Well, despite my many protests, Zach and I have been back in NYC for a while now, feeling refreshed, (semi) sunburnt and full of tacos after spending 5 amazing days at the Mia Reef Isla Mujeres in Mexico.
If you haven’t been following along on our journey, Zach and I booked this vacation about a month ago via the travel site BookIt. Our reservations through the site included our airfare, all-inclusive hotel package and transportation to and from the airport in Mexico and let me tell you, the whole process couldn’t have been more seamless.
We arrived in Mexico in the early afternoon on Wednesday and headed straight to the hotel. After a 20-minute car ride, a 25-minute ferry and a 5 minute cab ride (which included a trip across the bridge pictured below), we finally arrived at the Mia Reef. Keep reading for a breakdown of my reviews on everything that the resort has to offer.
Deluxe Ocean View Room: When booking our package, we selected a a deluxe ocean view room knowing that this could mean a room with a balcony or simply just a room with an ocean view window. Luckily, upon check-in we found that our room was located on the 5th floor and had a balcony that faced the entrance bridge, with beautiful views of the ocean. As for the room itself – we saw quite a few complaints from people on TripAdvisor who noted that the room was bare. While it was very bare (bed, nightstand and one chair), we had no intention of spending much time in the room so were totally fine with it. Our only real complaint was that the water in the bathroom did have a slight scent of sewer at times. While it does seem a little concerning at first, we survived the trip, so I’m 99% sure that the smell had no real effect on us. Overall, a decent sized room with a beautiful view of the ocean.
Resort Facilities: From our experience, we thought that the resort itself was very clean and well maintained. The beach and bar area were cleaned up and re-organized every night, the lobby was spotless and the buffet area was well kept. One thing that we did notice was the pool table in the outdoor bar area that could use some updating. Given that Zach is an online pool addict (don’t ask), we of course played a few rounds, but 9 times of 10, all of the balls weren’t there or they would get stuck inside and we had to fish them out.
Beach Area: Located on its own island, the resort has 360 views of the water and I cannot say enough about how beautiful it all was. There are two beach areas in which you can lounge – a large one with lots of seating, located closest to the taco stand (more about that later) and one on the opposite side of the bar with walk-in access to the beach. The only downside to the larger one was that had to walk down wooden steps (careful, they can be very slippery) in order to get into the ocean. We sat at the larger beach on our first day, but then spent the remainder of our days at the smaller beach because we preferred walking right into the ocean. One thing that we did experience while we were there was a pretty strong current in the middle of the water (between the Mia Reef island and the regular local beach), but luckily, the water is so shallow in most spots so that you can get up and stand if need be. We found that the water around the resort was all pretty shallow, which is nice if you just want to lounge in the water.
Food: Going into the trip, I was a little concerned about the food choices. After reading reviews on TripAdvisor, I went into the trip not expecting much of the meals that they offered, but was surprised at some of the choices that they had. For breakfast, they offered a variety of options every morning like fresh fruit, pancakes, yogurt & granola, sausage, bacon and Zach’s favorite, build your own omelets. Everything always tasted fresh and we never left feeling unsatisfied. Plus, they have great cappuccinos, which we had one (or two) of every morning!
For lunch, they had more limited options – hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, sandwiches, etc. We tried out the regular lunch options the first day, as the taco stand that we had heard about was closed. It’s safe to say this wasn’t one of the best meals we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t the worst.
Now, let’s talk about the taco stand located to the right of the larger beach – these were probably some of the best tacos I’ve ever had and by far the best meals that we had on our trip. The stand only offers fish options – tuna tostadas, mahi fish tacos, shrimp tacos, ceviche, you name it! I kid you not, I ate at least 6 tacos and 1 serving of ceviche a day (Zach can attest to this), it was that good! If you’re staying here, this taco stand is a MUST for lunch, plus the man who works there serving the food (I regrettably forgot his name), is the sweetest and is extremely helpful and accommodating.
Now for dinner – our first night at the resort we decided to give the buffet a try. Given that it was our first night in Mexico, we were in the mood for some homemade Mexican food, but unfortunately that wasn’t one of the options at the buffet. From what we could see, it was just a mix of pasta, vegetables, salad and other more basic food options – not exactly what we wanted. We ate dinner in town every night, except for the second to last night when we tried out the specialty restaurant, where the presentation and service was great, but the food was just decent. If a meal here is included in your package, I recommend checking it out but if not, I wouldn’t spend the extra money on it.
Staff: Overall, we had great experiences with the staff while we were staying here! The only thing that we did notice was that some of staff seemed to expect tips if they were serving drinks // food, but we just brushed it off, as we didn’t have the budget to tip every time that something was served to us – I mean, who does?? Another thing that we had noticed on TripAdvisor was that there were quite a few complaints about one staff member in particular – Ramone. Since we had done our homework and knew to avoid him from the start, we just brushed him off when he asked to take our bags, as we heard that he often holds onto your room key if you don’t give him a tip. I highly recommend doing the same if you run into him!
Drinks: Given that it was an all-inclusive resort, how could I not devote some time to talking about drinks? I think it’s safe to say that Zach and I got our money’s worth when it comes to the drinks – I don’t think I want to see another Dos Equis for a good year. Given that this isn’t a 5-star resort and that we didn’t pay thousands of dollars for it, we knew that the drinks weren’t going to be top-shelf and honestly, if you go into it with that mindset, you’ll be fine. We stuck to margaritas, beer and mojitos the whole trip and were not disappointed. Our only complaint, was that Dos Equis was the only beer that they had on tap. It would have been nice to have some variety, but we made the best of it!
Overall, this trip was one for the books! Zach and I had such a great time and both agreed that we couldn’t have picked a better location for our mini winter getaway.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about the resort or Isla Mujeres in general! 🙂