A family vacation to Nickelodeon Resorts is full of pool time, character meet-and-greets, relaxation, and delicious food
The one thing we can all agree on is that a break from the reality of day-to-day is good for the soul, especially after the last few years. A visit to Nickelodeon Resort is like entering a different world where even though you know it’s not real, it feels real while you are there. Are you an adult, or has the kid inside come out to play? Who is this person excited to meet Sponge Bob and give hugs? Is that awe and glee on the face of your teen? Is your tween actually dancing in a waterpark? Yes, these rare moments of pure happiness and joy are what Nickelodeon Resorts embody. The ability to immerse into the Nickelodeon world makes the time there feel like an actual vacation—it’s the perfect escape from reality.
Nickelodeon Resorts is a family-friendly resort chain known for its unique theme and amenities, inspired by popular Nickelodeon television shows and characters. The resorts offer a variety of activities and amenities for guests, including swimming pools, water parks, children's play areas, and live entertainment. The resorts focus on families with young children but cater to the whole family and even weddings.
If you go with little ones, you'll be happy to know the staff does not break character, even when talking to adults. The character meet and greets are goofy fun for kids of all ages, including adults. It's one of the few places teens and tweens can tap into their inner child, and parents can join in their joy as they meet some of their favorite and most loved characters. You might even be surprised to find yourself joyfully playing along and getting into the magic of the world around you.
What to Expect at Nickelodeon Resorts
There are two properties in the Caribbean, one in Riviera Maya and one in Punta Cana. Most of the amenities are identical between the two properties, but if the beach experience will make or break your getaway, Punta Cana might be a better choice, as the beach in Cancun is not ideal due to the rebuilding of the reef along the beach. Of course, the main draw is the waterpark, where if you are traveling with kids, you'll spend most of your time.
What We Love about Nickelodeon Resorts Riviera Maya, Mexico
You'll be pleasantly surprised with your private balcony pool overlooking the ocean since every room is an ocean-view room. There are many accommodation options to choose from, and families will be happy to know regardless of your room type, all rooms have two bathrooms and a sofa bed perfect for large families. The rooms are in a condo-style building in a private area on the beach, away from the noise of the waterpark. It's easy to get around the resort with shuttles and golf carts driven by staff and running all day continuously.
For thrills or relaxation, Aqua Nick Waterpark is the place to be.
The Aqua Nick Waterpark at Nickelodeon Resorts is THE attraction for guests of all ages. The water park includes various water-based activities and amenities, like water slides, splash pads, wave pools, and lazy rivers. The water park also has areas designated specifically for young children (or those of us who don't like the larger slides), with shallower water and more gentle water features. If you have infants, the Paw Patrol area is just perfect for them, and if you have daredevils in your group, you can test your limits at The Big Plunge, a single rider with a free-fall drop through a trap door, followed by twists and turns along a head-spinning horizontal loop. With 21 waterslides to choose from, there is something for everyone, regardless of your thrill level. You can even buddy up on some of the slides.
Some of the amenities your family will love include:
- Swimming: In addition to your private balcony pool, there are multiple swimming pools, water parks, and other aquatic attractions for guests to enjoy.
- Live entertainment: The resort offers live entertainment such as shows, parades, and special events like galas and parties.
- Character Meet & Greet: Meet your favorite characters all around the waterpark with daily meet-ups at the Character Spot. You can book a private character meet and greet at an extra cost. The 30-minute private meet and greet is yours to enjoy your way from a dance party to playing games like hide & seek, taking photos, or doing TikTok videos. It's entirely up to you.
- SLIME! A favorite activity is getting slimed. There are daily slime sessions at the waterpark, which is a whole production with dancing and a countdown to getting slimed. You can also book your private family slime session, which is a great photo opportunity.
- Children's play areas: There are many designated areas for children to play and have fun at the waterpark, including play structures, slides, and other interactive activities.
- Dining and shopping: Nickelodeon Resort Riviera Maya has various dining and shopping options available for guests, including restaurants, cafes, and retail stores.
- Spa and wellness: Náay Spa adheres to the ancient Mayan principles of balancing Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water to deliver soothing and restorative treatments featuring traditional Mayan design. The spa includes a relaxation lounge, seven treatment suites, a couples suite, a sauna and steam room, a fitness center, and a beauty salon.
When in Mexico, eat!
With six gourmet Inclusive restaurants around the hotel and Nickelodeon Place, there is something to tempt even the pickiest eater. For foodies, there are a la carte options, gourmet food displays, special event nights, and parties. Some restaurants like Piazza and the Yacht Club are popular, and reservations are recommended.
If at first glance you think the Yacht club sounds too fancy for kids, you'll be happy to know there is an adjoining children's section with its own food display catered to kids.
Good Burger is a must-visit whether you are going for the ice cream truck, a classic burger joint, or to feel like you've stepped into the world of the Good Burger show. Le Spatula is another favorite with traditional Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, and other favorites. If you have a special occasion, speak with your concierge, and they can set up a special menu for you, and you can have a private dinner around the property. Of course, dinner on the beach with the Nickelodeon Resort twist is an all-time favorite.
Tips for making the most out of your stay:
Downloading the app is a great way to see all the offerings throughout your stay. Everything you need to plan your day is available on the app, from the restaurant menus, kids club activities, all entertainment and shows, specials, and spa services.
Whatever activities you do, the staff are great about taking photos and videos with your camera or phone. The many staff photographers always take professional pictures at the resort, and it's added to your wristband, which you can view and purchase at the gift shop in Aqua Nick Waterpark.
Club Nick is a nice air-conditioned space decked out in Nickelodeon-themed decor and filled with fun, age-appropriate activities for kids 4 to 12 years old. The kids club is open throughout the day until 4 p.m. with a break at lunch. Activities include arts and crafts, movies, character meet and greets, and more. Taking advantage of the kids club is an excellent option if you want to enjoy the slides with adults or go to the spa.
The private cabanas are a good option if you want to stay at the waterpark all day. The cabanas at the Nickelodeon Resort are private, enclosed structures throughout the resort grounds. They offer a secluded space for guests to relax and enjoy the resort amenities and include: comfortable seating and loungers, cable TV, a mini fridge, a safe, and Wi-Fi. There is even a place to charge your devices if you need. Best of all, you can order your drinks and lunch from your cabana.
Things to do nearby:
If you want to venture off the resort, a lovely spot close to the resort is Akumal Beach, a popular vacation destination located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It's one of the few places where you can swim with turtles. Akumal Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. The area is home to several species of sea turtles, including green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and loggerhead turtles, which can often be seen swimming in the waters off the beach. In addition to swimming in the open water, you can also see the turtles while snorkeling or diving in the area. It is important to respect marine life and follow any guidelines or regulations to protect turtles and other marine species.
Some other fun things to do near Akumal Beach:
- Visit the Mayan ruins: The area surrounding Akumal Beach is home to a number of ancient Mayan ruins, including the Tulum and Coba ruins, which offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the region.
- Go snorkeling or diving: Akumal Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
- Take a boat tour: There are several boat tour companies in the area that offer a variety of tours, including sunset cruises, snorkeling tours, and whale shark expeditions.
- Visit a cenote: The Yucatan Peninsula is home to some natural sinkholes called cenotes, which are filled with crystal-clear water and are popular spots for swimming and snorkeling.
- Explore the town of Akumal: The town of Akumal is a charming and picturesque place to explore, with many restaurants, shops, and galleries to visit.
- Go golfing: There are several golf courses in the area, offering a challenging and scenic way to enjoy the outdoors.
These are just a few fun things to do near Akumal Beach. The area is also home to many other attractions, including zoos, nature reserves, and cultural centers.
A few extra things to make the most out of your trip, especially with kids
- Keep a small travel-size amount of sunscreen in your carry-on and put it on when during the last 30 minutes of your flight. You'll feel the sun the minute you exit the airport.
- If you are traveling in winter, dress the kids in layers with a t-shirt and shorts under a sweater so you can easily take the sweater off to avoid that hot sticky feeling or kids getting too hot while waiting for your transfer.
- Before leaving home or when you arrive at the resort, download the Karisma app to get all the information for your stay.
- Pre-book your transfer with the resort or a reputable company like Lomas Travel; their luxury private transfers are perfect for families who prefer not to share transportation.
- Need some guidance to make your Nickelodeon stress free? Meet with the concierge team upon arrival and book dinner reservations to ensure you get dining times that work for your family.
- Bring your water shoes and plan to wear them at the waterpark.
- Bring at least one collared shirt if you plan to have dinner at the Yacht Club, as they have a dress code.
Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Nickelodeon Resorts, but all the opinions belong to the writer.