I visited all-inclusive resorts in Mexico in August 2020, October 2020, May 2021, June 2021, and two weeks ago.
Recently, I got a good question: "What's the impact of COVID restrictions and protocols to a stay at a Cancun / Riviera Maya all-inclusive resort? Is it worth it?"
First, what are the restrictions?
The Cancun / Riviera Maya works on a stoplight system. Each week, the area is assigned a color: Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red based on the current COVID numbers. You can see the weekly updates here: https://reactivemosq.roo.gob.mx/
Based on the current status, different restrictions apply.
- The resort's occupancy may be restricted.
- The night club may be closed.
- Bars may have restricted hours.
- Supervised kids' club may be closed or offer outdoor programming.
Resorts' also have their own COVID protocols and health and safety plans. These plans include:
- Sanitation protocols - Cleaning takes longer so it's unlikely rooms are available before check-in time.
- Spacing of lounge chairs or dining tables,
- A health check as part of the check in process
- Employees may be required to wear masks.
- Buffets may switch from self-service to assisted service.
- You may be required to have your temperature checked before you enter a restaurant or sanitize your hands or shoes.
The biggest impacts I've seen are due to low occupancy - not necessarily governmental COVID requirements.
Less people are traveling now. This means the resort may have a lot of empty rooms. In this case, the resorts follow the same procedures they did before COVID when the resort wasn't 100% full: pare down dining and programming. If the resort is only 20% full, the resort will not have all the restaurants open every night. They may not have the buffet open at all to control food waste. The resorts I've stayed in did a great job rotating the schedule so it was easy to eat at all the restaurants even if they were not all open every night.
You may also see some impact from labor shortages. It's hard to staff up quickly if the hotel's occupancy goes up. This may mean a bit longer wait at a restaurant even though you see empty tables. You may decide to head to the pool bar yourself if the pool server is covering a large area.
I think what everyone wants to know - Is it still worth it?
I overheard some people saying NO. It's not worth it. It's the experience they remembered from previous visits. They felt the need for a negative COVID test to get back in the USA hanging over their heads. (I do highly recommend doing an at-home antigen test before leaving to make sure you don't arrive positive.)
I obviously think it's worth it since I keep going back. My clients have all said they had a great time and it was worth it even with some of the annoyances of understaffing or closed restaurants.
One of the perks of booking with me is that I help you evaluate the pros and cons of traveling right now. I help manage your expectations.