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All Inclusive Resorts


I’m planning to stay in an all inclusive hotel this spring break in Punta Cana. I was just wondering what “all inclusive” really means. I called the hotel, but the “it means everything” answer doesn’t really satisfy. Are all the activities listed on the hotel description really free/ included?? Meaning there aren’t any other fees… Ex. I can go snorkleing for free but i’ll have to rent the equipment/ i can play volleyball provided I pay a “ball/net fee”/ i can get a relaxing massage for an extra fee/ and so on…

We bring our own snorkel equipment. If you book a tour to go out snorkeling they will provide equipment. The tour will cost you. The resort may have snorkel equipment on hand that you can borrow to use directly in front of the resort but I wouldn’t count on it. There is no charge whatsoever to play volleyball or use their net or ball. Masssages and other spa treatments are not included in the AI package.

The resorts may have boogie boards, kayaks, windsurfer boards, beach games, board games,pingpong, miniature golf, etc at no extra charge. There are off resort excursions (including snorkelling) which cost extra.

I’ve been asked to put down a deposit on some “free” equipment that the hotel loaned (I determined I was prepared to sign a waiver rather than put the deposit on snorkel fins, but I don’t know what I’d do regarding the deposit for a tennis racquet if I played). It’d be unfortunate if an item that you were borrowing happened to break due so a non-obvious inherent flaw in the item, but I also understand that we tend to be careless with free things that aren’t ours. If you have a free bar at a wedding or Christmas party, people tend to go to the bathroom and forget where their drink was placed, but it’s no big deal to just get another one. When there has been free stuff offered without a deposit (like a fishing rod), knots are found and things go wrong but there’s no responsibility borne by the borrower. A Catch-22 position in some cases.

You will usually be offered the house wine but if you want a more premium bottle you will have to pay. A special lobster dinner may be extra too. It’s an opportunity to partake and if you want to pay no more you need not buy the lobster dinner but unless you’re in the priciest of hotels, full lobsters served by the pounds are not standard. There are a few things like that that cost money but you usually don’t have to pay for the basics that will happily get you through your vacation. Some hotels still charge to use the safe in the room. I think that’s sad. Hotel info by pamphlet or tour operator books or hotel website usually lay out what is included and then set out what is available for a cost.


In the case of most “all-inclusive” resorts, they include “non-motorized” activities, such as sailing, volleyball, etc. However, if it involves a motor, you pay. You also pay for massages (normally anywhere from $45 to $60 for an hour). One thing for sure; you will never be hungry or thirsty.

For a lot of people “all inclusive” means they do not have to tip because it is included. We do tip because these staffers work so hard and are super apreciative. I know it is not exactly your question but…we think giveing a little something to the staff is important

That’s a point well-made seaislegirl. We couldn’t agree more. It bothers us to see some people actually get upset when they see us tipping.