All-inclusive resorts promise a simplified vacation: One upfront fee covers food, drinks and select activities, so you can relax with a cocktail in hand instead of worrying about your spending. However, not every all-inclusive accommodation option offers the same budget-conscious bang for your buck; some end up costing much more than you may be hoping to pay thanks to extra fees for amenities like kids clubs or meals at specialty restaurants.
These U.S. News picks for affordable resorts are properties where two guests can stay in one room for around $250 per night or less. These prices may not be available year-round: You may need to settle for off-peak travel periods or reserve well in advance for peak seasons (usually December to April for warm destinations). Round-trip flights are not factored into these prices, but some resorts may offer packages that include air travel.
Whether you’re dreaming of a family-friendly beach trip or an adults-only escape, these reasonably priced all-inclusive resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America ensure a memorable travel experience that won’t break the bank.
(Courtesy of Iberostar Selection Cancún)
Starting rate: From $250 per night
Package deals: Iberostar Selection Cancún offers a handful of packages to save travelers extra money, such as a romance package with flowers, sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, as well as promotions that include golf discounts.
Amenities and activities abound at Iberostar Selection Cancún, one of the best all-inclusive family resorts in Cancún. Your nightly rate covers all of the bases at this five-star establishment: meals and drinks, on-site beach access, Wi-Fi connectivity, 10 pools, a children’s program, a FIFA regulation soccer field, live evening entertainment, tennis, parking and a fitness center. Extras like babysitting and salon services are available for a fee.
This Cancún resort’s guest rooms include room service, coffee makers, daily minibar service, bathrobes, flat-screen TVs and more. Past travelers commended the caring staff, relaxing pool areas and abundance of things to do for the whole family.
(Courtesy of Sunscape Resorts & Spas)
Starting rate: From $220 per night
Package deals: On top of its all-inclusive deals, this Sunscape resort also offers deals allowing kids to stay and eat for free (available seasonally), group discounts and special romance packages.
At this resort, you won’t need a wristband to enjoy the property’s limitless amenities. That’s because rates include reservation-free meals and drinks across six restaurants and six bars, plus access to kids and teen clubs, four pools, and a wide white sand beach. Included activities range from kayaking to land activities such as beach volleyball, rock climbing and bocce ball, with nearby golf and various water sports available for additional fees. There is also a casino and a spa on-site (not included in the rate).
Guests can venture out to downtown Willemstad, a city in Curaçao, should you wish to explore colorful, Dutch colonial-style architecture – a unique draw among the Caribbean islands – off the property. Recent travelers were particularly fond of the beautiful beach and affordable rates at this resort. In-room amenities include minibars, flat-screen TVs, coffee makers and Wi-Fi access.
Starting rate: From $240 per night
Package deals: Travelers may save some extra cash by opting for a package that provides discounts at spa, golf courses and more.
Catalonia Royal La Romana is an adults-only, all-inclusive property in the small resort town of Bayahibe, which sits about 45 miles southwest of Punta Cana. With fewer than 120 guest rooms and suites, this resort differs from the larger complexes found across the Dominican Republic. In fact, some vacationers have said it has the feel of a boutique hotel. Accommodations are modern and clean, decorated in neutral colors with pops of sea foam green. All offer amenities like a balcony or terrace, free Wi-Fi, bathrobes, a minibar, a pillow menu, and towels for the pool and beach; some rooms even have swim-up access.
The nightly rate at Catalonia Royal La Romana includes meals, snacks and certain alcoholic beverages at various buffet-style restaurants, a la carte venues and bars, as well as gratuities and entertainment throughout the day and night. You also get access to sports facilities (including a free scuba diving lesson in the pool), a private beach, a swimming pool and a solarium.
Starting rate: From $100 per night
Located in Puerto Plata, a beach town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, BlueBay Villas Doradas is a great spot to unwind away from the kids. Travelers can stay at the adults-only, all-inclusive property for as low as $100 per night, per room. Rates include prime access to the warm sands of Playa Dorada, meals and drinks at four restaurants, and plenty of on-site activities and entertainment options. You’ll have access to a swim-up bar, and there is also an 18-hole golf course nearby (additional fees apply). Be aware, however, that certain amenities may come at an extra cost.
Recent travelers were mostly pleased with the resort, noting the top-notch service and abundance of beach and pool chairs.
Starting rate: From $130 per night
Package deals: To their room rates, travelers can add bonuses like a romance package (which includes sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, a dinner reservation and other treats), round-trip transportation to the international airport and more.
Skip the obvious all-inclusive destinations and consider heading a little further south to this adults-only property on Costa Rica‘s Pacific coast. The Occidental Papagayo offers tiled rooms that are simple yet offer all the necessities: Wi-Fi, air conditioning, minibar, and satellite TV. Accommodations with a view over beautiful Culebra Bay are sometimes available for just a few dollars extra per night.
Out in the resort, you can lounge by two pools and choose between a variety of bars and restaurants on the premises. The nearest beach is less than 2 miles away. The activities here reflect Costa Rica’s prominence as an ecotourism destination, with options like kayaking and exotic animal tours on offer; cycle tours and a spa are also an option if you’re willing to pay extra.
Previous guests have complimented the friendly staff at the resort, particularly the bartenders, as well as the gorgeous natural setting. The resort is best accessed via a roughly 15-mile drive from Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (also known as Liberia Airport), which offers direct connections to a number of major U.S. and Canadian cities.
Starting rate: From $260 per night
Package deals: Lovebirds can add on a honeymoon package free of charge, which includes wine and candy, turndown service, discounts on couples massages and more (just be sure to bring your wedding certificate). An airport transfer package is also available for an additional fee. This resort has wedding packages as well.
Located around 45 miles east of Montego Bay (where you’ll find the nearest major airport), Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay offers an upscale adults-only experience without breaking the bank. With 525 rooms, it’s on the larger side, and there are plenty of white sand beaches right alongside the property offering hammocks, a bar and waiter service.
This resort in Jamaica also boasts three interconnected swimming pools; for something more lively, enjoy an array of aquatic sports such as kayaking, snorkeling and catamaran sailing. The earthy toned rooms offer comfort aplenty with canopy beds, robes, slippers, a pillow menu, 24-hour room service, a living room space, and a balcony or terrace. Previous guests complimented the Jamaican food – like jerk chicken – on offer at some of the restaurants, as well as the beauty of the resort.
Note: You can find off-peak pricing (such as in October) starting around $260 if you book far in advance and use discounts offered on the resort website, but most of the year the rates tend to be much higher.
(Courtesy of Occidental at Xcaret Destination)
Starting rate: From $200 per night
Package deals: Bonus packages may add perks like free Wi-Fi access and complimentary airport transfers, among other benefits.
If you’re willing to travel at off-peak periods (typically around June, September and October), it’s possible to nab a room at a five-star resort like the Occidental at Xcaret Destination for less than $200 per night. Situated just outside Playa del Carmen, the property has a whopping 765 rooms and suites, many of which can accommodate families. In those rooms, expect a king bed (or two doubles) and a regularly restocked minibar, as well as a balcony or terrace looking over the resort’s lush, tropical grounds.
Outside the rooms, there’s plenty to experience: You can choose between 20-plus restaurants and bars (including a nightclub) that offer everything from tacos to Asian cuisine to Italian food. There’s also a private lagoon-style white sand beach for swimming, plus seven pools (including a kids pool). Sporty travelers will be well served by the activities on offer, which include tennis, archery and shuffleboard, plus nonmotorized aquatic sports; there’s also plenty of natural attractions in the surrounding area. Past visitors have praised the wide range of activities, including options for children, and the resort’s spacious rooms and grounds.
Starting rate: From $130 per night
Package deals: Romance packages are available, as are hotel and flight combination deals.
If you’re hoping to head to the white sands of Cozumel, a popular island just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, El Cozumeleño Beach Resort is one of the cheapest all-inclusive choices. Choose between rooms facing the garden or ocean (typically more expensive), all of which are fitted with balconies.
Rates include free diving lessons in the pool and snorkel equipment rentals, plus other activities like kayaking, tennis and dance classes. Otherwise, spend your days lounging by your choice of five pools (including one indoor option), two hot tubs and a private beach. Dining venues include the upscale Veranda restaurant, the casual Cocal eatery and an assortment of bars. Recent guests describe El Cozumeleño as a great place to relax, with particularly friendly staff. Per-night costs can dip as low as $130 per room and typically don’t rise above $200 per night.
Starting rate: From $155 per night
Package deals: Travelers can choose between the all-inclusive plan, a breakfast buffet plan, a golf package or specials determined by the length of their stays. A “Kids Stay Free” deal for children ages 2 to 12 may also be available in combination with these packages. On top of that, guests can save time and money by booking their hotel rooms and air travel together.
For an affordable option within reach of Puerto Vallarta, consider Paradise Village Nuevo Vallarta, located just under 10 miles northwest of the center of the popular resort city. The hotel’s all-inclusive plan encompasses unlimited food and beverages, gratuities, nonmotorized water sports, Wi-Fi access and more.
You’ll enjoy access to two lagoon-style pools with slides, hot tubs and waterfalls – plus another lap pool for workouts and a kids area. Meanwhile, palapas and chairs are available at the beach, and guests will have a long list of sporty activities to choose from, including bocce and kayaking.
Restaurant options include Mexican fare, Italian dishes and sushi, plus the Copan Sunset Sky Bar for drinks with a view. Recent visitors say that Paradise Village is a good bet for family vacations, thanks to the plentiful activities at the property.
(Courtesy of Riu Hotels & Resorts)
Starting rate: From $130 per night
Package deals: Hotel Riu Playa Blanca lists a variety of “best offers” on its website for select dates throughout the year.
If you’d like to look beyond classic all-inclusive destinations like the Dominican Republic or Mexico, consider Hotel Riu Playa Blanca, located about 80 miles southwest of Panama City, Panama. This modern property, opened in 2014, features a red-and-white color scheme and a sleeker design than your average all-inclusive. Accommodations all come with free Wi-Fi access, a minibar, and a balcony or terrace.
This resort is a good place for a relaxed trip; you’ll have access to three main pools (plus another for kids) and the shores of Playa Blanca along the Pacific. Daytime activities include volleyball and a kids club, while live music and dance venues rule the night. In addition to activities and entertainment, the all-inclusive fares cover all meals, snacks and beverages. Dining options include a buffet, an Asian restaurant and a steakhouse, among other options. Past visitors note that the resort is ultra-clean and boasts friendly staff.
Starting rate: From $200 per night
Package deals: Fiesta Resort offers discounts throughout the year based on the length of your stay.
This all-inclusive resort sits about 55 miles west of Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, and has the unusual feature of a volcanic black sand beach at its doorstep. Whether you’re lounging there or near one of multiple pools, the resort’s lush gardens give the feel of a tropical paradise. Activities include hits like water polo and beach volleyball, as well as some more unique options like a coffee class and palm weaving.
The property offers four main restaurants and seven bars, including poolside options. Given Costa Rica’s prominence as an ecotourism destination, you may also want to visit the pristine rainforests or tropical islands in the area (however, such excursions aren’t included in the hotel rates). Previous guests love the proximity to nature and the option to go on wildlife tours, though some travelers feel the resort caters more to locals.
Note: The property will be renovating its 408 guest rooms in different stages between 2023 and 2027.
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s no one agency or website that offers the best deals for every all-inclusive resort. Instead, a solid approach is to use a website like Kayak or Expedia to search for resorts that have cheaper pricing available at the time you want to travel. Then, once you have the names of a few affordable options, you can shop around different agencies or websites to see which one offers the cheapest deal.
If you’re on the hunt for an all-inclusive deal, it’s important to think about your timing – both in terms of when you’re booking and when you want to travel. Better deals tend to involve traveling when there’s less demand. According to Laura Sangster, founder of luxury travel agency Caribbean Journey, there’s typically less demand for all-inclusive properties in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America during September and October, which are typically part of hurricane season.
“This is when hotels, including all-inclusive resorts, experience the lowest occupancy and thus offer the best deals in an effort to fill rooms. Historically, these have been very active hurricane months. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, so rates within this period are always less than December to May.”
While Sangster notes that it’s possible to find last-minute resort deals for travel during these more popular months, she doesn’t recommend holding out for such bargains.
“While you might benefit from a decreased hotel rate, airfares currently price the other way and will only be more expensive closer to travel,” she says. “It’s also important to plan ahead to ensure you are able to secure the room category you want.”
Sangster advises travelers to book well in advance to get better prices, particularly if you’re hoping to travel during peak season. “We saw very few deals during the 2021 and 2022 peak seasons. All-inclusive resorts seemed to follow a trend of increasing as the weeks and months ticked by,” she says. “Our clients who didn’t book the initial proposal we prepared often faced higher rates when they came back to book weeks or months later.”
Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer to this question. It’s generally possible to find cruise fares at a cheaper price than all-inclusive vacations, but cruises are known for having more hidden costs that can rack up during your trip. For example, not all cruise fares include alcoholic drinks; you may need to purchase a daily beverage package, which can quickly add to the bill. You may also have to pay more to access some restaurants on board or for excursions when the ship docks.
In contrast, all-inclusive resort rates usually include drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) and meals at all restaurants on the property. It’s still possible to incur additional charges for services like spa treatments or some activities like a scuba diving trip, but such fees tend to be for much more obvious extras.