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Adventure, Caribbean, Meandering thoughts, travel

Destination: Adventure Holiday vs All Inclusive

Whether your destination is a beach holiday at a Caribbean all inclusive, an adventure holiday in Nepal or Africa, a cultural vacation through Europe, or backpacking along the Australian coast, there are so many options, how do you choose?

I am facing this decision as I plan a one week getaway for November.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the adventure holiday. Trekking in Nepal, cycling across Canada, backpacking South America – some of my best holiday memories come from these adventures.  I can’t wait to explore Costa Rica, hike the jungles and take part in all the adventures Costa Rica has on offer.  I have yet to settle the adventure vs all inclusive debate, but I am tending towards all inclusive for this November.

Me and the girls, living it up at the all inclusive!

There are many factors to consider, including what am I looking to get out of this trip?  Is it a total R&R event after what can only be described as one of the craziest years I have had to date, or get out and explore and experience a new place?  Back to my old wanderlust self, I have 3 trips in the planning – a yet to be determined vacations south, Christmas in Prague and cycling in Mallorca early next year!  My holiday plate is full and I am already day dreaming about that African safari!  No doubt, unless I win the lottery, I will not be heading to Africa in 2012.  There will be no pictures of wild game – the lizards and the locals may be the wildest game I see!

Earlier this year, I won an amazing trip to Antigua.  I had the opportunity to stay in a luxurious all inclusive resort, which I followed up with an extra few days in a quaint cottage.  I loved the all inclusive – didn’t have to worry about where to go for dinner, how I was going to get there, or anything really!  Everything was taken care of.  The only thing I needed to concern myself with was getting to the dock on time for all the activities I planned on doing!  It was heaven on a beach!  I had the same experience at a the Grand Palladium all inclusive in Jamaica – this time I did fewer activities and came out of there so incredibly relaxed – no one could believe that I spent so much time sitting down!

The guys in water sports took great care of us as we snorkelled, hiked and avoided the grass snakes on Bird Island, Antigua.

There is something to be said for getting out and exploring a new destination, experiencing the culture and food of the place.  I love going to the markets – buying the local foods and meeting people.  While you can certainly still get out and experience a country when staying at the compound (all inclusive), it certainly doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of experience.  Staying at the cottage in Antigua, we (there were 4 of us) would head out every day, exploring different beaches, checking out the fresh markets in town. We danced all night to the vibrant music at Shirley’s Heights (I highly recommend heading out there on a Saturday night). Basically, we just got out there and explored!  We took the city buses, ate “street meat” and experienced a different part of the island than had we stayed at the resort.  It was a great time!

I am still torn – all inclusive vs adventure destination – either way, it will be an amazing holiday.  The one thing I know for sure, I will be out there, exploring the island, having another adventure of a lifetime.

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Antigua…the beach is just the beginning

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


16 thoughts on “Destination: Adventure Holiday vs All Inclusive

  1. We were lucky to have the best of both worlds at an all-inclusive (with adventure) in Jamaica. We were able to get off the resort and do a bike tour (mountains, coffee and rainforest) and climb a waterfall. We also asked the hotel for a driver to take us into to town to explore and had a great experience. Do not think too much about it and you will have a great trip – just relax and enjoy it!!!

    Posted by cravesadventure | October 29, 2011, 10:54 am
    • Oh – the mountain bike sounds like it could be good! If it is Jamaica for this trip – the waterfall is already a must do on my list. Hoping to make my decision by end of day today – time to buy airfare and hotels! Woohooo.

      Posted by Anita Mac | October 30, 2011, 8:34 am
  2. i like a mixture –semi inclusive. A little independence with many things taken care of –so you don’t have to think about them!

    Posted by blisstravelsnews | October 29, 2011, 11:06 am
  3. I’d opt for adventure, especially if you’re going to Costa Rica! However, all-inclusive is a lot easier, and it sounds like you need that after the year you had! 🙂

    Posted by Palm Trees & Bare Feet | October 29, 2011, 1:39 pm
  4. Wow, tough choice. I’d have just as hard a time deciding. In the end both would be worthwhile. Hope your decision comes easy! Cheers!

    Posted by Steve | October 29, 2011, 8:04 pm
  5. If you’ve been pretty stressed, I’d go for the all-inclusive. I usually opt for adventure, but I haven’t worked in a while, so I was looking for adventure! My husband and I had a great time in Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive a couple of years ago through Apple Vacations.

    I love your blog and your photos. Sounds like you’ve accomplished some great things!


    Posted by Travel Spirit | October 30, 2011, 7:56 pm
    • I think you are right! Between work and my accident (basically, I fell on my head and fractured my skull!), an all-inclusive sounds perfect! I can still do lots of activity – but also need down time! I think I am fairly incapable of sitting still for long – so there will be adventure!
      Thanks for your kind words about my blog – I am loving doing it and have such fun with the photography side of it – I started a second one. http://www.anitamacphotos.wordpress.com

      Posted by Anita Mac | October 30, 2011, 11:06 pm
  6. I can’t wait to do Costa Rica either! I really want to walk across that giant suspension bridge and zip-wire through the tree tops of the rain forrest, plus much more besides. I love 5* luxury, though have to confess that the term ‘All Inclusive’ makes me cringe a little as it tends to encourage people not to explore beyond the confines of their little resort complex. You may as well be any where if you do that. I also like exploring to find nice restaurants which you tend not to do if you have pre-paid for food at your hotel.

    That said, when my partner travels for business-he LOVES all inclusive hotels-and who can blame him if it’s not a proper ‘holiday’

    Posted by Emma's Bucket List | March 13, 2012, 6:24 pm
  7. Ha ha – we DO have the same taste in travel and the same take on resorts. Antigua looks like it is amazing to explore – such beauty… particularly the water sports professionals… 😉 (Is she joking? Who knows?) Lucky that you won that trip – how long were you there for?

    Posted by Wrabbit007 | April 5, 2013, 6:02 pm
    • I think I was there 10 days! Let me rephrase…10 blissful days! We did have some challenges at the cottage where we had to fend for ourselves, but it was totally worth it to go to the markets, explore secluded beaches and simplify our eating schedule! The best thing, like you said…we have the choice to do the all inclusive or the do it yourself – it’s good to mix it up! Happy travels.

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 6, 2013, 1:11 pm
  8. Your means of describing the whole thing in this post is
    in fact good, all be capable of without difficulty understand it, Thanks a lot.

    Posted by court sejour | May 10, 2013, 4:09 am


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