Spring break is here, and those on a budget shouldn’t rule out a trip to sun-soaked Caribbean beaches. Budget-friendly all-inclusives dot the shores of some of our favorite destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Cancun and Jamaica. It’s time to pack your bags and hitch a flight to warmer weather.
With competitive pricing, lovely rooms and great on-site amenities, this 70-room boutique hotel will attract people who never thought they’d choose an all-inclusive package. With three restaurants and cabanas on the terrace, Waves has a contemporary appeal especially for couples. The quiet beach along Prospect Bay feels private, and the calm waves are perfect for swimming and kayaking. A spa and adults-only pool across the street are extra perks. Details: www.wavesbeachresort.com.
Jamaica Resort & Spa
The Grand Palladium, a mega-resort on Jamaica’s north coast, feels like a shopping mall but is expansive enough for privacy, romance and fun. It has five pools, large rooms, tasty breakfasts, mini-golf and more – all for lower rates than lesser-equipped all-inclusives. But its remote locale comes with rocky, manmade beaches. Details: www.grandpalladiumjamaicaresort.com.
Gran Caribe Real Resort
& Spa, Cancun, Mexico
The massive Gran Caribe in Cancun’s Hotel Zone features a great location with bright white sands and clear waters just steps from the rooms, all of which are suites with living areas, balconies or terraces, and updated marble bathrooms. With eight restaurants, kids’ club, teen club, waterpark and squash courts on-site, the Gran Caribe is an excellent value, especially for families. Details: www.realresorts.com.
Aruba Marriott Resort
& Stellaris Casino
The Aruba Marriott Resort is fancier than its neighbor, the Marriott Surf Club, but paradoxically, it usually costs a lot less. It has bright, airy rooms with fast Wi-Fi, a superb beach with clear water, and one of Aruba’s best casinos, as well as a fitness center, spa, and a lagoon-shaped pool with a waterfall and a swim-up bar. Prices may be higher than at some of the other properties on this list, but you get a lot of bang for your buck at this all-inclusive. Details: http://bit.ly/1iSloAk.
Solmar Resort All-Inclusive,
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
This midrange all-inclusive property is on the smaller side, so guests get all of the perks of an all-inclusive in a more intimate environment. The real highlight is the hotel’s beachfront location, within walking distance of the marina and downtown. All rooms are suites with kitchenettes, but decor-wise they are a bit out-of-date. There is also a spa that features services on the beach. Details: www.solmarcabosanlucas.com.
Samba Vallarta All-Inclusive, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Compared to the massive hotels at the north end of Nuevo Vallarta, the Samba Vallarta’s 183-room Spanish colonial-style building feels pleasantly small-scale – and the pools and beach tend to be less crowded. The ambiance is family-friendly and relaxed. Details: www.sambavallarta.com.
Dominicus Beach, Dominican Republic
Quality food, oceanfront bungalows, free trapeze lessons and beachside canopy beds make this 600-room all-inclusive an excellent value. There are some minor cleanliness issues, like debris in the pool, but the beach has some of the softest sand and clearest water in the Dominican Republic. Details: http://bit.ly/1oimSJL.
El Cozumeleno Beach Resort, Cozumel, Mexico
El Cozumeleno is a mid-range all-inclusive resort on a long, narrow beach in northern Cozumel. The pools are the highlight (one has a popular swim-up bar), but golf is also a draw as the resort is across the street from the island’s only golf course (guests get discounted rates). Details: www.elcozumeleno.com.