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Mexico Group All-Inclusive: A Survival Guide

Craving a warm vacation to escape winter and enjoy a little fun in the sun at a Mexico group all-inclusive beach resort? Completely understandable, especially if you spend your winters in Canada. Also thinking about inviting other members of your family, specifically those ones that haven’t shut up about “going somewhere warm” for months? All right, interesting choice, but sure. Now you’re thinking about throwing a few sets of friends into the mix, the more the merrier and all that? Oh, so it’s degree of difficulty points you’re going for, is it?

Group photo on the beach


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What if they accept?


A week is a long time.


Drunk people do weird shit.

Man drunkenly gesturing at a women's shoe

All right, so you’ve made your bed, now you have to sleep in it. Assuming you stay steady enough to make it back to your room, of course. However, all is not lost. Sure, any large group trip mixing families, friends, adults, kids, too much ice cream, way too much alcohol and absolutely too many pool hotdogs IS going to come with some challenges.

Kid sleeping on a lounger
Moderation in all things

However, by following a few simple rules, it is still possible to avoid having your overly ambitious vacation plans end in the usual flaming ball of sunburns, vomit and douchey jewelry.

Four women talking and laughing

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Group All-Inclusive Survival Guide

Daily Routine

Agree on a general location for the group to congregate. Ideally, find one with both sun and shade options, save a few less loungers than you really need so a few people always need to engage in chair-stealing, chair-sharing and awkward drunken hovering. And if you have time, try to pull a couple loungers right into the walkway to make it as annoying as possible for everyone else at the resort trying to get past.

Group sitting and drinking by a pool

Never miss sunset on the beach, especially in Mazatlan, which has some of the best sunsets in the world. Watching it with your in-laws is very optional, however.

Family selfie during sunset on the beach

Making new friends at an all-inclusive resort is easy. There are three main methods:

1) Spot someone ordering a lot of drinks and offer to help carry them to their group, then tell them all about your grandchildren until your wife shows up angry because you were supposed to be bringing her a drink a long time ago.

2) Sidle up to your lounger neighbours and conspiratorially talk shit about the other neighbours while they are off getting drinks (“So rude, they must be American”)

3) Drink 17 beer in a short period of time and use a neat trick of suction to stick 6 to 8 of the empty cups to your torso. Strike up a conversation with anyone else doing the same.

4) Cut in front of a stranger in the drink line, then laugh at them, insult them in a way that doesn’t really make sense, laugh some more, then say cheers as you walk away. For some reason, this seems to work.

5) Go outside to smoke and talk to the other people who also like going outside to smoke.

There are numerous methods for managing your overall sunscreen usage and it’s hard to know how much is the right amount. You know it’s NOT the right amount, though, when you overhear people passing by using you as a cautionary tale (“I mean, I wouldn’t want to be THAT dark”).

Very tanned, tattooed couple on a beach lounger


Tip your waiters and bartenders early and often. It won’t help you, personally, on account of Canadians on holiday all looking the same, but it’s still a nice thing to do.

Group by the pool in Mexico
Can YOU tell them apart?

The bars NEAR the pools usually have long lines but the bars IN the pools usually don’t. Which makes the swim-up bars the fastest place to get a drink. Also known as the “Wet Genitals Shortcut”.

People playing in the waves

If you’re planning to drink way too much, talk too much and too loud and generally be a nuisance, announcing it with a clever t-shirt can really soften the blow.

Two women with funny t-shirts

Sometimes there are self-serve beer, wine and water stations in the hallway. Pros: Faster and easier. Cons: You may not know it yet, but you probably suck at pouring cheap draft beer.

This won’t apply to every resort, but occasionally you will face the choice between a standard bar (real glasses, inefficient flirty waiters, pink décor) and a sport bar (plastic cups, efficient NON-flirty waiters, weird smell). Don’t worry, you sort of get used to the smell. Eventually.

Woman drinking beer by the pool

If you’re planning to drink far too much tequila, stay up far too late and eventually get to the pool late the next day feeling absolutely terrible and hoping to avoid attention and NOT spend the day being mocked and harrassed, you probably shouldn’t show up in your “referee shirt”.

Two guys with attitude


Quick and easy meals of tacos, nachos, hot dogs and “hamburgers” can be found right near the pool, saving you precious time and ensuring you never have to walk more than 50 metres in a single stretch. Gross, but easy.

A burger on a plate

If you get to the supper buffet right when it opens, you are honoured with a walk through a gauntlet of waiters clapping for you like you’re about to break the tape on your first triathlon (when, in reality, you are simply looking forward to your 6th and 7th dessert dishes of the day).

Kids getting on your nerves? Hoping they’ll go somewhere else? Solution: unlimited ice cream.

Kids eating ice cream by the pool

There are two simple rules for eating at a buffet. One, check out all the offerings BEFORE starting to fill your plate to avoid a bulging pile of unrelated foods. Two, make sure you touch every serving utensil at every food station, just in case.

Few Canadians know how to deal with a large conveyor-belt toaster. The fact the heat setting changes everyday doesn’t help. Either way, though, if you find the waiting dull, it can be fun to rush up to a person waiting for their toast and demand to know where your 8 pieces of toast went, then kind of edge closer with your hands out like you are about to check their pockets.

Chips and gravol. It’s a thing. A day-4 all-inclusive thing, specifically.

In the Room

Terrace hot tubs are great fun, especially for couples. Although it is, apparently, still possible to do it wrong.

Couple in an empty hot tub with their clothes on

Under no circumstances should you partake of the multiple bottles of hard liquor proudly displayed in pouring positions on the wall of your room. I mean, unless it’s late and you’re really drunk and you know you should probably just go to bed but are kind of thinking another rum might taste good and what was that, did something just move on the deck, how do you turn this TV on, anyway, I think I lost my phone! oh, there it is, yeah, I think I’ll just have one more rum.

As disturbing as it is when the cleaning staff use a blanket to design a limbless bear with dead eyes and a symbolically absent mouth, don’t take offense. That’s just what they think of you.

Bear made of a blanket

In many of the rooms, the balcony railing is glass – see-through glass – so if you’re wondering, yeah, we can tell you’re naked.


You can play beach volleyball as a private group (funny, clumsy, not great to watch) or join in the organized games (funny, clumsy, not great to watch, but with trash-talking teens and uncomfortably competitive middle-aged men). Either way, even if you try your best, you’re still going to look weird doing it.

Man jumping for a volleyball

Turns out the beach futbal game is mainly for kids. Too easy.

Adult and kids playing beach soccer

Don’t get sucked in by water volleyball. Here’s an idea! Let’s take volleyball, which is a pretty hard game already, even when you can run and jump and move around as much as you want, then make it so you can’t actually move at all. Trust me, it’ll be awesome.

Water volleyball game

The waterslides can be pretty intense – fast, rough and unpredictable. You’ll more than likely lose the skin off your back, the bikini off your front, plus whatever small amount of dignity you’re still clinging to after that pathetic water volleyball display. At least they aren’t usually lined up.

Kids on waterslides

Every night there is a show for – and including – kids. There is music, dancing, the kids get to compete, it’s loud and festive. A complete disaster, obviously.

Kids on stage at the Riu

Beach Stuff

The Pacific Coast waves in Mexico are powerful and occasionally dangerous. They can smash you into the rocks, drag you through the sand or suck you out to sea. The perfect activity to enjoy as an entire family. Or, if that sounds too intense, you can just stand idly by and watch your only son take his chances.

Family watching their son boogie-board

The beach is also a great place for fashion-forward young men to level-up their Jersey Shore look by buying fake gemstones necklaces, ostentatious silver chains, cool “bruh” sunglasses and any other “bruh” accessories needed to complete the look. Girls can just get their hair braided.

Kid in hat, sunglasses, and chains
Time to wiggle, bruh


An evening excursion to the local baseball stadium is a great opportunity to watch high-calibre baseball, have the strength of your ear drums tested by a state-of-the-art jumbo speaker system and learn misogyny through the lens of a weirdly jacked deer mascot.

If you have promised to take your daughter and the rest of the family shopping in the local market down in the old town – something that will probably take a lot of time and patience and haggling and crowds – you COULD do that on the day you are suffering your worst hangover in ages. Or you could be smarter than that.

Architectural enthusiasts, climbing fanatics and people who love views from high vantage points will love Mazatlan’s “Ladder to Nowhere”.

Man climbing a ladder to nowhere

After Dark

Sure, Irish Goodbyes** can be funny, are occasionally prudent (i.e. on night 3 of a real shift) and are definitely much easier than slinking out of the bar under a barrage of hurtful insults from all the most important people in your life. But is that little bit of extra convenience worth having your family immediately replace you with this guy?

Drunk man... dancing?

They seemed to think so.

Revised family photo

** Ducking out of a social situation without telling anyone you’re leaving. Common methods include trips to the bathroom, cigarette breaks and saying “hey, who’s that?”, then dashing for the door.

Group card games can be fun. As can more suggestive games like Catch-Phrase that allow your group more freedom to express themselves. For example, “Something that is in your truck… / Bitches!” or “You put this in your mouth… / Dicks!”. Clever stuff like that.

Two women laughing

Getting very hammered and passing out on a couch in the lobby isn’t technically considered an “activity”. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Or that it won’t lead to a wobbly, drunken walk back to your room and what is clearly the coolest photo of the entire trip.

Empty hallway

Final Advice

Drink water. So much water. Way more water than you’re thinking right now. No, even more than that. Seriously, keep drinking.

Video That Sums It All Up:

Laynni as a cautionary tale

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