Every once in a while, I have the fantastic opportunity to attend what we call in the travel industry as a FAM (“Familiarization” Trip). These trips are for professional travel agents only and are intense, usually visiting as many properties in a few nights as we can squeeze in.

I won’t go into depth on all the other properties that we visited, just the one we stayed in, but if you’re interested in learning more, you can always give me a call! We spend a lot of time and money to visit these resorts, so we know which resorts will be the best for our clients.

We like to think of ourselves as travel matchmakers. We match the resort to the client, so that when you get to a resort, you are not unpleasantly surprised that the pictures on the website don’t quite match your expectations. We do these FAMs, so that we can look out for you. If there is a resort we do not send clients to, I will tell you and why. Because we work for you! (And not the resorts.)

Last summer, I was a guest of the Karisma Hotel Brand in Cancun, Mexico which includes all-inclusive resorts such as The Fives Azul, El Dorado Maroma, El Dorado Seaside Suites, Generations Riviera Maya, El Dorado Royal and El Dorado Casitas Royale, Azul Beach Riviera Cancun, and Azul Beach Resort Riviera Maya. We visited every one of these properties in the three nights that I was there to experience them. We ate at them, learned about them, watched guests enjoying them, and inspected the guest rooms. We are “that” group you may see walking around with cameras and notebooks, dressed in business casual attire, walking past you while you are enjoying your stay.

For this trip, we were hosted at The Fives Azul Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen. It was a beautiful resort with very large rooms including a full kitchen, living room, huge bedroom and master bath, and an outdoor patio – even though I was on the 3rd floor.

There is something to be said when you open that door, and you walk in and you go “Wow!” This was that kind of room. Another sensational room experience here are the swim-out rooms where the pool literally comes to the backside of your room. I have a video of this, and I watch it sometimes in the dead of winter (and the dead of quarantine!), dreaming of my return.

All the Karisma properties are all-inclusive for food and beverage, and their tag line is “Gourmet Inclusive” because they really are known for their exceptional dining options. And it is true! The poolside grill had amazing chips, salsa, guac and street tacos – all you need, baby! Oh, so good!

When we were not out visiting the other resorts, we had some down time to enjoy this particular resort, and I could certainly make a wonderful vacation of just staying right here for a week. The pools are crystal clear and the water temperature was perfect. Although I do like to dig my toes in the sand, a sparkling pool has my name written all over it.

Fair warning, there are monkeys here, and although there are signs around that say, “Do not feed the monkeys,” you might find them looking you up and down to see if you actually do have anything for them. If you like monkeys, you will love it here! If you don’t, like monkeys – just watch out for them. This resort is right next to Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, which you should read our review of if you like wildlife and animals!

After my trip, I highly recommend the Karisma Brand All-Inclusives. They are luxury and gourmet to the max! The perfect getaway that I am dreaming of right now.