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10 Budget-Friendly All Inclusive Resorts
It's a fact that all-inclusive resorts can be expensive, with the average nightly rate at some of the bigger chains running $450—per person. And when you find one in your price range there's usually a caveat—the beach is a 15-minute drive away.
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Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, Antigua
Set on 40 acres (including a mile of white sand), the Jolly Beach Resort & Spa is great for those who want to get out on the turquoise water. Kayaks, Hobi Cats, and paddleboats are all at the ready and there are also two pools. Would you rather just take in the view of the waves? The 464 rooms all have at least partial ocean views. The resort also has five restaurants, ranging from a casual beach take-out place to the Italian Bocciolo. Bonus A proper afternoon tea with scones and cucumber sandwiches is also offered every day in the courtyard-a nod to the island's British roots. Bolans Village, Antigua, 866/905-6559, jollybeachresort.com. From $171 per person, per night.
Majestic Colonial, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This 658-room resort in Punta Cana gives you a lot of you choice for how to spend your evening: there are eight restaurants, plus nine bars including a piano bar and a sports bar. Not that there aren't choices during the day as well: The main pool is more than 1,300 feet long (there is also a children's pool and a whirlpool) and catamarans and windsurfers are available on the beach. The snorkeling right off the beach is top-notch, and all the equipment you need is also included. Bonus Every room at the resort is a suite with a terrace or balcony (and a Jacuzzi tub). Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana, 809/221-9898, paradiseislandbahama.com. From $150 per person, per night.
Sunscape Dorado Pacifico, Ixtapa, Mexico
The Sunscape's budget-friendly price makes it a deal, but most people travel here for the location on a sandy beach on quiet Playa del Palmar. The resort re-opened in November 2011 after a $10 million upgrade to all the rooms (including new furniture, flat-screen TVs, and fully renovated bathrooms) and restaurants as well as the addition of a new spa (alas, massages aren't covered in the all-inclusive rate and start at $68). There are only 285 rooms, but you'll find the choices typical of a much larger resort. There are four bars plus eight restaurants ranging from seafood to Italian to Mexican (and the small size means no reservations are required). Bonus Embrace your inner Serena Williams or Roger Federer and perfect your serve at the free tennis clinics. Paseo de Ixtapa S/N Lote 3-A, Ixtapa, 800/087-4890, sunscaperesorts.com. From $151 per person, per night.
Iberostar Costa Dorada, Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic
Iberostar operates six hotels in the Dominican Republic, but this resort 10 minutes from Puerto Plata gives you the most for your money. The 516 rooms (which all have either a terrace or balcony) are located in thatch-roof buildings painted cheerful shades of yellow and purple. The entire property underwent a full renovation in 2011 resulting in completely remodeled rooms, a new lobby, and a renovated kids' club. There are three a la carte restaurants (Brazilian, Mexican, and seafood from the local waters) plus a buffet restaurant. If you aren't content to just sit on the beach or the massive pool, there are activities all around the resort, from archery to merengue lessons. Bonus While some all-inclusive resorts only serve house-brand liquor, bartenders at Costa Dorada pour from imported names as well (Tanqueray, Stoli, etc.). Carretera de Luperon Km 4, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, , iberostar.com. From $100 per person, per night (three-night minimum).