By Stefanie Waldek January 26, 2023
Condé Nast Traveler

Mexico is one of the most popular destinations in the world for all-inclusive resorts, with properties lining both of its coasts. And while booking an all-inclusive property may seem like a big investment up front, they can end up saving you money overall when you factor in the lack of food, beverage, and activity costs.

Fortunately, there are affordable all-inclusives all across Mexico that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re looking for a Riviera Maya beachfront party, a secluded jungle retreat, or a cool view in Cabo, there’s an all-inclusive resort for you. For more vetted where to stay options in Mexico, read up on our 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards winners—including our readers’ favorite top 10 hotels in Mexicotop 40 resorts in Mexico, and top 20 resorts in eastern Mexico.

Under $300: Hotel NYX Cancun | The Explorean Kohunlich |  Viva Wyndham Maya | Solmar Resort | Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa

Under $600: Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa | Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort | Wyndham Alltra Playa del Carmen |  The Fives Beach Hotel & Residences | Barceló Maya Caribe | Melia Puerto Vallarta | Mia Reef Isla Mujeres | Iberostar Tucan  | Hotel Xcaret Mexico, Playa del Carmen | Occidental at Xcaret Destination | Paradisus Los Cabos | Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa


Where should I stay in Mexico?

The majority of Mexico’s all-inclusive resorts are set along its two coasts. Some of the most popular east coast destinations include Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel, all of which are known for beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and proximity to cenotes and Mayan Ruins. On the west coast, there’s Cabo San Lucas, famous for its rocky coasts, and Puerto Vallarta, an LGBTQ+ hotspot known for beaches and jungles.

What is the cheapest time to go to Mexico?

The cheapest time to go to Mexico is in May through June or September through November, the two shoulder seasons for most of Mexico’s destinations. Beware spring break, when prices skyrocket.

Is it worth it to pay for all-inclusives?

All-inclusives can be worth the price if you plan on spending the majority of your time at the resort. Because you’re already paying for all meals, you should dine on-property the majority of the time. Many on-resort activities are also included in the rates, so you’ll get more bang for your buck if you take advantage of them. The best part about an all-inclusive resort is the convenience—you don’t have to think about budgeting or splitting bills with your party, and that alone may be worth the price.

Under $300:

Hotel NYX Cancun

The vibe: Boutiquey all-inclusive
Top amenities: Infinity pool, gym, Balinese-style beach loungers
What’s included: Meals and beverages at restaurants, Wi-Fi
Price tag: $

At just 196 rooms, Hotel NYX Cancun is more on the more boutique side of the scale when it comes to all-inclusive resorts. As such, it feels delightfully uncrowded, despite being located right in the middle of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. There are two pools, two restaurants, and a lobby bar, as well as a lovely stretch of beach lined with Balinese-style loungers. There’s no formal spa, but you can get massages in private treatment rooms or on the beach for an additional fee.

The Explorean Kohunlich, Chetumal

The vibe: Secluded jungle retreat
Top amenities: Infinity pool, spa with Mayan-inspired treatments
What’s included: Meals, beverages, excursions, activities
Price tag: $$

If the beach isn’t your thing—or if traditional all-inclusives aren’t your thing—this is the hotel for you. It’s a 40-room property located about an hour inland from the laid-back city of Chetumal on the border of Mexico and Belize, so there’s no beach to be found. Instead, you’re surrounded by lush jungle, singing birds, and Mayan ruins. On the relaxation front, there’s a small infinity pool overlooking the canopy, as well as a spa with Mayan-inspired treatments. And for meals, you’ll be dining at an open-air palapa-style restaurant serving local cuisine. The hotel is happy to set you up with bike tours of the Mayan ruins, excursions into town, or even sailboat charters. But who’s to blame you if you only want to hop in a hammock and take in the soothing sounds of nature at the hotel?

Viva Wyndham Maya, Playa del Carmen

The vibe: High-energy
Top amenities: Spa, archery, water sports
What’s included: Meals, beverages, room service, resort sports
Price tag: $$

With more than 600 rooms, this is a big resort, and it certainly has the big energy to match. There’s always something going on here, whether that’s a themed party, fitness classes, or live shows. And there are so many activities to enjoy, too—trapeze, archery, kayaking, windsurfing, rock climbing, among other resort sports, are all included in the rate. While this is a family-friendly resort, there are some great adult amenities, including the spa, a nightclub, and an adult-only pool with a bar.

Solmar Resort, Cabo San Lucas

The vibe: Relaxed, no frills
Top amenities: Swim-up bar, poolside sushi bar
What’s included: Meals and beverages
Price tag: $$

Cabo isn’t known for being an affordable town, but the Solmar Resort bucks the trend as one of the most budget-friendly properties. That said, it’s a short (yet walkable) distance away from the nightlife of Cabo, but that means plenty of peace and quiet on property. This is a family-friendly resort, though, so you can expect a little noise by the two pools, but the overall vibe is very relaxed. The one thing to note is that you can’t swim in the ocean here—the sea is too rough. But the pool areas make up for that, as there’s a poolside sushi bar and a swim-up bar here.

Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa, Acapulco

The vibe: Budget-friendly, high-value
Top amenities: Spa, seven restaurants
What’s included: Meals, beverages, activities
Price tag: $

On Mexico’s west coast is the busy resort town of Acapulco, where you’ll find this budget-friendly resort. It is, admittedly, a little outdated, but it offers one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to its all-inclusive packages. All seven of its dining venues are included in the rate, as are top-shelf liquors and 24-hour room service. And many activities at the resort are covered, too, including an introductory scuba diving lesson in one of the pools. The one thing you’ll have to splurge on is spa treatments, but we think that’s worth the extra cost.

Under $600:

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa, Tangolunda

The vibe: Classic all-inclusive
Top amenities: Spa, kid’s club, resort sports
What’s included: Meals, beverages, resort sports like archery and kayaking
Price tag: $$

The state of Oaxaca may not be nearly as popular as some of the major resort destinations like Quintana Roo (where you’ll find Cancún and Playa del Carmen), but that means the crowds are far fewer. But at Dreams Huatulco, you’ll find all the classic amenities you’ve come to expect in an all-inclusive resort. There are three pools, five restaurants, six bars and lounges, and a spa. You’ll find plenty of daily entertainment, from live shows to karaoke nights to movie nights. There are also many on-resort sports like archery, kayaking, and windsurfing, most of which are included in the rate.

Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort, Akumal

The vibe: Relaxed beach haven
Top amenities: Wellness center with yoga classes
What’s included: Meals, beverages, Wi-Fi, one-hour daily snorkel rental, yoga classes
Price tag: $$

The 310-room Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort is set on a wide stretch of soft-sand beach, and that’s this property’s main draw. Included in the rate is a daily hour-long snorkel rental, which gives you the chance to spot sea turtles just offshore. Landside, guests can dine at one of six restaurants, including a sushi bar and a Peruvian restaurant, as well as a 24-hour snack bar and a lobby bar. The wellness offerings include a spa with a sauna and whirlpool (massage treatments cost extra), a gym, and free daily yoga classes. And there are four pools for those needing a break from the sea.

Wyndham Alltra Playa del Carmen

The vibe: Adults-only resort in the center of the city
Top amenities: Spa, rooftop sushi bar
What’s included: Meals at certain restaurants, beverages, beach towels, WiFi
Price tag: $$

There’s a little bit of everything at this mid-size all-inclusive resort, which is located a block off of the Fifth Avenue pedestrian mall in the center of Playa Del Carmen. Despite being in the heart of town, there is a small beach here (it sustained hurricane damage and erosion.) Other highlights include a rooftop sushi bar, a serene spa, and a large pool area. If you’re looking for a vivacious time, don’t miss the wild weekly foam party on Saturday nights—and really any show hosted around the pool. And if you’re not, there’s plenty of chill vibes to be found throughout the resort.

The Fives Beach Hotel & Residences, Playa del Carmen

The vibe: Contemporary, upbeat
Top amenities: Beach club, spa, 15 bars and restaurants
What’s included: Meals, beverages, WiFi
Price tag: $$

The Fives Beach Hotel & Residences isn’t exclusively an all-inclusive resort, but you can opt for meal plans that make it so. And it’s a good idea, too. There are 15 restaurants and bars across the property, with cuisines ranging from Italian to Thai. There’s even an exclusive gin bar if gin and tonics are your thing. The property also has a fairly lively pool and beach scene—there are five pools, each with their own bar, as well as a full beach club. When you’re not dining or drinking, head for the 15,000-square-foot spa for some recovery. We recommend the hydrotherapy circuit.

Barceló Maya Caribe, Playa del Carmen

The vibe: Never a dull moment
Top amenities: Spa, bowling alley, water park, escape room
What’s included: Meals, beverages, some activities
Price tag: $$

You want it? Barceló Maya Caribe has it. The 1,000-plus-room resort has an extraordinary number of amenities: mini-golf, bowling alley, pickleball courts, tennis courts, non-motorized sports, theaters, nightclubs, a teen nightclub, a water park, a kids’ club—you get the point. There are even two escape rooms (that do cost an additional point). With so much to do, you might find it hard to enjoy the beach, the three restaurants, the eight pools, or the 32,000-square-foot spa. One of the more unique features of the hotel is that some of its Premium Level rooms are swim-up—they open directly into pools.

Melia Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta

The vibe: Family-friendly
Top amenities: Rock-climbing wall, archery range, lagoon-style pool
What’s included: Meals, beverages, some resort sports, WiFi
Price tag: $$

Programming at this well-landscaped Puerto Vallarta resort in Marina Vallarta is largely geared towards families. The kids’ club is a major draw—they host plenty of events for kids and teens, from craft workshops to sports tournaments to pool activities—but programming extends to other parts of the resort, too, such as milk and cookies in your room. Adults and children alike can enjoy other resort amenities like the lagoon-style pool, tennis courts, a rock-climbing wall, and an archery range. For adults, there are plenty of wellness offerings, too, from the spa to yoga and stretching classes.

Mia Reef Isla Mujeres, Isla Mujeres

The vibe: Private island
Top amenities: Spa, swim-up bar
What’s included: Meals, beverages
Price tag: $$

This colorful all-inclusive resort is located on a private island off Isla Mujeres, itself just a 20 minute ferry ride from Cancún. Although it’s not very hard to get to—it’s connected by a footbridge to the main island and is just a few minutes from downtown—it does have a secluded feel. With fewer than 200 rooms, it’s not an overly large resort, so it’s a somewhat quiet atmosphere, but it is family-friendly and the small beach can get a little crowded. It gets even quieter at the small spa, which has just three treatment rooms, including a couples suite.

Iberostar Tucan, Playa del Carmen

The vibe: Beachfront garden escape
Top amenities: Spa, archery range, kids’ club
What’s included: Meals, beverages, non-motorized water sports
Price tag: $$$

This five-star property is definitely on the upper side of affordable, but you can definitely find good deals for stays outside of peak travel periods like winter break. While it has a fine-sand beach that’s definitely a draw for most guests, the property stands out for its lush gardens. You’ll find much local flora throughout, and quite a bit of local fauna, such as monkeys, colorful birds, and even turtles. There are 16 restaurants and bars, including an ice cream shop, a cigar lounge, and a Texas-style smokehouse. Wellness is a big focus, between free aerobics and yoga classes for adults and the spa.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico, Playa del Carmen

The vibe: Artisan-driven, eco-minded
Top amenities: Spa, lagoon, 12 restaurants
What’s included: Meals, beverages, entrance to Xcaret parks, airport shuttle
Price tag: $$$

This is a massive property with 900 rooms, but the layout of the resort is such that it doesn’t feel crowded anywhere—they’re spread across five distinct “casas” that are smaller in scale. There are 12 restaurants here, all of which are included in the rate, as well as a variety of pools and a spa that also offers yoga classes and meditation lessons. The best part about staying at any Xcaret property is that you get free entrance to Xcaret parks where you can see Mayan ruins, swim in cenotes, and go snorkeling. There’s even an on-property lagoon for snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming.

Occidental at Xcaret Destination, Playa Del Carmen

The vibe: Jungle fun
Top amenities: Spa, lagoon, nightclub
What’s included: Meals, beverages, entrance to Xcaret park
Price tag: $$

Right next to the eco-archeological park of Xcaret, this 25-acre resort is filled with wildlife, from monkeys to coatis to iguanas. It’s also filled with guests—there are more than 700 rooms. But there’s plenty of space to spread out across the 11 restaurants, 10 bars, five pools, fitness center, sports courts, beach club, and spa. It should be noted, though, that there’s no ocean access here—the beach lines a lagoon. Guests at this resort get free entrance into the Xcaret park, where they can see Mayan cultural performances.

Paradisus Los Cabos, San Jose del Cabo

The vibe: Luxury at a fair price
Top amenities: Swimmable beach, kids’ club
What’s included: Meals, beverages, fitness classes
Price tag: $$

Though Cabo is an oceanfront resort destination, it isn’t known for its swimmable beaches, as the seas can get pretty rough. But Paradisus Los Cabos is located on the only swimmable beach in the region, which makes it a pretty attractive place to stay. Beyond that, it’s an upscale property with seven restaurants, three pools (some of which have swim-up suites), and lots of evening entertainment, from themed parties to cultural shows.

Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa, Puerto Morelos

The vibe: A little bit of everything
Top amenities: Spa, water park, three pools
What’s included: Meals, beverages, room service, WiFi
Price tag: $$

Just 15 minutes from the airport, this hotel allows you to get right into the fun after hopping off your flight. As with all Dream properties, all restaurants—there are five of them—are included in the rate, along with top-shelf alcohol and 24-hour room service. You also have access to the facilities at the nearby Dreams Jade Resort & Spa. Entertainment includes live shows, themed parties, and a Temazcal healing ceremony, and activities include resort and non-motorized water sports like tennis, archery, and kayaking. When you need a breather from all the action, head for the spa.

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