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 relaxed 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 Cancun and the Riviera Maya, sell a day pass to use the resort just for the day, like a regular 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 the use of their 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 good deal.

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 on the Riviera Maya:

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

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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

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)


  • Xcaret Eco Park mexican Culture, Folklore and Typical Flavors, Underground rivers at Cancun and Riviera Maya.Tulum-Xel-Há, the perfect combination of culture, sea and sun.  Tulum, Riviera Maya.

    1. What an exciting adventure! I would love to go there one day!! I love your pictures! Great post!

    2. Tulum looks absolutely stunning. So many colleagues have gone there. Maybe when I get back to the US, I’ll get there finally. Great photos!

    3. Thats good advice regarding phoning ahead and checking availability. I guess most people just arrive and hope for the best,…..only to be disappointed :/

      • Jennifer Reply

        Thanks Derek, we found this to be especially important when the cruise ships were in town. Many of the resorts were at capacity.

    4. This is an intriguing idea I’d consider if the price were right, but I can’t imagine spending that much money at a hotel and not even getting a room.

      We’re also the type that usually rent private properties instead of staying in hotels. A lot of times, even though we’d prefer a stand-alone home, we end up with a condo, because, even though it might not be a 5 star experience, you often do get some property access included in the price.

      But thanks for the suggestion. It will definitely be something I keep an eye on did future travel opportunities. 🙂

      • Jennifer Reply

        Thanks Gretchen! It is a It is a splurge but every time we have done it I have felt that I have gotten my money’s worth. I paid $50 at Dreams and enjoyed breakfast, lunch, dinner, unlimited bar drinks, snorkeling, and a show! For me, it was worth it. 🙂

    5. Awesome idea! Never thought of that! Our little is still pretty young, but a great idea for the future!

    6. What a fabulous idea!! We are looking to do a family vacation this fall and will have to keep this in mind! Thanks for sharing!

    7. We’ve used a few resort day passes and they are a great way to test out and relax at some great locations. Great idea for families!

      • Jennifer Reply

        Debbie, Hard Rock Hotel Cancun has a great day pass. It’s a great resort for families. Also, check with GR Solaris (review coming) and Sandos Cancun.

    8. Pingback: Mexico with Kids: A Family Adventure in the Riviera Maya

    9. Sandra Reedus Reply

      We did this on two cruises. We visited Aura and Allegro Resorts. Great way to spend the day at the beach for those cruisers who don’t want “adventure” while in a cruise port.

    10. Lisa StJohn Reply

      We bought daypasses at Sunscape in Puerto vallarta. They were good from 9am-11pm. (This resort is affiliated with the NOW resorts.) We got a condo owner discount and they were $50 adult $25 kid. I drank at least 7 cocktails and snacks, breafast buffet, dinner at their restaurant, and poolside grill for lunch, barista stand etc. So fun!

    11. Never thought of trying it but it does sound like great value and a good way to see if a resort is good for you before you stay

    12. Hey Jennifer – great reviews and inspiration.
      At DayPass (http://daypassapp.com) we are building an app guiding travelers to the best resorts day pass experiences in Riviera Maya and Cancun area. We offer instant reservation option directly in the App.
      Would love to have you check us out and that can be of interest to your readers,
      See you at the Pool 😉

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