All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts For The Budget-Minded
By Burt Carey
With nearly 300 all-inclusive resorts throughout the Caribbean, places such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Aruba attract large numbers of visitors during the winter
months. But even during peak season, there are bargains to be had.
For the serious penny-pincher, the Dominican Republic offers by far the best value for those looking to get away and pay one price for a luxury hotel, food and drink.
High season in the Caribbean runs from December through April. “Shoulder” season rates apply in May and November, and June through October are considered low season. Resorts can drop prices considerably for low-season visitors, but keep in mind that those months also represent hurricane season.
Below are some of the year’s best deals for all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
If scuba diving and snorkeling aren’t your things, you’re likely to enjoy the long beaches along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic at Puerto Plata. Package holidays are a specialty for this area, with more than two dozen all-inclusive resorts that year-in and year-out rank as the best bargains in the Caribbean.
These packages are in the 3-star category. You won’t find 5-star accommodations, amenities or service, but Puerto Plata does give you plenty of room to get sand between your toes and bathe your body in near 90-degree sunshine.
Here you’ll find rates during the high season as low as $135 up to $375 for two people per night. Day and night-time activities and, of course, all of your food and drink are included. Keep in mind that ocean views and other upgrades will cost a bit more. Low-season rates can go as low as $80 per night for two people, a real bargain.
Flying in, you’ll land at the Gregorio Luperón International Airport, which is served by non-stop flights from Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, New York-JFK, Newark, Calgary, Montréal-Trudeau, Québec City, Toronto-Pearson and Vancouver in North American, and several cities in Europe.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is a step up from Puerto Plata, and offers nearly 60 all-inclusive resorts with rates that range from $188 to $708 per night for two people during the high season.
Before booking a resort, you should check online reviews from previous guests. The deals are good and prices are generally the same for resorts at the Dominican Republic’s far eastern shores, so the online reviews are the best way to find resorts with the best services and amenities.
White sandy beaches dominate the shoreline of Punta Cana, which draw a large international clientele during the high season.
The Punta Cana International Airport is one of the busiest airports in all of the Caribbean. It is serviced with non-stop flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, and several cities in Europe.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay, on Jamaica’s north shore, can become a bit pricey, with double-occupancy rates that range from $199 to nearly $1,100 per night during the high season. Low-season rates can be the best bargain, from $179 to $551.
All-inclusive resorts dominate the hotel scene here, as evidenced by the international crowd that comes from the United States, Canada, the UK and Germany. Most visitors spend their time on hotel property and beaches, as the town nearby doesn’t offer amenities as good as you’ll find them at the hotel.
Sangster International Airport is close to the city of Montego Bay and is serviced non-stop from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Calgary, Edmonton, Moncton, Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Québec City, Toronto-Pearson, Winnipeg and Vancouver in North America.
The southern Caribbean island of Aruba sits off the coast of Venezuela and is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With prices that range from $410 to $611 per night based on double occupancy, the all-inclusive resorts along the island’s west coast aren’t bottom-end, but they are still a good value for the experience.
You won’t find volcanic flows or mountains, as Aruba is a flat island, and it’s dry for the most part. Hurricanes rarely dip this far south in the Caribbean, so a low-season stay (with rates ranging from $297 to $532) could be a great bargain.
You’ll fly into Queen Beatrix International Airport on a non-stop flight from one of these North American cities: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Houston, Chicago or Toronto.