Spring break is right around the corner and, those on a budget shouldn’t rule out a trip to the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean. Budget-friendly all-inclusives dot the shores of some of our favorite destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Jamaica, among others. It’s time to pack your bags and hitch a flight to warmer weather.
With competitive pricing, lovely rooms, and great on-site amenities, this 70-room boutique hotel will attract people who never thought they’d choose an all-inclusive package. With three restaurants and cabanas on the terrace, Waves has a contemporary appeal especially for couples. The quiet beach along Prospect Bay feels private, and the calm waves are perfect for swimming and kayaking. A spa and adults-only pool, located across the street, are extra perks.
A megaresort, the Grand Palladium feels like a shopping mall but is expansive enough for privacy, romance, and fun. It has five pools, large rooms, name-brand liquor, tasty breakfasts, mini-golf, and more–all for lower rates than lesser-equipped all-inclusives. But its remote locale does come with rocky, man-made beaches.
The massive Gran Caribe in Cancun’s Hotel Zone features a great location with bright white sands and clear waters just steps from the rooms, all of which are suites with living areas, balconies or terraces, and updated marble bathrooms. With eight restaurants, a kids’ club, teen club, waterpark, and squash courts on-site, the Gran Caribe is an excellent value, especially for families.
The Aruba Marriott Resort is fancier than its neighbor, the Marriott Surf Club, but paradoxically, it usually costs a lot less. It has bright, airy rooms with fast Wi-Fi, a superb beach with clear water, and one of Aruba’s best casinos, as well as a fitness center, spa, and a lagoon-shaped pool with a waterfall and a swim-up bar. Prices may be higher than at some of the other properties on this list, but you get a lot of bang for your buck at this all-inclusive.
This mid-range all-inclusive property is on the smaller side, so guests get all of the perks of an all-inclusive in a more intimate environment. The real highlight is the hotel’s beachfront location, within walking distance of the marina and downtown. All rooms are suites, with kitchenettes, but decor-wise they are a bit out-of-date. There is also a spa that features services directly on the beach.
Compared to the many massive hotels at the north end of Nuevo Vallarta, the Samba Vallarta’s 183-room, four-story Spanish colonial-style building feels pleasantly small-scale — and the pools and beach tend to be less crowded than elsewhere. The general ambiance of the property is family-friendly and relaxed. For those who want to go the all-inclusive route but don’t want a megaresort experience, this affordable mid-range property is a fine choice.
Quality food, oceanfront bungalows, free trapeze lessons, and beachside canopy beds make this 600-room all-inclusive an excellent value. There are some minor cleanliness issues, like debris in the pool, but the beach has some of the softest sand and clearest water in the Dominican Republic.
El Cozumeleño is a mid-range all-inclusive resort located directly on a long, narrow beach in northern Cozumel. The pools are the highlight here (one has a popular swim-up bar), but golf is also a draw as the resort is across the street from the island’s only golf course (guests get discounted rates). Overall, the hotel is a solid pick for families and value travelers.
To learn more about Kristina Fazzalaro, visit her on Google+