Budgeting for travel is stressful enough. Whether you’re on a family vacation or couples getaway, the last thing you want to worry about is the price of dinner or which hotel amenities you’ll be able to take advantage of without paying extra. That’s especially true if your calculations include picky eaters and easily bored little kids. Enter the all-inclusive resort, the single best thing happen to vacations in, well, ever.
All-inclusive resorts make budgeting easy. You pay one price for your amenities, recreation, and dining. You basically book your stay and and presto! Every other cost associated with the resort is included and you don’t have to worry about pulling your credit card out again once you arrive. And even though your package price typically includes meals, drinks, spa services, activities, and entertainment, some of the most popular all-inclusive resorts are surprisingly affordable.
Budget-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean
Many of the more budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts are in areas where resorts are abundant and properties need to offer competitive prices to attract guests. More remote destinations, or spots where all-inclusive resorts are less common, however, will see a higher per-night rate. With that in mind, expect to find more price-friendly options in destinations such as Punta Cana and Cancun rather than, say, Bora Bora.
So, what kind of prices are we talking about? Everyone’s idea of “affordable” or “cheap” is different, but when it comes to budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts, a good price range to consider is about $250 to $350 per night. Some resorts on this list came in even lower than that when I tested dates and prices, but remember that pricing is both dynamic and dependent on seasonality. The lowest all-inclusive rates will always be midweek and during the slower tourism seasons. With that in mind, here are my picks for resorts that go easy—or at least a little bit easier—on the wallet. Three of them are family-friendly and the other three cater to adults.
FREEDOM TO TRAVEL: 10 Tropical Destinations You Can Visit without a U.S. Passport
1. Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has a lot of resort options, and all those options mean there’s a lot of completion for your vacation dollars. That’s where Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa comes in. Not only does it includes swim-out rooms starting around $300 a night for Marriott Bonvoy members ($320 per night for non-members), the all-inclusive rate also nets you unlimited reservation-free dining and drinks.
Across the resort grounds, you can take advantage of a number of amenities and attractions, such as a swim-up bar. It’s worth mentioning that Royalton Bavaro also offers Diamond Level Service that starts at a higher price point (approximately $425 for members and $450 for nonmembers), which includes access to a club-level lounge with its own Continental Breakfast, afternoon tea, complimentary cocktails, and butler service. But you don’t need all those bells and whistles to make the most of your stay, and opting for the standard price helps keep things affordable.
2. Iberostar Selection Cancun
Like Punta Cana, there’s a high concentration of family resorts in Cancun, too, and some of them are quite affordable relative to other all-inclusive resorts. I put Iberostar Selection Cancun in that category, with my recent price search turning up rates as low as $263 per nigh, depending on the room type and time of year. (Again, midweek and/or the shoulder season or offseason will net you the lowest prices.)
Iberostar Selection Cancun is ideal for families looking for an all-inclusive resort that keeps everyone active throughout the vacation. Buffet meals and a la carte dinners are included in your package price, as is the free Star Camp kids club, which children can enjoy while the grownups take a trip to the spa. The resort also has a private white-sand beach, daily minibar service, and daily sports. If you head off-site during your stay, you’ll have access to the amenities included at sister Iberostar properties, including but not limited to Iberostar Selection Paraiso Lindo, Iberostar Selection Paraiso Maya, Iberostar Tucan, and Iberostar Quetzal.
3. Fiesta Resort All Inclusive
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
I found nightly rates at Costa Rica’s family-friendly all-inclusive Fiesta Resort for around $180 per night. The guest rooms here don’t have as many bells and whistles as you’d find at more luxurious resorts, but they all come with a private balcony which overlooks the ocean, pool, or garden. You won’t spend much time in your room, anyway, as the resort grounds include four pools, a miniature golf course, four restaurants, and seven bars and lounges (including a poolside bar).
Kids get their own exclusive parent-free zone at Fiesta Resort, including a supervised kids club with activities for ages four to 12 and a teen club for ages ages 13 to 17. Adults may want to try the spa’s hydrotherapy treatments, massages, facials, and other treatments.
4. Sandals Barbados
St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados
With 17 all-inclusive resorts across the Caribbean, Sandals Resorts is one of the better-known and most loved brands for adults. At Sandals Barbados, I found Caribbean Deluxe rooms starting at $260 per person per night. That’s obviously not cheap, but it’s more affordable than many other resorts for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Rooms come with in-room beer and wine and there are even swim-up rooms that provide the ultimate water view.
Beyond your accommodations, a stay at Sandals Barbados comes with many of the all-inclusive features you’d expect. Unlimited food and drinks can be enjoyed across 11 restaurants and there are seven additional bars that serve unlimited premium liquor. If you’re feeling recharged and ready for more activity, unlimited water sports are also included in your stay.
5. BlueBay Villas Doradas
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Looking for the ultimate affordability with many of the most popular benefits of an all-inclusive resort? Look no further than the adults-only BlueBay Villas Doradas in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Depending on your room and the time of year you stay, you can find deals for as little as $100 per night (sometimes slightly under $100) before taxes and fees. I’ve even found rates for between $200 to $300 during peak season.
It’s important to make the distinction of what your money gets you when you book a stay at a lower-priced mostly all-inclusive resort this this one, though. While many of the typical amenities are included, like breakfast, recreational activities, and a private beach, not all meals are part of the deal and some amenities, like spa services and in-room Wi-Fi, require an added fee. Still, if you’re smart about it then you’ll almost certainly spend less than at a fully inclusive resort.
6. Golden Parnassus All Inclusive Resort and Spa
At the adults-only Golden Parnassus in Cancun, I’ve found rates in the $250 to $350 nightly range. Special deals and promotions offered by resort can bring the per-night room cost down even further (I’ve seen it as low as about $200). The all-inclusive resort has seven on-site restaurants and four bars, as well as beachfront service and entertainment. Rooms come with views of the ocean or lagoon, with some including an indoor jacuzzi.
You certainly won’t be bored while staying at Golden Parnassus, as there are a lot of daily and evening events. During the day, try yoga classes, water aerobics, and a variety of beach sports. At night, the resort offers themed parties and shows.
More from FamilyVacationist:
- 8 All-Inclusive Family Resorts for a Tropical Winter Escape
- 21 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for Families
- 19 Best Family Resorts and Hotels in the U.S.
At FamilyVacationist, we’re parents and travel experts who use our real-world, real-person travel expertise to help you make great decisions about travel. Here’s why that matters.