My Trip to The Riviera Maya in Mexico

I am back from one fabulous trip to the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  It was a last minute trip that Ed sprung on me only 4 days before we left. 

beach huts at El Dorado Royale Resort

With our life in limbo and living for the past 5 years with unemployment hanging over us – we needed to get away. We used the opportunity to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary!   Our actual anniversary date is not until December 3rd, but November and December look too busy for us, so we decided to celebrate a little early.

It looks like we really splurged, but we are part of RCI which is a time share and got to exchange our week to an All-Inclusive resort,  The El Dorado Royale.

Casita at El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya Mexico

We stayed in the casitas section of the resort.

casitas we stayed in in el dorado Royale on the Riviera Maya

It was quite nice having our own little piece of paradise for the week.  Since the resort was gourmet all-inclusive – I didn’t have to cook or prepare a meal all week.

Mexico casistas

One step up from the casita we stayed in was the section where each casita had its own swim-up pool.   Pretty cool!  This is where we plan to stay the next time.

Emerald Casita at El Dorado Casitas Royale

In one of the end units that has a private beach deck and chef included  :)


I didn’t get any good photos of the interior of our casita since I only had my iPhone, but did manage to get these to show you the outside shower. There was a big and spacious tumbled granite shower inside each casita, too, but I enjoyed using the totally private outside shower that every casita had.  That spidery looking thing in the bottom left photo is the shower head.

beach bars

The center of every casita section had its own pool and swim up bar.

swim up bar

Complete with in-the-pool bar stools.  We were never thirsty.

pool area around casitas

Since the beach is only steps away…

beach bar

…the bartender even makes sure your glass is never empty while you are on the beach.   They also bring gourmet goodies out to you to munch on.

Huts in a row

There are beach beds all along the beach.  We didn’t have the best weather, so I never needed to get out of the sun and into the shade to enjoy these, but I can imagine on hot sunny days, they are a perfect place to enjoy the beach and be out of the sun.

1 beach to path

Along the entire beach front of the resort is a walking path. It was beautiful to walk along, especially at night.

1 bikes on path in Mexico

Since the resort is pretty large, golf carts take guests wherever they want to go. Bikes are available for all guests to use and we did tour the resort on them until I flipped over the handlebars and ended up with banged up knees and elbows – nothing a golf cart ambulance couldn’t take care of with some antiseptic and gauze pads.


Ed and I decided to walk everywhere so we would get exercise since we were eating and drinking all day long.

1 sunny path

1 massage huts

Since the resort is a spa resort there are massage huts scattered all along the beachfront to get a massage.  I did get to enjoy this perk  after falling off the bike.  My muscles were pretty tense after trying to break the fall. It  helped.

1 path at El Dorado Royale Resort in Mexico

The beachfront path took you to all the restaurants on the property. We ate gourmet all week long. Breakfast was buffet style, but lunch and dinner were sit down 5 course meals.   None of the portions were huge, just right – very European.

2 Jo Jos

We enjoyed getting to eat outside along the oceanfront.

Beach tables

On our last night, we even got to enjoy a candlelight dinner out on the beach.


It was dreamy and to make it even better – a full moon was shining down on the beach and water.

ticket to Chi Chen Itza

One of the items on my lifetime To-Do list was to see the Mayan ruins. I could not let the opportunity pass. We took a bus tour on Saturday to see the ruins of ChiChen Itza.

I could write an entire series of posts on this – it was amazing and really gets you thinking about how the Mayan people did everything they did using astronomy and mathematics.


I had to keep reminding myself that I was not at Disney World. These ruins were the real thing that were built between 495  – 1200 A.D.  The main pyramid at ChiChen Itza is called El Castillo.  It is perfect in its geometry and correlates to the sun and the Mayan Calendar.  I would have loved to climb to the top to get a bird’s eye view of the area and get to look inside, but that is not permitted anymore.


It is amazing that the carvings are still intact  – which makes me believe that they were quite deep and impressive when they were initially created.

beach huts in stormy weather

As all vacations go – the week went by way too fast.  It was hard leaving, but a storm was coming up the coast which made it a little easier to say good-bye.


I didn’t buy anything to bring home, but did pack a few pieces of brain coral in my suitcase to display on my bookshelf.

Beach at El Dorado Casitas Royale

We are sure to return… the resort and the Mexican people were just wonderful. This is one vacation I will remember for a long time.

Travel destinations. Where to go in Mexico for a fantastic and relaxing vacation . We will be going back. | In My Own Style

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  1. Thanks for the info Diane! My husband and I are traveling in July to El Dorado for our anniversary. Our travel agent booked us in a premium jacuzzi suite. I’m wishing now that we were in the casita part that you stayed in. But I’m sure we will be back for another trip!!

    Did you have any trouble with dinner reservations when you got there? I’m wondering if we should make them closer to our departure instead of waiting til we arrive. I’m not sure if that’s even possible though. If you have any other advice or tips, please send them my way! Thanks!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mandi –

      We had such a great time at El Dorado Royale and then took our daughters to another one of their resorts a little further south called El Dorado Maroma. We took this trip over the holidays in 2014. We loved that resort, too.

      We went to El Dorado Royale in the early fall so it was not crowded at all. We never had to make a reservation for meals, we just walked in and got seated at whatever restaurant we went to. We did have favorites, I liked eating at the outdoor ocean front restaurant the most. In July, it might not be very crowded since it is summer and hot. The big times are in the spring. I would call the resort and ask how crowded it will be in July and see what they say about making the reservations.

      We took advantage of everything and really enjoyed walking along the oceanside path a night. We sat on the beach everyday and became super friendly with all the waiters and bartenders. We took the resort tour so we could get the candlelight dinner…totally worth having to sit through an hour long time sale pitch.

      If you get on good terms with the resort staff that are taking care of you and your room, you may find that after a day on the beach, there will be a warm bubble bath waiting for you when you get back to the room, plus a fun drink. The staff will really make your stay super enjoyable if you let them.

      At the airport: When you pass through Customs at the airport and leave through the doors to get to your transportation. Put on blinders and walk straight and as fast as you can through the area between Customs/BaggageClaim and the outside of the airport. You will be confronted with dozens of sales people acting like they are your driver to the resort. Just ignore all of them until you get outside and then look for your car service outside. It will be crazy busy outside with everyone trying to find their transportation. Don’t ask anyone inside the area between Customs and the outside of the airport for help. Wait until you actually get outside to ask someone where you need to go. All the people in the area between Customs and the outside are just trying to sell you something. :-)

      I hope you have a great time. Happy Anniversary!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful vacation! I loved the pictures! It’s always helpful to me to learn from others experiences so I can plan my own trips and destinations for my family. This place looks like PARADISE! Thanks again!!!

  3. What a wonderful way to spend your anniversary, congratulations on 30 years!! We were there a few years ago at a resort not too far from where you stayed, just loved the place. A week just isn’t enough.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      HI Carol – It was a wonderful vacation which went by way too fast. Two weeks would have been truly perfect. We are looking forward to going back to the resort and others in the area in the future. Sorry I missed seeing you in Skippack on Friday night. Looking forward to seeing you and Joe soon.

  4. Toni Floor says:

    Hi Diane,
    What an excellent trip! My name is Toni and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Mexico to share on our site and I came across your great post of the Mexican Riviera. If you’re open to it I would love to feature your story. Please shoot me an email at toni(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!

  5. We have RCI as well, but I had no idea that you could trade in like that. I’ll definitely be looking into this!

  6. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Happy Anniversary Diane & Ed. I know it is early, but yeah that you got the week to celebrate. The vacation sounds wonderful. I am so glad you only got some scrapes and bruises with that fall. Whew! And do you look great girl. Love you in the dramatic black and those earrings.

    I am hoping for an outside shower in my back yard sometime soon or at least for next summer via Steve. I am going to make him promise me one.

  7. oh my gosh! what a trip. I’m so happy you got to take such a wonderful vacation Diane–so deserved!
    I’m so envious, looking at your pictures! How fabulous. you know I would probably starve to death with the fancy food, but that resort looks fabulous! those step up pools are so cool!
    ouch! we’re too old to take such spills. I hope you’re all healed up.
    I really enjoyed reading about your vacation, thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures!

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  9. casacaudill says:

    … Found you through MrsLimestone’s tweeted Instagram from the BHG event tonight …

    Thanks for posting your review of this resort. As timeshare owners I’ve often saw this place and thought it could be a good option for us. My one concern was that the photos I saw looked like there wasn’t a beach to swim in. We’re not pool people – we like to plop down in a palapa and stay there until sunset, taking short dips in the ocean throughout the day. What were your impressions of the beach? From the pic above, it doesn’t look all that friendly. Also, if you don’t mind me asking (feel free to email me if you’d like), what was your added all-inclusive fee via RCI?

  10. The casitas with their own pools look awesome!

  11. What a beautiful post! Hubby and I visited many areas of Mexico early on in our marriage…including a visit to Chichen Itza. I remember climbing those very steep, narrow steps holding on only to a chain draped down from the top! Definitely one of the most terrifying climbs of my life! The top was a very narrow 5 foot platform to stand & look at the view, & I was paralyzed with panic for quite a while before I was able to go back down! Never forgot Chichen Itza! Happy Anniversary to you both!

  12. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors says:

    What a beautiful vacation! Congratulations on your 30th anniversary!

  13. Antionette Blake says:

    What a wonderful place for an excellent adventure. Hubby and I honeymooned in Cancun in 1990, and it would be great to return to Mexico on our 30th as well.

  14. Jackie Lee says:

    We LOVE the Mexican Riviera!!! Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Cancun…. Oh what lovely times we have had there! Looks like this will be our first year we will skip going as we are hoping to buy a 5th Wheel for domestic travel, but we WILL be back in 2014!!! No way can we stay away from the friendly people, the cool white sand and the warm turquoise sea.
    Vaya con Dios!

  15. Looks like a great place to celebrate a 30th wedding anniversary! You took one great pics! ;)

  16. Nice travel piece. Your blogging talents are clearly not limited to DYI. Thought about you two this week and am so glad to see that you had a great time!

  17. Diane–sounds like an amazing vacation! Happy early 30th anniversary to you and your hubby! You guys totally deserver a trip like this. The photos a gorgeous and the resort looks amazing. I LOVE outside showers!!! And those swim up pools… how awesome.

  18. lenora steinly says:

    Looks like you had the best time ever!!! We were there awhile ago, just a beautiful place. Can’t believe you are not permitted to climb up the pyramids, we were lucky enough to, although it was 105 that day. Happy early anniversary!!! Hope your doing well. stop by sometime!!!

  19. Christina says:

    My husband and I spent our honeymoon there and we LOVED it!!!!