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Affordable All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico

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    More Pop for Your Peso!

    En español | Thanks to lower labor and building costs in Mexico, vacation retreats abound where the daily rate covers almost everything — from meals, cocktails and activities to entertainment and even tips. Here are 10 wallet-friendly all-inclusives, starting at about $100 a person per day, plus one superb splurge.

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    ClubHotel Riu Tequila (Near Playa del Carmen)

    The Riu chain expertly runs best-value all-inclusives, offering a roster of daily activities (including a free scuba lesson for beginners here) and free specialty restaurants, in addition to buffet meals. If you tire of the Tequila’s entertainers and disco, head for the shops and nightlife of the lively nearby resort town of Playa del Carmen, located south of Cancún. The Tequila is in a complex of five Riu resorts, all of which you are free to visit. And though it’s not on the sand, it offers beach access via a free shuttle.

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    Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa (Huatulco)

    A Dreams property can be an ideal multigenerational getaway: The chain is equally well-known for its well-supervised kids’ programs and pampering for grownups (though spa treatments cost extra). At the Huatulco, you stay on a Pacific Ocean bay surrounded by jungle, not far from waterfalls and traditional Mexican villages. Top-shelf liquor is included, as are yoga and Pilates, and classes in Spanish and cooking. Splash in six pools, including an adults-only option, or boogie old-school at a rock ’n’ roll party on the beach.

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    Grand Park Royal Cancun Caribe (Cancun)

    It can be a struggle to find a well-rated, low-cost all-inclusive resort on the miles of sugar-white sand in Cancún’s zona hotelera (hotel zone). So pause when you get to the beachfront Grand Park Royal; although it’s well situated — near shopping and nightlife, that is — you may never want to leave the property, which offers two pools and 311 recently remodeled rooms and suites. Its El Mirador specialty Italian restaurant, included in the daily rate, features a tempting dessert buffet and a glass wall overlooking a lagoon. 

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  • Courtesy Catalonia Royal Tulum Beach and Spa Resort

    Catalonia Royal Tulum Beach and Spa Resort (Xpu-Há)

    This adults-only retreat — about 58 miles south of Cancún and not far from the famed Mayan ruins of Tulum — sits peacefully on a powdery beach. Read a book while reclining on a curtained Balinese daybed, order a smoothie at the beach bar or go snorkeling in clear water. The bright and spacious guest rooms (dubbed “villas”) are decorated in contemporary Mexican style, and the day’s biggest decision may be “firm or soft?” — you can order your pillow off a menu. 

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  • Courtesy Iberostar Cozumel

    Iberostar Cozumel (Cozumel)

    The aquamarine waters of this island, reached by ferry, lure snorkelers and divers. The highly regarded Iberostar chain runs a laid-back, bungalow-style outpost on an idyllic beach. Peacocks strut on the grounds. Guests can opt for beach yoga or “aqua gym” sessions in the pool. The first hour of snorkeling, windsurfing or kayaking is free. The rooms aren’t luxurious, but the setting and staff win raves from guests. Apple Vacations — voted best tour operator to Mexico for 12 straight years by the readers of Travel Weekly — rates the resort an “exceptional value.”

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    Sandos Caracol Eco Resort (Near Playa del Carmen)

    Chill out on a white-sand beach or go swimming in a cool, clear cenote — a kind of sinkhole found throughout the area. The more ambitious traveler can bike or hike on jungle trails, where you’ll spot monkeys and raccoon-like coatis. The Caracol earns its eco cred, in part, by using recycled paper and handing out biodegradable mosquito repellent. The place holds antic appeal as well: A bird sanctuary, a Mayan cooking class and a vegetarian restaurant are all on site. If tranquility is your aim, upgrade to a room in the Select Club section, where a dining facility and pool are reserved for grownups.

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    Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta)

    All rooms face the Pacific Ocean at this adults-only property. The look is clean, contemporary and — I’m thinking of the 20-foot wall of liquor in the lobby now — festive. Some quarters have hot tubs on the balcony. You may find the restaurant selections more limited here than at many all-inclusives, but guests praise the food and congenial bartenders. Go kayaking, play games or just hang out at the swim-up bar with a cold drink in your hand.

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  • Courtesy TripAdvisor

    Barceló Maya Tropical (Puerto Aventuras)

    Part of a resort complex on the Riviera Maya south of Cancún, the Tropical is a mega-inclusive experience. Rooms start at a capacious 409 square feet, and there’s a mile-long private beach. Unlike your typical all-inclusive hotel’s often-amateurish stage productions, a large theater offers superior entertainment. And dining options abound: Guests can eat at any of the resort’s four restaurants or visit the buffets (and use the pools, for that matter) at three adjoining sister properties.

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  • Courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Royal Decameron Los Cabos (San José del Cabo)

    Los Cabos — the area on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California that encompasses the party town of Cabo San Lucas and its quieter neighbor, San José del Cabo — has become a mecca for millionaires and Hollywood A-listers, meaning budget all-inclusives can be hard to come by. But look a little closer and you’ll come across the Royal Decameron, a comfortable — if fairly basic — all-inclusive decorated in colorful and contemporary Mexican style. With its proximity to the airport and its attractive rates (starting at $140 a day for two in the fall’s low season), it’s a real find.

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    Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort (Akumal)

    The snorkeling and diving are superb on this stretch of beach north of Tulum, and staffers treat guests like family — just one reason why so many regulars return year after year, making the place pricier (and a challenge to book). Another draw of the white-stucco hideaway: All contemporary rooms and suites are oceanfront, and each has a private outdoor whirlpool bath. Five restaurants and a sushi bar, as well as five bars — not to mention yoga and massage on the beach — compound your bliss.

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  • Courtesy of TripAdvisor

    Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (Nuevo Vallarta)

    And now, the splurge: From the neck massage on your arrival to the personal concierge at your command to the three award-winning restaurants, this all-suite beachfront beauty north of Puerto Vallarta is the only all-inclusive to win AAA’s Five Diamond Award every year for the last decade. Suites start at a positively palatial 1,000 square feet and feature teak furniture and beds with goose-down duvets and pillows. A recent $20 million renovation upgraded its spa and restaurants, and created a dozen “wellness suites,” each boasting an outdoor whirlpool bath and in-room exercise bikes. The new nightclub boasts a 27-foot-long marble bar. Expect to shell out $500 or more per night for a double; spa treatments and greens fees at the world-class golf courses cost extra.

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  • Courtesy Catalonia Royal Tulum Beach and Spa Resort
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