The perks of an all-inclusive resort

My family travels a lot, to places that I probably would appreciate more now than when we were actually there as kids. But out of all those trips we haven’t thought to stay at an all-inclusive (that I know of). If you consider cruise ships as all-inclusive, then yes we have been on a lot. Probably too much. To say the least, this was the first time I’ve stayed at an all inclusive resort.

After a semester abroad, and a heavy work load this semester, Connor and I decided to go on a trip ourselves. It took a bit of convincing for me to agree to take the time off from my new internship at Discovery, but we planned it out. We decided to go to Cancun, Mexico. Yup, *the* place to be on Spring Break. Except there weren’t young college kids drunkenly raiding the beach, but a handful of wedding goers celebrating their newly wedded friends.

We first looked into Riu Hotel Palace Las Americas it seemed like the perfect place to unwind, lay on the beach, have a few drinks and go to dinner. Except, it was fully booked for the week we wanted. Therefore leading us to go with our second choice Sandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort. It was a nice resort for the two of us, sporting four restaurants (including the buffet), three bars (one exclusively for their Elite members), and three infinity pools. It was a quieter hotel that had a few activities for their guests to participate in.

After had staying there for a week there are a few things that I’ve come to appreciate at an all-inclusive.

Food is free. That’s right you don’t have to pay for food at any of the restaurants. Tips can be left, but other than that your bill is covered within your one time reservation fee when booking the hotel. For us we really appreciated this factor when it came to having dinner at the Italian restaurant and the hibachi restaurant. They both made great date nights and gave us the opportunity to dress up a little. The buffet breakfast was consistent, but could be switched up a bit with a little more variety.

Along with the food being free, drinks were free as well. All types of drinks. Any kind of drink. The first few times the bartenders left us tasting only juice by the poolside. Eventually we had gotten up to go to the bar ourselves, and left a tip. A little more flare was added but hardly noticed. The third time around we went we left another tip, and started to taste it. The fourth time, they recognized us and we all started to chat (mostly Connor per usual). After that we knew their name and took all of their recommendations.

Besides the lovely three infinity pools that you could call your backyard for the week, Cancun has quite a bit of excursions. One that we did was visit Xcaret, an eco-amusement park. It is the number one thing to do on Tripadvisor when visiting Cancun. Originally Connor had made these plans with the intentions of it being a surprise. But eventually had to tell me we were going to prevent me from booking a conflicting tour. We booked it through the hotel figuring it would be cheaper to book there rather than online– which it was. Transportation was provided, a little unconventional but we did get there safely.

The park itself was incredible with its’ lush greenery surrounding you, exotic animals in their respective habitats, and rich cultural teachings. We decided to do the underground river that goes through the park and allows you to appreciate the tropical ecosystem around you. Life vests and fins were provide to help you swim through with ease. Since we had breakfast at 6:30 in the morning, we were pretty hungry by the end of the river at 11:30AM. Our tour came with one free lunch buffet, that had quite a bit of selection. Following we visited the butterfly pavilion where one could climb it’s three tiered structure to watch butterflies. Next door was the wild bird aviary, we saw few week old parrots being cared for compared to their adult counter parts who flew around in the facility. There was a larger incubator with bunches of Quail eggs in the midst of being hatched. Needless to say Connor was a mother of baby Quail Johnny, Jerry, and Jimmy that day. We saw various other animals through out the park, but one of them mean the most to me.

The purpose of visiting the park was at 2:30PM. Connor had specifically chose this excursion so we could fulfill my dream of swimming with sharks. I had been a shark enthusiast all throughout high school and college; and had always wanted to swim with sharks. With that at hand he wanted to surprise me by making this happen. And he did. We got a short show and info session of the nursing sharks they had at the park. It was followed by a 40 minute swim session with them in their tank. They’re one of the most gentle sharks that I know, who’s diet consists of shell fish. Of course we bought the pictures they had taken of us to commemorate the event.

One thing about a good hotel is that they go out of their way accommodate their guest. It was our last full day in Cancun and we figured we should do something different for dinner. It seemed that our only option was to go to dinner downtown, which would probably be even more costly considering it was a Friday night. My mother pushed us to go somewhere, and bugged me to go downstairs and as concierge. I went down after much convincing and asked if they had any dinner cruises or night activities for that night. Mind you it was 4PM already.

Concierge introduced me to the third party excursion representative across the lobby who had a ton of fliers. Everywhere. I asked about dinner cruises that could squeeze us in last minute. Just the words “dinner” and “cruise” and dug through his pile of fliers and presented the flier for Columbus Couples Dinner Cruise. They were having a special of $200 per a couple, it included a steak and lobster dinner, drinks included, and live music. Plus, it was a sunset cruise. Considering that we have been craving lobster all week but could not find it, the offer seemed super appealing. To keep our options open he suggested a few more tours like Xoximilco, a Mexican cultural dinner cruise with live music; and the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship dinner, where… there are pirates.

After bringing the options upstairs we decided to go with Columbus Cruise because our craving for lobsters had taken over us. We got ready within the spared hour and a half to before leaving to the marina where the boat was. As predicted we were the youngest couple there, but had a fantastic time. The crew was incredibly accommodating and the food was great. We met lovely people and had an overall great time. And of course we bought the pictures they had taken.

To top off our last night we went on the beach to watch the sea turtles come up the sand to lay their eggs. It was something we both haven’t seen before, and it definitely was a one of a kind experience. These creatures had to be bigger than the size of my outdoor garbage can lids. It was insane.

But what saddens me are the tourist who decide to disturb and scare these new mothers with the flash of their phone cameras and their impulse decision to pet them while they’re nesting or coming up to the beach. This leaves the turtle scared, disturbed, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if they were pissed off. These feelings leads them to leaving the beach without completing their biological routine. But for those who are able to lay their eggs peacefully, most hotel resorts would mark the nest or carry the eggs to a designated part of their beach to keep safe. It encourages the natural life cycle without disrupting their guests’ time on the beach.

The overall trip was slow and relaxing, but also adventurous and exciting at the same time. Now back at work, both in our usual routines, we can say we are well rested and that all is swell.

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