The last leg of our trip in Costa Rica we stayed in Guanacaste. We thought it would be good to wind down by the beach for a few days before we headed home. We decided to stay at an all-inclusive resort for the first time. Typically at an all-inclusive resort your room, food, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), nightly entertainment, non-motorized water sports, taxes, and fees are included. This held true at Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica.
A few words about Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica:
We really loved this hotel. Everything was clean. Our room was nice, we were on the fifth floor overlooking the pool and the ocean. Our mini-bar was always filled to the brim with a menagerie of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Room service was available 24 hours a day and although some of the restaurants required reservations, if you were willing to wait a few minutes you could usually get a table. The beach was lovely and there were plenty of chairs. It wasn’t intimate like Issimo Suites. We didn’t get to know any of the staff–the resort was far too large for that. However, all of the staff that we did encounter was friendly and helpful.
A few words about all-inclusive resorts in general:
All-inclusive resorts are expensive; although if you’re lucky you can occasionally find a great deal. While we relaxed by the pool I often found myself wondering if it was worth the money. My answer to that is: it depends. What kind of a traveler are you? My husband and I are completely different kinds of travelers. He is totally content to lay by the pool or beach, drink, sleep, and to get up only to pee or eat. He is an ultimate relaxer when it comes to vacation. Myself, on the other hand, cannot even fathom the idea of going to a foreign country and staying at a hotel the entire time. I just don’t even understand that. I would much rather be out in the rainforest looking for sloths or be out experiencing the culture. I can lay by a pool at home.
So, what kind of a traveler are you? Do you prefer to lounge, eat, drink, and soak up the sun? Or, do you prefer to get out and see things and utilize a hotel for sleeping? Answering that simple question will help you decide whether or not it is worth it for you to splurge on an all-inclusive resort.
Sure, you can plan “excursions” through the resort but you can do most everything they offer so much cheaper on your own.
All of that being said, I really did enjoy our all-inclusive. It made an excellent base, if you will. We would typically go out and explore in the mornings and relax by the pool with never-ending mojitos in our hands in the afternoons. It was a compromise we could both be ok with. I liked being able to go and order any gourmet food I wanted and not have to dish out any money, but did I eat and drink enough to cover the cost I’d paid up front? Probably not, but it sure was convenient. If you’re looking for a vacation where you don’t have to think about anything other than whether you want a strawberry or mango daiquiri, then an all-inclusive resort is probably the right choice for you. If you’re more for adventure, my advice would be to save your money, stay somewhere cheaper, and experience more.