Craving gorgeous sunsets on a beautiful, sunny beach in Mexico? Even more so 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.
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!
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
I was impressed with how clean and well-groomed the beach was. Each morning, they raked the area in front of the resort. At night, they stacked and covered all the lounge chairs. The palm trees were kept trimmed. (It was actually interesting to watch them climb the trees to do this.)
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.
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.
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.
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 were enough dessert choices to satisfy just about everyone.
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.
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!
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.
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 a while.
Their website also states that windsurfing, catamaran sailing, kayaking, and bodyboarding are included in the all-inclusive rate.
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 works well everywhere at the resort. I recommend using a 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 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!
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 also has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
I’d like to say we felt appreciated as guests, but actually, we felt right at home there. I think that’s even better.
The Take-Away: 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 a 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.
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Featured Credit: Riu Hotels
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.