Room Tip: Make sure they don't try to give you a room on the north end as the views are not very good and...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
9 Thank Scott L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Level Contributor
32 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013 via mobile

We had a fantastic stay, all employees very nice, the reserved restaurants a very good also the rooms and infrastructure. The big buffet is not fantastic but it's good. I would stay here next time also.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
10 Thank Mgcmarcelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

We booked at Riu based on the company's reputation and appearance of their published photos (as well as a number of other photos appended to reviews on this site). I am no novice to travel in Mexico, having vacationed there well over a dozen times, so this review and my opinions should not be construed as the impressions of a first-time Mexico visit. I do not expect a Four Seasons Hotels experience in any place in Mexico (no matter the rating), and I will be honest in my reporting to you here. Nor do I really take the time to write many reviews, but in the spirit of advising fellow travelers appropriately, here goes:

Reception / Reservations:

We reserved for three rooms at the "Resort" and like most (supposedly) upper-end establishments, it's certainly not "bargain travel".... nor were we looking for any bargain. However, bells and whistles might have gone off when we phoned a week in advance to inquire about transportation from the airport, and the response we got was, "we don't know" . . . essentially you're on your own..... without any help, suggestions, or input by them. Maybe a little thing on its own, but in the scheme of things, it was consistent with everything else we encountered in our foreshortened stay.

Arrival / First Impression

When we arrived at the hotel, the appearance of the lobby should have been a clue. The huge area which doubles as a lobby, bar, and night club area echoes like a cavern in the entire area. The lighting in the area is weird. The lobby area is lit with vapor lighting, which is more appropriate an outside basketball court or summer softball game.

The desk staff were nice and reasonably efficient, but little did we know, almost to a person, the rest of the staff we encountered had very negative and sour attitudes, and were generally unhelpful.

The elevators on the way up to our rooms were old, didn't smell good, had broken button, and were slow (it seemed as if at least one elevator was out all the time).


The rooms each, to a differing degree, constantly smelled of mold. I am used to some degree of this at pretty much this smell at all beach resorts ... but this was very strong, as if there were serious mold issues in the walls due to leaking pipes. Even leaving windows with wonderful ocean breeze flowing through hardly diminished this unpleasant smell.

One of the selling points for Riu was that all the rooms had been "remodeled" in 2012. From being there, the only remodel which appears to have been done was that the color of the bedding and drapes went from pattern to solid blue. Nice in pictures... in person, the rooms look like glorified versions of old Club Med rooms. Nothing special at all.

The Beds: My wife and kids described them as like sleeping on a box spring. Hard, uncomfortable and awful. Sheets were old and stained. Very rough. Had the beds been comfortable at all, the rooms might have been tolerable, but we actually all dreaded sleeping in the rooms because of the beds.

The Bathrooms.

The layout is nice with nice glass block design on showers. Nice granite (as in most places in Mexico). The problem is that the water running from the pipes constantly smelled rancid .... almost like sewage. Very unpleasant.


The main dining room, as the lobby was, was horribly lit, something akin to a feeling of being at Boy Scout camp. The food was less than mediocre with the "trough" offerings overly sauced and overly cooked. When asking for anything specially grilled fresh, you are either ignored or rejected. (one time after checking with three different people, they did cook some chicken for us - - - but see chicken reference below). When asking for a staple in Mexico - - a corn tortilla to be cooked with a bit of cheese on it, you would think we were looking for an act of Congress....

When we did get chicken grilled, it was soaked in some sort of salted marinade which appears to have been meant to mask the fact that the chicken had somewhat passed a freshness expiration.

As it turned out, after a few meals at this "all-inclusive" my family took to eating out of the hotel in a mode of self-preservation. Breakfast was the only meal which was at least passable.

Further, when trying to make reservations for the "specialty" restaurants on site, we were told that in order to make reservations and be assured of being able to do so, you had to see the reservation person starting at 7:00 a.m. When we did, we were told that each of the restaurants were full for days in advance. Probably for the better, as I doubt any different quality of food would have been served.

The staff, with very few exceptions, (not just at the restaurants, but throughout the resort), acted as if they were angry to be there. Perhaps Riu underpays their employees and they have a grudge (which is interesting in light of the fact that the itemized billing from the resort shows a hefty charge for "Propino" . . . or "Tips" .... which likely never find their way to their resentful employees).

This is not to say that there aren't a few exceptions.... There were a few good people at the bell desk, a couple of the bar staff, etc., but otherwise, not a happy bunch of employees.


The gym is a joke. The hours are limited and the machines and equipment are in disrepair. I had tried three different cardio machines in succession which were all out of order.


The one good thing at the hotel is pool (which is not fantastic, but pretty and reasonably roomy), and the beach, which is fairly nice (though not if you want any real waves).

The pool / entertainment staff are generally rude (typical at this resort), and even made a nasty comment when my daughter had a nose bleed and got blood on the towel (she was called "disgusting"), as if somehow she meant to do this


There are other places more deserving of your vacation time and money. Staying here was like the equivalent of staying at an old neglected hotel in Las Vegas where they are just offering a place for those who can't stay at a more well-maintained property. The thing is, however, that unlike staying at a Circus Circus, or a Wild Bill's or a Dunes or Flamingo, you're not spending considerably less to stay at this RIU, and they aren't being up front with anyone that this is really a dive of an establishment.

Good luck.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
5 Thank Dog513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnsley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

My husband & i decided to have our honeymoon at Riu Caribe in september 2012. We had already stayed at Riu cancun in 2005 & we loved the hotel & resort so we wanted to stay in another Riu hotel in the same area. We flew from East midlands airport to cancun airport. The flight out was little longer than it should have been approx 12 & half hrs because we had to fly around a storm.Flight back was much quicker approx 8 & half because you fly same direction as the jet stream. We flew with thomson airlines who we booked the holiday through & the plain going out was very old looked like it was from the 70's. On arrival in cancun we were greeted by a very friendly mexican thomson rep who had a great sense of humour. When we got the the hotel we had a welcome meeting with Riu staff who gave us info about the hotel facilities & checked us in. Our thomson meeting was the next morning with a less enthusiastic english rep than we had on the bus. He advised us 20 pesos is the recommended tip for staff in the hotel. Our room was on the 7th floor with a pool & side sea view. The larger rooms are in the centre of the complex facing straight out to the sea.On entering our room we had decorations & a congratulations message from housekeeping on our wedding. Air conditioning in the room was perfect & our room was clean. The rooms were cleaned everyday, beds changed everyday & towels were fresh everyday. There is shampoo/body, shower cap & hand soap provided in bathroom. The fridge & bar in the room was stocked daily at no charge as its all inclusive. There is always staff around cleaning every bit of the hotel. The beach is gorgeous with perfect white sand & blue sea. The quiet pool was our favourite place which looks like a new addition with the pizzaria & air conditioned toilet block. The main pool is where all the activities take place with the Riu entertainment team & it has a swim up bar. The water in this pool looked very dirty for a few days but it was also the busiest pool. We had all our meals in the buffet restaurant where the food was lovely & staff were very helpful. The night time entertainment was ok but repeated on the 2nd week we were there. The shopping malls & nightife area is about a 45 minute walk which is not nice when its 30 degrees with no shade so i would recommend the bus which was about 20 pence each to any stop on cancun strip. Much cheaper than taxi's. We love mexico as a holiday resort & we will return again but if i stayed in cancun i would choose the Riu cancun over caribe because its newer & it's within walking distance of some shops & the mightlife. I would recommend a night at coco bongo's its the best nightclub we've ever been to. We went to Xcaret for the day which was $89, then they want more money for activities once your inside the resort which is very expensive especially if your taking children. It was a nice place to see but not value for money. All the staff at the hotel were hard working, friendly & definately deserve your tips!!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
7 Thank GaKuk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Great hotel small enough to be friendly but big enough to give variety. Food was amazing and I had ice in all my drinks and was not ill once (unusual for me on long haul holidays). The entertainment team were great fun if you wanted to take part, but didn't harass you if you didn't. Entertainment was varied and a lot of effort was put in, personally it's not my thing. Varied mix of nationalities, quite a lot of American, Mexicans and Europeans. Our 18 yr old daughter accompanied us and she had a great time both in and out of the hotel, and met lots of people.
Good location far enough away from the busy part of the strip but easily accessible by local buses, which were amazingly regular and so cheap, ever 10 mins throughout the night too. Staff couldn't do enough for you, the hotel was full as we went in late August early September, rooms were beautifully clean. My only down point is the only place to go just for a drink was the lobby which is a large area but unfortunately has no air conditioning . However it was a great holiday and we will definitely return.

Room Tip: We stayed on the 7th floor we were by the lifts and it was not overly noisy, I'm a light sleepe...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
5 Thank Melanie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
56 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

My best friend and I chose the Riu Caribe because of the photo's people have posted and the good reviews and I have to agree! The restaurants and staff and the rooms were just as I expected....fantastic. I have stayed at Riu hotels before and the food has always been really good with lots of variety for families and kids as well. The entertainment in the evening were really good and and bartenders at Frita's bar were the best. Especially Fernando....he'll make you what ever drink you want and always with a smile!!! The staff were so friendly and really take pride in the work. I totally recommend this hotel and would stay there again for sure!

Room Tip: Ask for higher floor with a sea view! We stayed in room 863 it was not an end unit but still fantas...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
4 Thank traysee007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daya Nueva, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

Spent 2 weeks at this hotel at the beginning of December 2012. Really enjoyed our stay here, bedroom (7th floor, odd number) was spotlessly clean, comfy beds, great shower room and a fantastic ocean views. Main lobby area very large & modern, only disappointment was the fact the the adjoining concert room should have a temporary petition in the evening when the entertainment started leaving the lobby a more peaceful area for a social drink and the Internet facility. The main buffet had a good selection of well prepared food and confectionary, we tried the three hotel restaurants, the steak we found the best, Mexican buffet excellent but let down with the main course, Asian nothing special, the waiting on staff were as miserable & sad as their table service. The main buffet was a better option. Hotel pool areas & gardens clean and well kept, lovely beach and facilities with the winter sun leaving the pool areas middle afternoon. The in-house entertainment around the pools were excellent but the evening variety program needs to be reviewed and need a more professional approach with established acts in the lovely concert rooms. Special mention to Tomason one off the waiters who looked after our party and Carlos the Thompson's rep who professionally dealt with a accident within our party that required a operation and overnight stay in hospital. Best wishes to Mimi, Alisha & Alexandro great staff who also had plenty of time looking after us. Would stay here again and look forward to a return holiday hopefully to see some of our made friends here.

Room Tip: High floor, odd number rooms for ocean views
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
9 Thank Dennis N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Caribe

Address: Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 5.5, Lote 6-C | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cancun
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#27 Family Hotel in Cancun
#29 Top resorts Hotel in Cancun
#32 Romantic Hotel in Cancun
#32 On the Beach Hotel in Cancun
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Caribe 3.5*
Number of rooms: 506
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Cancun's resort area. 9-Story building. On the beachfront. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 3 Km. /1.9 Miles from a shopping center. 4,5 Km/2.5 Miles from downtown Cancun. 21 Km/13.1 Miles to Cancun Int'l. Airport. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Caribe Real Cancun
Grand Caribe Cancun
Grand Caribe Real Cancun
Riu Caribe Resort Cancun
Riu Caribe Cancun Mexico
Riu Caribe Mexico

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