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7 Nights at Riu Palace Macao including 13 Free Things to Do during your Stay

7 Nights at Riu Palace Macao including 13 Free Things to Do during your Stay


By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 10/17/2018 17:05:25
Trip Date 09/11/2018  

Destinations | Dominican Republic | Punta Cana | Rio Palace Macao | Adults Only All Inclusive Resort | What to do at an All Inclusive Resort



While we have been fortunate to do a lot of traveling in our years together, we had never taken the opportunity to enjoy a stay at an all-inclusive resort. We have friends who swear by them, and decided that we needed to see for ourselves what an all inclusive vacation is all about.

If you have ever contemplated a vacation at an all-inclusive resort, this post is for you. Or, if you enjoy vacationing at all inclusive resorts and are interested in a trip to the Dominican Republic, this is for you too! In addition to an overview of what to expect during a stay at the Riu Palace Macao, we'll share 13 things that you can enjoy at no additional cost during your stay.


Introduction to Riu Palace Macao

The Riu Palace Macao is an adults only resort located in the far east of the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. About 25 minutes by shuttle from the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), the resort sits on the Arena Gorda beach. Upon arrival at the resort, check-in is much like check-in at a hotel - except for the slightly lengthier review of what is included during your stay. Since you're on vacation, finding your room is easy as you'll follow the bellman who will lead you while carrying your luggage.


Riu Palace Macao

Riu Palace Macao

Guests are assigned to either a one-on-one or group introduction to the property with a designated sales agent. Thankfully our meeting was one-on-on so we were able to quickly schedule our return shuttle, ask a few questions about optional tours and basically dictate the length of time devoted to the sales pitch. Some guests were not quite as lucky. On several mornings we passed a group sales presentation which continued for far longer than our short conversation.

The resort has a very casual atmosphere - rarely did we see anyone wearing anything more than swimwear or summer wear (shorts, etc.) during the day. While "formal dress" is required for dinner, during our stay shorts were acceptable and the only requirement was no tank tops. There was a much broader range of dress in the evening - although some women wore long formal dresses, most were more casual in sundresses, slacks and even shorts. Most men wort shorts, but some did wear long casual slacks with a rare few dressed up even more. All guests are required to wear an "All Inclusive" wristband for the duration of their stay for identification purposes.


Proof of our Resort Stay!

Proof of our Resort Stay!

13 "Free" Things to Do at Riu Palace Macao

Is it really all inclusive? Yes and no! While enjoying your time alone, with your traveling companions or meeting people from around the world, there is plenty included in the all inclusive price to occupy your time and avoid spending additional money. Gratuities for bellmen, wait staff, housekeeping, etc. is solely at the discretion of the guest. During our stay, we never witnessed any employee expecting a tip, and when one was given, they were very appreciative. There are, however, some "additional fee" options available for those who want to scuba or enjoy excursions away from the resort.


Here's 13 included things that you can do to fill your time at the resort:

1. Sip on some (Adult) Beverages

Starting with beverages (since it seems that unlimited adult beverages are one of the biggest draws to all inclusive resorts), you won't go thirsty! Upon check-in, most guests are offered a welcome beverage. Once in your room, you'll notice that you have a refrigerator stocked with a variety of drinks plus a four bottle liquor dispenser - both restocked as necessary and included at no additional fee.


In Room Liquor Dispenser

In Room Liquor Dispenser

No matter where you go in the resort, you'll find beverages of all kinds available. The lobby bar (Cubano) is open from 10:30 AM to midnight and the bar inside La Boheme serves from 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM. For those who enjoy relaxing by the ocean or near the pools, a staff of waiters will be caring for your drinking desires between 10:30 AM and 6:00 PM. If you prefer to spend time inside the pool, Bar Coral offers swim-up (and walk-up) service, also from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM.


Bar Coral at Riu Palace Macao

Bar Coral at Riu Palace Macao

A selection of wines is offered table side with lunch and dinner, and drinks for guests are also included at the Casino Bar (open from 10:30 PM - 2:00 AM). Additional beverage options include 24 hour Capuchino as well as bar service at sister properties Riu Bambu and Riu Naiboa, both located in the same complex. Of the resort locations included for Riu Palace Macao guests, the only place where drinks are not included in the all-inclusive price is at the Pacha Disco.


Adult Beverages at Rio Palace Macao

Adult Beverages at Rio Palace Macao

2. Swim in the Ocean or Pool

In addition to multiple pools at Riu Bambu and Riu Naiboa available for guest use, Riu Palace Macao has 3 swimming pools. The entire Riu Palace Macao property is adults only, so the on-site pools should be void of anyone under the age of 18. The pools at the sister locations are open for both adults and kids alike. If ocean swimming is more appealing, the resort also has a roped off swimming area.

All guests are issued a towel card upon check-in, so before heading to the pool or ocean, be sure to turn your card in for a beach towel. When your towel needs refreshing, just head to the towel station and the attendant will happily exchange it for a fresh and clean towel. Before checking out, just return your towel and request a towel card that you will need to return at check-out.


3. Participate in a Variety of Water Sports

One of the great things about staying at an all inclusive resort is the opportunity to use the resort's non-motorized water equipment at no additional cost. While advance reservations are required, there may be times when a kayak, Hobie Cat (small catamaran) or windsurfing board are available to borrow for one hour without a wait. Additionally, guests can take advantage of an introductory scuba diving lesson in one of the resort pools during their stay.


Kayaking in the Dominican Republic

Kayaking in the Dominican Republic

Sailing a Hobie Cat

Sailing a Hobie Cat

4. Just Plain Relax

One thing that many people don't take advantage of when vacationing (myself included) is finding time to relax (and maybe even listen to some music or read a book or magazine). Take a nap in your room or sit outside and enjoy your balcony. Bask in the sun to soak up the rays or lie in the shade to avoid getting burned - the choice is yours.


Enjoying the Shade of the Coconut Palm Trees

Enjoying the Shade of the Coconut Palm Trees

Rio Palace Macao has plenty of loungers near the beach. Grab one and pick your spot - out in the sun or in the shade of the many coconut palm trees. Either way you'll be able to hear the sound of the nearby ocean. If you're lucky, you may even find an available table that you can move close by - the perfect location to set down your afternoon (or morning) drink.


Arena Gorda Beach at Rio Palace Macao

Arena Gorda Beach at Rio Palace Macao

For guests who prefer to avoid the sand, there's a variety of chairs and loungers to choose from near the three pools (and even some in the pools). You'll have your choice of relaxing in the sun or the shade, and there's lots more tables in the pool area so you should easily find a place to set your drink down when you're not sipping (or gulping) it.

No matter if you choose to relax near the ocean or pool, don't forget your towel. You may want to cool off in the water and you'll be happy to have that towel when you're ready to return to your chair.


5. Compete against Fellow Guests in the Pool Area Activities

Much like cruise ships, the resort has an entertainment staff responsible for guest activities.


Riu Palace Macao Entertainment Staff

Riu Palace Macao Entertainment Staff

Between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM as well as 3:00 PM and 5:30 PM daily, the activities team can be found encouraging (but not hassling) guests to participate in a variety of events and friendly competitions including club dance, football / beach football, beach volleyball, bocce ball, horseshoes, darts, ring toss, ping pong, pool games and crazy games.

If you have no interest in participating, you may enjoy just watching - but, you'll miss out on the Mamajuana awarded to the winner!


6. Slide at Splash Water World

The shared Splash Water World is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily for guests of any of the five resorts in complex. Splash Water World has a variety of water slides - from quite tame to thrilling including:
  • an Open Body Slide with four parallel lanes where guests lie on a mat on their stomachs to see who can reach the bottom first;
  • Stuka (a free fall slide) and Kamikaze (a steep sloped slide) are each single person slides;
  • while lying on their backs, Aquatubo and Aquashute sliders glide through one of the two closed slides into a small pool; and
  • Body Vortex, the most thrilling of them all, begins with a journey downward in a closed slide, eventually shooting guests into a tornado-like bowl where they spin around before landing into a small pool.

In addition to the 6 slides and a children's pool with slides, there are lots of lounge chairs for those who just want to watch. Plus, there are a variety of self-serve soft drinks, juices and water available under a large covered cabana with tables and chairs where everyone can cool off.


Splash Water World

Splash Water World

To prepare for a visit to Splash, be mindful that no jewelry (including watches) can be worn while on the slides (and they don't make exceptions no matter how small or water resistant your jewelry is). There are no lockers, so either leave your jewelry in your room or be prepared to hide it with your towel and other belongings on a lounge chair. Additionally, while the walk from the bottom of the slides to the entrance is not long, the concrete pavement can be very hot! (There is some grass on one side of the path which definitely helps.) Once you reach the entrance to the slides, climbing several flights of stairs is required to get up to the starting platform.


7. Get some Exercise

You don't have to give up on your exercise routine while at the all-inclusive resort. In addition to a dancing lesson offered at 4:20 PM each afternoon, the daily fitness program includes:
  • Stretching at 10:10 AM;
  • Step Aerobics at 11:00 AM; and
  • Aqua Gym at 12:00 PM.

If you prefer to work out on your own, there is a gym and steam bath at Riu Palace Bavaro available to all resort guests. There's also the option of walking or jogging along the beach or playing tennis on one of the four available courts.


Walking along Playa Arena Gorda in the Dominican Republic

Walking along Playa Arena Gorda in the Dominican Republic

8. Listen to Music

For those who enjoy live music, the covered terrace outside of Bar Cubano becomes a piano bar for 30 - 45 minutes each evening starting at 6:30 PM for your listening pleasure. At 8:30 PM each evening, there is another short round of live music offered. In addition to the live music each evening, guests will often be able to hear recorded music wherever the entertainment staff happens to be, and of course, late night music is always available in the discotheque.


9. Enjoy the Entertainment

Riu Palace Macao has two venues which rotate as the stage for the 9:30 PM daily live performances offered to guests at no additional charge. During our week in Punta Cana, all but one show was performed at La Boheme (the indoor bar salon):
  • Variety Show
  • Burlesque
  • Las Vegas
  • Magic Show
  • Euphoria (song and dance)
  • Michael Jackson


Evening Entertainment at Rio Palace Macao

Evening Entertainment at Rio Palace Macao

Equilibrista, an acrobatics show, was performed at the outdoor Copacabana Theatre.


Equilibrista at Copacabana Theatre

Equilibrista at Copacabana Theatre

10. Dance, Dance, Dance!

In addition to the dancing lesson offered at 4:20 PM each afternoon, some guests took advantage of sneaking in some dancing time during the nightly live music sessions. Entrance into Pacha Disco, located on property, is included for guests of all resorts in the Riu complex for late night dancing. Drinks at the discotheque are not included in the all- inclusive rate.


Pacha Discotheque

Pacha Discotheque

11. Surf - the Internet, that is!

For those with an internet addiction or others just needing to look something up quickly, it's easy to stay connected while at the Riu Palace Macao. All guests are provided with initial login credentials which must be customized upon first login. After that, you'll have access to the internet all over the resort. You can plan your next vacation, text your friends or update all of your social media accounts no matter if you are inside your room or all of the way out near the ocean. I was even able to make several internet phone calls with no trouble at all during our stay.


12. Play to Win at Bingo

Can you really play Bingo for free? You bet! At 8:30 PM, guests are invited to join the entertainment staff in La Boheme for a game of bingo each evening. Additionally, on two evenings at 7:00 PM during the week, a more lucrative game of Bingo is offered in the Casino. Assuming a minimum of 25 guests arrive by the starting time, prizes include t-shirts, caps, decks of cards and $100.00 in cash for the winner of blackout.

13. Enjoy a variety of Dining Options

With breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all included in the price, there's no fear that you will go hungry while staying at the Riu Palace Macao! With a variety of cooked to order items, a buffet breakfast is offered daily in El Patio from 7:00 AM - 10:30 AM. For those wanting to sleep in, continental breakfast is served from 10:30 AM - noon in Pancho. Immediately after the continental breakfast, Pancho offers a buffet lunch until 4:00 PM, followed by afternoon snacks until 5:30 PM. Additional options for lunch and snacks are available at sister properties Riu Bambu and Riu Naiboa, both located in the same complex.


Pancho at Rio Palace Macao

Pancho at Rio Palace Macao

Capuchino, a pasteleria offering a variety of specialty coffee drinks, pastries, ice cream and sandwiches is open all day every day. Additionally, 24 hour room service is available at no additional cost for resort guests. So if you miss the afternoon snack and can't wait one more hour until dinner time, you have options!


When it comes time to decide where you want to eat dinner, make sure to check the board at the entrance to El Patio where dinner hours are 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM nightly. On three nights each week, special theme buffets (different from the standard Noche International menu) are offered (and announced at some point each morning). During our stay, the theme buffets included Gala (a more romantic atmosphere with hors d'oeuvres offered in the lobby and roses presented to each lady upon arrival), Noche Adriatica and Caribbean (seafood). Reservations were not required for any dinners (buffet or specialty) during our stay.


Dining at El Patio

Dining at El Patio

The four specialty restaurants at Riu Palace Macao serve dinner between 6:30 PM and 9:45 PM and include:

  • Krystal offering gourmet fusion dishes;
  • a Japanese restaurant, Kabuki;
  • Pancho, a steakhouse (where we dined 3 of our 7 evenings) and
  • an Italian restaurant with buffet style appetizer and salad bar, Volare (the only specialty restaurant that we did not try during our stay).


What's Not Included?

In addition to shopping on the hotel property, gambling in the casino (open from 4:00 PM to 3:00 AM) and drinks in the disco are not included in your all-inclusive resort price. If you wish to go on an excursion away from the resort (at an additional cost) there are a variety of options including:
  • Parasailing;
  • Snorkeling and lunch at Catalina Island;
  • Water activities at Isla Saona; and
  • Coco Bongo, a late night show (starting at 11:00 PM) with a variety of acts.


Parasailing near Route Palace Macao

Parasailing near Route Palace Macao

Most of the excursions can be purchased either through the sales agent working in conjunction with the resort or from one of the outside agents that you will surely meet during your stay. Prices will definitely vary for the same excursion, so if you choose one of the outside activities, be sure to ask questions to get your best price.


On Property Shops at Rio Resorts

On Property Shops at Rio Resorts

Reserving Your Room

As with any hotel, prices for the same accommodations will vary depending on whether or not you book direct or through a travel agency. If you are interested in saving some money, you'll need to check around for the best deal that you can find. If possible, book a refundable rate so that you can take advantage of a discounted rate at a later time.


Junior Suite at Rio Palace Macao

Junior Suite at Rio Palace Macao

We originally found a good price at Expedia, however several weeks later the resort was having a book direct sale. By canceling our original reservation at no cost, we were able to reserve the same room category with the addition of free round trip shuttle service from the Punta Cana Airport - at a savings of over $160.00 for the two of us.


The "WE Did It!" Evaluation

In the opinion of The Wordy Explorers, an all-inclusive resort is similar to a cruise but with different benefits included. Most budget friendly ocean cruises charge extra for specialty dining, most drinks and gratuities. The benefit of a cruise, however, is that transportation between locations is included. While the price of an all-inclusive resort includes specialty dining and drinks (neither of which are important to us) as well as gratuities, the downside is a visit to only one location.

Since our traveling goal is to see the world, we would be open to another stay at an all-inclusive resort - most likely on a different island and preferably one that we have not previously visited. We enjoyed relaxing a bit more than we tend to while on most vacations, and it was definitely nice to know that everything was included.


Dominican Republic's Catalina Island

Don't miss checking out our review of our all day Catalina Island excursion. Snorkeling and Lunch on Isla Catalina will provide you with an overview of our day including the itinerary, transportation and lunch menu ... plus photos from both of our snorkels.

All-Inclusive Resorts

What's your opinion of all-inclusive resorts - do you love them, hate them or just tolerate them ... and why? (If you love them, which all-inclusive is your favorite and why does it rank number one in your book?)




Weather:86F Humid


7 Nights at Riu Palace Macao including 13 Free Things to Do during your Stay



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Created On 10/16/2018 13:11:03  
Updated On 11/28/2018 17:20:38
Scheduled On 10/17/2018 00:05:25
Posted On 10/17/2018 17:05:25
Last Editor Stacy
Location  Hotel Riu Palace Macao, Punta Cana, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic
LinkId  RiuPalaceMacao
StoryId  1539709863737





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