All-inclusive resorts, when done well, are an easy and fun way to vacation. Here is what I discovered at three amazing all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.
I never understood the appeal of all-inclusive resorts, even luxury ones. These packaged vacations, which allow you to pre-pay for most expenses—including lodging, food, cocktails, and some activities—are very popular. I stayed in one several years ago in the Dominican Republic, which was a disaster. There was no attempt to tip the hat to the country’s unique culture. The food was nearly inedible. There wasn’t much to do. And every time I left my room, I’d get stopped by salesmen hawking the property’s timeshares. It was such a disappointing experience that I promised myself I’d never vacation in another accommodation of this type again.
Later I started thinking. What if the issues I’d encountered in the Dominican Republic weren’t about the type of resort? What if it was more about the resort itself? Maybe it was just a shoddy property. I decided to try my luck again and visited La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana in Cancun and Cozumel. To my delight, I discovered that my theory was correct. When you stay in a fabulous resort, no matter the kind, you have a fabulous experience. All-inclusive resorts, when done well, are an easy and fun way to vacation. I guess you could say I’m an all-inclusive believer now. Here is what I discovered at three amazing all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.
One of the Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Cancun
There’s so much to recommend at Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive. I loved my bright, airy room, which featured a rain shower, a 55-inch smart television, and super-soft, 300-count sheets. The balcony provided a sweeping view of the pool below and the beach beyond. The pool is massive, with two levels: a swim-up bar and a children’s area.
As much as I wanted to, I didn’t have time to revel in the gorgeous water. There’s so much else to do in and around the property. Just across the street is Aquaworld, where I hopped aboard a speed boat that took me to Punta Nizuc reef. which is part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second-largest. It is home to 100-some species of fish. I swore I saw them all while snorkeling in the serene sea. Back at the hotel, I had time for a quick change before joining a beachside guacamole-making class. The result was outstanding. The guacamole is made with a basalt bowl and pestle, the most authentic way.
What to Eat
Great guac isn’t the only delish dish I sampled at Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive. With ten different eateries, the property gives guests plenty of choices, but El Mexicano was my favorite. The dining room is a pleasure, boasting handmade tiles, a charming Day of the Dead mural, and Mexican folk art sculptures. Equally festive is the fare, including caviar-topped ceviche, served in a seashell on a bed of dry ice. I’m a seafood lover, so the sea bass, accompanied by Mexican corn and pureed green peas, also hit the spot.
An Epic All-Inclusive Adventure in Cozumel
Located on the island 50 minutes from Cancun by ferry, The Explorean Cozumel kicks its all-inclusive package up a notch. Unlike many such resorts, it includes excursions in its room fee. So go ahead and dive deep into the culture of Mexico’s largest isle at the Museo de Cozumel. Get active with a biking, hiking, or kayaking expedition. It’s all covered as part of your all-inclusive bill. And that’s not all I found that distinguishes this lodge, which is styled like a Mayan village. The rooms are spread across the verdant, jungle-like ground and tucked within small individual buildings. This design made me feel like I was on a grand adventure rather than the usual vacation.
Another fantastic adventure was snorkeling the nearby reefs. One beautiful place is Palancar Reef, which is part of the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel. I explored it with a resort guide. The emerald-colored water is so translucent that I easily spotted sea life 15 feet below. There were brilliantly-hued tropical animals everywhere, from funny-faced parrot fish with their little beak-like mouths to graceful, long-finned angelfish. The most thrilling sights were the massive barracuda that the guide pointed out and the small ray that I noticed against the ocean floor.
The Cream of Cancun’s Crop of Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts
If you feel like splurging, I can’t recommend Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort enough. As part of the brand’s premium line of properties, the hotel rests on a spectacular slice of the beach. Its white sand is fine enough in its consistency to be reminiscent of baby powder. The calm, clear water is a shade of green so soothing that my cares melted away before I was completely submerged beneath it.
A Great Spa
For pure peacefulness, it’s tough to beat the resort’s 40,000-square-foot Gem Spa. Sleek and modern, it’s designed with Italian mosaics and marble that help to create a spa environment as luxe as any I’ve ever encountered. Treatments begin with a pampering ten-step hydrotherapy ritual. It took me from the sauna to shower to the steam room and then through a succession of hot and cold pools. I thought I couldn’t get more relaxed until I climbed on a table for my massage. My therapist worked every remaining bit of stress from my body, leaving me as relaxed as overcooked pasta.
Where to Eat
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort offers superior food options at each of its 13 bars and restaurants, which is part of the resort’s razzle-dazzle. I loved the French-Mediterranean fare at the AAA Five Diamond Le Basilic. I fell hard for the display of Mexican art, the ballet dancers that twirled between tables, and delicious dishes like escargot. The snails were expertly presented in-shell, with toast points. The Table, which blended elevated Mexican cuisine with an immersive multimedia presentation about the Yucatan Peninsula’s history, also impressed me.
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A Dream Vacation
A huge thank you to the La Colección Resorts by Fiesta Americana, which I stayed at in Cancun and Cozumel. I now understand why many people love all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. When done right—the way Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive, The Explorean Cozumel, and Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort do it—these packaged vacations are a dream. How can you not enjoy loads of adventure, fabulous food, and a big heaping of Mexican culture, all mainly for one price? I sure don’t want to wake up if it is a dream. When planning your next all-inclusive resort vacation, whether it is in Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, let Wander with Wonder be your guide.