Mr TTR & I are Travel Nuts… we are semi-retired and travel a fair bit
When it comes to All Inclusives in North America there are basically 2 kinds
Those that are found in countries that need them to attract Tourists… countries that have political, social, or economic issues… people travel to the AIs and generally stay put
Countries in this grouping include… Cuba – Mexico – Dominican Republic – and Jamaica
Personally, Mr TTR and I don’t go to these countries (except for Cuba) unless we are looking for a relaxing vacation knowing full well we won’t be leaving the walled resort (and sometimes armed resorts) on our own… if we do any excursions etc, it is also thru the resort.
Most of the other Caribbean Countries are places where you can quite comfortably travel… without any major issues as long as you take your “street smarts” (normal for most vacations)
In these richer countries you can stay at an AI, or make arrangements on your own… be that regular Hotels, Rental Properties, etc
In many of these better Destinations is where you’ll find the very high end AIs… like Sandals, Couples, Beaches etc.
Bahamas – Turks & Caicos – Antigua – St Lucia – Barbados etc
These Islands don’t NEED the AIs to bring Tourism to their Islands… people will come on their own cause the situations on these islands is fairly good (1st or 2nd world countries).
In these cases Mr TTR & I would have no issue using an AI… but we are just as likely to just book our own holiday arrangements as they tend to be a bit cheaper. In the past we’ve done both Regular Hotels as well as Vacation Rentals / Condos where you get a full kitchen etc, and can save a bit of money by making some of your own meals (in which case we usually eat Breakfast in the Condo… and the occasional Lunch… Dinners for us are always out in a Restaurant)
Hope this helps,
PS… General rule of thumb… AIs usually include… Airport Transfers – Accommodations – AC – All Meals * – All Drinks ** – Entertainment – and some Sports / Attractions
* Meals – Usually there are more than one Restaurant on an AI property… and often they are associated with other AIs, so you can go elsewhere off the grounds of your own AI to eat. Example, in St Lucia all the Sandals have Shuttles that run between them, so you can change resorts for meals… a fun way to see more of the Island & different Restaurants.
** Drinks – What is included depends on the AI. Some places it is ANYTHING & EVERYTHING 24/7… including an In-Room Bar Set Up. Some places it is only at particular times or during meals. Some places have a “house list” and you pay extra for premium of off-the-list items.