7 Hidden Gems of Mexico: From the Hotel Zone to the Beach Towns

Me and my co-worker just got back from a trip to visit Cancun’s hotel zone and resort towns in Mexico. When you think about Cancun or any major hotel zone, what comes to mind? Sometimes the stereotype can be that it’s crowded, over-saturated and similar to this situation:


It’s okay. That’s how we thought it was too. But, we were pleasantly surprised and proven wrong, in the best way!

It turns out, not only is Cancun’s hotel zone not as crazy or busy as we thought, but there are some gorgeous resort properties that we would consider “hidden gems”. When we traveled more south, closer to Riviera Maya, we visited Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya where we visited some top notch resorts there as well. So, we’re here to give you the inside scoop, from Cancun’s hotel zone to the coastal resort towns of Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya.

7 Hidden Gems of Mexico: From the Hotel Zone to the Beach Towns

1. Riu Palace Las Americas

If you like night life and enjoy a beachy beverage, Riu is for you. This Adults Only Riu has classic architecture and design. The pools, night-life and water aerobics were some of the best activities we noticed while staying here. There was both a quiet pool and an active pool. The best part was you can’t hear the music from the activity pool if you’re needing some peace and quiet!

We had excellent service and great food! The rooms were beautiful with magnificent ocean views, not to mention 24/hour room service.

You also get exchange privileges with Riu Palace Peninsula, which means you can partake in the amenities, restaurants, pools, beach, etc. whenever you want!


2. Riu Palace Peninsula

This Riu is more modern and it’s a family-friendly! This is a gorgeous property. It’s very similar to Riu Las Americas, but with different decor modern with purple hues. Also, GET THIS, every Riu has a liquor dispenser in the rooms. Literally you can access some amazing brands without having to leave your room: Enjoy mid-tier liquor like Smirnoff Vodka, Jose Cuervo, and really nice rum and brandy.

There’s also 4 bars with night shows and great entertainment. Riu does everything.



This is a legit resort, we loved it! We had a phenomenal time visiting. We were really surprised by the beach with its white sand and great beach service.

Fun fact, for 10 years, the IBEROSTAR Cancun Hotel has been receiving awards, including the prestigious “AAA Four Diamond Award”, for its quality and service.

Lovers of great food will really enjoy the two hotel buffets and four à la carte restaurants specializing in different world cuisines which quite naturally include Mexican. A good opportunity to experience new tastes and sensations. This modern family-friendly hotel which includes a convention center with the capacity for all types of conferences, business groups and social events.


4.Secrets The Vine

This wouldn’t necessarily be a “hidden gem”, because if you haven’t heard us raving about Secrets The Vine by now…well here’s some reference points in case you haven’t:

Secrets The Vine is modern, gorgeous, and does everything right from the amazingly fresh food to the excellent pool service and views. You’ll feel like a celebrity at this resort. It was definitely in our top choice of places to go back and visit.


5. Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

Hard Rock is a very unique resort, perfect for music buffs and fans of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Hard Rock is the definition of “lit”  with DJ’s at the pools, great night shows and fun activities. There’s memorabilia everywhere and you can even take a guitar to your room and watch lessons on your TV. You can then perform with a live back-up band at the pool that night.

But don’t worry, you can still relax here with plenty of diverse pools around the resort. Definitely worth checking out!

6. Dreams Playa Mujeres

30-minutes from Cancun and you’ll be in Playa del Carmen where you have to check out Dreams Playa Mujeres! It is noteworthy for its decor and size (while still being easily walk-able). The neutral decor was gorgeous and it had phenomenal landscaping.

It’s great for all ages, especially for a big family vacation. You have to visit the Dolfinarium, the splash parks, and the pools are both active and relaxing. Their water slides are no joke. And adults have exchange privileges at Secrets Playa Mujeres! Villas have a plunge pool; up to 4 adults can stay there; spectacular food; healthy; rent a bike and bike around the resort

Oh, also the theater showed the Broadway tour of “Rock of Ages”!


7. Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort

Going a little further to Riviera Maya, this resort is the definition of “hidden gem” with an incredible beach and it comes at a great price! Enjoy snorkeling off the coast, music at the pool, and an amazing beach. We saw some weddings while we were there with guests up to 100!

The rooms have great views of the ocean and come with 24/hour room service. While there’s an active pool for kids, it is far from the quiet pool. Go there and all you’ll hear are waves brushing up against the shore while being delivered drinks right and left. There’s plenty of room on the beach to hang out as well.

This is a must, if traveling closer to the beach town of Rivera Maya.


Need a vacation? Give us a call! We’d love to get you to one of these resorts for your next trip!