The Best All Inclusives for Culture Vultures

Hotel Xcaret - Ziplining at Xplor Park
Hotel Xcaret - Ziplining at Xplor Park

We all know the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation – unlimited food, drink and entertainment, beaches and swimming pools within touching distance and an array of activities to enjoy without ever leaving your luxury resort.

But…what if you DID want to leave the resort?

A shocking thought for some, but there has been growing demand — particularly from younger travelers — for trips that combine all-inclusive luxury with authentic cultural experiences.

All-inclusive brands have been quick to capitalize on this demand, and many now offer off-property experiences as part of their all-inclusive packages. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best examples of this, from Melia’s Destinations Inclusive offering to Sandals Resorts dining experiences.

Melia Destination Inclusive

Paradisus by Melia - Yoga
Paradisus Resorts: Destination Inclusive – Yoga

Launched in late 2022, Melia’s “Destination Inclusive” packages are available to guests at Paradisus Resorts in The Reserve (adults-only) and Nikte premium room categories. These packages allow guests to choose one or two from a range of experiences designed to help them embrace local culture.

For example, at the Check PricesParadisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort in the Dominican Republic, guests can enjoy private cooking classes with a local chef or private yoga sessions on the beach. And travellers to Melia’s Check PricesParadisus Gran Canaria can enjoy an included visit to a local attraction, such as the Canarian Museum, for a deep dive into the region’s history and culture. Finally, in the Mexican resorts of Check PricesParadisus La Perla (adults-only), as well as the family-friendly Check PricesParadisus Cancun and Check PricesParadisus Playa del Carmen, guests may enjoy a private meditation and yoga class under the expertise of a shaman, helping to connect guests to nature and cleanse their minds.

The Reserve and Nikte offer an unrivalled luxury experience, unlocking other benefits and perks including turndown service, premium minibar, a complimentary dinner at a premium restaurant and private access to certain adults-only spaces and private beaches.


Xenses at Hotel Xcaret
Hotel Xcaret – exploring caverns by river at Xenses Park

Mexican all-inclusive Grupo Xcaret has been a pioneer in this area, offering its Check PricesHotel Xcaret guests complimentary transportation and entrance to its own collection of adventure and eco parks, offering fun for the entire family. The group manages eight different parks, and experiences range from ziplining at Xplor park to joining a traditional Mexican dinner show at the Xcaret park.

The group’s properties also weave culture into the vacations of their travellers. At the [right next door] adults-only Check PricesHotel Xcaret Arte, for example, an art theme runs throughout, and it is possible to join workshops in local crafts such as wool weaving with the assistance and expertise of local people and traders.

Sandals Resorts Islands Inclusive

Sandals Island Inclusive Dining
Sandals Resorts’ Island Inclusive Dining Experience

Sandals Resorts have a program of their own which is designed to connect guests with top local restaurants, allowing them to venture out of the resort for a fun evening in which they can sample local cuisine. Available to Diamond level customers staying for seven nights or more, Sandals provide a $250 credit to be spent at a selection of nearby restaurants. Although currently only available for customers staying at Check PricesSandals Royal Curacao in the Caribbean, the program has been ‘been met with tremendous enthusiasm’ according to Vice President of Food and Beverages, Luke Mathot. There are plans to roll the program out to other properties in the Sandals portfolio soon.

UNICO Adventures

Swimming with Dolphins
UNICO Resorts – Swimming with Dolphins

Although not included in their package, travellers to Check PricesUNICO 20°87° in Mexico can choose from a range of adventures and Signature tours to enhance their trip and delve a little deeper into their destination. Guests can swim with dolphins for prices starting at $109 per person, or take a relaxing sailing trip to Isla Mujeres, with drinks and snacks included. Tours starting at $219 per person include a visit to the famous archaeological site of Tulum combined with dolphin swimming.

For those looking to add a more luxurious experience to their trip, UNICO’s five Signature tours are just the ticket. A luxury sunset catamaran cruise with an open bar costs $150 per person, or you can combine a visit to Tulum with snorkelling and lunch for $159 per person. There’s also the option to explore an underground river! (Please note: prices are set by UNICO and subject to change, please inquire before booking for current rates on anything quoted here.)

The gap between all-inclusive getaways and cultural and adventure travel is narrowing, and many all-inclusive brands have pivoted to meet this demand. Although there remain plenty of options for those who wish to kick back in the resort, there are now numerous options for customers looking to get out and explore their destination, whether that be through adventure, food or interactions with local residents.

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About Sophia Viaggio 22 Articles
Originally from Italy, Sophia Viaggio is a freelance writer and could be the poster child for wanderlust as her spirit comes alive when she travels. She feels her best and writes better while on the beach at a tropical all-inclusive resort. Give her an Italian spritz and she'll share her impassioned travel stories (some with sassy Italian vernacular).
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