Are you searching for a vacation option that provides a large well-appointed room, white sand beaches, attentive service, food, drink and entertainment all for a reasonable price? An all-inclusive resort may be just the value you're looking for. These types of resorts are all over the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and several other locations all offering their own spin. A travel agent can be a great asset in determining your options, as by providing answers to a few specific questions the ideal resort for your vacation needs can be found.

Some resorts cater to a younger crowd with a more raucous feel, some have great programs for children and some are adult only catering to a more mature crowd. Do you want your resort to have clear water and a large beach or would you rather prefer a location with several swim up bars? Are you a foodie and want to experience specialty restaurants every night or is a simple buffet fine by you? What types of excursions do you want to experience? Snorkeling in the Caribbean or Mayan ruins in Mexico or a wide mixture of options?

This report features pictures of Iberostar properties in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico, located on the gulf side. Here you will find gorgeous beaches, clear water, and for the most part, smooth snorkeling and swimming conditions. For all resorts in this area you arrive in Cancun and will be immediately approached by people wanting to give you a ride. Walk by all of these folks and find the company that is specified in your package, which is prepaid. Unless you pay for a more exclusive service you'll be in a decent van with people going to many resorts, and you'll drop off people at these resorts before you arrive at your own. At this point you are officially on vacation! You will most likely be greeted with a drink, alcoholic if you wish, be checked in and given a wristband you will wear during your entire visit so resort folks know you belong. From this point on, everything is paid for..your room, all food and drinks, snacks, entertainment.

Your room will probably be large and well appointed, including a mini refrigerator restocked daily at no charge. Some resorts also include some snacks in the room, wines and liquor along with the traditional soft drinks, water and beer. If you need to make dining reservations, do so, but many resorts allow a walk in arrangement to any restaurant at any time. Breakfast and lunch are generally buffets (don't forget your daily morning Mimosa!) and you may find lunch items and ice cream stations as well as bars right on the beach. If you're feeling too lazy to walk to the bar, servers will roam the beach asking if you want anything. We feel it is proper to tip at bars and restaurants as well as the beach servers, but many do not.

You will also be approached on the beach with massage options provided by the resort for an extra charge as well as local sellers of wares.  In general, non-motorized water experiences are included, and your resort may also have other activities such as sports competitions, bicycling and exercise classes.  You will also be approached to ride a banana boat, para-glide, Jet Ski and other thrill seeking activities for a price. Just a heads up…these resorts are popular with Europeans as well as Americans and it is not uncommon to see topless women and men who really shouldn't attempt to sport a Speedo do so.

There are also options for many fun excursions that you can book through your resort either before or during your stay. It is probably best to use these options to venture off property as these excursions are concerned about their reputation and you can count on decent busses and bus drivers who take you where you expect to go.

As far as drinking the water, I'm confident at the resorts to use the tap water as it is filtered, although bottled water is also provided. I am not as comfortable off site, so would recommend using only bottled water away from the resort. Minor annoyances I have experienced have been a lack of decent television choices and spotty internet. If internet connections are important to you, be sure and specify this to your travel agent.  Some resorts offer free wi- fi in the rooms, some free only in the lobby and others still charge for any access. You will need a passport and if you want to use your phone at all, will need to contact your carrier to determine the most economical way to accomplish this so you aren't unpleasantly surprised upon your return home.

I find all inclusive vacations to be very relaxing with plenty of reading and beach time. The cost of the resorts  vary but are a good value for what you get (a trip I have scheduled this year, to a highly rated Excellence adult only resort is about $3,500 for 2 for 7 nights, not including airfare).  If you think you might enjoy a trip like this please don't hesitate to contact me at or at

Nancy Julian is a travel writing, trip planning expert. She has had a life-long love affair with travel, starting with childhood road trips and extending through service in the Air Force, a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, professional work in that field, and finally to the creation of her own company, Magic Feather Memories. You can read more at Nancy's blog,, and also drop by Mouse Tales travel at