The Pros and Cons to Staying at an All-Inclusive Resort

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.

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We are back from Aruba!

It was incredibly beautiful there.  We went during the off-season and it felt like we had the entire beach to ourselves.  I have only ever vacationed in the Caribbean during the off-season and I highly suggest it!  I’ve heard that during the busy season people fight for beach chairs and there is no room on the beach.  I would hate that!

This was my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort and I don’t think it will be the last!  I really enjoyed having everything included in the original price.  It was really convenient.

We stayed at the Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive the entire time.  It was so beautiful!  Every room there is ocean view and the view is heavenly!  We were 20 feet from the beach.  I loved it there!

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.
The beach at the resort.

Our room was in the last building on the grounds so it was a little bit of a hike to get to the restaurants and concierge desk and the shops on the resort, but honestly, we really didn’t mind.  We were on island time.  There is no hurry.  We enjoyed the little stroll that we had to take.

If you are planning a trip to Aruba, but don’t have a hotel booked yet, check out the Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive!  We would go back there in a heartbeat.  If you aren’t sure about staying in an All-Inclusive, let me help you decide.

They are not paying me to say that.  This is not a sponsored post, and I don’t have a single affiliate link in this post.  All recommendations are my own.

Pros to staying at an All-Inclusive Resort

You could spend your whole vacation at the resort if that’s what you wanted to do.

If you are looking for a relaxing vacation and don’t want to do anything except sit on the beach and read a book or watch the waves roll in and daydream, then book an All-Inclusive.

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.
More beaches!

This was how we spent most of our vacation and it was glorious.

You don’t need to worry about finding a restaurant for dinner.

All the restaurants are right there at the resort for your dining pleasure.  While we were told we still had to book reservations for the restaurants on site, it was still nice to not have to wander around a strange unfamiliar place looking for someplace to eat.

Drinks are free!

We always made sure to leave a tip at the bars and restaurants so I guess technically dinner and drinks weren’t free, but it was sure nice to not have to pay $8 for a glass of wine or Pina Colada.  The Frugal Turtle’s aren’t big drinkers, so while we never imbibed too much, it was a nice treat to have a couple of drinks at the bar and hide from the sun for a bit in the afternoon.

The workers at the concierge desk are extremely helpful

I can’t say this for every All-Inclusive resort, but Claudia at the Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive was super friendly and helpful when we were making our dinner reservations for the week and planning our excursions.  She helped us pick out some really fun things to do during our stay on Aruba.

One day we went on a tour of the island on these open-air Land Rovers.  We were off-roading for part of it.  The ride was insane!  It was super bumpy and even though I was belted in, I came up off my seat several times!  I may or may not have let out a little scream once or twice.  But it was super fun!  We got to see the National Park, a lighthouse, a beautiful chapel and we went to a beach that we would have never seen otherwise and got to go swimming for a bit.

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.
Entering the National Park in Aruba.

Another day we went to De Palm Island which is an all-inclusive island where the price of admission included a zipline that you could go on as many times as you wanted, a really fun water park where you feel like a kid again, snorkeling gear, meals, drinks, and more!  We didn’t do everything that the island had to offer.  There was too much and not enough time!

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.
Snorkeling on De Palm Island.

Cons of staying at an All-Inclusive resort

Everything you need is on the resort property.

This is pretty similar to the first “pro” above.  Depending on what type of vacation you want to experience, this can be a pro or a con.  Besides leaving the resort for our daily excursions, we never left the grounds.  There were so many more things I wanted to do in Aruba.  I wanted to go shopping in the flea markets, and visit the city to see the architecture.   I never got to do that.  If we had stayed at a hotel that wasn’t all-inclusive, maybe I would have been able to do those things.

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You feel like you should eat at the restaurants at the resort.

After all, it is free.  This point goes along with the first one above.  At the Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive there are five “free”restaurants, plus two that have an additional surcharge.  The Tamarijn also has a “sister” hotel a five-minute walk away where you have even more choices for a free dinner.

If we had stayed at a regular hotel and had the whole island to choose from for meals, I feel like I would have gotten to know Aruba a little better than I did.  I know, I know, we could have ventured away from our all-inclusive for a meal or two, but…our meals were free.  And delicious.

We missed out on the island’s culture.

Everyone we encountered on Aruba was so nice and helpful and friendly.  I just wish we could have gotten to know them and their culture a little more.  The only souvenirs we left with were the pictures we took.  There was a little gift shop at our hotel, but those weren’t the souvenirs I would have wanted.  I really would have loved to check out some local stores away from the touristy areas.  That’s where all the cool stuff is.

Can I let you in on a little secret?  All these “cons” are just excuses to go back and visit Aruba again!

We were only in Aruba for four nights.  If you are planning a vacation there, make it longer than that!  Like I’ve said several times already, there was so much more I wanted to do, but not enough time.  The next vacation there needs to be two weeks, minimum.

While I loved staying at the Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive and would recommend it to anyone, for my next tropical vacation I think I’m going to change it up.  One week at an all-inclusive and one week at a regular hotel.  That way I would get the best of both worlds.

what are your thoughts on staying at an all-inclusive resort? do you like it, or hate it?  Please share in the comments below!

Here's a recap of our vacation in Aruba! We enjoyed our stay at an all-inclusive resort. Here is our all-inclusive review with pros and cons.

 

Frugal Turtle is on Pinterest and recently started a group board for Early Retirement Dreamers.  If you want to join and pin some of your awesome early retirement content, please contact me!

 

3 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons to Staying at an All-Inclusive Resort”

  1. We went all-inclusive for our beach honeymoon in the Caribbean. Such a great decision: we talk about it at least once a week, and we’re looking forward to the day when we take another trip like that. You’ve summed up the differences well. After a stressful period, there’s so much to be said for chillin on the beach with endless free umbrella drinks, sailboating, swimming, or doing nothing at all. We also learned that we love snorkeling (at least when I’m not breathing in the water!). We would do it again in a heartbeat, too.

    1. That sounds like how I snorkle! I freak out once or twice when I first breathe in some water, but then I get the hang of it and have an awesome time. Mr. Frugal Turtle was trying to stay by me when we were snorkeling, but he said I was all over the place and he eventually gave up trying to chase me down!
      I love the Caribbean. I haven’t been anywhere I never wanted to see again. One of my dreams when I was younger was to live on a tropical island. I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore, but I’m still kinda young, so we’ll see. 🙂
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. I’ve never stayed at an all inclusive resort before.
    Whenever I traveled, I either stayed with close friends or family (when possible..) or rented something with a kitchen and a bed. I feel like renting (via AirBnb or Booking or etc.) is much cheaper if done in time and, like you mentioned, you get to experience the “real deal”.

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