The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is a beachfront 5-star luxury all-inclusive resort on the beautiful white sand El Médano Beach (Playa El Médano) on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. At the Cabo San Lucas Riu Palace you’ll enjoy outstanding views of the famous rock formations across Cabo Bay, while enjoying high-quality Mexican, American and international cuisine at the wide selection of restaurants, or a premium drink from one of the many bars.
Despite being one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Cabo San Lucas, it is a family-friendly Cabo resort. The Riu Palace maintains a wonderful balance of being a relaxing, luxury all-inclusive resort, while being welcoming for kids of all ages.
Whether or not you are traveling to Cabo San Lucas with kids, you won’t go wrong staying at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort. Below we share everything you need to know before booking your stay at the Cabo Riu Palace, along with our experiences at the resort.
Review: Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
- Description of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel
- Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Location
- Riu Palace Los Cabos Amenities
- Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Room Amenities
- Types of Rooms at the Cabo Riu Palace
- Swimming Pools
- The Riu Palace Cabo Beach – Playa El Médano
- 9 Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Restaurants
- 6 Bars at the Cabo San Lucas Riu Palace
- Activities at the Riu Palace Cabo
- Entertainment at the Cabo San Lucas Riu Resort
- Top 5 Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas
- Riu Palace Cabo With Kids
- Holidays and Special Events
- Other Cabo San Lucas Riu Resorts
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Mexico with Kids
- More Family-Friendly Resorts
Note: There are two Riu Palace all-inclusive resorts in Los Cabos – the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas (the resort being reviewed here) and the adults-only Riu Palace Baja California. Unless we specifically mention the Riu Palace Baja California by name, we are referring to the family-friendly Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort.
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Description of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel
As you enter the main lobby of the 4-story all-inclusive Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas hotel, you can instantly feel the class and sophistication you will enjoy during your stay at this 5-star Cabo resort. The towering ceilings, a glass pyramid (reminiscent of The Louvre) and elegant artwork throughout the lobby is a just small taste of what is to come.
At the all-inclusive Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas resort, you will enjoy a wide selection of à la carte restaurants and buffet restaurants, a generous number of bars, daily activities for adults, fitness enthusiasts and kids alike.
The natural beauty of the Baja California Peninsula is what draws many visitors to Cabo San Lucas. The beauty of the area is enhanced throughout the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas resort with 32,000 m² /38,270 sq yds of gardens, featuring thousands of bougainvillea flowers in bloom, tall cacti and towering palm trees flowing with the wind.
Unlike other so called all-inclusive resorts around Cabo San Lucas (where not everything is actually included), the Riu Palace is a true all-inclusive resort. During your stay, you’ll enjoy complimentary and unlimited drinks and dining at every on-site restaurant and bar. The only services which incur an additional fee are spa services and/or excursions (glass bottom boat, whale watching, etc).
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Location
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort sits on an enviable piece of beachfront property on Cabo San Lucas Bay (Bahia de Cabo San Lucas). Facing south-east you’ll enjoy sunrises over the ocean and sunsets behind the rocky hills near the famous Cabo San Lucas arch. Humpback whales can commonly be seen from shore as you walk on the white sand El Médano Beach for miles in either direction.
The all-ages Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas in Los Cabos is the eastern-most all-inclusive hotel along El Médano Beach. It’s 4.5 km / 2.8 miles from town, 40 km/25 miles from the Los Cabos International Airport and 500 m / 1,650 ft from a bus stop.
Riu Palace Los Cabos Amenities
As you’d expect from a 5-star Cabo all-inclusive resort, there are plenty of hotel amenities to pamper guests during their stay.
- Fast and free wifi throughout the resort
- Free sun loungers on El Médano Beach (in a segregated area which keeps the beach vendors away)
- Free sun loungers around the swimming pools
- Many of the sun loungers come with a sun umbrella or canopy to block the powerful Mexican sun
- 2 free gyms, sauna and whirlpool bath (for guests who are 18+)
- An ATM to withdraw Mexican Pesos
- Renova Spa with beauty salon, massages and spa treatments (additional charge)
- Pacha discotheque (located at the Riu Santa Fe resort next door)
- Gift shop
- All accommodation, taxes and tips included
Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Room Amenities
The U-shaped, 4-story Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is a huge all-inclusive Cabo resort with nearly 700 hotel rooms. All guest rooms at this luxury Cabo resort have:
- Turndown service
- Bathroom with shower and double wash basin
- 110 V electricity (the same as Canada and the US)
- Free Wi-Fi
- Central Air Conditioning
- Ceiling Fan
- Minibar (stocked with bottled water, sparkling water, Pepsi, Pepsi Light, 7-Up and Dos Equis lager beer)
- Liquor Dispenser (stocked with premium liquors such as Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Jose Cuervo Tequila and Presidente Brandy)
- Coffee Maker
- A flat screen TV with satellite channels
- Sofa or sofa bed
- Electronic in-room safe
- Iron and ironing board
- Balcony or terrace
Types of Rooms at the Cabo Riu Palace
There are four types of hotel rooms available for guests of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort:
1. Standard Double Room with King Size Bed
This is the standard hotel room at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. With a single king-size bed (200 x 200 cm), this is the perfect room for couples traveling to Los Cabos.
The Standard Double Rooms come with two view options: garden view or sea view. Given that the standard rooms at are the most affordable rooms at this luxury all-inclusive Cabo resort, your sea view likely won’t be the best available. Don’t worry though as you’ll be soaking in so much stunning ocean scenery from many restaurants and locations around the resort, we imagine you won’t even miss the ocean view from your room.
2. Junior Suites
The Junior Suites at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas offer two different bed configurations:
- 2 beds (125 x 200 cm) which are pushed together. Note, these beds are slightly narrower than a standard double bed.
- 1 king-size bed (200 x 200 cm)
The junior suites come with an integrated sitting area with a sofa, which is 2 steps lower than the main areas of the hotel room. Junior Suites come with either a garden view, partial sea view or sea view option. Note, that “sea views” doesn’t necessarily mean ocean-front views.
This is the room type we rented at the Riu Palace Cabo. We were very lucky that our sea-view room turned out to be an ocean-front room.
3. Swim-out Junior Suites
These ground-level suites at the all-inclusive Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas offer guests a terrace with access to a small private pool. Guests must be 18+ to stay in a swim-out suite.
4. Jacuzzi Suites with Sea View
Twice the size of the other hotel rooms, the jacuzzi suites are the best rooms at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas resort. Featuring a king sized bed and an integrated lounge area, you’ll love coming back to your jetted tub after a fun day in Cabo San Lucas.
Note, that some Jacuzzi Suites with Sea View have a hydromassage bathtub inside the room, while others have a jacuzzi on the room’s terrace. If you have a preference, let the resort know at the time of booking and they will try to accommodate your request.
As you can see from the aerial pictures of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort, there are plenty of pools on the property. The two circular pools furthest from the ocean are purely decorative though, which leaves the two larger pools closer to the ocean as the only two pools you can swim in at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas.
The two swimming pools are very large though, measuring 867 m² each (about 70% the size of an Olympic swimming pool). The end of the pool nearest the hotel lobby is wide-open circular swimming area with a fountain in the middle. The end of each swimming pool nearest the ocean features shallow in-water lounge chairs and an infinity pool edge overlooking the white sand El Médano Beach and the Cabo San Lucas Bay.
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas swimming pools are a uniform depth of 145 cm (4’9”) which is a very comfortable depth for most adults to stand in, keeping just their head and shoulders above the surface.
For anyone considering staying at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas with kids, there is a very small (14 m²) kids pool near the western-most swimming pool. You’ll likely want to spend time in the main swimming pools, so you may wish to bring floatation devices for kids still learning to swim. The swimming pool water was too deep for our 6 and 8-year-old kids.
There are two slightly shallower (3’11”) circular whirlpools in each pool, with benches all around. The whirlpool baths are heated in wintertime.
There are over 700 lounge chairs around the all-inclusive hotel pools and beach, so you should have no trouble finding one. Many of them are situated under structures where you can pull a shade over top, providing welcome relief from the tropical Mexican sun.
Mid-day, the resort staff puts up a volleyball net across the pool. You’ll often find an impromptu game of pool volleyball going on throughout the day, especially as hotel guests start to get some drinks into them.
The Riu Palace Cabo Beach – Playa El Médano
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is ideally situated in the middle of a very long & beautiful white sand beach. While the hot Mexican sun may have you tempted to jump into the beautiful waters of Cabo San Lucas Bay, but you must resist. A dangerous undertow exists here, so the red warning flag is almost always flying.
No matter, the El Médano Beach is stunning with exceptional views of Mt. Solmar and the nearby rock formations near the Cabo San Lucas Arch. Note, that you can’t quite see the arch from the Riu Palace Los Cabos beach though – it’s tucked away behind one of the rock formations.
Beach walking is one of our favorite activities in the world, and we were delighted to discover that El Médano Beach is walkable for several kilometers in each direction. Walking to the west takes you past several resorts until you reach the Los Cabos Marina and beyond to the town of Cabo San Lucas.
The walk along the undeveloped land to the east is very enjoyable as there are less people, meaning you can find more treasures in the sand. Beware of dead puffer fish on the beach as their scales are very spiky and the poison on them is very dangerous.
We walked east to the rocky outcrop at the east end of El Médano Beach almost every day. The beautiful beach walk to the rocky outcrop took us about 30 minutes each way and was a fun place to hang out and let the kids play in the sand.
As you spend time on this beautiful Cabo beach, keep your eyes on the water for humpback whales. We saw several humpback whales spouting during our stay at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. The best way to spot whales is to scan the water surface, looking for their water spouts. Once you see a spout, spotting their bodies emerging from the water becomes much easier.
We spotted humpback whales from the shore on El Médano Beach almost every day of our stay in Los Cabos. Some of the humpbacks were very close to shore, and we even had a few playful ones who breached over-and-over. It was a thrilling moment and was a definite highlight of our family vacation to Cabo San Lucas.
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is ideally situated for sun worshipers. Sitting on a beautiful white sand beach facing south-east, sun bathers will enjoy direct sunshine from the moment the sun rises over the Bahia de Cabo San Lucas in the morning, to the moment it dips below Mt. Solmar in the late afternoon.
There is a large area of sand and palm trees adjacent to El Médano Beach in the Riu Cabo San Lucas hotel. There are plenty of comfortable lounge chairs and hammocks to sit and sun bathe here in the occasional shade from the towering palm trees. This sandy beach area within the Riu Cabo resort is attractive as the touts selling souvenirs, hair braiding, etc. on the public beach are not allowed in, so you can sunbathe in peace.
9 Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Restaurants
One of the primary reasons we chose to stay at the Riu Palace all-inclusive in Los Cabos was for the food. We’ve stayed at many Riu hotels in the past, and the food is almost always excellent.
There are 9 dining options for guests of the Los Cabos Riu Palace to enjoy. If for some reason this isn’t enough, you also have access to all the restaurants and bars at the Riu Santa Fe and Riu Palace Baja California. (Note, this excludes dinner at the theme restaurants and no kids are allowed at the Riu Palace Baja California).
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas hotel states that appropriate attire is required for dinner. We asked them to elaborate on this and they said, “The dress code to our restaurants is casual. Jeans, dress shorts and nice sandals can be worn, just no swimwear or sleeveless shirts.”
Here are your 9 dining options at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas:
1. Mar de Cortés Buffet Restaurant
The Mar de Cortes restaurant is the main buffet restaurant at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. This restaurant is where guests will enjoy the breakfast buffet as well as their dinner buffet.
The setting for the Mar de Cortes restaurant is stunning. Located two stories above the beach level, guests will enjoy dining on either a large outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean, or within an airy main indoor dining room.
The views from the Mar de Cortes outdoor terrace are simply amazing. Looking directly south-east where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean, the deep blue water extends to the horizon. To the west, guests of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas are treated to an amazing view of Mt. Solmar and the rocks which make up the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas (although you can’t quite see the Cabo Arch from the resort).
If you dine at the Mar de Cortes restaurant for breakfast, you’ll love watching the sun rise over the Gulf of California as you enjoy your first cup of coffee of the day. We love that the Riu Palace Cabo has a full make-to-order taco station available for breakfast – we’ll eat authentic Mexican tacos three meals a day, thank you very much!
Aside from the tacos for breakfast, you’ll enjoy more traditional American breakfast fare, such as pancakes, waffles, bacon, pastries, fruit and cheese. There is also an omelet station and a large selection of fresh fruit juices and smoothies.
Diners at the dinner buffet will love the wide selection of international foods on offer at the Mar de Cortes. We were very excited to see a large sushi display greeting us as we entered the Mar de Cortes on our first night (although the sushi at the Misaki Japanese restaurant was far superior).
And, of course, we also loved the freshly cooked, authentic Mexican tacos at the taco stand. (We mean it – tacos for every meal!). There are a wide variety of other Mexican dishes which we highly recommend you try, but there is also a good selection of American, Japanese, and Italian dishes on offer.
For dessert, there is a large selection of freshly cut fruit, a huge table of single-serving desserts (cakes, pastries, etc.). There is also a chocolate fountain and a creperie station (we highly recommend the dulce de leche crepe if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for a local favorite).
2. Misaki (Japanese Cuisine)
Ever since our daughter tried sushi on our family trip to Kyoto, our entire family loves sushi, so we were thrilled to discover the Riu Palace Los Cabos has a Japanese restaurant. Misaki has two main rooms to dine in, the indoor room is tastefully decorated in the Japanese style, but we recommend you try to get seating in the outdoor courtyard, where a peaceful fountain flows in the middle of a bamboo garden. A wonderful setting for an excellent Japanese meal.
Diners at the Japanese restaurant will be treated to an aperitif of gyoza dumplings. There are many appetizers to choose from. 3 of us ordered a sushi plate, which consisted of 6 sushi rolls of the chef’s choice (they were all delicious!).
Celine ordered salmon tartar, which was amazing! The salmon tartar consists of raw salmon chunks served on top of a bed of avocado. It’s a delicious combination!
For our main courses, the kids had a second serving of sushi, while Celine had pork noodles, which were very rich and quite delicious. I had seared tuna served on a bed of rice. The tuna was also very good, but the noodles was the clear winner.
The Japanese cuisine was so good at Misaki, we decided to eat there a second time. Celine ordered the fish and shrimp tempura, which was excellent. As you’d expect, the fish was delicate and delicious, and the tempura batter was light and a wonderful compliment to the fish.
Dessert as Misaki was our fourth and final course of the evening. Our daughter and I had mochi (as she had read about it in one of her Pinkalicious books), while our son had matcha tea sponge cake and mango ice cream. Celine loved her passion fruit mousse with coconut.
3. San José Italian Restaurant
The San Jose Italian restaurant at the Cabo San Lucas Riu Palace has quite possibly the nicest setting for any restaurant on the property. Located very close to the ocean, the outdoor terrace at the San Jose Italian restaurant is breathtaking. With rounded pillars and spectacular views of Mt. Solmar, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the scenery.
With so many amazing dinner options at the Riu Palace in Cabo, we didn’t make it to the Italian restaurant for dinner, but we ate there for lunch several times.
For lunch at the San Jose Italian restaurant, you’ll enjoy a good variety of Italian dishes including pizza, pasta and lasagna. They also have roasted chicken, mussels, calamari and a large salad station. The lunch food was enjoyable at the Italian restaurant, but not as spectacular as the views.
The dinner menu at the San Jose Italian restaurant is full of amazing options including lobster ravioli, lasagna with portobello mushrooms, and much more.
4. El Médano Steakhouse Restaurant
The architects for the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resort obviously gave a lot of thought into maximizing the views from its signature restaurants. Guests dining at the Riu Palace steakhouse will be treated to more spectacular ocean views and the rocks near the Cabo San Lucas Arch.
Lunch at the Steakhouse
The El Medano steakhouse is the most popular restaurant for lunch at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas as it’s all-inclusive buffet is much larger than the offering at the Italian restaurant.
On offer at the lunch buffet at the Riu Palace steakhouse is a fajita stand, pizza, a salad bar, plenty of Mexican dishes, a large cheese display, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, seafood (with dishes like ceviche, etc.), pasta, various meat and fish dishes, vegetarian fare and a large fruit and dessert selection.
Dinner at the Steakhouse
I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to eat at the Riu Palace steakhouse. I’ve been staying at Riu hotels around the Caribbean for over a decade, in large part because the food is consistently very good. The one exception to that was when I stayed at the Riu Negril in Jamaica (over a decade ago). We ate at the steakhouse there and to be honest, the steak was like eating an old leather shoe.
But looking at the menu for the El Medano steakhouse, they had filet minion… I couldn’t imagine anyone butchering a magnificent cut of beef like filet minion, so we decided to give it a try.
A restaurant with an enviable ocean view, you’ll enjoy watching the sun set over Mt. Solmar as you place your order with your server. There’s something on the menu for every meat lover, including several cuts of steak, ribs and even surf and turf.
Your meal will begin with a small chicken caesar salad along with a delicious crab cake. This is soon followed by a small basket of freshly cooked potato wedges, served with gravy.
My wife and I ordered 8 oz filet minion steaks, while our 8 year old daughter ordered surf n’ turf and our 6 year old ordered ribs. I laughed when the ribs arrived. Our son normally eats 3-4 rib bones at home, but his plate contained a full rack of ribs! Not that he minded – he loves ribs and was up to giving it a go. All told, he probably ate a half a rack of the saucy BBQ ribs to himself, with the rest of us having a bone or two as well.
Our daughter’s surf and turf consisted of a 5 oz filet minion steak and 4 large, barbequed shrimp. Again, this was way too much for her, but she gave it her best.
I’m happy to report, the filet minion steaks were amazing, and nothing like the shoe leather steak from Jamaica. We hail from Alberta, Canada, which is home to some of the best steaks in the world, so we have very high standards. The steaks were cooked exactly to order, the quality of the steak was very good and most important of all, they were delicious. The large chunks of salt atop of the filet minion was the perfect touch.
For dessert, three of us got apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t traditional apple pie, but it was delicious all the same. Our daughter ordered the layered chocolate cake, which was also good, but not as good as the apple pie.
5. Krystal Fusion Restaurant
We didn’t make it to the Krystal Fusion restaurant during our stay, simply because there were too many good dining options at the Riu Cabo San Lucas. The menu at the Krystal Fusion restaurant was full of mouth-watering options, such as Iberian Ham starters, braised short ribs, creamy rice with lobster, beef filet and lamb loin.
6. Bombay Indian Restaurant
We also love Indian food, so I’m a bit surprised that we didn’t make it to the Bombay Indian restaurant. Although the menu at the Bombay Indian restaurant is full of classic Indian cuisine dishes, it didn’t have butter chicken, which is pretty much the only Indian cuisine our kids will eat.
7. Cappuccino Patisserie & Ice Cream Parlor
A beautiful restaurant on the top floor of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas hotel, Cappuccino is a coffee and ice cream shop. Guests will enjoy even more sweeping ocean views while they enjoy a high-quality coffee, espresso or tea. In addition, there are light snacks such as sandwiches and ice cream to enjoy.
If you keep your eyes peeled on the Sea of Cortes, you may be lucky enough to spot humpback whales as we did.
8. El Pepe Taco Grill
A very popular lunch option at the all-inclusive Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, El Pepe is a poolside taqueria and barbeque stand. The primary reason it is so popular is the wonderful smells emanating from the grill, with several cuts of meat on the grill, just waiting to be chopped up and served into a yummy authentic Mexican taco. Choices of meat filling vary, but examples are pork belly, beef brisket and lamb.
El Pepe also serves up BBQ American food, such as hamburgers stacked high with ample toppings, hot dogs, French fries and more.
Don’t be put off by the line-ups at the El Pepe lunch taqueria and BBQ – the service is quick, and you’ll be eating a delicious lunch in no time.
9. 24-hour Room Service
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas truly offers 24-hour All-Inclusive with around the clock room service. The room service menus are modest, but will have something everyone will enjoy. Room service breakfast is served from 07:00 – 11:00 (if ordered before midnight the night before).
Room service for the remainder of the day includes favorites such as club sandwiches, Mexican-style chicken toasties, nachos and cheese, salads and a selection of desserts.
6 Bars at the Cabo San Lucas Riu Palace
We visited the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive hotel with our kids, so we didn’t spend much time in the many bars at the resort. There are 6 bars to choose from:
- La Ventana lobby bar with terrace
- Los Cabos lounge bar with terrace
- Lounge 24
- Baja Sur – poolside bar with swim-up bar (18+)
- Baja Norte – poolside bar with swim-up bar (18+)
- Beach Club Chill-out bar
Activities at the Riu Palace Cabo
The RiuFit program offered by the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas resort has a wide variety of fitness activities for guests to enjoy during their stay. The RiuFit program includes cardio exercises, toning classes, stretching and relaxation both at the gym and at the pool. Check the calendar for the daily schedule of fitness activities.
In addition to the fitness classes, guests can enjoy two floodlit hard surface tennis courts and a volleyball court.
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, you can enjoy 1 complimentary introduction to scuba diving in the resort pool.
Entertainment at the Cabo San Lucas Riu Resort
During the day, the eastern-most swimming pool is a hive of entertainment activity, with hotel staff leading many fun activities. At night, there is live entertainment at the open-air theatre. There’s usually a kids show first at 8 PM, followed by the main show for the day.
Top 5 Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas
Guests may book many exciting excursions through ScubaCaribe, which has a storefront within the all-inclusive resort down by the beach. Excursions include glass-bottom boats to the Los Cabos Arch, snorkeling, whale watching, etc.
If you prefer to book your Los Cabos activities ahead of time, Get Your Guide has all the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas on offer. Based on actual guest reviews, here are the top 5 things to do in Cabo San Lucas:
- Los Cabos: The Arch and Lover’s Beach Kayaking + Snorkeling: Enjoy an adventure along Land’s End, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Snorkel around Neptune’s Finger, paddle past The Arch and visit Lover’s Beach.
- Los Cabos Beach and Desert ATV Adventure: Explore driving your own ATV through the desert and Migriño Beach. Enjoy the contrast between the relaxing white sand and the arid desert, then discover the perfect place to spot migrating whales from January through March.
- 4-Hour Snorkeling Cruise with Open Bar: Snorkel in the warm waters of one of the most beautiful bays in all of Cabo.
- Whale Watching Catamaran Experience: Get ready for adventure as venture out into the waters surrounding Los Cabos in search of the Cabo’s whales.
- Cabo Mar Mexican Flavors Sunset Cruise: Enjoy the best of Mexican cuisine on this all-inclusive sunset party cruise.
Riu Palace Cabo With Kids
There are two Riu Palace hotels in the trio of Cabo San Lucas Riu hotels. The Riu Palace Baja California is just west of the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. The Baja California is an adults-only hotel, which is why we chose to stay at the kid-friendly Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas with our kids.
Despite being the premium hotel offering within the Riu chain, the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is very kid-friendly. A good percentage of guests here are families with children, who wish to avoid the rowdy party scene at the next door Riu Santa Fe (which has pool parties until 2am, four nights a week!)
Get a Printable Version of our Kids Packing List!
Want a printable version of our kids packing list? We’ve created a simple, easy to use packing list that you can print for your kids! Click the image below!
Parents of fussy eaters need not worry – there are tons of kid-friendly foods at the Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas. For breakfast kids can enjoy bowls of cereal or yogurt, while pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs are available every day at lunch.
There are a wide variety of dining options for dinner, but if you have a picky eater, your best bet is the Mar de Cortes dinner buffet. Again, your kids will love their favorites from home such as pizza, hamburgers, french fries, etc.
The kid-friendly food at the Riu Palace Cabo is another reason why parents should consider a stay at this excellent all-inclusive resort.
The two main pools at the Riu Palace are great for kids, but they might be a little too deep for kids under 10. The water depth is 4’9”, so if your kids are shorter than that, you may wish to consider flotation devices for them. The whirlpools within the main pools are shallower, at 3’11” deep.
Water Park for Kids
The best part about staying at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas with kids, is that you get to go over to the adjacent Riu Santa Fe and enjoy their super awesome mini-water park for kids (but then you get to go back to your much nicer all-inclusive hotel when you are done).
The Riu Santa Fe mini-water park has 10 kid-friendly water slides, ranging from ones for very small children, to fully enclosed tubes with several twists and turns. A big favorite with all the kids are the two giant water buckets which slowly fill overhead – when they get full, the bucket tips over and drenches all the screaming kids below.
The water depth of the mini-water park is a much more kid-friendly 40 cm (1’3”), so virtually every child can enjoy playing in the water. The mini-water park also has a palm tree fountain and a very shallow splash pool for little ones. Parents will enjoy the shaded lounge chairs which surround the kids water park.
At one point in the morning, a RiuLand staff member arrived with an armful of animal balloons for the kids. A very nice treat for kids who are already losing their minds with fun!
If you are looking for a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort where you can play in the ocean, you should be aware that the ocean in front of the Riu Palace is typically considered dangerous to swim in due to undercurrents.
If you’d like to swim in the ocean, try walking towards the marina and you may find that some of the hotels are flying yellow flags instead. In addition, while the white sand beach is extremely beautiful, it’s not the best sand for building sand castles – it’s not sticky enough.
The sand quality is actually really good for parents who don’t want their kids covered with sticky sand, but kids may be disappointed that their sand pails don’t make turrets for their castles. If you want good sand for sand castles, try walking to the rocky outcrop to the east on the El Medano beach.
In addition to the beach, the pools and the water park, kids can enjoy the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas kids club, called RiuLand. Located near the kids swimming pool, the RiuLand kids club offers daily daytime supervised activities for children ages 4 to 7 and ages 8 to 12.
Holidays and Special Events
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive does a great job celebrating special holidays and special events. For example, during our stay at the Cabo Riu Palace there were two special events and they celebrated them both.
For Super Bowl Sunday, many of the staff members were dressed in the colors of each team and the fun events around the pool during the day had a football theme. Most importantly, they put the big game on a big screen in the theatre to make sure that no football fan would miss the Super Bowl while on vacation at the Cabo Riu Palace.
We also celebrated Valentine’s Day at the Riu Palace. The resort staff were dressed up as Cupid and his beautiful assistants, walking around the resort giving Hershey’s Kisses to everyone. At dinner, the main buffet restaurant was beautifully decorated, and the number of desserts were double the normal amount. They went all-out on the fancy Valentine’s Day desserts, helping ensure that everyone had a special dinner on a special day.
Other Cabo San Lucas Riu Resorts
In addition to the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, there are two additional Riu hotels in Cabo San Lucas.
1. Riu Santa Fe
The Riu Santa Fe all-inclusive hotel is a less expensive option than the Riu Palace. Cabo San Lucas It’s a huge Cabo resort with most of the hotel rooms located behind the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, well away from the ocean. The Riu Santa Fe hotel has a small section of beachfront property, so this is where all the resort guests congregate, making it feel quite crowded.
The Riu Santa Fe is also known for its pool parties. 4 nights a week the all-inclusive throws a pool party in a variety of themes including a White Party, a Jungle Party, a Neon Party and a Pink Party. These pool parties last until 2am, so if you are not the type of traveler who partakes in late night parties, perhaps you may wish to look elsewhere.
We visited the Riu Santa Fe several times to use the wonderful kids water park. The beachfront pool area felt very busy, crowded and noisy compared to the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. We enjoyed the kids water park a lot, but it always felt good to leave and return to our more peaceful all-inclusive Cabo hotel.
In addition to the mini-water park, the Riu Santa Fe has a real waterslide park called “Splash Water World”. Offering several water slides, guests must be at least 1.20m/3.9ft tall to be admitted. For safety reasons, the minimum recommended age is 12.
2. Riu Palace Baja California
The Riu Palace Baja California is on the western edge of the three Riu hotels in Cabo. It’s an adults-only 5-star Cabo resort, so we cannot give you a first-hand account of this property. For what it’s worth, it looked very nice from the outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, you cannot swim in the ocean at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. The water in front of the all-inclusive hotel along El Medano beach is known to have dangerous undertow. You will most often see a red flag flying here, which signals it is dangerous to swim in the ocean.
The Riu Santa Fe caters to a younger party crowd vs the Riu Palace hotels in Cabo, in large part due to the 4x per week pool parties which last until 2am. Groups of young people (21+) are not allowed to stay at the Riu Palace Los Cabos hotels, forcing them over to the Santa Fe. As a result, the Riu Palace Los Cabos hotels are much calmer and more sophisticated than the Riu Santa Fe.
The Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas is located on the beautiful white sand El Medano Beach.
If you are looking to party, the Riu Santa Fe is the better choice for you. If you are looking for a more relaxed, elegant Cabo vacation, the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive hotel is a better choice for you.
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Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.
When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip) or out enjoying the majestic Canadian Rockies her family calls home.