What I think about All-Inclusive Resorts

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In March I had a few firsts. I went to the Caribbean, I snorkeled, and I paddle boarded, all for the first time. Generally speaking, put me on a beach and that’s more than enough to make me happy! So, obviously I loved this long weekend escape to the Dominican Republic. But, like anything though, it had it’s good and it’s bad.

Cons

  1. FOOD
    I had a preconceived notion that All-Inclusive resorts had food comparable to cruises. For the most part, I was correct. The taste of mass produced food is undeniable. While, most resorts have a few “upscale” options I found the food to be little better, but still not great. The lines were insane and most times we didn’t get to eat without waiting until 9p.m. That being said, you can’t complain too much about 24h food. Similarly, it’s hard to mess up junk food. So, 2a.m. nachos are still something to be grateful for.
  2.  Non-Authentic Experience
    What I have most against resorts, is the lack of authenticity of the experience. I think the most important part of travel is learning. By immersing yourself in the culture, you’re able to get the most out of your experience. I noticed that many people use resorts to stay within their comfort zone, around people that are of their same nationality. The norm is easy, but what’s the point of venturing into the world then? Just go florida if you want a beach. There’s obviously ways around this, but it’s all too convenient to stay put when everything you could think of is within the resort.

Pros

  1. Excursions
    01 (90)
    DCIM100GOPROGOPR0087.JPGThere are so many excursions that target all-inclusive resorts.  I guess it’s kind of a con that you have to pay extra for it, but they’re totally worth it. Especially if you wait to do it in person, because you can often talk them down in price. We did two excursions, a waterfall tour and boat ride to a sandbar island with snorkeling included. This got us away from the resort, and learning a lot about the country we were in on the way. We also got talking with our tour guide who was literally born and raised on the land surrounding the waterfalls. He was around before they were an attraction and was able to tell us so many intimate details both about his life and the falls (including the natural swimming pool he learned to swim in!). A good reason to remember to talk to people!
  2. Activities
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    Because so many people do chose to stay on the resort, there are a ton of activities. This is a good opportunity to try out a new water sport, like I did. Take advantage of the fitness classes, do yoga on the beach, or learn to dance salsa! Most resorts have night clubs to go to at night as well, ours even had live performers and movies for the kids.
  3. Drinks
    DCIM100GOPROGOPR0113.JPGBottomless drinks are always awesome, but they’re even a little better at all-inclusive resorts. Think about it, they gain nothing from watering them down. So you can be sure that you’re not going to be just drinking a bunch of sugar. And the best part is, there’s a bar everywhere you turn, swim up pool or oceanside alike.
  4. Economic Boost
    The truth is that many of the resort cities in the caribbean in particular are very poor. Therefore, many people that work at resorts depend on tourism. What I found kinda neat (after being initially annoyed), is that after most excursions, they take you to some kind of shop. A lot of these shops are for local artisans. You can get a souvenir and know that your money is going to support someone’s family. Similarly, don’t underestimate how much your tips mean.

In summary, as long as you know not to expect a gourmet meal, don’t have too much trust in your pork being fully cooked, and make an effort to get to know more than just the resort, all-inclusives are pretty cool.

24 responses to “What I think about All-Inclusive Resorts

  1. Yeah, the all-inclusives are catered for crowds. And it also depends on one’s desire – convenience or real exploring on your own.
    We do a mix of two depending on destination!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to think that resorts (and tourism in general) was a boost for impoverished communities, but I’ve re-thought that mindset after a lot of reading. Many resorts or tourism infrastructure are often owned by foreign companies so a lot of the profits leave the place you’re visiting. Not that tourism doesn’t help some local people make a living, but it certainly doesn’t solve poverty and often exploits natural resources and results in a lot of environmental degradation for locals. Bani Amor (https://baniamor.com/) writes a lot about these issues and I’ve found her work really helped me understand a lot of it.
    I personally spend a lot of time trying to reconcile how I can be a conscious traveler and not contribute to these problems, although I’ve yet to find a solution to this dilemma. It’s definitely not as easy as just not staying in an all-inclusive resort, because even “off the grid” travels still have these issues!

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    • You’re definitely right. I don’t mean it to sound like it’s a fix by any means. But, I have seen personally how much of a godsend these kinds of jobs are, when jobs are a rarity. It’s clear just in my home country of Colombia, which was once a no go zone. Tourism has slowly changed the image of the country and the country itself. Just in the 10 years that I hadn’t visited, the infrastructure has improved immensely (a need for tourism!). Poverty is still abundant, and Colombia still has more problems than I have time to list, but anyone you talk to there will agree that an influx of tourists have been a plus. The impact on the environment, is an undeniable side effect. Sadly, it’s not something that is out of the norm in developing countries sans tourism either.

      It’s definitely not an easy subject to tackle! I think a difference can be made through education rather than scapegoating any industry as a whole. Education is what’s lacking in developing countries, and likewise in big businesses that care more about the bottom line. That’s why I think it is so important to learn about the places you’re visiting. The more one knows, the more one cares. And thank you for the information, I’ll check it out! I love reading how people are trying to make a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The all inclusive resorts seem like a great option for a true “vacation.” One that you can sit around and drink and eat all day…and hey, nothing wrong with that. I agree that we generally as travelers try to immerse ourselves in the culture a bit more, but they definitely both have their pros and cons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you’re so right! That’s why it was perfect just for a long weekend. It’s definitely harder to be immersive, but I think worth it!

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  4. Interesting post you have made here. I’ve only seen through other people all inclusive resorts, and I’ve got to say that at first I’m envious. But then I remind myself of how much I’ve learned from other cultures overtime I trek out to other countries. I’ve actually been to one almost all inclusive resort at a 5 star hotel and that was on my honeymoon. I don’t regret it but it was also only for 6 days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! You get so much more out of exploring on your own instead of being sheltered in a resort. That’s why we tried to do a lot excursions to get off the resort, meet some more people and see more of the city.

      But, I think there’s always a time for pure indulgence. You’re honeymoon sounds like just that time!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your thoughts on Non-Authentic Experience, most people does want to go where people go, but honestly I preferred the other way around but the disadvantage I have to pay more for it (it will be resolve soon once I learned how to drive)…cool stuff here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for posting this. We have very similar thoughts of All-Inclusive. I’m more of a Go where no woman has gone before kinda girl. But you did point out some quite attractive bits of the All-Inclusive gig: Bottomless Drinks!!!! Yes to cocktails anytime, anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. All-inclusives are great when you have kids. We go to
    Jamaica for Christmas and there are many things to keep the kids busy while enjoying the beautiful beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Ana. To me the whole thing about travel is to explore, and being able to choose my experience at the time of the day, given the mood. I think that’s fun waking up not knowing how your day is going to be. All Inclusive resorts are helpful to the tourist who wants to relax, but as a traveller, its the place, the people, the behaviours that I absorb, while I make connections between history and geography.

    I recently did a trip like that, where not much was planned. It was about the spirit of travel and enquiry for people and places. You can check the posts under the theme called #TheBeachTrail2017 in Youtube or at http://www.katchutravels.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well stated. I think every once in awhile it’s not the worst thing. Definitely has its perks. But for the most part I prefer more authentic travels.

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