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Caribbean Travel Tips

Are All Inclusive Resorts Worth The Hype?

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In light of our next destination being an all inclusive resort, we wanted to chat with ya’ll just a little bit about our opinions of said types of resorts. Now, in our humble opinion, one of the best ways to travel in the Caribbean is to an all inclusive resort. A good deal of the islands have at least one or two and there are several brands/chains that have resorts on multiple islands with reward type programs if you stay at them frequently. Today we are going to chat a little about what these resorts have to offer and why they are a brilliant way to travel, especially if you are new to the travel world!

 

WHAT IS AN ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT:

I think it is worth it to start by talking about what an all inclusive resort actually is. Many people see them, see the price and immediately decide not to book, but it’s because they are misunderstanding what they will be getting in that price. Trust me, you’ll get over the sticker shock when you see all that you’ll be receiving. 

An all inclusive resort is just that, All inclusive. It literally means that all those extra things you have to budget for on a trip (ie: hotel, food, drinks, entertainment, beach access) is all included in your one price. Essentially, you show up to the resort and as long as you aren’t doing any excursions or leaving the resort the only money you’ll pull out of your pocket is a couple dollar bills as a tip. Everything else has already been paid for. 

Resorts will let you know when booking what kind of plans they offer. You’ll know whether it is all inclusive or not. Which means, when you book/pay you are paying for your stay (usually in double occupancy cost), all you can eat food for every day of your stay (including room service), all you can drink including sodas, liquors, and even premium liquors, entertainment if the resort provides it, beach access, pool access, and usually a list of non-motorized water sports/activities. Obviously, the highlight for us is the room service. It’s not very often that you can order everything on the menu one night and not have a single dollar tacked on to your bill. I don’t know about y’all, but we love paying for all this stuff up front. It’s amazing to budget for a trip like this because you don’t have to worry about going over your budget since you pay for everything up front. 

WHY WE CHOOSE ALL INCLUSIVE RESORTS:

There are several reasons why we choose all inclusive resorts when traveling to the Caribbean. Firstly, it’s convenient. Everything you need while on vacation is located right on your resort and you don’t have to bring extra money to access any of it. 

Most resorts also partner with excursion/tour companies. You can easily book your excursions with reputable companies through your concierge without concern for your safety. 

No itinerary planning. As you know, I am the queen of planning DIY itineraries but sometimes I just want to be lazy. AKA I want to show up, eat food, drink daiquiries, and lay by the beach or pool. It’s as simple as that. If all you are looking for is a relaxing vacation and affordable location this is the way to go. 
Did we mention the room service. Like seriously, whether we are hungry or not we order something different off the room service menu every night at all hours of the night BECAUSE WE CAN. 

 

Also, the service in general is remarkable. We’ve never been to a resort where the staff didn’t treat us like absolute royalty. There’s no need to worry about not being treated properly because of the color of your skin or the amount of money you make. They do not care. 

 

RESORT CHAINS WE HAVE STAYED IN:

Remember that blog post about our destination wedding in Mexico? Well, we stayed at an all inclusive resort for that and it was honestly the best way we could have done our wedding. Rather than freaking out about guest lists, linens, and trivial things we spent our time at the pool and a lot of time at the swim up bar. That resort was a Karisma Resort specifically an Azul Beach Resort and we would highly recommend it. 

Our upcoming trip will be to an Iberostar Grand in Montego Bay Jamaica. My parents RAVE about Iberostar Grand so it’s the main reason why we wanted to stay there, but also because the Grand hotels are adult only all inclusive resorts. This is a game changer. If you don’t have kids, you don’t want to be around someone else’s kids splashing and playing in the pool even if you do have kids you probably don’t want that. Pro Tip: If you do have kids though, the resorts that are family friendly tend to have kid’s clubs where you can drop your kids off during the day and they play with resort staff and other kids while you enjoy your adult time – you do have to pick them back up at some point though. 

I have also stayed at a Secrets resort in Costa Rica. This was an adult only as well and I really just have to stand by how nice adult only all inclusives are. They just seem to have less wear and tear and seem to be more luxurious. 

 

 

HOW TO PICK THE BEST RESORT FOR YOU:

This will always depend on your budget but here are a few of the things we look for in a resort prior to booking. 
First you will need to determine where exactly you want to travel. In order from cheapest to most expensive, here are a few of the destinations we would suggest:
  1. Cancun, Mexico (Cozumel is also an option but it has a much older resort area than cancun, so expect to find less luxurious resort)
  2. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  3. Montego Bay or Negril, Jamaica
  4. The Bahamas
  5. Costa Rica

Then from there the deeper you go into the caribbean, the more expensive things will get like Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Turks and Caicos, Curacao… but be careful with some of these destinations because they have fewer all inclusive options, be aware of what you are booking. 

Next we look at what a resort has to offer. We don’t have kids so we mostly look at adult only resorts. Here are a couple of things that are important to us.

  1. Beachfront location. Our room does not have to be right on the beach, but we prefer the hotel to be beachfront so that we can walk to the beach. Some resorts will be more centrally located and will offer transportation to the beach. Be aware of the location if it is something that is important to you. 
  2. Restaurant options. If you are going to be staying longer than 3 nights, you want to make sure that there are enough restaurant options so that you aren’t eating at the same restaurant every night. Pro Tip: Look at the restaurant dress code, there will be one and if you don’t comply you won’t be able to eat. Also make sure of whether or not you need reservations. Some resorts do require restaurant reservations. 
  3. Swim up bar. Okay yall, it might sound trivial, but we require a swim up bar. Nobody wants to get out of the pool, walk all the way to the bar, and then back to the pool every time you want a drink. Go to the swim up bar girl. You won’t regret it. 

WHAT WEBSITES WE USE:

One of the first places we check when looking for an all inclusive is CheapCaribbean. This site gives you payment options and allows you to book your stay, flight, and airport transportation all in one. It also is a great place to get all the information you need regarding each resort. You can search for particular resorts or you can search based on location and choose to only look at all inclusive options. 

TripAdvisor is a website we have talked about before, we use it in this case as well for all the truthful reviews. Y’all please read these… you’ll get all the information you need. 

 

As always, if you have questions feel free to reach out! Comment, email, or check out our social media and we will help you in any way we can.