Located throughout the Caribbean, all-inclusive resorts lure visitors with affordable vacation packages. Encompassing airfare, lodging and onsite activities, these Caribbean beach resorts are enjoyed by families and couples hoping to relax in the sunshine. Yet, many visitors have left such all-inclusive resorts with a bitter taste in their mouths. If you – like many of the travelers disappointed by the inflexibility of all-inclusive resorts – want to establish your own itinerary, sample traditional Caribbean dining options and explore many different activities, these Caribbean beach resorts are simply not for you. Here’s why.
First, plenty of travelers have realized that many all-inclusive vacations come with certain strings attached. When examining all-inclusive packages on the internet, the fine print may reveal a startling number of contracts and other binding difficulties. Some all-inclusive resorts entice travelers with low-priced vacation packages, only to bombard their customers with sales pitches for timeshares.
It is often difficult to determine where an all-inclusive resort is located if you are unfamiliar with the area. While it may suit your fancy to spend your vacation outside of the Caribbean hotel zones, many travelers have been disappointed by the lack of activities available at many all-inclusive resorts. If you choose to leave your all-inclusive resort, you will have to pay for additional activities. When staying at smaller all-inclusive resorts with limited access to other tourist opportunities, your additional costs could very quickly surpass the money you saved upfront.
Many travelers have also complained about the lack of payment flexibility that comes with a stay at an all-inclusive resort. In addition to requiring large upfront payments, many all-inclusive resorts have tricky refund policies, making it difficult to change plans when necessary. This difficulty also applies to the charter flights that often accompany all-inclusive packages. For many, these troubles are compounded by the fact that travel days may be limited, forcing you to alter your desired timeframe for your Caribbean vacation.
Once you arrive at your Caribbean location, you might also be responsible for your own luggage and transportation to the resort. For the resorts that do offer shuttle service, the included transportation will most likely be limited to airport pickup and drop-off. For instance, if the resort is located in a secluded area, transportation to other locations will not be included in your package. Furthermore, consider the fact that many all-inclusive resorts are located much farther away from popular sites than average hotels and resorts. So, unless you care to spend your entire Caribbean vacation basking beside the same swimming pool, a nightly rental resort will put you much closer to the action.
While many criticize all-inclusive resorts for not contributing to local Caribbean economies – due in part to their distance from major cities and tourist areas – it can also be said that such packages prevent you from experiencing the unique culture of your destination. Since you decided to take a Caribbean vacation, you probably want to get out of the hotel and see what the Caribbean has to offer. Yet, all-inclusive resorts anticipate their guests spending most of their time at the resorts, locations that are often devoid of any local cuisine or custom.
Another important thing to consider regarding all-inclusive resorts is that tipping is usually expected, even at some resorts that advertise tipping as unnecessary. Many travelers have found themselves in uncomfortable positions, receiving sub-par service at all-inclusive resorts as a result of such misunderstandings.
When planning your Caribbean vacation, think about what kind of traveler you are and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to set your own agenda, enjoy diverse Caribbean dining options and engage in truly unique activities? Or would you rather relax at a resort, forget your troubles and soak up the sun? While families and couples on strict budgets might enjoy all-inclusive resorts, any adventurous traveler will relish the freedom of planning their own Caribbean vacation.