September 27, 2021

Best All Inclusive Resorts in Mexico Perfect for Vacation

beachfront hotel view

We get it: You’re a traveler, not a tourist, and all-inclusive resorts make you cringe, because no traveler would spend their vacation in a place that evokes MTV Spring Break more than a genuine, worldly experience. But maybe it’s time to dismount that high horse and rethink things.

Over the last several years, the all-inclusive model has ditched the foam parties and body shots to focus instead on travelers’ love of food, wine, and cocktails, wellness experiences, and laid-back environments that embrace local culture—you know, the very same things that make you a capital-T Traveler. And now that you’re vaxxed and ready to dip your sun-deprived toes back into travel, an all-inclusive resort is your ticket to kicking back and decompressing completely rather than stressing over logistics.

No place does all-inclusive resorts quite like Mexico, which is why Americans flock to its shores en masse. And the very best—the ones on this list, specifically—are fully prepared to cater to any sort of traveler, with Covid precautions strictly enforced and maximum relaxation guaranteed. Here’s where to book for beaches, bottomless margaritas, and total bliss.

hotel pool
If you’re looking for a chill post in Los Cabos, this is your spot. | Paradisus Los Cabos

The best all-inclusive hotels in Los Cabos

Ideal for: Couples, friends, partying
Rate: $380 per night
You don’t have to look far to find the pretty party people in Los Cabos; throw a stone in any direction, and it’ll likely land in some A-lister’s champagne. But while Los Cabos has developed a reputation as the playground for the rich and famous, you actually don’t have to be either in order to play.

Breathless Cabo San Lucas is the perfect example. Located on Medano Beach (one of the few actually swimmable beaches in Los Cabos), the adults-only hotel is the place to go if you like the music loud, the beverages free-flowing, and the guests extra social. There’s a reason you’re greeted with a drink and a “welcome to the party” from the reception staff. Activities include theme nights, tequila tastings, and DJ pool parties, among other high-energy events. There is a spa and a “quiet” pool, but considering the resort overlooks the marina, you can expect the party to roll from morning until—well, the following morning.

Ideal for: Families, wellness, beaches
Rate: $340 per night
What’s great about Paradisus Los Cabos is, first and foremost, the uninterrupted view of the Pacific. It’s located on the corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Translation? It’s pretty quiet. The crowd at Paradisus is looking to unwind with a fabulous meal, a spa trip, or a day lounging by the pool or the (swimmable) beach, so if you’re looking for a chill post in Los Cabos, this is your spot.

Paradisus is an enigma because it’s both family-friendly AND ideal for grown folks. How, you ask? Separate sections—which actually do feel separate. Book some time at the adults-only Gastro Bar from Michelin-starred chef Martin Berasategui, or upgrade to the Royal Service, which includes extra perks like a private pool and two exclusive bars. Meanwhile, families can book Family Concierge rooms, which have perks like toiletries for kids and welcome backpacks filled with toys and games.

Ideal for: Wellness, kid-free, couples, friends, outdoors
Rate: $500 per night
While this all-inclusive resort isn’t in Los Cabos proper, it is just up the coast in Todos Santos, a town that needs to be on your radar if it isn’t already. (Picture Sayulita or Tulum, except more desert and far—FAR—fewer tourists.) You may notice a price jump, but what sets Paradero apart is that it’s “experience inclusive,” meaning not only are your meals and cocktails included, but your activities and excursions are, as well.

With escorted hiking and biking trips, art and architecture tours, wellness experiences, and dining all up for grabs, Paradero is a great option for travelers who want the convenience of an all-inclusive resort, but the perks of being able to get out and explore a destination that’s on the tipping point of becoming way too expensive for the non-Bezoses of the world.

Villa Premiere's pool view
What you’ll find is that quintessential, all-inclusive beach resort vibe. | Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

The best all-inclusive hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, a trip with mom, friends, beaches
Rate: $540 per night
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most action-packed coastal cities in Mexico. But when you slip behind the gates of this luxury, adults-only resort, you’ll feel like you’ve left the booming bass of downtown far, far away. Tucked within the swanky Marina Vallarta, Casa Velas only has 80 rooms, so you can rest assured that while the party rages on the Malecón, it won’t follow you back to the hotel. Instead, you’ll find expansive rooms—some with private hot tubs or plunge pools.

The one caveat is that this all-inclusive resort isn’t located on the beach. But before you keep scrolling, it does have two main pools, plus a private beach club a two-minute shuttle ride away. That said again, the beaches in this part of Puerto Vallarta aren’t exactly white-sand—things can get pebbly around here. Still, the resort has plenty to keep you feeling pampered. Dial up the romance with a massage at the spa or park yourself at the swim-up bar; you won’t even be thinking about the beach after your first round.

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, trip with mom, friends
Rate: $200 per night
Villa Premiere sits right at the intersection of Puerto Vallarta’s gringo-specific Hotel Zone and its more culturally immersive downtown. What you’ll find is that quintessential, all-inclusive beach resort vibe, but within walking distance of all the entertainment, restaurants, culture, and nightlife that first put Puerto Vallarta on the map.

The hotel is small, with only 80 rooms, each and every one with an ocean view and balcony (and some with a hot tub on said balcony). The hotel’s slice of beach happens to be one of the nicest in town and you’ll find several restaurants onsite, as well as a lovely central pool with plenty of surrounding loungers and daybeds. Is it the flashiest all-inclusive in Mexico? No. But over the years it has consistently been one of the most comfortable, relaxing, and affordable, with one of the best locations in town.

sea and pool view
The elegant resort bends like a horseshoe around a sprawling pool that overlooks the sea. | Haven Resorts & Spas

The best all-inclusive hotels in Cancún

Ideal for: Wellness, kid-free, couples, beaches, seclusion, outdoors
Rate: $375 per night
One of the newer resorts to grace the sugary shores of Cancún, Haven Riviera feels decidedly glamorous, but at a price that won’t have you hauling Tupperware to the restaurant to stock up for winter. The elegant resort bends like a horseshoe around a sprawling pool that overlooks the sea. There are 333 guest rooms all with views of the Caribbean, which is pretty remarkable for an all-inclusive resort of this size. (The real move is to book one of the 88 swim-out suites.)

What’s great about Haven Riviera Cancún is its “choose your own adventure” vibe. Stay snuggled up in your swim-up suite with bae all week; get a salt scrub and walk the hydrotherapy circuit at the 15,700-square-foot spa for a day of parent/child relaxation; or head off-property to dive the coast of Cozumel and swim with whale sharks. The stretch of white sand beach right out front—plus the three pools and various restaurants—is why this resort is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a gold-star endorsement for fans of pampering.

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, families, friends—and all the rest
Rate: $263 per night
You may be wondering how a resort could work for so many different groups of travelers, but trust us. The adults-only TRS resort shares an expansive beachfront with its sister resort, the Grand Palladium, which is perfect for those with little jam-hands in tow. Both resorts leave no stones unturned when it comes to designing your own dream vacation: With the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre (one of the top-rated tennis facilities in Mexico), a soccer field, the sprawling Zentropia Spa & Wellness Center, and over a dozen restaurants all available to guests, the two-pronged property takes the term “all-inclusive” very literally.

Both resorts are located roughly 30 minutes from the Cancún airport in the newly buzzy beach town of Costa Mujeres. Up until recently, the stretch of beach was basically undeveloped—but no powder-soft stretch of sand goes untouched for long. Now, it’s a thriving beach destination that’s pleasantly secluded from the pulsing energy of Cancún’s Hotel Zone.

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, friends, beaches, partying
Rate: $358 per night
Live Aqua is right in the heart of the Hotel Zone (and a quick trip from the airport), but its laid-back vibes make it feel like it’s a world away. For a medium-sized resort, it has a particularly large swath of beachfront, meaning this is the place to be if you’re after an oceanfront daybed, a margarita, and… probably a second margarita.

By day, you’ll find the resort guests (all of whom are over 18) lounging on the spacious pool deck or down by the water. There’s also an energetic “party pool” set away from the main pool so that everyone can choose a spot that suits their rowdy meter for the day. All of the spacious rooms have balconies and ocean views, but for an elevated experience, upgrade to the Aqua Club Rooms on the fifth and sixth floors for additional perks like a private lounge with breakfast, canapés, and cocktails. Pro-tip: Don’t leave without eating at Sea Corner (the tacos here are fuego) and Azur, which has amazing steak and seafood.

aerial view of hotel's pool and beach
Catalonia Royal Tulum is adults-only and all-inclusive, perched right on a stretch of sun-bleached beach. | Catalonia Royal Tulum Beach & Spa Resort *****

The best all-inclusive hotels in Riviera Maya & Tulum

Ideal for: Wellness, kid-free, couples, friends, beaches, partying
Rate: $539 per night
Whenever asked what the best all-inclusive resort in Mexico is, this is my pick. It’s fun but approachably chic. It’s big but not overwhelming with 448 rooms, most of which overlook the ocean. The first-floor rooms have swim-up pools, while the higher floors have hydro spa tubs on the terraces. And yes, the tubs are big enough for two.

Outside, there are three pools that work for both the social butterflies and for those who prefer to put in their earbuds and zone out. Wandering around the grounds, you’ll find DJs spinning, outdoor grills firing, and bubbles consistently flowing. The restaurants serve up food that makes you forget that this is an all-inclusive experience, my personal favorites being Mura House for sushi and Mi Carisa for champagne brunch. You can also stop by Palmera Lounge for a nightcap and cigar. The lounge is designed to be a throwback to 1940s Havana.

Ideal for: Wellness, kid-free, couples, trip with mom, friends, outdoor, beaches, seclusion
Rate: $577 per night
In Riviera Maya, you’ll probably spot a giant pink school bus on the side of the highway that reads “Xcaret,” which is a company that owns several theme parks and all-inclusive resorts throughout Quintana Roo. The flagship theme park is all about Mexican culture and history, and the hotels are no different—including their latest venture, Hotel Xcaret Arte.

The result of a $427 million investment, the adults-only resort boasts 900 luxurious, enormous, Mexican art-themed suites. The rooms are broken up into six “casas,” each of which focuses on a specific medium. (For example, Casa de Los Artistas offers painting classes, while Casa de la Music has programs reserved for dance; you can also explore cooking workshops and pottery.) Plus, the resort tries to keep everything “in the family,” meaning local: Jobs are reserved for locals, the menus reflect cooking traditions from throughout Mexico, and the design elements are all from nearby craftspeople and artisans.

Bonus: If you’d like to intersperse your relaxation with some thrills, the rate of the resort includes unlimited access to all of Grupo Xcaret’s theme parks.

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, beaches, seclusion
Rate: $186 per night
Tulum isn’t known for its all-inclusive scene. So when you find one—and one at such an absurdly reasonable price, at that—hold on tight. Catalonia Royal Tulum is adults-only and all-inclusive, perched right on a stretch of sun-bleached beach.

We’ll be upfront: None of the rooms have ocean views. Instead, they’re tucked back into the jungle, so expect slightly longer walks to the beach, but way more cool wildlife viewing. That said, the rooms are larger than those at other hotels in Tulum and the resort itself does have a beachfront, so you’re never that far from finding what you seek—unless what you seek is a party, in which case, you have come to the wrong place. Despite Tulum’s reputation for being an elevated party place for the posh and boho-chic, this all-inclusive resort does not pander to that crowd. The tone here is subdued, secluded, and very anti-scene.

hotel view
If you’re looking to hit reset, this is the resort you want. | Photo courtesy of Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit

The best all-inclusive hotels Riviera Nayarit

Ideal for: Wellness, couples, trip with mom, friends, outdoor, seclusion
Rate: $231 per person, per night
If you haven’t heard of Riviera Nayarit yet, you will soon: Any day now, the hidden pockets of over-the-top luxury that dot this surfer’s paradise will be rubbing elbows with the likes of the most exclusive sections of Los Cabos. Until then, take advantage of its affordable all-inclusives, one of the newest being Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit.

If you’re looking to hit reset, this is the resort you want; it’s got all the buzzwords of a retreat (think yoga and hiking) without actually being one. There is no beachfront, although there is a private beach club offsite. What it offers instead is a prime perch in the Sierra Madres, just outside the small town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and not far from boho-chic Sayulita and San Pancho. On the property are 117 rooms with private balconies, plus two restaurants, four pop-up venues, two outdoor swimming pools, and a 24-hour fitness center and spa.

Ideal for: Kid-free, couples, beaches, outdoors, seclusion
Rate: $231 per person, per night
While Secrets Resorts are known for being all-inclusive romance superstars, it doesn’t hurt when they get a helping hand from the landscape of Punta Mita—one of the most exclusive pockets of Riviera Nayarit, known for high-end dining, superb surfing, and luxe hotels. The 278 suites of adults-only Secrets Bahia Mita offer the same exact ocean views as the area’s more expensive properties, but for a much more affordable price.

Just because Secrets is known for its romantic offerings—which, in this case, include tequila tastings and private dinners in a wine cave—doesn’t mean you have to spend your time cooing by candlelight. The resort encourages guests to get outdoors with surf lessons, a jogging track, and a variety of excursions, as well as an infinity pool, a beach club pool, and a rooftop infinity pool for those who book Preferred Club rooms.

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Meagan Drillinger is a travel writer living and breathing in NYC. But if you give her a plane ticket today, she will be somewhere else tomorrow. She like tacos, music and making lists. But travel is her life.