10 Bargain Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts

Nothing beats the Caribbean when it comes to blissful beach days, and nothing compares to an all-inclusive for convenience.
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Cumulonimbus cloud developing in the sky.
Cumulonimbus cloud developing in the sky.

Nothing beats the Caribbean when it comes to blissful beach days, and nothing compares to an all-inclusive for convenience. But prices can be all over the map, with some resorts topping out at thousands per night. So we went on the hunt for top-quality resorts with awesome amenities that offer surprisingly affordable rates.

Nightly rates are accurate as of press time. Keep in mind that while all-inclusive prices are generally higher than rack rates at regular hotels, these prices include meals and activities; some even cover alcohol.

ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaica is the place to go if you want to have a Caribbean getaway without depleting your bank account. Among the island's many resorts, ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios ranks highly when it comes to saving money without sacrificing cool amenities. Windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and one introductory diving lesson are all part of the all-inclusive rate, which means you'll never get bored. And unlimited local and imported alcoholic beverages means you can relax easy after a busy day on that turquoise water.

Nightly rates start at $125 per person.

Gran Caribe Cancun, Mexico

All-inclusive resorts are a dime a docena in Cancun, so it's not exactly easy to sort the good from the merely OK. Gran Caribe Cancun is certainly in the former category. The resort is known for being ultra-family-friendly with its all-suite accommodations and tons of inclusions. Five restaurants, included room service, and unlimited beer, wine, and cocktails make eating (and drinking) an exciting diversion. A teens' club and pirate-themed water park insure Mom and Dad against cries of boredom.

Nightly rates start at $149 per person.

Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort and Palace Deluxe, Dominican Republic

This vast resort in Punta Cana is a favorite of Caribbean insiders. The beachfront complex is made up of two resorts: family-friendly Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe and adults-only Barcelo Bavaro Beach. Both offer inclusions you'll love, whether you're eight or 88, from nightclubs to catamaran rentals. Each resort includes access to a wide array of restaurants and bars, plus a mile of well-maintained beachfront abutting a coral reef.

Nightly rates for Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe start at $116 per person; nightly rates for adults-only Barcelo Bavaro Beach start at $122 per person.

Breezes Resort & Spa, Bahamas

The Bahamas are less than an hour from Miami via a cheap flight, which makes the island chain incredibly popular with vacationers. But the Bahamas can be surprisingly expensive, with few true all-inclusives and an average high-season rate of $458-plus per night (ouch). Luckily, Breezes Resort & Spa undercuts that price tag--with plenty of amenities to boot. Activities like rock climbing, tennis, and sailing as well as nightly entertainment and even free weddings are all included.

Nightly rates start at $215 per person.

Santa Barbara Beach Resort, Curacao

How do 27 acres of protected natural preserve and soft, sandy beach sound? At the AAA Four Diamond Santa Barbara Beach Resort on Curacao, those stunning natural features are at your disposal, alongside unique activities like meditation hikes and paddleboarding. The property's warm, current-free seashore is the best place to try out a new water activity, while spacious rooms offer private balconies and modern decor (no tired pastel florals here). Guests who choose the all-inclusive rate also get discounted services at the Atabei Spa and a nearby golf course.

All-inclusive nightly rates start at $199 per person.

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, St. Maarten

The list of inclusions at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino (the largest resort on the island) is exhaustive: unlimited drinks, meals, and snacks; minibar service; cocktail and beach parties; Wi-Fi access; activities; and even a $10 credit at the on-site casino. Best of all, children five years and under stay and eat for free, and a bustling kids' club with supervised activities means you can escape from the little ones. You know, when you need a vacation from your vacation.

Nightly rates start at $165 per person.

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Thomas is one of our favorite Caribbean islands (not least of all because you don't need a passport to visit). Here, find the small, intimate Bolongo Bay Beach Resort. With just 62 beachfront rooms and super-friendly service, Bolongo Bay is the affordable and laid-back Caribbean vacation you need. Hobie Cats, kayaks, aqua trikes, and snorkel gear are all included, so you can explore the Virgin Islands' amazing reefs; afterward, a beachside grill and a swim-up bar provide the perfect way to relax.

Nightly rates start at $215 per person.

Cocobay Resort, Antigua

Gingerbread cottages with high ceilings and dark wood floors. Hammocks swinging on private porches. Two white-sand beaches. Guests in elegant resort wear. So there, right? At Cocobay Resort on the island of Antigua, good design doesn't preclude a good deal. The resort's all-inclusive rate covers food and beverages from two restaurants, plus all sorts of activities, including nature walks guided by the property's medicine man. This dressed-up resort is a favorite among honeymooners and romance seekers.

Nightly rates start at $205 per person.

Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, Mexico

A five-star all-inclusive for under $200 a pop? At Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, you got it. Rooms done up in colonial decor and warm hues give way to fine sand. A convenient location in Riviera Maya between Cancun and Playa del Carmen means nightlife is never far away. But the resort has plenty of daytime distractions, from aquatic sports to daily activities to disco options for both teens and adults. And with 24-hour room service, you'll have something to nibble no matter when and where.

Pachira Lodge, Costa Rica

Want to do something totally different? Skip the islands and head to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and the extraordinary Pachira Lodge instead. While it doesn't have towers of rooms or a million restaurants, this tucked-away lodge includes frills the others don't have, from guided tours of the surrounding national park to up-close peeks at nesting green sea turtles. All buffet-style meals are included in the rate at this relaxing hideaway. Best of all, you won't find a single TV--ah, bliss.

Three days' accommodations, including boat transfer and all meals, start at $339 per person.

--By Dara Continenza

Read the original story: 10 Bargain Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts by Dara Continenza, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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