Who can blame them? Most Americans only get a week or two off a year, so why wouldn’t they want to go somewhere they can be treated like royalty? I know the idea of being able to lay on the beach, drinking as much beer as I want, between trips to the restaurants or buffets appeals to my hedonistic nature.
However, you may be surprised to learn that the big all-inclusive resort chains do not have a presence in Puerto Rico. There is no clear reason why. Personally, I believe it’s because some US Federal laws makes them unattractive – probably something to do with liability. Or, it could be because Puerto Rico is simply too expensive for those companies.
All Inclusive In Puerto Rico: No Chains? Now What?
The good news, however, is that a few of the mainstream hotels and even some smaller, local hotels offer all-inclusive options. Unfortunately, you very much have to make sure you know what you’re getting with the package and the costs tend to be high.
When most Americans think of “all-inclusive”, they think it means you get all the free food and drinks you want, right? And probably you expect some free entertainment and even non-motorized sports. Well, in Puerto Rico, you really, really, need to read the fine print of any “all-inclusive” package you sign up for. The vast majority only include a certain number of meals and soft drinks. No alcoholic drinks and no unlimited free snack runs. Also, most don’t include free entertainment either.
If you’re planning on seeing shows, drinking yourself silly, or eating huge buffet meals, you may be disappointed.
All Inclusive In Puerto Rico: Any Recommendations?
While I’m sure there are others, I only know of two “all-inclusive” options that are along the lines of what you might think of as typical all-inclusive.
The first is the the Wyndham Garden in Palmas del Mar. In case you don’t know, Palmas del Mar is a ritzy area in Humacao (south of Luquillo).
Their package includes:
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at any of their restaurants during standard hours of operation.
- All Alcoholic and non-alcoholic Beverages (local brands only).
- Special Rate for Golf
- And even $20 Match Bet Coupon for Casino Real
Not quite the same as an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica or Mexico, where you might have access to a dozen restaurants or bars and free rounds of golf, but close.
A closer option might be the El Conquistador in Fajardo. The Conquistador not only includes food and drinks (again, select brands only) but they actually have a water park and golf course for your entertainment. Oh, better yet, they have Camp Coqui Kids Club which is, basically, a daycare so mommy and daddy can have some fun on their own.
Here’s some of the highlights their package offers:
- Three meals a day plus drinks in your choice of selected restaurants.
- Complimentary daily entrance to the Coqui Water Park.
- Complimentary Access to the Spa Niwa and Spa Fitness Center; 20% off Spa Services.
- Complimentary Golf Green Fees and Complimentary Tennis court rental.
- Complimentary Access to the Camp Coqui Kids Club (yay! mommy and daddy time!!).
- Variety of other Resort Activities including Scout About Scavenger Hunt; Ferry access to our private island, Palomino Island with mini-golf and garden games; Self-Guided Art Tour; Garden Walk, Power Walk, Aqua Aerobics, Entertainment in Ultra Lounge; S’mores Campfire Activity; Dive-In Movies.
All Inclusive In Puerto Rico: The Cost
Now that you know about the options, it’s time to talk about the cost of these “all inclusive in Puerto Rico”. They are billed completely different than, say, in Mexico or Dominican Republic.
Most commonly, the all-inclusive options are added in addition to the cost of your hotel/resort stay. So, it is an “up-charge”. This can make things quite expensive, so be aware of that.
Here is a quick comparison of a 7-night all-inclusive stay for 2 adults:
Estimated Cozumel Mexico
All-inclusive resort cost for two (4 or 5 star): $225 – $365/night (note it’s one price, not add-on, so it includes everything) = $1,575 – $2,555 (free parking, children extra)
Estimated Puerto Rico
All-inclusive in El Conquistador for two: cost of hotel cost of your stay ave. $300/night + addon all-inclusive $263/per person/night or $563/night (OUCH!) = Total cost of $4,295.69. [Both parking and children are additional cost. As are extra meals or snacks.] Source El Conquistador website.
All Inclusive In Puerto Rico: Conclusion
If you want to come to Puerto Rico but you want to stay in an all-inclusive resort, you better be prepared to dish out some cash. It is not nearly as affordable as going all-inclusive in other places. Although, if you’re planning to go to a Beaches or Sandals resorts, they will cost you some serious $$$$ too.
However, in my opinion, staying outside of resorts, and AirBNB’ing it, is a much better experience anyway. You can find some real bargains and get to explore the local flavor and culture. Check out our post on How To Plan A Trip To Puerto Rico.
If you’re not into AirBNB, there are a ton of hotel options with reasonable prices, and restaurants on the island are great too, so why not explore a little?
If you’re really set on an all-inclusive, make sure you read the fine-print before signing up. Better yet, give the hotel a call just to make sure you have the details correct. The last thing you want is to sign up for an “all-inclusive” only to get a $1,200 credit card bill the following month for non-covered items.