In or Ex: How do you want your holiday? Part 1, All Inclusive


Linda and I spent the last week in an all-inclusive resort in Yucatan. We were with a group of very good friends, tagging along with a larger high school reunion group. It was a first for us, and we were interested to see if we’d like it.

Putting aside the fact that sometimes it seemed like we were back in high school — blame that on human nature, not the resort — it went pretty well.

The Site

We were in a huge, triple resort area outside of Tulum in the Mayan Riviera. The first day we took a stroll around the circumference of our third of the complex, and logged 4 kilometres on my Fitbit. Accommodation was in about forty buildings spread around the site, and most of the transportation was in electric golf carts of various sizes. For such a huge operation, the fleet transport worked very well. We waited up to 10 minutes a couple of times, usually much less. As a diversion, the site (and the buffet hall) is teeming with raccoons, coatis, iguanas, igoutis, and various birds, all pretty much ignoring the humans while snacking on our scraps.


We took most of our meals in the main buffet. Put me off buffets for the rest of my life. To their credit, they served an amazing variety of food, well prepared. However, most of it was not particularly to my taste (and I’m not a picky eater). Tons of cakes and cookies and other sweets. Lots of green salads, which are not a good idea in Mexico. As a result, we had basically the same breakfast every morning, and by the end of the week we were doing repeats on the lunch menu as well.


As we expected, the only drinks that weren’t mostly water and sugar were the cervesas, which suited me fine. I like Mexican beer in hot weather.

There were also six highly diverse formal restaurants — from Mexican to Brazilian Steak House to South Asian — and we were allowed 3 free dinners there per week. Everybody spoke well of all of them. (An interesting note: everyone from Western North America loved the Indian food. Everyone from Europe said it didn’t taste like Indian food at all. Chacun a son gout.) The Spanish Formal restaurant did a great job of holding up the gourmet standard, but rather spoiled it by rushing us out so the table could be used by the next group on the assembly line.

It’s neither here nor there for this post, we’ve had great weather. Of course, anything you hang out to dry just hangs there wet, but for the tail end of hurricane season, that’s pretty much expected.

Just to Keep Busy

There were activities all day and different high-quality entertainment every evening, from rock and roll to line dancing. It looked like the kids were having a great time, especially in the water park and the day camp activities. There was a nice little gym with full facilities and a water sports centre with snorkelling, SCUBA, kayaking and paddleboarding equipment. The thousands of fish on the reef only showed up at certain times (probably feeding hours). The dolphin pool for “swim with the dolphins” looked pretty small for three such large creatures, so we didn’t participate.


The Bottom Line

As we said when we came back from the only large-ship cruise we ever took, it’s a great venue to spend time with a diverse group of good friends (especially multi-generational). Everybody spread out for most of the day, but our best time was spent sitting around talking during two-hour meals (yes, even breakfast).

On Thursday we took a private car hire across the peninsula to Merida for a completely different, completely self-administered holiday. You know, like the ones we’ve always taken. Tune in next week for the report on how the exclusive Gordon-arranged part of the holiday went.

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