The Easy, Breezy Riviera Maya
Five all-inclusive resorts on Mexico's Caribbean coast.
Prices at these and other all-inclusive resorts vary dramatically depending on when and how you reserve. Packagers like Apple Vacations (book through a travel agent, applevacations.com), Vacation Express (877/684-3786, vacationexpress.com), and SunTrips (800/786-8747, suntrips.com) are popular and generally offer good deals. Packages are also available through booking engines like Expedia and Travelocity. And it's possible to reserve rooms (not with flights) directly through the resorts, though prices may not be as low. As always, the best way to get deals is by comparison shopping.
Once there, bear in mind that it's not all all-inclusive. At most resorts, one price gets you a room, unlimited food and drinks, nightly stage shows, and myriad activities. But there are exceptions. Food: You have free access to the buffet, plus snack bars, usually poolside. Most resorts parcel out two or three coupons for reservations at the à la carte restaurants. Drinks: At most resorts, local alcohol (beer, rum, and tequila), house wine, and low-end labels of foreign hard liquors are free, though some resorts also pour free from the top shelf. Rooms have complimentary minibars. Sports: Scuba diving and anything involving a motor--parasailing, Jet Skiing--cost extra. Expect to pay $50-$75 for motorsports and at least $100 for scuba trips.