Disappointed holidaymakers have taken to TripAdvisor following concerns over food standards at the Iberostar Tucan in Mexico, with some reviewers saying that they suffered the symptoms of a stomach illness during their stay.

The Iberostar Tucan Hotel in Playacar

Advertised by TUI-owned tour operator First Choice on an all-inclusive basis, the Iberostar Tucan is situated in the popular Caribbean coastal destination of Playacar in Mexico.

Holidaymakers concerned about food and illness

Reviews of the Iberostar Tucan are generally quite positive on TripAdvisor, with the resort receiving an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 from over 6,000 reviews at the time of writing. Although many of the reviews have been favourable, the following holidaymakers who stayed at the Mexican hotel this November encountered issues with food standards and gastric illness:


In her review titled “Grounds Beautiful But Food Not So Good“, ‘Neisha L’ says that “unfortunately, all of [her] group got sick from the food“, stating that “two [members of her group were] sick the entire trip“.

She says that the “food was mediocre at best” and although it “looked good” it didn’t taste so good and she believes that her group got “sick from it“. She comments that “this seemed to be a problem for other American and Canadian [guests] during [their] stay, as groups were comparing how many of them were sick“.


‘Ed T’ wrote a review titled “Food a big [disappointment]” in which he says that “the food was horrible” and he has “never felt the need to go off-site for acceptable food but this time [they] had to“. He concludes his review by saying that he “won’t go back unless [he] can be assured that they have addressed their food issue“.


‘sparkleandspurs’ wrote a review with a descriptive title of “Fourth time to the Tucan. Pretty good time overall but might be our last visit.” In her review, she goes into detail about a few of the positive and negative aspects of her group’s stay, which “consisted of 15 total people“.

Towards the end of her review, she says that “on night 2, [her] oldest daughter […] came down with [diarrhoea] and a stomach bug and got very ill“. She also says that “on night 4, [her] youngest daughter was sick the whole last day with stomach stuff, vomiting and [diarrhoea] and was ill for 4 days total“.

Unfortunately, the rest of her family were also affect, as ‘sparkleandspurs’ says that her daughter’s “husband came down with it the 4th night” and “after [their] Hibachi dinner, [she] woke up at 4am with the same stuff and had to be wheelchaired to [her] flight that morning“. She says that “three days later, [she is] still feeling [puny]“.

She comments that “the day [they] returned one of [her] grandsons […] came down with it” and another couple “got it the day they returned home“. She says that “none of [them] were in the same building at the resort, nor did any of [them] fly in on the same flight, so obviously something was going around at the resort“.


Hotel responds to TripAdvisor review

The Quality Manager at the Iberostar Tucan Hotel has responded to each of the TripAdvisor reviews mentioned in this article. Below, you’ll find excerpts of their response to ‘sparkleandspurs’ review:


…we are deeply saddened to read the inconveniences you had during your arrival and stay. We hope everyone is now feeling well and we apologize if you did not receive the proper recognition for your loyalty as it is of great value to us.

Our staff is committed to be of any assistance required by our guests, in order to make your vacation a memorable one and we will sure to look for improvement to continue achieving our customers’ satisfaction.


What to do if you’re worried about food standards abroad

If you have concerns over the standard of the food being served at an all-inclusive hotel buffet, it can be prudent to complain. Speak to a member of staff at the hotel about the issue in the first instance, as the problem may just be an oversight, but if you’re not satisfied with the resolution you receive, speak to your tour operator representative.

Staying healthy while drinking water on holiday

Regardless of who you speak to, remember to do so calmly, avoiding using emotive language, as you want them to resolve the issue, potentially preventing you and other guests from becoming sick in the process. You don’t want to deter a member of staff from being helpful.

While your complaint is being addressed, try to avoid eating any food that you’re suspicious of, especially if you believe that it may put you at risk of food poisoning.

What to do if you’re sick on holiday

If you suffer a stomach illness on holiday, make sure that your hotelier and your tour operator are aware of your condition. They should be able to provide you with access to a medical practitioner, as well as taking steps to prevent other guests from getting sick.

It’s important to speak to a medical practitioner before self-medicating, as some medications may be detrimental to your condition. If you are experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting, it’s vital to replace any lost fluids, especially if you’re in a hot country such as Mexico. Ensure that you only drink from sealed bottles of water, as you could worsen your condition by drinking contaminated tap water.

If you contract an illness that could have been prevented on an all-inclusive package holiday, you might be entitled to compensation from your tour operator.

Find out if you can claim ‘no win no fee’ compensation

Our travel law team can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation to assess your case and advise you if we can help you to make a ‘no win no fee‘ compensation claim under The Package Travel Regulations 1992.

Andrew Tarling – Holiday Compensation Claims Manager

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about claiming for illness at the Iberostar Tucan in Mexico; contact Andrew Tarling by completing our enquiry form, call us on 0808 145 1353 or visit On Holiday Claims.