From reading the reviews about the Hacienda Tres Rios Resort on Tripadvisor we were excited, yet nervous. When we initially booked our stay a few months prior the reviews were excellent and we could find nothing wrong with the place, other than it was too new. But the closer we got to our trip, the more people were complaining. Of course, one person’s idea of a perfect vacation is not always the same as another person’s. Our main concern was food. The Hacienda Tres Rios is an all-inclusive resort, but has the option of not paying the all-inclusive fees if you want to forage for your own food. We are the cheap forager types and did not feel like forking over $300 per day so we can eat buffet food. The one downside to this is that we did not opt for a rental car this trip due to reports of corruption of the local Mexican police wanting cash from tourists they pull over. Corrupt cops? In Mexico? Imagine that. We have rented vehicles in Mexico before and it is always an adventure. They drive crazy! We decided that we would try to take this trip using only local transportation options, just like we will need to do when we are on our RTW trip. It will also give us a chance to figure out potential problems and not stress out over having to drive the crazy roads of Mexico, which personally I find fun (but the screams from Kerri always hurt my ears.) So now we will need to rely on taxis and the local mass transit vans called “collectivos” to make runs to the grocery stores and tourist shops of Playa del Carmen.
When we arrived at the Hacienda Tres Rios entrance off of the highway we stopped at the guard shack. Most guard shacks have a single guard to take your name and open the gate. But not in Mexico. In Mexico, a guard shack should have no fewer than 3-5 guards and most of them are too busy standing around to actually open the gate for you on the way out. After being screened more thoroughly than at the airport, we made our way down the half-mile driveway to the resort. We unloaded our bags from the taxi and the gaggle of bellhops happily exchanged our luggage for a claim ticket and ushered us into the “Sports Bar.”
The “sports bar” is actually the chamber of horrors with free food and free drinks. This is where they schedule your timeshare presentation appointment. We have been to timeshare sales presentations before and knew to stay far away from any future ones. But when we told them that we are opting-out of the all-inclusive, they told us that we would not have access to the kayaks or the kids club for Sydney. But… if we went to their “no obligation” sales presentation we could get a free lunch (did somebody say free?), free use of their kayaks, free kids club, and free cash. They had us at the kayaks. One of the reasons we decided to come to this resort is that they have three rivers (Tres Rios) running through their property that offered amazing kayaking and snorkeling. We scheduled the day and time for the presentation and were allowed to go to our room and once again experience the joys of hot showers and electricity.