We tend to stay in vacation rentals on our travels.  Hotels are expensive and many hotels will not allow a family of 5 to share one room.  Vacation rentals through VRBO or HomeAway are a great alternative.  They fit our family and our budget.  The only thing they don’t have is that relaxing resort feeling.  Sometimes, I just want to lay in a hammock on a white sand beach and sip Piña Coladas, while my kids zip down water slides.  So I was overjoyed when I discovered the secret of The Resort Day Pass.

Many resorts, especially in the Mexican Riviera, sell a pass to use the resort for the day, just like a nightly guest.  The passes aren’t cheap, but they include so many amenities that we have never regretted paying for one.

These all-inclusive hotels allow use of the entire property for the day including pools, beach chairs, snorkel equipment, kayaks, kids’ clubs and shows.  They also include all food and drinks that are part of their all-inclusive plans.  If you arrive early, you can have breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner.  For adults, day passes at all-inclusive hotels range from $50 to $100 USD per person, and from $15 to 30 USD per child. When you add up everything that you ate, drank and experienced, it is a fair price.

Tips on Day Passes:

  • Day pass prices and availability are always changing so try to call the resort first.  You typically buy the pass at the front desk after you arrive.
  • Remember to ask for the child rate if you have children (usually 12 and under, but sometimes under 18) and ask how to check your child into the kids’ club.  Some kids’ clubs require morning sign ups.
  • Ask if you need dinner reservations as soon as you check in.  Many restaurants get booked up early.  
  • Before you go check out the resort website for dress codes.  Some resorts require collared shirts and long pants in their better dining rooms.
  • Ask about changing rooms.  Some resorts will have a room for you to shower and change before dinner.
  • At many resorts, the official beginning and ending times are not set in stone.  We have found that they would let us stay longer than the stated hours. Or get in before stated hours to eat breakfast.
  • Ask how to identify yourself in restaurants or when checking out equipment,  Some resorts will give you wristbands but others require you to carry a paper.

Our favorite day passes in the Mexican Riviera:

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa is a beautiful resort.  The grounds are amazing with multiple pools and a large white sand beach.  Our boys loved the giant chess board, the beach bars with swings for bar stools and Euro-bungee on the beach.  The adults were able to relax by the pool while the wonderful staff entertained our boys.  The food was excellent, as was the service.  Before dinner, the resort staff allowed us to use a room to shower and change.

Km. 236.7, No. 1, 77761 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico +52 984 871 3333

Sunset in Cozumel #mexico #cozumel #sunset

A photo posted by Full Time Travelers (@ourfamilytraveladventures) on

Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa All Inclusive

Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa All Inclusive is our boys favorite resort for day passes. The resort offers tons of activities for the kids including water trampolines, amazing pools, ping-pong, giant chess boards, mini golf, kayaks and snorkeling.  The food is good and the beaches are beautiful.

The bartenders have a list of fun drinks for kids like Superman, Ironman and the Pink Panther,  Our boys loved the stand that serves up hot dogs, pizza and ice cream all afternoon.  They never wanted to leave!
Km 269.5 Mz 18 Lote 05, Solidaridad, 77750 Puerto Aventuras, Q.R., Mexico +52 984 875 3000

Omni Puerto Aventuras Beach Resort

We really liked the Day Passes at Omni Puerto Aventuras Beach Resort.  They are not an all-inclusive.  We paid $20 per person, which gave us a $15 food credit that you could use at the restaurants or beach bar.  We were able to use the pool chairs, beach palapas and towels.

Omni is a quiet resort with little sand but fantastic calm water for the little ones.  The food was not cheap but was delicious.  This is a great choice if you are looking for somewhere quiet and don’t want to stay all day.

Km. 269.5, Puntacelus y Marina, Puerto Aventuras, Solidaridad, 77733 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico +52 984 875 1950

Allegro Cozumel

Allegro Cozumel is a great all-inclusive property on Cozumel.  The beach is fantastic with clear calm water.  They have a few nice pools and a great water park with slides and soakers for younger kids.  They offer a breakfast and lunch buffet and good drinks.

Km 16.5 Carretera Sur San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77600, Mexico

The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya and Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

The Hard Rock brand has two amazing all-inclusive resorts to choose from: Cancun, on the beach in the hotel zone, and Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen.  Both offer excellent à-la-carte dining and unlimited beverages, fantastic pools and beautiful beaches.

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has tennis courts, a Yoga Temple and Body Rock Fitness center. You can rent a bicycle, and they also have a diving school. Right off the beach, you can snorkel or kayak, and there is the Little Big Club kid’s club.

Day Passes are $91 U.S. for Adults and $44 U.S. for children (ages 4 to 17)