Mexican Vacation Shopping List – Making Your Barceló Trip More Fun and Less Expensive

Last updated on May 11th, 2022 at 07:36 am

We recently went on vacation to the Maya Riviera for the 1st time.  We spoke to a few friends and one in particular steered us to the Barceló Maya Riviera Adults Only.  It fit the bill and the price was not outrageous.  All Inclusive, Adults only with an ocean front room, flights, transfers and insurance was around $2400 for 6 night for the both of us.  Let’s do it… but what to take with us? Here are the details of our Barcelo Shopping List…

We asked a seasoned Barcelo guest gave us the idea after seeing her vacation photos, “what should we pack?” – and we got some advice…

Here is a list of the things we were told to take:

  1. Money for tips
  2. Sunscreen
  3. a ‘bubba cup’ – I had to ask what that was.
  4. Floaties if you want one.
  5. Insect Repellent

OK – we had some of these things, but others we didn’t.  The first item I questioned – aren’t we going to an all inclusive?  Why all the tip-money? The answer came back quickly – the staff are not paid a fortune, maybe a dollar an hour and even a couple of dollars tip really helps them out and can improve your service a lot.  OK then, lots of $1, $5 and $10 notes then.  Next…

Sunscreen: we searched online and found out that for swimming in the ocean in this area, a reef-safe sunscreen was recommended (makes sense – there are reefs and diving nearby).  Various makes were mentioned but after some research we found that Amazon’s own brand is half the price and just as good.  We took some Banana Boat SPF50 spray and used that all if we were not in the ocean.  But the find really was the Amazon’s own: Amazon Brand – Solimo Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50, Reef Friendly.  This stuff was only $5.40 for 8oz and a nice low-fragrance cream.

A ‘bubba cup’ – that’s a new one on me, so I asked and looked it up, it’s an insulated drinks cup. We have those – no my advisor said, unless it’s a 24-32 fluid ounce cup, get a bigger one that can take a straw.  OK, ours were for coffee and on closer inspection, no straw hole.  The reason for this purchase?  Drinks from the bar will be served in a 6-8 fluid ounce plastic glass.  The bubba cup saves you going back to the bar so often, keeps your drink cool and you’ll just have more cold deliciousness to enjoy.  Sounds like a plan – so to Amazon we went…

The ones we settled on were these 32oz models – Reduce Tumbler Mug – 32 oz Mug with Lid, Straw and Handle – they seemed a little pricey at $23 or so, but boy were they worth the price, although a cheaper alternative might be the ubiquitous – Bubba Cup 32oz

Now to the idea of a ‘floatie’ – do I want to float in the pool on my vacation – you bet.  So what types of floatie?!?

Well – one with a cup holder would be good, but we just ordered cups the size of a house, so that’s irrelevant, but one that allows us lounge, yes please…

So we decided on the SwimWays Spring Float XL Recliner Pool Lounge Chair – mainly because it has the feet up design that I was after, but because one with the adjustable canopy seemed like overkill… 🙂


So – that was the list from our friend – what else did we take?

  1. You just has to have a floatie!Beach shoes – the beaches aren’t all sandy and there are rocks getting into the ocean
  2. a travel kettle – as a Brit immigrant, tea in the afternoon is just about essential 😉
  3. Starbucks Via Coffee – we like a STRONG tasting coffee and hotel coffee is just a step up from gas station, so we use the kettle and make a strong coffee before going to breakfast.
  4. FireTV Stick – Most of the channels on the TV at the resort were in Spanish, so having Netflix and Amazon Prime TV was handy.
  5. Travel Router (I’m an IT Security guy after all)
  6. Our 2 laptops – as business owners we have to remain “in touch” – even on vacation.
  7. Multiple Power Chargers – iPhone charging cables, and a good battery, especially if you plan on doing any excursions.
  8. a couple of small 3-way power-strips – the room never has enough power outlets for us.
  9. Masks & Snorkels – we have our own, but the resort will loan them with a deposit.

We could go on, but that’s the short list – I’d add next time a swim-shirt, so I could snorkel longer, a couple of semi-formal golf or sports shirts and a lightweight pair of khakis or ‘travel pants‘ instead of the jeans I traveled in. Reason? The à la carte restaurants have a reasonable dress-code, and t-shirt and jeans were OK, but a little under-dressed in my opinion.

A quick note about the travel router… I always take one on trips, so that I can setup my own room hot-spot with a SUPER secure password.  All our devices connect to that, and we connect the router to the hotel WiFi.  That way, all our devices are behind a firewall, and we only show as one device on the network.  Apart from the security aspect, some hotels still limit the number of devices you can use to access their WiFi, and this way we only appear as one.  But security is the main reason and you can configure a VPN to the device and appear as if you’re back in the USA if you’re overseas, that way you can still use your YouTube TV, or Netflix etc and see all your US content.  Although I never told you as much – ok?  😉

Possible additions to your tech travel bag:

Here are some of the items I mentioned with images:

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