RIU Emerald Bay Mazatlan Resort Review and Guide to Mazatlan

by Nicole Erin

Hola amigo! I am feeling super inspired after our recent trip to Mexico so let’s jump into today’s post. It was my first trip to Mexico so I was super excited to visit a new country. So here is an honest review of the resort we stayed; the good, the bad and the confusing and what we did while in Mazatlan!

What to Do:

El Faro Lighthouse: Beautiful hike, the view is amazing and would be beautiful at sunset. Bring water if you’re hiking midday and I suggest wearing running shoes, not Birkenstocks like I did. It takes about 30 minutes each way and starts by climbing up a hill and ends with more than 350 steps up to the top. The view is totally worth it!

Old Mazatlan: Be sure to visit Basilica of the Inmaculada Concepción in the heart of the old city. The Cathedral has the most incredible stained glass windows and is opposite Plaza República, a small park with lots of shade so you can beat the heat. Down the street is Mercado Pino Suarez a market with lots of variety of fresh food and is a great place to pick up souvenirs.

Malecon: One of the longest boardwalks in the world, a beautiful walk alongside the Pacific ocean. Bring your camera and take a photo with the Mazatlan sign. I suggest going to dinner at a local restaurant than a sunset walk along the boardwalk.

Transportations/Bus: There is always a shuttle bus from the airport to the resort so you don’t need to worry about that. When we wanted to go into town we took the public bus. We left safe lots or tourist, people were friendly and helpful.

Where we Stayed: RIU Emerald Bay Mazatlan


Let’s start with the good, the beach! I absolutely love long walks on the beach and that’s exactly what you can do when you stay at the RIU Emerald Bay. The beautiful white sand is perfect for walking, most mornings before breakfast we would dip our toes in the ocean and enjoy the fresh air. It felt like you could walk forever, we didn’t make it to the end of the beach but I’m sure you could walk for miles. If you head right (towards the rocks) you’ll find a few little local shops and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to visit if you don’t want to go too far off the resort. You can grab lunch, a cup of coffee, refreshing cold bottle of water and even buy souvenirs. The only downside of the beach was that the ocean was a little rough, there was always a yellow cautious flag up but the sand is perfect for building sand castles.

We spent most of our afternoons relaxing by the pool, there are 4 large infinity pools flow into a smaller pool with the swim up bar. I loved how the beach and the pool area was connected, you would hear the waves crashing as you unwind in the pool. My only request would be to heat the pools more because the water was pretty chilly. You needed to stay in the sunshine to stay warm, quickly jump in and out to cool down or go brisk swim or it was slightly unpleasant.


Now for what I would call the bad😬. The RIU Emerald Bay serves typical buffet style foods, they are clearly cooking for large numbers. I was disappointed with the quality of food, it’s prepared at the beginning of the meal service and would sometimes be cold if you arrived later in the service. I also found the service to be generally inconsistent, some staff were amazing and even provided Heinz Ketchup while others wouldn’t come back with a cup of tea at breakfast. We also got sick of eating at a buffet every single meal, even the 2 À la carte restaurants at the resort were also buffets. It was a little frustrating there wasn’t a better option. As a result, we got Mcdonalds as a special treat when we were in town exploring the city.


Our first impression of the resort was good; we arrived late in the evening. Check in was quick and easy and we stayed in one of their honeymoon suits on the 7th floor. There was champagne waiting for us in our room so we popped it and went and enjoyed a late dinner. We woke up to a beautiful view of the ocean, our room had two balconies and you could see the ocean from bed. Something I really likes about the resort is that every room has an ocean view, so you don’t need to worry about paying extra or requesting an ocean view upon check-in. One of my favorite parts of our stay was booking this sunset photo shoot. We didn’t know what to expect and were so happy with the experience.

As for the resort overall, the we felt details are seriously lacking. As the week went on we started to get pretty frustrated, the bed was terrible and the pillows and sheets were worse. Our A/C even broke half way through our stay and the issue was handled very poorly by the front desk and we had to change rooms. I generally don’t care about watching while on vacation but it was a little frustrating watching the Super Bowl through a static feed. This leads me to the confusing part of our trip…

Sunwing/Overall experience:

As I said before our first impression was good but the details and overall experience was slightly confusing. We thought we had booked a 5-star resort? It was our first time booking with Sunwing and this is something we will keep in mind if we ever travel with them. Our package was a good deal but you could definitely feel that it was a budget airline if you fly and travel regularly. The flight was completely full and the seats were pretty tight but totally manageable for the 4-hour flight. I was really disappointed when there weren’t pretzels or snacks on the flight but other than that it was a positive experience flying with Sunwing.

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