hi!!! we just went there in October and got engaged– and I loved it! To answer your questions
1) When we booked the resort was all all-inclusive so I don’t really know how non-all inclusive would work because all we ever had to do was give our room number. I would think it was totally worth it though. It was so nice to not have to carry credit cards, ids, or big wads of cash everywhere (but we still tipped everyone a few bucks here and there even though tips are included… because they DO remember you).
2) There are two buildings you can book in. We stayed in the cheaper building and I thought it was great. I talked to some other guests while we were there that had stayed in both and they said the nicer building WAS quite a bit nicer… but honestly I thought our room was great! I would DEFINITELY go for a balcony though. We got a free upgrade to one and I feel like it made our vacation. It was so amazing to wake up and be able to order breakfast to eat on the balcony and watch the ocean. All the rooms are ocean-front so it is just awesome. Plus we spent a lot of time just hanging out there when we were kind of over laying on the beach but just wanted to relax. I loved it, and I would never book an ocean view room without a balcony again.
3) The activities there are just ok I’d say– although we went in the off-season so I think that maybe when the resort is busier they might be better. The tennis lessons are awesome because the guy is super nice and also because we were the only two to show up so we got a private lesson! We had kind of a hard time finding the people we were supposed to meet for some of the beach activities like bocce ball because they were sometimes a bit late and then no one else would show up for them. Also, on movie night we were the only ones to show up! lol If the included activities are super super important to you… consider that. We had a great time regardless though… we were there a week and I was never bored. Side note: the ocean there is incredible. You swim out about 20 feet and you’re beyond the waves and can just float. It is the best ocean I’ve been in.
4) We did… there is an office at the resort that will help you book excursions, and there are lots of options. We were having such a good time at the resort that we only went on one… so we picked an all-day excursion to Las Caletas which is an inlet about an hour down the beach. You meet at the Marina (which is by the airport) and take a boat to Las Caletas where you can snorkel, kayak, and take a jungle walk. It was so much fun! They do NOT provide transportation anywhere off of the premises, but cabs are super plentiful and easy. The bellhops grab them for you in the morning and its a flat rate to the marina. On the way back cabs were lined up waiting for people. We also took a cab into the market plaza one day to shop and that was not hard for transport either– cabs are everywhere. I’ll say though… the shopping there is kind of disappointing. Maybe its just where we went but all the stores were a bit run down and everything seemed super cheap. I had better luck with the beach vendors than I did in town.
5) Yes…. but you’re still in Mexico. I mean it isn’t like you’re driving through the upper west side of new york, ya know? Everything is kind of run down, there are more homeless people, there isn’t really a super nice area that I saw. BUT– the resort is gated and everyone has to check in and out with the guards. Also the way the beach is, you can’t walk to it from another point you have to take a boat in. So you’re really secluded and feel SUPER safe in the resort. I loved that when you take a cab to go anywhere they stop you on the way out to get your names, room numbers, location, and approximate time of return. You know that they would be looking for you if you didn’t come home for some reason!
Any other questions feel free to respond or PM me! Also here are some links to my blog where I talk about our vacation and you can see some pics:
Back from Mexico a little bit Bling-ier… 🙂
Mexico Recap… also known as… The Sunset Album
The Birthday Post