All-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are extremely popular with families, thanks to their beautiful beaches, fun water sports, and low-key kids programs. The best part is that they're budget-friendly and convenient, with everything you need (restaurants, activities, lodging) in one large resort complex. But before you jet off, there are some tips you should know.
Tips for Your Stay
- Don't Play Prima Donna: It's nuts to feel entitled to five-star service at a value price. Enjoy what the resort offers, focus on the best features, and be happy you're saving money.
- Do the Due Diligence: For any property, read recent visitor comments. Remember, there will always be ranters and ravers, so peruse a broad sample and read between the lines.
- Do The Math: Be sure to factor in the cost of transportation to the resort, especially airfare and ground transfers. Consider if a resort's location will mean a hefty additional cost to get to and from the airport.
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, Aruba
Divi Resorts are known for their gorgeous beach settings, laid-back vibe, and affordability. Kids age 12 and under always stay and eat for free.
One of the favorite properties is Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. Set on a dreamy beach surrounded by Aruba's crystalline waters, the resort offers convenient villas (studios to two bedrooms) that sleep up to six and feature fully equipped kitchens. Divi offers multiple pools, bars and restaurants, a 30-foot climbing wall, bikes, a gym, children’s camp, as well as standard resort favorites like snorkeling, scuba diving, and tennis. There's a drop-in kids camp for ages 4 to 12. Activities include scavenger hunts and sandcastle contests, as well as movie nights several times a week.
Azul Beach Hotel, Mexico
Azul Beach Hotel is a great find on the Mayan Riviera thanks to its family-friendly vibe and frequent deals. The "gourmet-inclusive" concept means a la carte dining and 24-hour room service is also included in the all-inclusive rate. Just 20 minutes from the Cancun airport, this is a fabulous choice for families with little ones. Cribs and rollaway beds are complimentary upon request and highchairs are available in restaurants. You can borrow baby gear (strollers, cribs, sterilizers, and so on) during your stay, too. Families will love the five pools, a gym, children’s camp, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving. The resort also offers Gourmet Gerber, a special all-inclusive meal plan just for babies.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort, Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic, Grand Palladium Punta Cana delivers a good-value all-inclusive beach experience where kids age 12 and under stay for free. Rates include accommodations, meals (including both a la carte and buffet offerings), activities (including non-motorized watersports), childrens programs, rollaway beds, and WiFi. There are multiple pools, sugar soft beaches, and a range of activities during the day. Children will love the three kids clubs: the Mini Club for kids ages 4-12 and Junior Club for ages 13-19, and Baby Club for ages 1-3.
Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa, St. Lucia
St. Lucia is famous for its scenic beauty, and especially for the twin peaks of the Pitons in the southwest. The island has jungles, plantations, and coral reefs. Stay at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort, an all inclusive resort in St. Lucia that has great wallet-friendly rates as well as tons of kids' activities.
The 85-acre resort features a private adult's only pool and lounge area by the spa. Children will love the water park with slides and a lazy river as well as the Cocoland kids club. The resort is on the Atlantic coast, on the southeast tip of the island, just five minutes from the Hewanorra International Airport.
Viva Wyndham Tangerine, Dominican Republic
Viva Resorts had six all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. One of the best is the Viva Wyndham Tangerine, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. A short walk along the beach leads to Cabarate Bay (a fun place to watch kite-boarding) and the town of Cabarate. The resort has a Kids Club is for ages four to twelve, a large free form pool with shallow play area and separate baby zone, water sports, daily activities, and more.