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AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
California Bay Area
Level Contributor
10 posts
14 reviews
AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

I've read a bunch of posts asking between the two hotels but our situation is a little different. We're traveling with two children ages 1 and 4 in mid-December. If we stay at Villa Del Arco we'll buy the all-inclusive package. My first concern is about getting nickel and dimed at Villa del Arco. It looks like there is a lot that is not included in the "all inclusive". The Riu Santa Fe looks to be a truer all-inclusive but I get the feeling it might be over run with older kids and super packed. We'd like a quiet resort with more than 1 nice pool. Both resorts are selling for about the same right now. We also looked at Hola Gran Faro but there's no ocean swimming nearby but will consider it if its a lot better fit for us. We don't care about evening activities since the kids will be sleeping and we'll have to be with them. We had to eliminate other hotels because they charge the full, nightly all-inclusive rate for my 4 year old - just too expensive for us. I appreciate any thoughts/suggestions?

Puyallup, Washington
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
Level Contributor
9,579 posts
10 reviews
1. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

If you want the true, all inclusive experience, go with the Riu. If you want large beautiful timeshare rooms with kitchens and I think washers and dryers then choose VDA. They are totally different resorts.

The AI option at VDA has not been getting good reviews though since it is so limited. Do you have to do AI? You would be able to stock your kitchen with drinks,snacks and perhaps breakfast or lunch foods. Cabo has such wonderful restaurants at every price point. The VDA is closer to town and the beach there is sometimes good for swimming. If not it is a short walk to the main part of Medano beach where you can almost always swim. You cannot swim in front of the Riu properties.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
72,928 posts
133 reviews
2. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

I'm going to suggest you add another resort to your list: Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach. They offer an AI option, you can also dine & play at the two sister resorts on Medano Beach (free shuttle), there is a zero-entry family friendly pool, and the balcony views are magnificent for parents enjoying an early evening while the kids are sleeping. AI price: Kids 0-4 are free. There are some special AI prices if you're renting a unit from a timeshare owner (the best value!) or if you take the timeshare tour.

California Bay Area
Level Contributor
10 posts
14 reviews
3. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

Thanks for the responses.

@ househunter, it sounds like Arco might be a better fit for us. I wanted an AI option because I want some idea of our food costs if we didn't make it out of the resort and I really don't want to get stuck making meals on my vacation since I do that every day when I'm not on vacation.

I remember from (over 5 years ago) that CSL was quite a party town so I don't know how friendly it will be to my little ones. We were actually hoping to stay in San Jose but traded it for being able to play in the ocean.

@ PacificNW, thanks but I don't think PB Sunset Beach will work for us since we want to be near a swimmable beach and having to wait for a shuttle with two kids under 5 could send us into meltdown mode. I considered PB Blanco but couldn't find any good deals that include an AI package for the winter season.

Thanks again for reading my post and taking the time to respond.

Puyallup, Washington
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
Level Contributor
9,579 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

You might want to check on PB Rose. Not sure if they would have any deals if Blanco didn't but the good thing about these 2 resorts is that you can go to the restaurants and both and they are very good! Lots of great variety so you don't have to eat at the same place every night for dinner and a better chance of safe swimming.

If you are planning on staying at the resort most of the time espcially at night, you will find that it doesn't have to be a party scene. The Rose has a kids shallow end of the pool too.

Have fun!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
72,928 posts
133 reviews
5. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

Did you look at a Blanco timeshare rental from an owner? Here is Luxury Suite 419 in the middle of the "U", facing the ocean: redweek.com/posting/R407547 $1,050 for the unit. (There are floating weeks that are under $900. And the Rose has some floating weeks between $700 & 800 for a Luxury Suite.)

The AI price used to be $59 per person before arrival (if you're an owner or renting from an owner) but it might be higher now. But if you're looking for a package that bundles airfare, lodging, & AI, this 'deal' might not be so good.

The beach at the VDA is more slanted and tougher to swim than closer to the marina. But it's faster to walk from the VDA to the 'flatter' beach area than to take the shuttle or taxi from PBSB to PB Blanco!

I think Cabo is very friendly to families, and it's easy to avoid the 'party' aspect if it doesn't interest you.

6. Re: AI Riu Santa Fe or AI Villa De Arco with Toddlers

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