Extra, Extra, The All-Inclusive Exclusive

This was my first time at an all-inclusive resort,  a world away from my usual style of travel involving long days on a chicken bus and dinner in the local market.

Lovingly referred to as “fly and flops” it was exactly that. From the moment the hotel ID bracelets were clamped on our wrists it was easy. Everyone from the hotel manager to the housekeeping staff spoke English, there was no need to carry any money, there were three pools and the Caribbean sea right outside. Daily challenges were limited to getting to the beach early enough to secure a lounge chair for the day, yay or nay to joining the mid-day aqua-fit class, what to have for lunch and whether to pair it with a margarita or a mango mojito. 

The view from our room was incredible; east-facing with an ocean view and spectacular sunrises. The 14th floor also provided a bird’s eye view of two different beach weddings. The first was followed by a reception complete with a light-up dance floor. Watching people line dance to the Spanish version of “Achy Breaky Heart” and knowing every song that followed brought back happy memories of my days living in Mexico.

Friends and colleagues had raved about the food at all-inclusives so my expectations were high. With a few exceptions, notably the green salsa at breakfast and the shrimp sushi with plantains at the Japanese restaurant, I was sadly disappointed. The food situation was quickly forgiven with afternoon snacks brought directly to our beachfront lounge chairs between float sessions in the Caribbean sea.

After a 5 day stay, I came away with a better understanding of why these places are so attractive to so many people. The world is overwhelming at times, we are surrounded by screens and long to-do lists both at work and at home, we have too many passwords to remember. In short, doing nothing is nice. 

Yes, the tropical setting could have been in any number of places in the world. Yes, the number of plastic bottles used was enough to give anyone concerned with the environment heart palpitations. 

My all-inclusive experience was not without its flaws but honestly, the down time was very enjoyable. Along with my love of adventure travel I am also a beach lover and perfectly happy with a daily routine of eat-swim-dry-nap-repeat. It was especially nice to spend some time with my best friend since our annual trip to LA was derailed in 2019.

There is a fine art to doing nothing and a week or two at an all-inclusive might just help you master it. Contact me if you need some guidance on eco-friendly options. 

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