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Comparing G. P.Riveria Maya, Punta Cana and Jamaica

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Comparing G. P.Riveria Maya, Punta Cana and Jamaica

Post by margaritalady »

Comparing G. P.Riveria Maya, Punta Cana and Jamaica
by margaritalady » Mon May 11, 2009 4:20 pm
Knowing that the question of how the resorts compare comes up quite often on this site, I thought that my following observations might be useful to some of you. We’ve been to G.P. Mexico (Colonial) three times, G.P. Punta Cana Royal Suites once, and G.P. Jamaica once.


Riveria Maya: Very large resort comprised of Kantenah, Colonial, White Sands and Royal Suites. Each section has its own lobby, bar and restaurants. Lobbies are tastefully decorated, open air and have a tropical feel. There are covered pathways throughout the resort. A tram runs throughout the resort, although it is easily walkable if you are a “walker”.

Punta Cana: Very large resort comprised of Bavaro, Punta Cana, Palace and Royal Suites. Each section has it own lobby, bar and restaurants. The Palladium in Punta Cana is older than the Riveria Maya, but rooms have been updated. There are covered pathways throughout the resort. A tram runs throughout the resort. We feel that this resort isn’t as walkable as Mexico, but that may be in part because of our familiarity with Mexico and in Mexico we always stay at The Colonial which is centrally located. In Punta Cana, we stayed in The Royal Suites, which was at the far end of the resort.

Jamaica: Large resort, built to take full advantage of the ocean views. One very large and beautiful bar, The Infinity Bar, takes the place of the traditional lobby bars found at the other resorts. There are also covered pathways throughout the resort. This resort has different topography than the other two. Lots of hills, probably not the best choice if physically challenged, but breathtaking views!

**At this time, Mexico and Punta Cana offer more variety, since they are larger resorts.


Riveria Maya: Long stretch of beach with variety. Lots of palapas . Kantenah is quiet and romantic. Colonial is busy with activity and close to main pool. Further down toward White Sands and Riveria , more rocky and scenic.

Punta Cana: Long stretch of beach and beautiful water. Punta Cana is consistently rated among the top beaches in the world and it is easy to see why. Soft sand – beautiful!! There is a small village, Cortecito, located just past the Royal Suites end of the resort, where you can go to buy some Domenican art (and that wonderfully strong coffee)—just be prepared to be bombarded by vendors! You can also walk along the beach in the other direction for about ½ hr. and there are numerous huts that sell souveniers.

Jamaica: Comprised of several smaller beaches. Sand and beaches are not the same standard as Punta Cana and Riveria Maya. Not a good beach for long walks. Loved the elevated beach beds—unique! This resort has incomparable views.

**If you are a beach person, Punta Cana ranks highest, followed by Mexico.


Riveria Maya: Great pools! Main pool is huge—we love the in pool loungers. Good swim up bar too. White Sands pool is quieter, but equally as nice. Adult pool is usually very peaceful and has one of the best bartenders, Carlos, who loves to make you happy! The saltwater pool is unique and very picturesque.

Punta Cana: We spent most of our time on the beautiful beach and most of our pool time at the Palace Pool. No loungers here—and not as pretty—but ok just the same. Bavaro and Punta Cana pools were where the fun was.

Jamaica: Huge main pool, our driver said it was the largest in the Carribean. There are some maintenance issues, but they are being addressed. It didn’t bother us, although it did some in our group. The adult pool is very nice and the drink service is much faster since there are less people. It overlooks Coral Beach which was good for snorkeling and is a short walk to the Jerk Shack for lunch.

**Jamaica's main pool is outstanding. Mexico and Punta Cana have more pools.


Riveria Maya: 27 Bars—need I say more??? Our favorites: Kantenah Beach Bar, Adult Pool Bar, Colonial Lobby Bar and Hemingways.

Punta Cana: 20 Bars. Our favorites: Bavaro Lobby Bar and their premium bar, which I think is also called Hemingways. This bar has a nice outdoor patio also. Numerous bars located at the pools and on the beach (makes for a great mid-day bar crawl)!

Jamaica: 13 Bars. Our favorites were Miss Lou’s, the Infinity Bar and the Adult Pool.

**Again, due to size, Mexico and Punta Cana have more variety.


In general, we find the food to be better in Mexico than the Dominican Republic. We’ve stayed at resorts other than the Palladiums in both countries and have found this to be true regardless of the resort. The large buffet at The Grand Palladium Bavaro had the best selection of food, but lacked ambiance. The theme nights at The Grand Palladium Jamaica were not as lavishly decorated as the other two resorts.

Food in Jamaica was very good. Restaurant and buffets were comparable to Mexico, although there wasn’t quite the selection at the buffets as in Mexico and Punta Cana.

** We enjoyed the food at all three resorts, and really like the no reservation policy.

Casinos: Punta Cana has a casino with table games and Jamaica has a smaller casino with just machines. Mexico doesn’t have a casino.


The rooms we had in Mexico and Punta Cana were similar in design. Each resort has a variety of accommodations to choose from. The rooms in Jamaica are newer and therefore very up to date. Jamaica has the most ocean views. We had the best room ever in Jamaica—the view from our balcony was beyond belief!

**Jamaica wins hands down if you want an ocean view!


Off resort:

Mexico: has a variety of excursions. You can also go to the town of Playa del Carmen, which has a great variety of restaurants and shopping (about a 30 min. cab ride or by collectivo during the day). We’ve gone day and night and have always felt safe. You could take a ferry from Playa to Cozumel to explore another town. Cozumel is known for its diving.

Dominican Republic: not as much off site as Mexico. There are excellent tours (Bavaro Runners and Outback Safari) which will give you a taste of the Domincan way of life. There are a few clubs located within a short cab ride, but we have never gone. Some small villages, but nothing on the scale of Playa or Cancun nearby.

Jamaica: there are many off site excursions. Dunn’s River and Mayfield Falls, ziplining,
Negril and Montego Bay are within ½ hr. drive. We took a day trip with Reggae Tours (highly recommend them!). Went to the Old Fort, shopped at the Craft Market (haggle, it’s worth it!), Negril Beach, Rick’s Café, and climbed to the top of The Lighthouse.

**Jamaica has the most to do off the resort, followed by Mexico.

We love:

Mexico for: the beach, the pools, the entertainment in the lobbies and at the pool bars in the evening, the resort, the staff (especially bartenders:Alfredo, Ricardo and Carlos)
and Florencio’s pottery at Punta Emilia. The saltwater pool. Having an afternoon snack at Punta Emilia--it's so beautiful!

Punta Cana for: the beach, the music, the beautiful art, the proximity to the airport, the staff who are always singing!

Jamaica for: the sunsets, the reggae and steel drum bands every night at The Infinity Bar,
The beautiful views every corner you turned. The most beautiful suite ever!

Summary: We have been Palladium Addicts since our first trip in 2006, and our trip to Punta Cana next month will mark our 6th trip to a Fiesta resort! We would return to any of the three resorts (and I know we will). For us, there is enough to keep us happy at any of the 3 resorts so we often base our decision on access to good flight times (all three offer non-stop charters from our city, but some not year round), price and who we’re traveling with. We have thoroughly enjoyed each and every trip—which is what keeps us “addicted” and returning to the Palladiums!margaritalady

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Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:17 am
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