by Stephen Jermanok
If you have any concerns about heading to Mexico, rest assured that the Yucatan remains a safe haven. Sunshine, warm ocean waters, a rich history and culture, and gracious hospitality are some of the reasons the Yucatan remains a popular worldwide destination. But perhaps the number one reason is its affordability. Not only do you feel safe at Paraiso Beach, but you’re immediately embraced by the nature of a tropical paradise at this Iberostar enclave of five hotels south of Cancun in the Riviera Maya. Swans and flamingoes swim in the ponds just off the elaborate lobby. Peacocks and Mexican raccoons wander the trails under the thick brush of palm and banyan trees.
Iberostar Paraiso Beach and Iberostar Paraiso del Mar share the same restaurants, pools and beach. Iberostar Paraiso Beach has its own lobby and the three-story villas have a darker color scheme than Paraiso del Mar, with more blue and red stuccoed walls. Besides that, there’s not much difference. Paradise beckons whether your room is in the southern half of the property (Paraiso Beach) or the northern half of the property (Paraiso del Mar). The highlight for many will be the landscaped grounds, overflowing with tall palms and tropical flowers. The addition of flamingoes and graceful swans is an added bonus for both kids and their parents.
Our Editor Loves
- Large pool complex
- Watersports Center
- Kids' Club
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Housed in three-story villas, the 424 rooms at Paraiso Beach are all the same. All rooms are equipped with two double beds, a small sitting area with table and couch, and a balcony or terrace with table and chairs. Closet space is ample and comes with a safe. The mini-bar, stocked with complimentary beer, sodas, and water is replenished every other day. The bathroom has a bath and shower, with Iberostar's own brand of shampoo, soap, and body gel. For some reason, there was no conditioner, so make sure to bring some. Also found in the room were a hairdryer, coffee maker, and ceiling fan. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in the guestrooms. One caveat: similar to neighboring Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, Paraiso Beach does not have any elevators to the top level of rooms. So if you have a stroller or have trouble going up and down three flights of stairs, book a room on the ground floor.
The Family Rooms are the best option for families of five or more because they can accommodate up to six people comfortably. The Family Rooms guarantee connecting rooms of one king and two double beds. Each room features a private balcony and a bathroom. Family Room guests are greeted with the Family Welcome Kit upon arrival, too.
I received a reminder email of my upcoming reservation in which it states to do an electronic check in. During the check in process it asks for all personal information including address and passport number. No problem right? I update myself and my wife's information and submit, upon which time I receive an error message about the issue date missing for both of us. So I review the form and it's populated. So I re-enter the information and again receive the same error message. I start from a new page altogether and continue to receive the same error message. I did this a total of 5 times. So I figured, I'd give the app a try. Same error message.
I call their help number and I'm told by the person that the reason I'm getting the error message is because I'm supposed to check in 72 hours prior to the reservation. She hangs up. WTF?
So I call back and get a different person. This person tells me they can't do anything about it and that I need to speak to the hotel directly. Again, WTF? This is an on-line tool for confirming information but I need to speak to the SPECIFIC hotel to do this? Finally someone picks up and I explain that I was transferred there from their customer care / help desk and she thinks I'm asking to be transferred to support -- (I speak fluent Spanish so no way I miscomunicated or struggled with telling her) ... so she pulls the phone away from her ear as I can hear her asking to one of her co-workers to transfer me to support. I'm trying to get her attention to no avail.... boom transferred again... Some guy picks up.. I tell him what happened... he's the telephone operator. He kicks me back to reception. I'm telling the lady what happened and the issues I'm having and she keeps trying to tell me that I need to make a reservation. After the 3rd time she finally gets it that I already have a reservation and the on-line check in wasn't letting me do what THEIR email asked me to do. So she takes down my information manually and tells me I have to check in on Sunday when I arrive.
If this is any indication of what their hotel is like, something tells me I'm in for a sh*tty vacation.
We visited the IberoStar Sept 22-28 on a Family vacation with 2 year old and 4 year old. Crazy I know. We had so much fun! The beach is perfect! No seaweed problems the water was so clear and waves calm enough to swim with the kids. There is a children’s pool so you can relax without worrying about the kids too much and they loved it! The food is great - loved all of it! Room service will deliver chicken nuggets and French fries among other things if the kids were feeling tired and we didn’t want to take them anywhere. Staff are super nice and accommodating! Always smiling! My room was cleaned daily and I’m a clean freak - it was perfect. There is a huge area around the waterfall where younger kids can touch the bottom and play. Bring your own rafts and toys for kids and swim diapers etc. (everything is expensive at the shops.) There is a large really nice playground at the commercial shopping center (things are cheaper there) It takes less than a minute to get there from the resort on the golf carts. A problem we experienced was confusion regarding what was around for us. We didn’t discover the playground or coffee shop until day 3 and by that time I was in desperate need. I was so pleasantly surprised! We had asked about a playground a few times and no one mentioned this. (FYI playgrounds pictured are off limits to kids that aren’t in the star camp without the parents unless it’s 8am-9:30am. Who gets up that early with toddlers? It felt wrong to me and sort of like false advertising. We never saw a soul in there either. Very weird!) This resort does not have servers to bring you drinks. You have to walk or swim to a bar and the pool is huge so if you have kids this is insanely stressful! Carrying 4 drinks through a pool or far away to the family areas was a nightmare. Wish they had someone walking around bringing drinks! We also had some bad luck - Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived off the plane and the kids were starving and none of the restaurants were open. We were so hungry and confused and the kids were crying. Everyone kept giving us wrong information about where we could get food. Every time we would show up to a new location it was closed. Day 1 was rough! I almost packed everyone up and went home but we slowly figured things out and ended up having a WONDERFUL vacation. It would be great if they had guides for your first day to help show you around! That would solve all the problems! This place is huge and even though I did a ton of research before we left I never could have prepared enough. When I finally went to the front desk and asked again about the room she could tell the kids needed somewhere to rest and got us a room right away! I was so grateful! The guys that drive the golf carts are great. Eulogio is always smiling and helpful! I always felt safe and comfortable traveling around the resort with the kids on the carts. They were super sweet as were the front desk staff. This place is great we will definitely be back. If you have kids definitely recommend for families but you might want to ask for a tour guide that first day!
Before you head to the breakfast buffet, stake your claim at a shady thatched-roof cabana, whether on the beach or near one of the three connecting pools. If you head to the soft sands, kids can rent boogie boards to ride the surf, try their hand at sailing a catamaran, or kayak through the mangroves. For an extra cost, there's the chance to Jet Ski with mom or dad, ride a banana boat, or go parasailing. The hotel can also arrange scuba diving and snorkeling trips, or horseback riding on the shores.
The sprawling pool complex is the center of activity at Paraiso Beach. The energetic Star Friends team will have kids and their parents dancing to salsa and meringue, learning Spanish, and partaking in water aerobics, beach volleyball, and water polo. When you need a breather, head to one of the swim-up bars and order the next frozen drink, with or without alcohol. Since this is an all-inclusive resort, you don't have to worry about any surprises on the final bill from all those drinks.
Vacations are a precious time to catch up with the kids and give mom and dad some needed time off. Starky Kids' Club is available every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children ages 4 to 12. Counselors will teach children Mayan culture through arts and crafts, dance, storytelling and games. Outside the club, you'll find a playground with slides and the right amount of sand to make sand castles.
At night, there are two shows in the theater, one starting at 8 p.m. for the kids, the other at 9:30 p.m. for the adults. The shows can be hit or miss depending on the performers and the material.
For teens, they can enjoy the teenage-only disco "Underground" or the game room off the lobby.
Iberostar Paraiso Beach has more food options than most cruises. There are two buffets, six specialty restaurants, casual fare like tacos, crepes, and hamburgers in the shopping center and at several snack bars, an ice cream parlor, and room service 24 hours a day.
Breakfast is served at either the El Puerto or La Plaza buffet. There's a good mix of fresh fruit, flavored yogurts, juices, breads, eggs, French toast, and meats. Kids will like the homemade churros (doughnuts) that they can dip in chocolate sauce. The same two buffets are also open for lunch and dinner. Many families are inclined to book up the week with the specialty restaurants, but remember that the main buffet is much faster for kids and they tend to be more family friendly. At one dinner, a clown made balloon animals for the kids at the buffet. There's also a good variety at the main buffet, from pizza and pasta to vegetable sushi to fish to Chinese chicken skewers and wok-grilled veggies.
If you're hanging out by the pool, head over to the El Faro snack bar for their selection of hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, salads, and fruit for lunch.
Make sure to book the a la carte or specialty restaurants as close to 9 a.m. as possible, when reservations are first accepted. Kids will like the Italian, Mexican, and Steakhouse restaurants. The Japanese, Mediterranean, Brazilian, and Gourmet restaurants, the latter serving rich French fare, might be better suited to mom and dad's taste.
Don't miss the creperie, hamburger diner, and tapas restaurant located across the street from the lobby at the shopping center. These restaurants are also part of the all-inclusive package and available to all Iberostar hotels in the Paraiso Playa complex. For a late afternoon snack, head to the ice cream parlor located near the pools.
Thankfully, the resort has room service 24 hours a day, so you can dine on wraps, salads, burgers, hot dogs, and tacos with your loved one while the kids sleep.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The staff will plant a mimosa in your hands upon arrival, then skirt you by golf cart to your room.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available throughout the resort.
Those same counselors at the kids' club can babysit at night. Slip away for a quiet dinner for two at my favorite of the a la carte ventures, the Mediterranean restaurant, featuring grilled seafood, Greek salad, and as much red and white wine as you need to truly unwind.
There is a fitness center with cardio and weight machines.
The Art of Smart Timing
Iberostar has aligned itself with travel companies around North American and Europe, so that a week in paradise is attainable. This is certainly true at Iberostar Paraiso Beach and Paraiso del Mar, the most budget-conscious of the five resorts in this enclave. If you still find it too pricey, consider visiting the region anytime other than the peak season of Christmas week through mid-April. April and May, when the weather back home can still be a bit nippy, can be a very affordable time to visit. The week after Thanksgiving in America, is a time when many Mexican and Caribbean resorts have low occupancy rates until the Christmas rush. The weather is a sublime 80 degrees Fahrenheit with sea breeze every day.
Arrive to the area via flight to Cancun International Airport. The resort will arrange transportation at booking.
A tram is available every 15 minutes if the 10-minute walk from the beach to the lobby seems a bit too much. There are also numerous golf carts with employees driving you to your room or over to the golf course. Those golf carts are here for a reason.
For Mom and Dad
Visit the stylish spa for a plunge in the saltwater pool or a massage.
Or grab a round of golf at the golf course on the other side of the highway. P.B. Dye has designed a par-72 course with vistas of the ocean in the distance. You would think that in this hot climate, the greens wouldn't be very green. In fact, the greens are so lush, you feel like you're golfing in Vermont, not Mexico.