By / 23rd September, 2016 / places to stay / Off

Why I don’t like All Inclusive’s

I don’t like all inclusives:  Give me the real thing!

I’m sorry if I am offending anyone when I say, I don’t like all inclusives.  I love to travel and I love to eat at the best places that the locals go to.  I love watching people whether it’s sitting in an outdoor cafe in Paris, or walking through the farmer’s market in Bangkok or the Central Market in Phnom Phen, or strolling down 5th Avenue, La Quinta, in Playa del Carmen and stopping for a gelato, a drink, or a latte at a cute little place.  It’s real, it’s unique and it’s what makes travel such a fun learning experience.

Don’t get me wrong, the all inclusives can be beautiful properties with lots to do, but I need the real thing when I travel.

Why I don’t like all inclusives

In Playa del Carmen there are all inclusives that have thousands of rooms on the property – Barcelo has 5000 rooms.  Are you kidding me?  Is this someone’s idea of a romantic get-away or a relaxing vacation? You look at pictures for the all inclusives and you only see a few romantic couples on the beach or in the pool.  The reality is you’ll never find a quiet place with 5000+ people.

  • why I don't lik all inclusives


I don't like all inclusives

Here’s additional reasons for my not liking all inclusives:

  1.  Drink till you drop.  I hear from people all the time that they go to all inclusives because of the free booze (it isn’t really free, but we’ll get back to that later).  At this point in my life I don’t need to drink till I drop
  2.  Same people every day.  It’s like being on a cruise ship and seeing the same people every day.  If you like them it’s good, but if you don’t (and how many people have you met on vacation that you want to remain in touch with?) you start dodging areas like the pool because you don’t want to have to spend another minute with them.
  3. Time to play a game!!  I don’t want to hear a guy over the loudspeaker, again and again, organizing a team for a game of something, then announcing the game and cheering people on.  I want to sip my margharita, read my book, and watch people as they stroll the beach.  Boring?  Not to me and my friends.
  4. Most of the guests are Americans.  I was born and raised in the USA, but I’ve traveled the world and love other cultures and countries.  I don’t want to sit next to another American who tells me how much better everything is in the US than the country we are in. I can stay home and have that conversation.
  5. They want to keep you on the property!  In many areas the all inclusives have a deal with the taxi drivers.  It’s about $50 to take someone from an all inclusive to the downtown area of Playa or Puerto Vallarta, but only $10  to ride back.  The properties don’t want people to see what they are missing in town so they jack the prices up for guests to leave.

I’ve tried all inclusives and was turned off by the every day sameness of the surroundings, people and food.  This isn’t Disney and I don’t need a sterilized setting when I travel out of the country.  This morning I happened to stumble on someone else’s blog post, Pin the Map Project,  that summed it all up for me.  Here’s a  link to it,  Why I Hate All Inclusives

I love this website and blog, and I hope you do too.  Enjoy the day!!

Here’s the 5 main lessons of the article, but read the article

  1.  All-Inclusive resorts tend to be isolated.
  2.  The “sprawling resort” becomes small, fast.
  3. The guests are a…certain type of traveler.
  4. The food is good but forgettable.
  5. Visiting and leaving a country without ever seeing it.


So who wrote this blog I am in such synch with?  Here’s the blogger team:

Nikki Vargas
Nikki is the Founder of The Pin the Map Project and started her blog four years ago as a way to flex her travel writing muscles and see the world.

Becky Kivlovitz
Staff Travel Writer

You can find her either on the trail, re-reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, or planning her next great adventure:

Christine Stoddard
Staff Travel Writer

. Learn more at

Camha Pham
Staff Travel Writer
Camha also blogs at Curated by Cammi. Follow her on Instagram at @curatedbycammi or on Twitter