My First Time At An All-Inclusive

On our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta Mexico I experienced a lot of firsts. It was the first time to use my passport. It was my first international flight. It was also my very first time to stay at an all inclusive resort. 

I love traveling and also truly thrive on the vacation planning process.  Researching flights, hotels and excursions is something I thoroughly enjoy. However for our Puerto Vallarta getaway I also had my first experience with using a travel agency. 
My cousin took care of all of the details and all I had to do was fork over the money.  I will admit it was a little difficult giving up control but let me tell you I am so grateful to have had that expertise while navigating my first international vacation. So many details I would have had no idea about were already taken care of and I got to concentrate on just having fun and relaxing.  After all that’s what vacation is all about right? 

The resort we stayed at was the Crown Paradise Golden.  This was adult only hotel with it’s family friendly sister facility, Crown Paradise Club, adjoining it.
Of course the biggest appeal with an all inclusive is that everything is included in the initial cost.  As a matter of fact I didn’t even give my credit card info to the hotel. 

There were 3 restaurants, 1 pool side grill and 3 bars at our disposal. Plus 24 hour room service for a small, as in less than $5, convenience fee.  Tipping was accepted and appreciated but not mandatory. 

In addition to our hotels accommodations there were also amenities shared between the two Crown Paradise resorts. These included Club Nitro, the live entertainment venue. I must say that when we visited the shows were definitely more kid oriented, but I think that changes periodically.

There was also tennis courts and a basketball court available, although rarely used.  Scheduled events throughout the day included water aerobics, beach volleyball and Bingo. There was also ample room at the pool and beach for relaxing and working on your tan. 

Our resort was nice but was currently undergoing some much needed renovations.  The spa services, which are available for an additional cost, were being upgraded.  Also the elevators and rooms were also needing some TLC. 

The restaurants however were top notch. They were elegant and the food and service was great. 

In addition to the restaurants at our hotel we also had available to us the restaurants at the family friendly resort. These included an Italian option as well as  a Japanese cuisine restaurant. There was also a very kid friendly buffet with tons of great options.

While our hotel was undergoing renovations, the Crown Paradise Club appeared to be completely up to date. They had 3 pools available as well as a playground and zip lining. It would be awesome for a family with small children!

Although not included in the all inclusive amenities the resort also offered weddings, vow renewals, honeymoon packages and professional photography.  We were lucky enough to win a free photo shoot and picture. Of course there were others available to purchase but we opted to just stick with the free option and absolutely love it!

Another big advantage I found with an all inclusive resort is that if you didn’t want to leave the resort there would be plenty of things to keep you busy. Especially when in a foreign country when safety could be an issue I found this to be particularly reassuring. 

So, the big question, would I recommend an all inclusive resort in the future? I must admit the hubby and I are somewhat divided on this issue.  He absolutely loved never having to think about where we were going to eat and being able to try as many different foods and drinks as he wanted.  

I appreciated always having a gourmet meal readily available at no additional cost. BUT, I love exploring new places, trying the local cuisine and truly experiencing a new culture.  

This particular all inclusive trip allowed for the best of both worlds.  Visiting Puerto Vallarta in October is very affordable as it just before the prime time season which starts in November. 

So I guess it really boils down to what you are looking for. If total rest and relaxation is your main goal than you can’t go wrong with an all inclusive resort.

But if you’re more like me and wanting to explore and experience as much as you can then perhaps it’s not always the best option.

Either way the most important thing is the time spent with family and friends. So I’ll keep looking forward to my next adventures as the hubby and I keep collecting memories a we go.

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