304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
All-inclusive resorts are a much-loved option for low-stress Caribbean vacations. With accommodations, food and some activities all rolled into one price, these resorts can take away much of the hassle of planning a relaxing trip someplace warm and tropical. As vacation prices continue to rise, it’s getting harder to lock down a cheap all-inclusive stay – but it’s certainly not impossible. Beachy hot spots like Curaçao or St. Lucia may be out of budget, but destinations like Mexico and the Dominican Republic don’t need to break the bank (just don’t expect five-star luxury at these prices).
We’ve compiled a list of affordable all-inclusive resorts where two guests can stay in one room for approximately $225 or less per night. These prices may not be offered year-round, especially during the peak season for sun destinations of December to April. However, if you book well in advance, the cheaper rates should be offered across a broader range of dates. The prices here do not include flights, although the resorts below may offer packages that include them.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic couples trip or just some quality time with the family, these resorts can deliver without breaking the bank.
Sitting at the north end of Cancún’s ultra-popular Hotel Zone is this 358-room property, where a room for two with a king bed starts at $210. The best prices are in the off-season or at the tail-end of the peak season, but some more popular dates go for as low as $240. The Occidental Costa Cancún is a great place for water sports, with kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and snorkeling all on the menu.
Past guests have noted that it’s a particularly family-friendly resort and not an adult party spot. Fittingly, kids of all ages are looked after with child care, two water parks (though one has an entry fee) and an alcohol-free nightclub for teens. It’s also easy to get out and explore, with buses to downtown Cancún for shopping as well as easy booking of excursions to Mayan pyramids (not part of the all-inclusive). Dining choices range from buffets to upscale Mexican and Italian food, with service offered all throughout the day.
Situated in the Dominican Republic’s resort hot spot of Punta Cana and billed as a five-star property, Iberostar Dominicana is surprisingly affordable. Rooms for two go for as little as $200 per night, although prices jump in the busiest time of the year from January to March. Even at the cheapest rates, you’ll get free Wi-Fi and a private balcony. You can lounge by lagoon-style pools or on palapa-shaded beach chairs. Vacationers can take advantage of 18 holes of golf on-site, a spa and a coral lab that teaches about local ecosystems.
Recent guests have gushed about the entertainment program at Iberostar, a draw for anyone into music or dancing. Some also noted that the resort is great at catering to any dietary restrictions. Plus, Iberostar has introduced sustainability initiatives such as eliminating single-use plastics, committing to responsible fishing and pledging to make its resorts waste-free by 2025.
Located just east of the beach town of Puerto Plata, this adults-only all-inclusive resort is a cheap option for a romantic escape without the kids. With advance booking, couples can stay at BlueBay Villas Doradas for as low as $200 per night for two guests. The bright, air-conditioned standard rooms measure a respectable 260 square feet. Beyond those four walls, you can hit the sands of Playa Dorada or lounge by the three outdoor pools.
The four restaurants run the gamut from Chinese cuisine to seafood. Active travelers at this resort may enjoy water sports, tennis, the on-site fitness center or nearby golf courses. Take note that extra fees are a little more prominent here: While it’s standard for all-inclusives not to cover activities like diving and spa services, BlueBay Villas Doradas also charges for Wi-FI in the lower-tier rooms. That said, past travelers still praise the resort for its large beach, with plenty of chairs available there and at the pool; the service is also a strength, according to guests.
For a budget-friendly way to enjoy the white sands of Cozumel – an island just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula – El Cozumeleño balances affordability and quality. Choose between rooms facing the garden or sea; all of them have terraces or balconies. Per-night costs for an all-inclusive stay for two go as low as $220 or even less at some points if you book sufficiently in advance.
Out in the resort, the all-inclusive rates cover free scuba diving lessons and snorkeling, as well as sports like tennis, kayaking, cycling and more. For those looking to just chill out, there are five outdoor pools, one indoor pool and a swim-up bar, as well as hot tubs and beach access. Dining options range from the upscale Veranda restaurant to beachy snack bars to room service. Music and theater lounges provide nightly entertainment. Recent guests describe El Cozumeleño as a great place to relax that’s not too crowded, as it doesn’t tend to cater to a party crowd.
This grand resort near the fishing village of Las Terrenas is packed with activities. Enjoy a free scuba diving lesson in the pool, tennis facilities, kayak rentals, kids and teen clubs, and a children’s water park. The price for all these amenities can drop even as low as $160 per couple per night in the least busy months, with some affordable dates in the shoulder seasons (early December and April) to boot. The colorful rooms feature king beds and hydromassage bathtubs to help you relax after a long day.
Previous travelers raved about the gorgeous palm-fringed beach with coral and clear waters, also mentioning a mix of crowded and quieter swimming pools on the resort premises. You’ll find a broad range of food on offer in the restaurants at Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo, with French, Mediterranean, Italian and Brazilian cuisines represented. There’s also an array of pool and beach bars, plus a sports bar for those who can’t miss a game.
The Best Western brand may not typically be associated with all-inclusive resorts, but the chain does operate this all-inclusive property on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The prices are supremely affordable: Even in high-season months like February, it’s possible to find rooms for $225 or less with an advance booking. The rooms are simple yet comfortable, with views of the gardens or pools.
Past guests note that the Best Western Jacó Beach All-Inclusive Resort is well-suited for families and that they loved the level of service from the friendly staff. The resort is right by the beach and also boasts a sprawling swimming pool. There’s only one main restaurant and a snack bar, but the town of Jacó is walking distance for those looking to branch out. This destination is known for ecotourism and excursions, with a host of lush jungles and national parks brimming with wildlife nearby.
If you want to get away from the crowds, head out to Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. The process of getting here is a little more involved than with popular all-inclusive destinations in other countries, as it’s about 120 miles from the nearest major airport in Liberia (or a short flight from the capital of Costa Rica directly to the town of Tambor). Once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a tropical paradise – think: thatched palapas, manicured gardens and direct access to a palm-lined swimming beach on the sheltered Ballena Bay.
Past guests say Barceló Tambor is a great place to relax surrounded by nature and away from the chaos of everyday life. With some advance planning, it’s more than possible to grab a room for two at this resort for as little as $225 per couple in peak season. Bed down in a bright room with jungle or garden views, king beds, and air conditioning. You’ll dine at an a la carte Japanese restaurant or a steakhouse (with a buffet option too). There’s no shortage of excursions available from here, whether it’s diving, horse riding or exploring Costa Rica’s beautiful rainforests.
This resort about 15 miles outside of Punta Cana boasts funky rooms with modern tropical decor, balconies, king or queen beds, and free minibars. The options for drinking and dining at Caribe Deluxe Princess include seven restaurants with cuisine ranging from Tex-Mex to Dominican to teppanyaki – plus another two upscale restaurants that aren’t covered by the all-inclusive rates. The resort has nine all-inclusive bars as well, including options at the beach, pool and rooftop.
Past visitors have admired the stunning tropical grounds of the resort and its beach. Kids and teens have their own activities; adults will be occupied by nonmotorized water sports, a sports area with archery and more, and evening entertainment. Prices at this resort can go as low as $225 or less per night for two, primarily in the shoulder and off-peak seasons. Stays in the middle of the busy season are notably more expensive.
Crowds flock to destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, so for a more secluded option, consider heading down to Ixtapa, a resort town a little further down the coast. Ixtapa is known for its sandy beaches and year-round sunny weather. The Barceló Ixtapa is one of the cheapest all-inclusives around here. Its bright, tropical rooms feature king beds, rain showers and complimentary bathrobes. Dining options abound with seven restaurants available in the all-inclusive package, including Mexican, Japanese, Italian and buffet options.
Relaxing should be no trouble: El Palmar beach is right in front of the resort (and a great place to catch the sunset), and there are three swimming pools on the premises, including one with a hydromassage zone. Past travelers call the resort family-friendly, saying they particularly liked the entertainment on offer, with highlights including the nightly shows and the Mexican Fiesta night.
You can easily find room rates for $225 or less outside of the peak season. Flights to the nearby Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport are somewhat more limited in comparison to big destinations like Cancún, but there are still regular direct flights to a number of major U.S. cities like Houston, Chicago and Minneapolis.
Timothy Forster has traveled across five continents and lived on three, so he has experience booking and staying in all kinds of accommodations from hostels and campsites to chic hotels and vacation rentals. Forster used his extensive traveling background along with research expertise to curate this article.