It’s fun to make fun of all-inclusive hotels and to deride anyone who stays at one as a fat, clueless tourist. But if you’ve been to one, you know that in small doses they can be good fun. Maybe not for a week, especially if some bimbo (or the male equivalent) is screeching into a poolside microphone all day, trying to get people to participate in silly contests and water volleyball. A day or two of unlimited cocktails, watersports, and gorge-worthy buffet food can be a nice break from “real travel,” however.
This day pass article from Budget Travel picks some strange places to feature because they were focusing on cruise ports, but the idea is sound for non-cruisers too. In the examples here, you pay anywhere from $45 to $100 to act like you’re a hotel guest, with all the same privileges. Even though one is from Cozumel, I’ve seen day passes for $35 in Puerto Vallarta and have personally paid $37 at the Reef Yucatan resort near Merida. (Even better, my skinny daughter was half price even though she can out-eat me most days.)
So if you’re near a resort area, but don’t want to pay $400 a night for two, stay somewhere with more character and then get a day pass to the fantasy land place. Call around and ask as some don’t post that they offer a pass, but most of the Allegro and Occidental resorts do, for a start. Just be sure to take public transportation: those free-flowing drinks really sneak up on you when you’re not opening your wallet.