Travel Destinations

Riu Palace Pacifico Review: Is this All-Inclusive Resort Worth It?

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Craving gorgeous sunsets on a beautiful, sunny beach in Mexico? Even better if it’s at an all-inclusive resort where your only job is to spend your time relaxing? So were we! Our Riu Palace Pacífico review answers all the questions we had before going and will help you decide if this is the best resort in Puerto Vallarta for you.

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Riu Palace Pacifico Review

What’s Included in this All-Inclusive Resort?

One of the best things about the Riu Palace Pacifico is that it’s an all-inclusive resort. This means you literally don’t have to leave the resort the entire time you’re there! Really though, why would you? You’ll find everything you need right there on the property and can spend your time doing just what you came for…relaxing in the sun!

The private balcony of the jaccuzi suite overlooks the pool area and the beach.
This private balcony overlooks the pool and beach area.

Rodney and I usually take vacations that are packed with things to see and do. We were in that frame of mind the first night we got to the Riu Palace Pacifico and said to each other “we should get in the pool at least once, just so we can say we did it.” That still makes me laugh!

We got in that gorgeous, relaxing pool and any stress we’d brought with us just melted away! That’s where we spent a good deal of time over the next four days.

You’ll have access to all of their restaurants, unlimited drinks, nightly entertainment in the lounge, aqua aerobics, yoga, kids activities, and more. Taxes and gratuities are also included in the price of your room, although tipping housekeeping and wait staff for a job well done is always appreciated. You can find a complete list of what’s included in the all-inclusive package on their site.

The hotel Riu Palace Pacifico located in Banderas Bay in Riviera Nayarit on the beautiful Pacific coast of Mexico. Once you get here, you’re not going to want to leave!

Entrance and Lobby

From the moment you walk into the Riu Palace Pacifico in Puerto Vallarta, you know you’re in for a treat. The lobby is bright, spacious, and very welcoming. Walk on through the lobby to the outside area and you’re going to be thanking yourself for choosing to stay here!

The lobby at the Riu in Puerto Vallarta is very bright and welcoming.
The lobby is bright, open and very welcoming.

You’ll look past the landscaping and water fountains, past the beautiful pool area, through the palm trees, and right out to the Pacific Ocean. It’s quite a view! It’s easy to see why this is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta. This is easily one of the things we loved most about this resort.

The view from the lobby of the Riu looks out past the palm trees, beyond the pool all the way to the beach.

Swimming Pool

The heart of this Riu Palace Pacifico is the beautiful, freshwater swimming pool. It’s huge and can accommodate many people. I could try to describe it for you, but a picture really is worth a thousand words, so I’ll share some of those for you to see what I mean.

The Riu Hotels are known for their beautiful, large swimming pools with swim up bars.
There’s plenty of room in the pool to kick back and relax without it feeling crowded.
There's a swim up bar at the Riu Palace Pacifico in Puerto Vallarta.
The swim-up bar makes it even easier to spend time relaxing!

Can’t you just picture yourself spending the day here? Want something to drink? Just swim up to the bar and ask for it. The staff is also really good at circling the pool taking orders, so you really don’t even have to go as far as the pool bar. They’ll actually bring it right to the edge of the pool near you!

Some might call that laziness. I call that v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n.

Our review of the Riu Palace Pacifico in Puerto Vallarta includes photos of the pool area.

The Beach at Riu Palace Pacifico

Just beyond the pool is the Playa de Flamingos beach and it’s one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Again, I’ll let the pictures speak where words would fail me.

Sunsets on the Playa de Flamingos beach are gorgeous!
Sunset on the beach in front of the Riu Palace Pacifico

I was impressed with how clean and well-groomed the beach was. Each morning, they raked the area in front of the resort. They stacked and covered all the lounge chairs at night. The palm trees were kept trimmed. (It was actually interesting to watch them climb the trees to do this.)

The groundskeepers at the Riu Hotel kept the palm trees trimmed and everything looking very well kept.
The grounds crew kept all the trees trimmed and looking nice.

There are also plenty of lounge chairs on the beach. There’s always something going on here, although not all of it was provided by the resort. Even so, it was easy access to horseback riding, parasailing, getting a massage on the beach, and buying souvenirs. It’s easily one of the best beach hotels in Puerto Vallarta.

Our Riu Palace Pacifico review details what's included in the all inclusive resort. There are many free things to do, plus additional activities like horseback riding on the beach.
Horseback riding is a popular activity on the beach in front of the resort.

With a stay at Riu Palace Pacifico All Inclusive in Nuevo Vallarta (Flamingos), you’ll be a 4-minute drive from Nuevo Vallarta Beach and 6 minutes from Playa Bucerias. Featured amenities include limo/town car service, a computer station, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Free self-parking is available onsite.

Resort Restaurants

The Riu Palace Pacifico has five restaurants, a sports bar, and a pool bar. Snacks are available 24/7. You’re certainly not going to go hungry here! When we traveled, they had suspended room service due to covid, but under normal conditions, that’s available, too.

Two of the restaurants, Krystal and Kyoto, have a dress code requiring men to wear long pants and no tank tops. Those are smaller restaurants that fill up easily, so you might want to consider getting there close to 6:00 pm to get a table.

The first night we stayed out by the beach to watch the sunset before going to dinner and both restaurants were full by the time we were ready. It wasn’t a problem because the other restaurant was open and had a huge buffet with plenty of seating.

The employees at the Riu Palace Pacifico were very attentive to our needs while we were there.
The servers at all the restaurants were very friendly and attentive to our needs.

We got to enjoy a lovely lunch and/or dinner at each of the restaurants while we were there. All of them had plenty of choices and the food was actually really good.

I had read reviews saying not to expect too much since it’s an all-inclusive and AI’s are notorious for not having the best reputation for good food. I’m going to disagree and say we thought it was all really good.

I especially liked the variety available. One day we had really good Mexican food, while the next we had amazing lobster bisque. The breakfast buffet had a seriously impressive amount of options and there are enough dessert choices to satisfy just about everyone.

There are five restaurants, plus the Sports bar and swim up bar and plenty of options for snacks and food.


Book with Hotels.com:  Riu Palace Pacifico All Inclusive

Rooms at the Riu

All 445 of the rooms have balconies. That’s a huge plus! They also all have jetted tubs. We stayed in the Riu Palace Pacifico jacuzzi suite and I can’t say enough good things about it.

In addition to the jetted tub in the room, we had our own private jacuzzi out on the balcony facing the ocean. What an incredible way to spend an evening watching the sunset and spotting whales in the distance!

If you can swing it, I would definitely recommend getting one of those rooms. Another great option is the Riu Palace Pacifico Junior Suite.

The sunset from the balcony at the Riu Palace Pacifico is stunning!
We enjoyed sitting in our own private jacuzzi while watching the sun go down.

We found the room clean and bright. The hallways are wide and well lit, too. Housekeeping came daily to clean and restock with fresh towels and amenities.

Anything else we needed in between we simply used the handy Riu app to request it. I asked for more bottles of water via the app so we didn’t have to wait until the next day when housekeeping came. I really appreciated that!

Our Riu Palace Pacifico review includes a photo of the Jacuzzi balcony suite. It has plenty of room inside as well as out on the private balcony.
The Jacuzzi Suite with the ocean view had plenty of space, both inside the room and out on the private balcony.
Every room in the Riu hotel has a jetted tub.
If relaxing all day wasn’t enough, you can relax even more in the jetted tub.

Book with Hotels.com: Riu Palace Pacifico All Inclusive

Entertainment

Well, let’s just be honest here. Your main job is simply to relax and enjoy your vacation. With everything done for you, all you have to do is eat whenever you want and sit in the sun.

At the Riu, you can do that like a boss. You’re definitely not going to be bored here, but they do offer activities for those who want them.

During the day, you can check the schedule for water aerobics, beach yoga, beach volleyball, and kids activities if they are with you. In the evening, there’s live entertainment in the lounge. One night it might be a piano concert and the next night karaoke.

Entertainment is provided every night in the lounge at the Riu Palace Pacifico.

The Sports Bar also has pool and foosball tables, although those were not available while we were there. It looked like a fun place to grab a snack and hang out for awhile.

Their website also says that windsurfing, catamaran, kayaking, and bodyboarding are included as part of the all-inclusive rate.

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Amenities

We walked by the Spa several times, although we didn’t go in. Same with the fitness room. They also offered very reasonably priced massages in a private cabana near the beach.

Wi-fi is included and worked well everywhere at the resort. I recommend using this VPN to keep the info on your phone safe.

If you drive to the resort yourself, there is free parking. Many resorts charge $20+/night for that and it can really add up so that’s a nice perk. If you’re not driving, consider using Uber to get to and from the airport as that’s the most economical way to get there.

Riu Palace Pacifico Review: the landscaping at this property is beautiful and well kept.

Riu Palace Pacifico Covid Testing at the Resort

As of the time of writing, Mexico is one of the countries open to Americans for travel. Each person needs to make their own decision about whether it’s a good idea for them to travel or not. For us, that meant we decided to quarantine ourselves prior to traveling.

I also got tested three days before leaving to ensure I wasn’t carrying it with me. We stayed home again for 10 days when we returned and got tested once more.

We were also very grateful to Riu Hotels for coming out with their policy in response to the US government mandating covid testing for anyone coming into the country. First, they provided free testing right there at the hotel so we didn’t even have to leave. Super convenient.

Second, they guaranteed a free stay for 10 nights to anyone who tested positive, including anyone staying in the room with them. That definitely made us feel much more comfortable about traveling to Mexico.

The Riu Palace Pacifico currently has a policy of providing free, on-site covid testing.

Be sure to check their website for any updates to this policy if you’re considering booking here. We also made sure we had travel health insurance before going. Nowadays, that’s an absolute must, so don’t overlook it!

Choose From Over 30 Travel Insurance Plans To Find Your Best Option

Riu Palace Pacifico Employees

Another thing that really impressed us at the resort is the staff. We enjoyed getting to chat with them whenever we could and many of them have worked there for years. They take pride in the resort and it shows.

I loved it when we went back to the same seating area for breakfast the second day and our waiter remembered what we had ordered to drink the day before. He had a cappuccino with two stevias for me and a mimosa for Rodney before we even had time to ask!

Some of the employees at the Riu in Puerto Vallarta have worked there for years!

We were also impressed with how many employees we saw cleaning, both inside and out. No Riu Palace Pacifico review would be complete without mentioning an appreciation for how well maintained the resort is! Thanks to the employees, it’s not only beautiful, but the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

I’d like to say we felt appreciated as guests, but actually, we felt right at home there. I think that’s even better.

Conclusion: Riu Palace Pacifico Review

If you’ve read my Riu Palace Pacifico review this far, you already know I’m going to give this two thumbs up. This was our first time visiting a Riu property, but based on this experience, I’ll now be looking for Riu resorts first when planning for other destinations.

We’re all about finding ways to travel more for less money and the Riu Palace Pacifico’s all inclusive features made this a great vacation. One more thing to mention is that the Riu doesn’t charge resort fees, which is another big savings over most resorts!

You can also look into Riu Palace Pacifico package deals that include airfare along with the room. You may find better price than booking separately. When you’re looking for Riu hotels in Puerto Vallarta, don’t confuse this one with Hotel Riu Jalisco or Hotel Riu Vallarta. They may be great hotels, but we haven’t stayed there and this review is only for the Palace Pacifico.

Speaking of airfare, have you looked into how you’ll be flying to Mexico? Here’s why we recommend flying Southwest Airlines whenever possible.

If you’ve been to a Riu property, we’d love to hear from you. Share your review with us!

Hearts & Hugs,
Karee

Next Up? Read this ➡️: 5 Reasons to love this all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta

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I’m Karee—traveling and travel planning make my heart sing! Thanks for coming along for the ride with me here at OWJ. I’ll be sharing valuable info on how to travel like a Queen without a Royal Budget, how to take amazing trips using points and miles, and plenty more!

6 Comments

    • Karee

      Yea! I almost squealed with excitement for you! We had such a nice time there and I’m sure you will, too. If you haven’t already, but sure to read my posts about getting an Uber at the PV airport and also my run down on getting a beach massage. I wrote those as soon as I got back so I can share that info with others on their way there!

  • Ryan

    Thanks for the review! The hotel looks amazing. In general, Riu is a solid brand. We’ve done a few on Playa del Carmen. Riu Playacar is my favorite, but Riu Palace Mexico and Riu Palace Riviera Maya are excellent also. Riu Yucatan was very disappointing, and Riu Tequila isnt that great either.

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