Amongst the surf exposed glitz and glam in the area of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, lays a resort that is a hidden gem amongst gems.
I will fully admit that I am a self-professed hotel snob. I’ve had enough bad experiences in my early days of travel that I am in a position of having “learned” from past mistakes. Depending on where I am traveling to, I will sometimes look for an all-inclusive resort option (mainly because carrying cash in my bikini doesn’t often work out too well!). Most of the all-inclusives that I choose are bigger resorts with tons of elaborate amenities that I like to think I am going to use and then often I go nowhere near them! BUT….the option was there right??! In an area like Cancun, this all seems to be the standard norm as long as a breath taking view comes along with it- right?
In January I concluded that I had had enough of my beloved America at that current moment and last minute decided to getaway for a week. With Cancun being such a short flight from Houston, the area seemed like an easy choice of destination.
Cue in, Iberostar Tucan y Quetzal, a smaller version of the standard palatial Iberostar resort brands, that is a true oasis amongst a plethora of 5 star ocean resort options. Tucan y Quetzal are separate smaller resorts that share amenities (not really a difference if you ask me). I had big concerns about booking a stay at a smaller place since there are not as many places to hide from children and the hustle and bustle crazies; however, I was pleasantly surprised! Upon exiting my Uber (that I truly feel tried to kill me with their driving…that’s a story for a different time I guess), I walked up to unique and chic jungle gem. I checked in with ease and made my way through the resorts exterior to my room’s building and felt all of my hesitation subside. This place was gorgeous and exactly what I was looking for! With every step, you noticed more and more live animals (monkeys, peacocks, flamingos, turtles, and something that looked like a cross breed of an ant eater and a prairie dog) and waterfalls as you make your way through the live jungle inspired resort. My room was located deep in the resort jungle in one of the middle buildings. At night when the sun would set and the only light that could be seen was from the small trail lights below, you could hear monkeys communicating and moving around while sitting on the patio enjoying a nightly Tecate (this could be slightly scary but was absolutely amazing).
I am so thankful that I was placed in a middle building and when I go back, I will definitely request it. It was so nice to see all the animals moving around and also be within very close walking distance to one of the main buffets and part of the restaurants. The pool and ocean were a bit of a further walk but were well worth it once there. You could walk down a few choice paths through the jungle while making your way to a majestic view of the pool which is good size and well divided space that is perfect for people of all ages. Lots of room to spread out and custom areas for adults to escape (including a little grotto with a pool side bar and entertainment area). If the abundance of pools doesn’t do it for you, then keep walking and you will run into a breathtaking view that Caribbean Sea has to offer. Upon first walking up, it is purely serene with the blues and greens of the water dancing in the sun and crashing upon beautiful white sand. Simply heavenly! Since the resort is smaller, the choices of where to sit are a bit limited if it is in busy season, but if you are looking for an area that provides a bit more quiet time, then make sure you hang a left once you hit the sand. If you walk down a little, you will see a couple rows of chairs and grass hut umbrellas across from an outdoor soccer area. Even though people play little pick-up games, this space puts you away from all of the fun and organized games and dances while still being in walking distance to jump in if you are feeling adventurous (plus you might catch some cute guys playing soccer if you are a single girl like myself!).
As if laying on a white sand oasis with someone bringing you multiple drinks at your hearts desire wasn’t enough, the resort decided to throw a welcome party on the beach with freshly made sangria and the best paella you can imagine (I’m drooling as I write this btw)! I mean, it was just so good with your choice of seafood or meat paella that they mixed beach-side in giant skillets. Oh and speaking of food, I assume that is something you might want to hear about huh? Yeah… you should because that can completely make or break your whole entire experience, ESPECIALLY if you have paid to stay all inclusive. I mean, who wants to pay for crappy food and drinks? I would hope no one! Buuuutttt luckily for you, if you decide to visit Tucan y Quetzal, you won’t have to worry about that! It is easy for a hotel to supply copious amounts of food, but Iberostar is always top notch. From the multitude of buffets, to the poolside snack bars, to the specific restaurants (which do require reservations based on length of stay), all of your dining experiences are a win and there is a little something for everyone. Oh and did I mention the decadent Mexican deserts and overabundance of any alcohol you can think of? Yeah…no need to worry about carrying anything but a little tipping money (always recommended in my book).
The atmosphere and friendliness at this resort are never ending as they are always so engaging and appreciative of you choosing them over the 1000’s of options in the area. The jungle vibes that you experience while walking through this resort are compared to like nothing I have ever experienced in my travels and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking and different form of all inclusive option.
Iberostar Quetzal is like a hidden jungle oasis that definitely has me craving more.
5 Star Girl in the Jungle
If you are still not sold on the resort, here is a pic of me enjoying the true definition of serenity with a beach side massage ; )
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