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7 things to know before booking a stay at Viva Wyndham Azteca

June 18, 2022
10 min read
Wyndham Viva Azteca pool
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Viva Wyndham Azteca is a small all-inclusive property located south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. The resort is within the Playacar gated community on a beautiful beach.

As the name indicates, this resort is part of Wyndham's family-friendly Viva all-inclusive portfolio. Here's what it was like when I stayed this spring.

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Cost

On most dates, you can book a single-occupancy room at Viva Wyndham Azteca for between $182 and $294 per night. Meanwhile, a double-occupancy room will usually run you from $242 to $392. Or, you can redeem 30,000 Wyndham points per night for single or double occupancy. However, the property has a two-night minimum stay on most weekends.

My Wyndham Diamond status allowed me to earn 12 points per dollar spent on my $410 two-night stay. My stay didn't post to my account automatically even though I booked directly with Wyndham. After submitting a missing-points request online, Wyndham updated my account activity and posted my points within a few days.

(Screenshot from wyndhamhotels.com)

Having top-tier Wyndham Diamond status didn't net me any other perks besides a one-hour-late checkout. But if you join Club Viva — a points-based timeshare membership program — you can get extra perks on site. The primary benefits for Club Viva members that I noticed were a less crowded area to order drinks at bars, a separate seating area on the beach and a separate sitting area at the buffet.

Club Viva beach area. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The only extras I noticed for sale were excursions sold on the beach, a romantic dinner package and spa services. Unlike other all-inclusive resorts I've stayed at, this one didn't hassle me to buy extras.

Related: How 1 TPG staffer made an over $600 mistake while booking her 1st all-inclusive vacation

Pros

  • Plenty of beach chairs, including in the shade.
  • Relaxed vibe: No one tried to upsell me, there was no timeshare push and there were minimal beach vendors.
  • Small property, so everything is always close.
  • Orderly lines at the bars.
  • Comfortable bed and desk chairs in the room.

Cons

  • Some of the scheduled activities didn't happen on time.
  • Only one restaurant besides the buffet was open most nights.
  • The buffet food wasn't great and the house wine available at meals was terrible.
  • Sizable lines for the bars at points; no swim-up bar.
  • Top-tier Wyndham elite status doesn't get you many perks.

Vibe: Everyone welcome

The resort is popular with European couples, groups of friends and families. The size of most groups was two to four people. People willingly took part in the activities offered by the entertainment team, but the vibe was relaxed. Groups mostly kept to themselves, so it wasn't easy to meet other travelers.

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(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Most guests chill by the pool or beach all day. A staff member plays chill down-tempo club mixes by the pool and there are hammocks near the pool bar.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

I noticed people ordering alcoholic drinks from the pool bar as early as 8:30 a.m., but everyone appeared to be drinking in moderation. Guests gathered at the main bar and pool bar between dinner and the show (which was popular and surprisingly entertaining) as well as after the show.

Related: 13 mistakes to avoid at all-inclusive resorts

Room

The room felt like something you'd find at a non-all-inclusive hotel and was relatively basic. My room had an awkward amount of open space, making it feel sparsely decorated.

There were ample power plugs in my room, though. There was also a table with two comfortable chairs, another chair and a bench.

The bed was comfortable and offered a nightstand on each side.

My room was close to the beach on the ground floor overlooking the pool. I appreciated that the sliding door to my patio also had a screen door. My patio had two plastic chairs and a table — but note that some rooms don't have any furniture on their balconies.

There was no bathtub in my room, although the shower was warm. There were bulk toiletries on the wall, but the hotel also provided small bottles.

The minibar was disappointing, as it included no alcohol or snacks. And a note on the front of the minifridge said the minibar wouldn't be restocked during my stay. But there are purified-water stations in the hallways where you can refill water bottles.

The closet was spacious but felt old. There was an umbrella, safe and coffee maker.

Finally, rooms don't have security latches or deadbolts on the entrance doors. So, although the front desk had granted me a late checkout, a housekeeper opened my door while I was in the shower.

Related: The zero-cost vacation: 100-plus all-inclusive resorts you can book with points

Dining and drinking

There are two bars, both of which serve drinks and coffee. One bar is by the pool, while the other is near the front desk. The bar by the pool never closes, while the other bar is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

You'll get well liquor unless you specifically request a top-shelf option. Lines at the bars were long sometimes — I waited five minutes when I ordered a strawberry daiquiri at the pool bar.

I was not too fond of the strawberry daiquiri, which tasted strange and overly sweet, but I did like the pina coladas. The longest I waited for a drink was about 10 minutes at the main bar after the Friday show. Overall, I found the drinks to be average strength.

The buffet is near the front desk and is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ordered an omelet from the egg station for breakfast but found it overly greasy. I was excited to see horchata in the drink area but was disappointed it tasted bland and watered down. The fruits were fresh and ripe, though.

The buffet has themed nights and I happened to eat at the buffet on Mexican night. The theme was cute, but everything I tried was unimpressive. There was self-serve beer and wine. But sadly, comfort foods like fries, quesadillas and pizza were the best options.

Anytime the buffet is closed, the pool snack bar is open. At off times, pizza is the only food available. But midday, you'll find a grill serving burgers and hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries and more. Sadly, the fries were stale and lukewarm. And although I appreciated that the staff member grilled my hot dog bun, the texture of the hot dog was off. The pizza was good, though.

There are three restaurants where you can make dinner reservations, but only one seems to be open most nights. Shortly after checking in, I inquired about restaurant reservations. The staff member told me reservations were already closed that night (and remarked that there were no more spots open anyway). But she offered a 6 p.m. reservation at the Italian restaurant for my second night.

Servers at the Italian restaurant were attentive and fast-acting. I enjoyed my meal and found the food to be better quality than what I'd eaten at the buffet. However, the house wine was almost undrinkable (I'm typically not picky about my wine) and the tiramisu wasn't at all what I'd expected.

Related: 14 best Wyndham properties to book with points

Activities

You can find a daily schedule of activities on television monitors near the buffet and main bar. However, the resort doesn't strictly adhere to this schedule.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

Pool seats were in demand and usually all taken by 10 a.m., but chairs would occasionally open throughout the day if you were patient. And there were always plenty of loungers on the beach and seats at tables around the pool bar.

Viva Wyndham Azteca is a small resort, so there is only one main pool, a whirlpool and a small kids pool. Most families seemed to use the shallow areas of the main pool instead of the dedicated kids pool. There was no shade in the pool for most of the day and the resort didn't offer any cabanas or daybeds.

Between the pool and beach is a self-service nonalcoholic drink area.

I loved the beach at this resort. It was pretty and you could relax without vendors bothering you (although there were occasional vendors that would approach if you expressed interest). There was ample seating, including in the shade. And the entertainment team was successful at getting enough people together for twice-daily volleyball games.

At the beach hut, you could book various water-based excursions that cost extra. But there were complimentary windsurfing lessons each day, as well as sailboards, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards that you could borrow without charge. However, the surf was strong (red or yellow flags for my entire stay), so I only saw one group try windsurfing (and it didn't go well).

There was a tennis court on top of one building, and the resort offered a small gym and spa near the lobby. There was also a small game room near the theater. A hut near the resort entrance offered complimentary bike rentals, and a self-serve library near the pool offered books. The Wi-Fi was usable; a speed test showed 19.03 Mbps download and 4.76 Mbps upload speeds.

A kids club is available on site with its own small pool. I walked by several times, and there were few kids but multiple staff members inside each time. There weren't many families with young children at the resort when I visited.

Related: 8 lessons 1 TPG staffer learned from her 1st all-inclusive vacation

Recommendation

For the price I paid (around $200 per night), I felt the Viva Wyndham Azteca was a decent value.

I enjoyed my stay and found the resort a nice place to relax. The small resort had both positives and negatives: Everything was close and there was no wait to check in or check out but there were also fewer restaurant choices and pools than at other resorts.

The property is older, and the buffet food wasn't great. But I would return to the Viva Wyndham Azteca if I got a good deal. Otherwise, if I returned to the area, I'd try one of the a la carte properties in Playa del Carmen or a different all-inclusive resort.

Featured image by (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
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1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
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    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.