I’ll preface this post by sharing that I never in a million years thought that I would be the type of person to enjoy an all-inclusive resort vacation experience. Every vacation that I’ve experienced up to this point in my life has either been a family gathering of some kind, or an adventure in a coastal city – full of museum visits, restaurant reservations, taking in all of the sights, and rolling into bed every night, exhausted but giddy. I’m a planner, a seer, and a doer, and I like my travelling to be packed to the brim with activities and entertainment.
The idea of an all-inclusive vacation that required little to no planning and doing nothing all day but sitting in a chair, swimming, and eating didn’t really interest me. Truth be told, it’s the kind of vacation that Nathan was really excited about, but that I was impartial to. Since our last big trip was to New York City, it was time to try a different kind of vacation together.
We booked our 8-day stay through West Jet Vacations at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, which looked pretty nice online but completely blew me away in person. It was remarkably clean, the staff were polite and friendly, and the resort itself was picturesque and comfortable.
The entrance was a grand, drive-under grass hut that attached to an open air lobby. Within the lobby was an air-conditioned, free wi-fi concierge zone behind double glass doors, and the lobby bar, complete with a giant pillar aquarium in the middle of the room and comfortable chairs to lounge in while sipping tropical drinks or purchasing cigars.
The main walkway leading from the lobby towards the guest rooms was a wood plank bridge suspended over pools of water that were always crystal clear, and featured fountains that were beautifully lit at night.
There were 4 or 5 buildings each 3 stories high full of guest rooms that were pristine and comfortable. The courtyard paths in the center of the buildings were fun to wander through and explore on the way to either the beach or the lobby.
The pools were incredible. There was a lazy river, a wave pool that was popular with the kids, and a separate pool area with a center island that featured the swim up bar beneath a waterfall. The bartenders were incredible and always remembered what we were drinking, making us new drinks as we were finishing up our old ones. Can you say dangerous and delicious?
The beach was beautiful and the soft sand was relatively seaweed free, but the water was pretty rough during our trip due to a few storms that were moving through the area, which was rather disappointing. I ventured into the ocean once or twice, but I had a run-in with a giant wave which resulted in me flashing my best friend, and that made me want to stick to the pools instead ;) Spoiler alert: I loved sitting, eating, swimming, and doing nothing a whole lot more than I thought I would. I read 3 books from cover to cover, I people-watched to my heart’s content, and I ate and drank when I felt like it, which is incredible!
The food was what you would expect from a resort – a few buffets (one near the lobby, one by the pools, one on the beach) with international cuisine stations, and a few specialty a la carte restaurants that required reservations for dinner. We tried the Cajun restaurant (which was our favourite), the French restaurant (it was decent), and the Japanese restaurant (which was similar to an experience at Japanese Village, for local readers), but towards the end of the trip all we were craving was authentic Mexican food.
A shopping centre on the resort’s property housed a delicious coffee shop, a taco stand, a variety of shops full of tourist trinkets, a Star Wars themed discotheque (which we went to, and decided was a very sad place indeed), a nice courtyard full of places to lounge, and a working carousel that lit up at night for kids to ride.
The room we stayed in was a pleasant surprise, as it was a corner room and had two walls with windows. I completely loved waking up at 6 or 7 am every morning, opening the curtains to both sets of windows and watching the sun rise in the sky while listening to the birds. It was such a lovely way to start the day!
This was our view:
Overall, we absolutely loved our all-inclusive stay at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. We were completely spoiled for our first tropical vacation. I would recommend this resort to anyone that is thinking of visiting the Mayan Riviera, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return. 5 stars! Thanks to my husbie Nathan for taking all the beautiful resort photos :)