All Inclusive or not?

Comments, tips, questions on Puerto & Nuevo Vallarta hotels, resorts, lodging and others.

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KevinG
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All Inclusive or not?

Post by KevinG » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:03 am

My wife and I are planning a trip to PV, can't wait!
The place looks to have everything we're looking far.

But what I'm not sure about is whether or not it's worth the $300 per person average additional cost to go All Inclusive.

I figure we'll only spend a couple of full days at the hotel and plan to do a lot of exploring in town as well as in the mountains.

So we would probably have breakfast at the resort and maybe take advantage of a few dinners.

Does anyone have an idea what the prices run for drinks at most resorts as well as around town. Also an average lunch and dinner?

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Post by charlieb » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:54 am

Kevin; I am going to suggest that you use the SEARCH feature here and type in the words; all inclusive. You will get 644 results. Take some time and do some reading. I'm sure you will get all the answere about AI. This is purely a subjective topic. Good luck, have fun, and Merry Christmas. Chuck... 8)

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Post by tojol57 » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:24 am

totally agree with my dear friend chuck... To AI or not to AI, that is the question... you have to just really analyze what is important to you 1) accomodations, 2) price range of flight, hotel, etc 3) then what kind of funds you have left over for incidentals - side trips, food booze entertainment, etc...

but seriously look over all the opinions of this topic... each person customizes their vacation to meet their needs... we have been doing AI for almost 20 yrs now... and wouldn't switch ... that is what we say now, and that could change too...

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Post by palapa_gal » Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:28 am

Oh, when I saw that subject line, my initial thought was :roll: OH NO! here we go but hopefully we can keep this post peaceful. :wink: :D
Me personally, I would never do AI but again that is just me (and a few other people I know) as it is not my cup of tea and then I know people such as tojol and others that swear by AI and that is all will do. This is really something you are going to have to decide on your own.

As for prices around town, you can get a bucket of 3 beer for 5 bucks or you could pay that or more for just one drink. For food, same thing, you could spend 10 bucks on a meal or over 100. It all depends on where you eat and/or drink.

As I was re-reading your post I noticed you didn't tell us where you were planning on staying which might help us in telling you if you should do the AI and if it is worth it or not.

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Cost of "Non-AI"

Post by marcos » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:34 pm

Here's what my wife and I spend for the "food" portion of our vacation in PV ...

Breakfast: We buy cereal, fruit, milk, etc. and eat in the condo. I doubt that this costs more than $2.00 USD per day for the both of us.

Lunch: We buy cold cuts, fruit, chips, bolillos and soda and make a sandwich to take to the beach. Costs less than $5.00 USD per day for the 2 of us. We'll sometimes eat at a taco stand and probably spend about $5.00 USD for quesadillas and drinks.

Dinner: We don't eat at expensive places. More like Machis, Las Margaritas, Tia Catrina, etc. Our average dinner bill is less than $25 without drinks. Several evenings we'll eat at one of the street-side vendors at a cost of about $5.00 or $6.00 USD for both of us.

In total, we spend less than $35 per day (for 2 people) to eat. But you could easily spend 4 or 5 times that amount.

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Post by sunshine311 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:01 pm

Granted I'm not a seasoned traveller, but I have been to Mexico a couple of times. Here's my two cents....
In my opinion, Marcos price breakdown of eating is extremely conservative. If you don't have your own condo and are hotelling it (as a lot do), you don't have the advantage of buying groceries and making your own meals. Plus, you may want to enjoy more elaborate dining for your dinners.
If you're eating to survive, you can do it very cheap, but if you want to dine and enjoy all the foods Mexico has to offer, you can expect to pay a bit more. Are you a drinker? Are you their to party, or have only the odd social drink? Are you only at your hotel to sleep, or will you spend days on the beach, and do some drinking and eating there? Basically what everyone told you is correct - this really is a personal decision based on what you want out of your vacation. Drinks can cost $6 for a bucket of 8 Corona's, or you can pay $6 for one drink. You can eat for $10, or for $40.
The way I'd look at it is like....$300 more per person for AI - how many restaurants and bars does your hotel have to enjoy? For a week's stay that's $42/day. Will you eat and drink that much per day? For me that's an easy YES! All I can eat and drink - bring it on! But maybe you're a small eater and don't drink that much - then for you, it may be a no....
Again, a difficult choice to make. Just gather information, think about what you want out of your vacation and I'm sure you'll make the right decision.

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Post by JROJEFF » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:26 pm

One thing also to consider is your length of stay, I go for 2 weeks and spend alot more my 1st week than my 2nd as I have finally relaxed by the 2nd. -jeff

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Post by beachluvr » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:11 am

not really 'seasoned' either. wife and i have traveled 5x times, 2x to
carribean, both AI which at the time we thought was better than
sliced bread, then the last 3x to vallarta; 2x EP with adults and 1x
with kids and parents AI - i can say having our kids and staying AI
was the right move for us this last summer, but with the other 2 couples
we travel with, we all enjoy the freedom of booking condo or villa.

you owe it to yourself to try both, you'll never know what you're missing
until you do. this feb. will be our 4th trip to vallarta and feel we've only
begun to explore all that the vallarta area has to offer.

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Post by sunshine311 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:35 am

JROJEFF makes a good point about whether your going for one or two weeks, but for another reason too...
We're going to PV for two weeks in March. The difference between the EP and AI was also about $300. So now, rather than $42/day, you're looking at $21/day. Honestly, even if you wanted to eat out sometimes, you can't go wrong at that price.

(As you can tell, I'm an AI fan :lol: )

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Post by KevinG » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:01 am

Wow!
Thanks to all the great responses.
From the shear number of posts here it's pretty apparent that PV is an exceptional place!

This will be our first trip ever out of the country as well as our 15th anniversery, so even though money is a factor, I want to do it right.

We are staying for 1 week, we haven't decided yet exactly where to stay, but even though it's a bit expensive, I just really think the 'Dreams' (AI) is very unique. It seems to extend right out of the jungle mountains. The beach is very secluded and private. It seems to be just a bit off the beaten path but not too far. Not right next to an airport like the Marina and Hotel Zone areas.

The other place we're thing of would be an EP stay at the Fiesta Americana, this looks to be a very nice place also, not right up to the mountains like Dreams, but close enough visually. We really like mountains and beach together. We would save about $400 a piece here. We plan to spend time in town, a day on some type of tour in the jungle and maybe some other activity so we will not be at the resort more the 50% of the time. I suspect that even with the higher prices of drinks and food (notice drinks listed first) at this hotel, it would be tough to consume all of the $800 we would save here.

The trade off here is losing the secluded aspect of the Dreams, which really appeals to us. Also when I scope out PV using Google Maps satelite imagery (which is extremely sharp), the airport seems to be right next to the Hotel Zone where the Fiesta Americana is located.

Any comments on noise from the planes in this area?

One last thing, on a different subject. We speak very little Spanish, will communicating be much of an issue when we venture away from the resort?

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Post by charlieb » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:19 am

Kevin; you will find that if you make an effort to speak Spanish, even un poco, it will be met with mucho appreciation from the locals. They will actually help you with pronounciation and Spanish words and phrases. In return, they will practice their English on you. It is fun and you will do fine. Just remember to try and be polite. It will be returned 10 fold. Take care and have a Merry Christmas. Chuck... 8)

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Post by palapa_gal » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:27 am

Kevin, as for the noise from the planes you'll never even hear them. I stay 2 hotels up from the FA and unless I'm actually looking up in the sky when they take off I would never know that they were there.

I'm not sure if the FA offers AI but if they do this may be something to check out and consider. I know other hotels will let you purchase AI for just the days you want so you may want to inquire if the FA offers something like this and then you can just purchase it on the days you plan on hanging around the resort and get the best of both worlds.

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Post by ldjd » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:41 pm

We also stay a couple of hotels away from the Fiesta and airplane noise is not a factor at all. I think you would like both hotels; Dreams is perhaps a little more high end, but less convenient to downtown.

Regarding the AI debate, we stay in an AI hotel, but not a high end one so we don't mind missing the odd dinner or lunch when we are away from the hotel. There are so many great restaurants downtown you don't want to be stuck on your resort the entire time. That's the magic of Puerto Vallarta in my opinion.

Also, be sure to do some exploring outside of the city: Bucerias, Punta de Mita and Sayulita are easy bus rides away and well worth a visit. All can be accessed from buses leaving in front of Wal Mart. Each offers a different taste of Mexico.

We leave next Friday for our annual two-week stay in PV. It has become our home away from home— we've been there more than a dozen times. Over the years we have made many friends with people who return year after year as well.
Enjoy!

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Post by sunshine311 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:59 pm

The most important Spanish you need to know - "cuarto de baño" LOL

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ai or not

Post by reggaelovemusic » Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:39 am

hola.
we have gone both ways and enjoy the a.i. much more. all the drinks you want tip bring your own closed coffee mug and they will fill them up. We found the breakfast and lunches the best , always been a good assortments of fruit and salads.

You don't have to bother running to restaurant if your tired sitting on the beach lol, or having to run for groceries and making meals. Enough of that at home.

We have always been lucky enough to get good prices on a.i. so we get the best of both world because Puerto Vallarta have great restaurants..

good luck try one and next year do the other lol

35 days left for some sunshine and heat :lol:

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Post by kcowan » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:35 pm

Dreams is very good for an AI chillout with 3 nice restaurants to choose. FA also has multiple restaurants but is in the heart of the Hotel Zone and you can walk the beach up to the marina, or head across the road to Plaza Caracol for shopping, movies and more dining choices.

If you like exploring Mexican neighbourhoods, then the FA is a better choice. If you are there between Jan 12th and Feb 2nd come down to Los Tules 6-113 and ask Keith for a cervesa. 8)

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Fiesta Feast

Post by smitty » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:33 pm

We stayed at the FA 2 yrs ago and had the all inclusive package . The choice and quality of foods / drinks were excellent . Whatever you choose - happy travels ! :)

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Post by oneistwo » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:10 pm

No airplane noise in the hotel zone. Like KCowan, we stay at Los Tules, next to FA (this year Feb 23 - Mar 8). We've eaten at the FA a couple of times and found it a bit pricey compared to the many, many non-hotel, great restaurants in PV. But if you vote for AI, the food's very good. As KCowan said, FA is in a pretty good location. If money is at all an issue, at the Gigante in Plaza Caracol you can stock up on odds n' ends and save up for going out. Taxis and buses (recommended because they are very cheap) can take you anywhere out of walking range in a few minutes.

As for prices in PV in general, that's one reason we love the place. We can go out and dine 4 out of 5 nights without a financial catastrophe (we'll rip a chicken from Caracol when we just don't feel like going out (usually after a too-successful hora feliz)). Certainly cheaper than the equivalent at home. Better too. Much better.

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Post by sonofdob » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:34 am

we typically find that a package deal AI is less expensive than airfare and hotel alone...so a very good deal as you get whatever meals and drinks at the resort on top of the travel and accomodation at no extra cost so your free to sample the restaurants of PV without feeling like you've paid for something your missing...oh and the most important Spanish you will ever use is "gracias" and "por favor"...have fun...sonofdob.

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Post by Contessa » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:49 am

I say... do what is best for you... :D

Let's not get into the discussion of AI vs not ... it is just too boring...........

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