All-inclusive resorts are great at keeping their guests busy. Included yoga classes and dance lessons are a fun way to spend a less-than-sunny day, and free-to-use kayaks and snorkeling gear can get you away from the pool and into the ocean. But many resorts also offer additional activities and day-trips that aren't covered by the basic all-inclusive rate. (Usually the division between included and not lies with the type of activity. If the activity is "non-motorized," it's probably included. If it requires a ride off the property or a heavy piece of equipment, it probably requires an additional fee.) The good news? In many cases, that additional fee is worth it.
The eight itineraries listed below will give you a sense of what's available, and how much these day-trips cost. And keep in mind that these are just examples to show you the breadth of resort offerings. There are many other resorts that offer similar excursions.
The Cayman Islands: Scuba Diving
The Southern Cross Club, an upscale, boutique-style all-inclusive resort on Little Cayman, offers packages that start at five nights for $1495 per person, including airport transportation, accommodation in an oceanfront bungalow, three meals daily, use of kayaks and bicycles, island transport on request, and non-alcoholic beverages. For an extra $110, you can take a 2-tank scuba dive from a boat that leaves right from the resort’s private dock.
Los Cabos: Whale Watching
Winter is whale-watching season in Los Cabos. If you want to get a closer look, a good place to start is the excursion desk at the AAA 3-Diamond Barcelo Grand Faro, which is situated outside of San Jose del Cabo. The property will set you up, and the cost is around $60-$80 per person for an excursion. The hotel's lowest rates start at $222 per night for two adults. That gets you all the typical all-inclusive trappings, like activities, bike tours, and all meals and beverages (including alcohol).
Maui: Glider Rides
The scenic, twisting road to Hana, on Maui's eastern coast, ends at the Travaasa Hana Resort, which offers a $600 per night "Total Travaasa" package that includes lodging and a $125 resort credit that can be used for a range of activities, including trail hikes, ukulele lessons, and our personal favorite, glider rides over Hana Bay. If you book the gliding excursion yourself, without staying at the resort, the flight will run you $165 per person for 30 minutes or $300 per person for 60 minutes.
Riviera Maya: Cenote Exploring
One of the Riviera Maya’s most unique natural attractions are the cenotes, underground fresh water rivers that have carved out caves and formed large pools for swimming and snorkeling. Hacienda Tres Rios includes cenote trips in its “Endless Luxury All-Inclusive Plan,” which starts at $290 per night for two people. If you book before the end of March, you can take advantage of the resort’s 2-for-1 “Spring into Mexico” promotion, which lets kids stay free.
Los Cabos: Deep Sea Fishing
Cabo is known for its excellent, low-cost deep-sea fishing, and you can find excursions at most hotel activity desks. The Sandos Finisterra in San Lucas, for example, can set up a group of four with a half-day trip on the open seas for about $500. If you book by the end of March, a running promotion can save you more than 50 percent at the resort.
The Bahamas: Trapeze Lessons
The Viva Wyndham in Fortuna Beach on Grand Bahama Island offers free trapeze lessons at its on-site gymnasium as part of its regular all-inclusive rates. Rooms start at $286 per night.
It's not exactly a typical all-inclusive resort activity, but ski bunnies who need a getaway during North American summer can head to South America for an all-inclusive ski vacation at the Hotel Portillo in Chile. Beds in the hostel-style Inca Lodges start at $990 per week, including four meals per day and lift tickets. If you go during the week of July 5-12, you'll receive a further 20 percent discount.