Special All Inclusive Vacation Edition Post: Melissa Ghazi, Marketing Manager at The Travel Authority / ALTOUR

 It was 2:30pm Central Time when my husband and I landed in Cancun, Mexico. This was my second time coming to beautiful Mexico. I had once stopped here for 6 hours on a cruise port of call. My excitement was overflowing and wondering to myself what journeys will I have the 5 days I’m here.  I hope to share with you what to expect and some tips to help make your all inclusive vacation enjoyable and pain free.
After getting through long lines at immigration and customs we were now on our way to enjoying the next several days. Lamos Travel was there waiting for us to take us to our all inclusive vacation resort. They were on time and very friendly. I would definitely recommend them for airport/hotel transfers. They also do tours, but I will discuss that in a later post.
We stayed at one of Karisma’s finest all inclusive adult only resorts, El Dorado Casitas Royale. Guests that are staying at the Casitas Royale and Presidential Suites will be taken by golf cart to another check in lobby closer to their suites. Receptionists there will give you information about the resorts, times for restaurants, activities, and let’s not forget a glass of champagne to get you started on the relaxation! The resort is paradise with tropical flowers and the beautiful waves crashing near-by. Also, for guest staying at the casitas you will have your own personal concierge. They will make your dinner reservations, which comes in handy if you are there during peak travel season. No others in the resort get this privilege.
  Pool w/ Swim-Up Bar
 All inclusive vacation hotels are ideal if you just want to get away for a while and relax next to the pool or lay on the beach, drink alcohol, and like to try different varieties of food. It’s all included in the cost, so you get to sit back and enjoy. I do recommend bringing lots of $1s though for tipping. You don’t have to tip waiters and bartenders, but if you get room service they expect a tip and also house keeping. We also tipped a maintenance guy that stopped what he was doing and drove us to our room in his golf cart during a rain storm. It was very kind of him to do that for us! Also, included are non-motorized equipment, which would be kayaks, snorkel masks, and bikes. I will admit I was pretty disappointed with this amenity. They only had 12 snorkel masks for the entire resort and they lent them out for only 60 minutes at a time. I don’t know about you but I don’t wear a watch or carry my phone with me when I’m in the water, so that was a bit ridiculous. I felt for the price of the resort they should provide more equipment and better quality too. The snorkels clips were all gone so they just wrapped the mask’s strap around the snorkel to keep it attached. Not very effective! You will notice the beach has several sandbags, which as created an artificial reef for the fishes. It’s great for snorkeling, because the schools of fish would swim right up next to you and they are very colorful.  Plus, the reef made the water calmer for people that just wanted to sit on the beach and not get tackled by waves. The kayaks can only be used every morning before 10am, they would go out in a group of around 8. It was first come first served. After 10am they only let people practice in this small area. I didn’t really understand what the point of having kayaks if they will only let a few use them in the morning. The rest of the day they just lay on the beach. They did however have many bikes, which I loved. It has been years since I rode a bike and I took a lot of pleasure in that. Also, for a charge you can rent jet skis or go parasailing. Those also gave us tremendous amount of fun.
 View from the Casitas 
Expect all inclusive vacation resorts to be large! There will be a lot of walking to get from Point A to Point B. So, if you’re not fond of it or have any disabilities please take that into consideration. They do have golf cart shuttles that go around the resort, but expect to wait 20 min if not longer for one. We never liked to wait, so we would walk and if a cart came by they would stop and pick us up. This leads me to the next point, the restaurants! El Dorado offers their guests 10 restaurants. However, July is low season for them so anticipate many of the restaurants being closed during your stay for renovation. During their peak time, all restaurants will be open though. I believe that runs from November to around April. The really only dislike I had about this resort was the quality of the food. Everything else I would say was great! I felt like the food came out of a can or just low quality ingredients. For example, I ordered a hamburger at Jo Jo, one of the restaurants at the resort, and I could taste and see the fillers in the meat. My husband isn’t very picky and there were many meals he just could not eat. So, I really believe this is something they need to improve. While they decorate and present the food beautifully, I felt like I was getting food from a local buffet restaurant next to a busy highway. Also, if you have any food allergies, please be careful too. Many of the waiters have limited English, so when we asked if the food had a particular ingredient in it or substitute a side dish they were sometimes confused. They at times even answered us not really knowing what we were saying.
What’s the main reason you come to Mexico for? The water of course! El Dorado offers tons of pools and even a salt water one. The pools are nice and warm and barely any one in them, so you get lots of quiet time. Remember- its adult only too! No kids running around and belly flopping in the pool!  They even have cabanas along the beach and poolside and you don’t have to run early in the morning to reserve them. There are so many that there are always several available to use. The beach is beautiful with light blue water. In saying that though, the red danger flag was flying the whole time we were there. I asked someone working there the reason for it and they said about 11.6 months out of the year its red flag. That is due to the storms washing up coral and makes it dangerous to stand in. You are allowed to go out in the water though and we did just fine. Just be careful where you step or you will get cut.
 Salt Water Pool- Located on the Beach
Now for the room! How can I forget our room? It was beautiful and more than I could ask for. We were in the casitas, which even had a small patio that we could walk out to the pool. The patio had a large bed to lay on and curtains to have some privacy. Inside the room was decorated contemporary but with a Caribbean feel. The room had nice tall ceilings, a comfortable king size bed with a canopy and a nice Jacuzzi. The Jacuzzi definitely came in handy after a long day on tour. The bathroom was my dream bathroom. It consists of his and hers sinks, large walk in shower with a glass door and tile walls. Oh, and an outside shower! I loved the outside shower. Don’t worry ladies no one can see anything. There are high walls that surround the shower and no windows. Beautiful on a sunny morning I must say!
 Outside Shower
 His and Her Sinks w/ Fresh Flowers
Casitas Suite Room
Even the smaller rooms in the resorts were beautiful and had private Jacuzzis. You really can’t do wrong when picking a room there. They put a lot of detail into everything. Fresh flowers on the bathroom counter and bedroom table was an extra delight. They even give their guest complimentary slippers, and a bottle of Mexican champagne and fruit platter will be waiting when you walk into your room. For people that want a little more luxury, there are rooms available that have lazy rivers attached to them. You walk out your patio and swim to the bar for a refreshing piña colada.
 Regular Size Room @ El Dorado Resort
I recommend this all inclusive vacation hotel for honeymooners and anniversary couples. The environment is very romantic and you will have lasting memories there. More postings about Mexico soon to come. Safe travels!