An All Inclusive trip is a cool way to visit the Riviera Maya

What to expect on an All Inclusive trip to the Riviera Maya

An all inclusive vacation is a popular choice when traveling in the Caribbean, to destinations like Mexico, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic.  We have such a great time — every time, that we’re writing an e-book on the subject of all inclusive travel to Mexico.  Please come back in October to request your free copy!

So what’s included in an ‘All Inclusive trip’?  If you book an all inclusive package, it will include airfare to your destination, transfers to and from the resort, your resort stay, all of your meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, non-motorized water sports, tips, supervised kids clubs (usually ages 2 and up) and entertainment.  You can also book an all inclusive resort separately from your air and transfers if you prefer to use points for air or hotel.  Some of the big resorts offering the all inclusive experience in Riviera Maya are Iberostar, Secrets, and Palace, just to name a few.

All inclusive travel is geared toward everyone.  There are resorts for families, adults only with honeymoon and anniversary specials, resorts that cater to weddings and big events, spring breakers, and specialty destinations.  Most resorts are located on a beach, but some specialize in natural aquatic parks, snorkeling, or night life.  You will probably fly to either Cancun or, if you are staying in Cozumel, Cozumel.  Cancun is minutes from the airport, and Playa del Carmen is closer to an hour.  You’ll need a passport if you are flying to your destination, if by chance you are driving over the border to Mexico you only need a passport card.  To learn more about passport application click here.


So how do you go about booking an All Inclusive trip?  Our preference is that you choose a travel agent, because they will have the experience to help you plan your trip.  If you are traveling with kids, they’ll steer you away from resorts packed with spring breakers.  On the other hand, if you’re on spring break, they’ll help you choose a resort that caters to night life.  If you are more comfortable managing your own plans, here are alternative options:

1.  an online travel agency — Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz.  You research a trip, book it online through their site, and you manage your plans from start to finish.  Word to the wise — once you book, call the airline to confirm your seats, and call the resort to confirm your room.  Transfers are usually an add in option.

2.  a vacation consolidator — Apple, Worry Free Vacations, Funjet — these companies buy a lot of resort rooms and have deals with the airlines, plus someone to contact if you bump into any problems along the way. Tip: find out before you go how they handle travel mishaps like missed connections, and who specifically you should contact.

3.  timeshare – if you are a member of RCI, Marriott, etc, you can book a week at an all inclusive in their family of resorts.  Typically you will need to add in the cost of the all inclusive meal plan, which often runs $100 per person, per day.  Air and transfers are probably available when booking through the timeshare.

4.  points programs — similar to the time share option, if you are a member of a points program you can often book all inclusive resorts using your Amex, Marriott,, or credit card points.  Air and transfers might be a separate item.

5.  directly with the resort — most have an online agency built into their website, where you can book your stay, and add in air and transfers.

When to go All Inclusive to the Riviera Maya?  Your best bet is between January and June.  On the Caribbean side the rainy season runs June 1 – Nov 30th.  Although, you might find better deals during the rainy season when consumer volume is down.

If you get tired of lounging by the pool or beach, there are great excursions to take.  Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Chichen Itza  — impressive ruins in the jungle, tours include buffet lunch and drinks, and many stop off at a snorkeling spot or a cenote.
  2. Tulum and Xel Ha – this is a combo tour of ruins sitting cliffside by the Caribbean Sea, with a stop at the amazing snorkeling park Xel Ha.  An amazing naturally occurring water park and can easily be a day tour in itself!
  3. The Ferry to Cozumel runs from Playa del Carmen.  Cozumel is the island you’ll be able to see off the coast of Riviera Maya ;o)

click here to read more about excursions

Your travel agent can book excursions ahead of time for you, however, I would actually recommend that you wait until you get to your resort to decide which days you want to adventure off the resort.  Weather may be better for some trips some days more so than others.  Also, since the resort has daily and nightly entertainment, there may be some shows you really don’t want to miss.

I wish I was there now!  ~ Amy

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