When planning a tropical resort vacation in Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas or Central America, travelers must make a choice -- all-inclusive resort or traditional hotel?
At an all-inclusive resort, accommodations, meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and most activities are wrapped into a single rate that is paid upfront. At a traditional hotel, you pay only the room rate and taxes in advance and buy everything else as you go.
Each option has some advantages, and I've outlined them below. I've also provided links to lists of great resorts in each category, organized by destination.
There are two main benefits of all-inclusive resorts: Bundling everything together for one price generally is cheaper than buying components separately, and you can budget for your trip ahead of time. Click here to see all of our all-inclusive resorts right now.
All-inclusives are perfect for people who consider the resort itself to be their destination and who want to simplify meal planning and transportation after arrival. You won't need to rent a car or spend time searching for restaurants. Most all-inclusives offer plenty of planned activities to keep guests of all ages entertained.
The main potential drawback to this option is that you've paid for all meals and drinks in advance, so if you visit an off-site restaurant or bar, you're essentially paying twice for whatever you order. It's also worth noting that there are a few things that do cost extra at most all-inclusive resorts, such as spa treatments and off-site sightseeing.
Terrific all-inclusive resorts are available in the following destinations. Click any link below for a complete list of properties:
When you choose a traditional hotel or resort, your vacation can be more flexible and customized. Since the upfront cost only covers lodging, you'll never pay extra for something you don't use.
Traditional hotels are good options for people who want to explore the destination and local culture and sample a variety of restaurants beyond their hotel or resort. They are a little harder to budget because you can't always anticipate what you might end up spending on meals and activities during your trip.
For a list of traditional hotels and resorts in tropical destinations, from budget to luxury, click any link below: