Editor’s Note: Some of the information below may be out-of-date. British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Florida Keys and Puerto Rico were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Please visit caribbeantravelupdate.com, fla-keys.com or the specific hotel’s website for updates.
We're big fans of all-inclusive vacation packages on the world's most beautiful beaches. But some all-inclusive beach resorts rise above the others. These are our top 30 all-inclusive resorts, including one bonus option you probably never considered.
No. 30: Turtle Bay (Bay Islands, Honduras)
Only Here: The resort is set on a little private cay that's set directly within a UNESCO site, which means the resort practically hovers over world-class diving and snorkeling.
Why It's On This List: Roatan and Utila are remote enough, but then Cayos Cochinos (the home island of Turtle Bay) is still a small ferry ride out from there. It's like being marooned, if marooned meant a staff, endless food and shade trees.
No. 29: Little Palm Island Resort (Florida Keys)
Only Here: It's three miles from a U.S. Highway, so you can drive most of the way. Or swim over, like the miniature key deer sometimes do from nearby islands.
Why It's On This List: Take a wooden motor yacht over to this romantic private island and you're totally disconnected. The resort has hosted presidents because it's so easy but so shut off. It's a five-acre jungle paradise with thatched bungalows and bamboo-lined outdoor showers that are anything but reminiscent of the U.S.
No. 28: Sandals Whitehouse (Jamaica)
Only Here: All leftovers go to surrounding farms and more than 90 percent of the staff is Jamaican, so every morsel of food and every dollar spent is helping the community.
Why It's On This List: Sandals wrote the book on all-inclusives, so although other resorts on the list might be lightly trafficked, they know how to create a clean, friendly atmosphere in a setting of huge pools, nonstop crepes and top-shelf liquor. The setting is rural Jamaica, and safe.
No. 27: Club Med, Kariba Beach (Japan)
Only Here: Guests at most all-inclusives are discouraged from leaving the property. Not here. Excursions take guests to pearl farms, old Japanese villages and even more remote islands.
Why It's On This List: The property is at the center of a national marine park with some of the best snorkeling in this region of Japan. and 12 miles from the nearest town.
No. 26: Royal Isabela (Puerto Rico)
Only Here: A humongous shower (with three shower heads) finishes off the exclusive nature of each casa.
Why It's On This List: The cliffside views, privacy of a casa, and natural surroundings almost overshadow the fact that Royal Isabela has perhaps the best golf course in Puerto Rico. The resort's sign alongside the two-lane access road is barely visible, an immediate indication that you're entering a peaceful escape.
No. 25: The Reef (Grand Cayman)
Only Here: There aren't many all-inclusives on Grand Cayman, and there aren't any all-inclusives in the Caribbean that offer entertainment from the one and only Barefoot Man.
Why It's On This List: All rooms are beachfront and on Grand Cayman that means some of the Caribbean's best snorkeling is just outside the bedroom.
No. 24: Travaasa Hana, Maui
Only Here: Staying at Travaasa means you learn from the staff how to fish, sew leis, play ukeleles, and give up your cellphone.
Why It's On This List: Hawaii for many travelers is about exploring, not staying in an all-inclusive cocoon. But Travaasa is different because it's in Hana, which is a minimum of a two-hour drive from Kahului. (Or hop a 20-minute flight to Hana on Mokulele Airlines and the resort will provide complimentary shuttle service.) The area is a throwback to old Maui, and the resort fits right in.
No. 23: Club Med, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
Only Here: One of our editors came to Club Med to relax, and wound up learning how to swing on a trapeze and shoot a bow and arrow. She also ramped up her volleyball game.
Why It's On This List: Punta Cana is the world's mecca of all-inclusives, with more than 40 all-incs lining a stretch of Caribbean beach on the Dominican Republic's eastern coast. The Club Med Punta Cana is especially noteworthy because it has so many family-friendly amenities while also smartly offering romance packages for couples.
No. 22: Melia Garden Villas (Bali)
Only Here: The swimming pool is like no other. It's a lagoon that wraps through the garden -- a garden that is what you imagine of lush Bali.
Why It's On This List: The resort has earned a number of environmental accolades and the villas are designed in a way to make guests feel alone in the incredible surroundings. Yet the property is walking distance from a shopping center and the local restaurant scene.
No. 21: Excellence, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
Only Here: Somehow, the candlelit beach dinner at Excellence completely shuts off the rest of the all-inclusive metropolis that is Punta Cana.
Why It's On This List: The Islands staff has stayed at more than 20 all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, and as one editor said of Excellence, "It's one of the only all-inclusives here that genuinely feels like the Caribbean, not just a resort placed in the Caribbean."
No. 20: Song Saa (Cambodia)
Only Here: The resort works with the local community to teach sustainability, and using natural resources extends to the straws at the bar (they're made of ocean reeds).
Why It's On This List: Cambodia is a rising must-see destination. No place bridges the reality of the location with luxury like Song Saa. The wellness offerings include underwater meditation (don't worry, it's only three feet of water), rainforest walks, and yes, we'd say a private beach picnic qualifies as a wellness extra. Oh, and take a look at this villa's infinity pool.
No. 19: Barefoot Cay (Roatan)
Only Here: Wake up. Stroll from your beach villa to this palapa. Jump off with a snorkel mask and fins. Come to life on the reef that surrounds Roatan — the one that's drawn so many visitors who would later become expats.
Why It's On This List: The private villas are built directly on the beach, with open-air showers (no one can see) and kayaks ready to use whenever you want (no sign-up forms). Go for the all-inclusive package that includes boat rides out to epic dive/snorkel sites.
No. 18: Sanctuary Cap Cana (Dominican Republic)
Only Here: Island-specific bungalows and a castle fronting the ocean make this all-inclusive stand out from the crowd of resorts around Punta Cana.
Why It's On This List: On the high end is a suite with three private plunge pools (that's right, three in one suite). On the other end of the budget spectrum are rooms for $150 per person per night, and the rooms are not what we would call "low-end" living. For a property in Punta Cana, it's rare to feel so isolated.
No. 17: Kamalame Cay, Andros (Bahamas)
Only Here: The overwater spa is a rarity in the Caribbean.
Why It's On This List: Andros is known as the wildest inhabited island in the large Bahamas group, with pine trees and lonely white-sand beaches. Hard to believe it's less than 10 minutes by air from Nassau. Don't bother packing shoes on Kamalame Cay — the Guest House entrance backs up to the beach and there's no such thing as a dress code, ever. No. 27
No. 16: Couples Tower Isle (Jamaica)
Only Here: The spa is consistently ranked as one of the best in the Caribbean.
Why It's On This List: Jamaica is the birthplace of the modern-day all-inclusive, and Couples makes its mark with more of a romantic indulgence than a gastronomic indulgence (there's that, too, if you want to partake). In line with that thinking are the sunset catamaran cruise, jacuzzis, and a private island for what they call "au naturel" sunbathing.
No. 15: Young Island (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
Only Here: The Grenadines are where you still find uninhabited or barely inhabited islands, and Young Island fits the region perfectly.
Why It's On This List: St. Vincent itself is pretty deep in the Caribbean, but it still takes a Zodiac shuttle to reach Young Island (it's a 200-yard ride). Some of the private cottages are on top of the hill which essentially makes up the entire island. There are few places in the Caribbean as quiet as this.
No. 14: The Caves, Negril (Jamaica)
Only Here: It's built on a cliff, with private dining available inside the sea cave, taking romance to a new extreme.
Why It's On This List: It isn't far from the fun of Negril, but most guests choose to stay put because of the views and unique ambience on and in the rock. Photographer Zach Stovall consistently ranks it among his favorite all-inclusives in the Caribbean.
No. 13: Peter Island (British Virgin Islands)
Only Here: How many private islands have five separate beaches for barely that many villas and suites?
Why It's On The List: It's only 70 miles east of Puerto Rico, but is so withdrawn that guests actually fly into St. Thomas and take a 90-minute ferry, or fly to Tortola and take a 30-minute boat ride. After check-in, it's easy to check out in an infinity pool while a private chef cooks up a special meal.
No. 12: Fowl Cay, Exumas (Bahamas)
Only Here: Claim not only one of the few island villas in the Exumas, but also the keys to a boat. Go ahead and roam at your leisure.
Why It's On This List: The kitchen is stocked with whatever breakfast items you order in advance. Lunch is prepared and packed by a chef so you can eat it whenever and wherever you want. Then finish the day with dinner at the restaurant at the top of the hill. It's the high life in an all-inclusive package.
No. 11: Cayo Espanto (Belize)
Only Here: The Millionaire Travel Package includes a trip in a helicopter to tour the Belize reef.
Why It's On This List: The villas are about as close to luxury overwater bungalows as you'll find in the western Caribbean. There are only seven of them on the island, so you could go an entire trip without seeing anyone other than a staff person and your significant other.
No. 10: Lizard Island (Australia)
Only Here: We don't know of another resort that can boast 24 beaches and a position at the Great Barrier Reef.
Why It's On This List: It's all five-star — the suites, the meals, the property. But because the resort is Australian and on the Great Barrier Reef, the staff encourages guests to get out and take advantage of sights you might never see again. They'll even pack a picnic lunch for an extra nudge.
No. 9: Jade Mountain (St. Lucia)
Only Here: Each suite ("sanctuary" in Jade Mountain language) has an unobstructed view of the Pitons because there is no wall on that side of the suite ... sanctuary.
Why It's On This List: Once the breath comes back after seeing one of the best views in the Caribbean, it's almost taken again at the sight of a private infinity pool. Soak with a cocktail and take it all in. There's no such thing as being completely inside. Everything is out in the open — the birds, the bed ... even the bathroom has no walls. But it's all designed so the neighbors have no idea what you're doing.
No. 8: Guana Island (British Virgin Islands)
Only Here: Seven white-sand beaches, 850 acres of hills and forest, and only 30 guests total.
Why It's On This List: Seeing the BVI like this is usually only possible by private yacht. Here the ground doesn't bob around. It's rare to stay on a private island like this and see so many beautiful plants and so much wildlife. You know you're in the BVI when the beach barbecue and crab races get fired up.
No. 7: Hermitage Bay (Antigua)
Only Here: It could be the Caribbean's sibling of Bora Bora, with the changing water colors and views of the sharp peaks of Nevis, St. Kitts and Montserrat in the distance.
Why It's On This List: There's no bad room, with 17 sea-view villas on the lush hillside and eight suites right on the beach. The interiors are open and wood-heavy, which we now see mimicked in villas across the region.
No. 6: Petit St. Vincent (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
Only Here: Room service is called by raising a little yellow flag outside your secluded villa. The food is delivered via cute little Mini-Mokes.
Why It's On This List: It takes most of a day to get here, because the island is tucked near the uninhabited Tobago Cays, far from the outposts of St. Vincent or Grenada. Inside the villa (more of a stone cottage actually) there is no TV or phone. It's a true escape — bring someone special to pass time.
No. 5: Four Seasons Bora Bora (Tahiti)
Only Here: The plunge pool on the bungalow's patio is practically close enough to Mount Otemanu to splash water on it.
Why It's On This List: Most of the resorts with overwater bungalows charge everything a la carte. The Four Seasons runs seasonal all-inclusive overwater bungalow packages. The snorkeling off the private deck is always included.
No. 4: Lily Beach (Maldives)
Only Here: An overwater bungalow on a small atoll in the amazing Indian Ocean waters. It's a calendar photo come to life.
Why It's On This List: The seaplane landing on an island only the size of two football fields is enough to make this a dream trip. It only gets better with off-the-bungalow snorkeling, gourmet Indian cuisine, and sunsets that will make a grown man cry.
No. 3: Likuliku Lagoon (Fiji)
Only Here: Living rooms with glass floors and bathrooms with full views of the dreamy lagoon — constant reminders this is South Pacific living.
Why It's On This List: In Fiji classic homes are called "bures," so that's what the adults-only beachfront villas are called here. And because this is supposed to be an immersive cultural experience, resort staff will show you what home is like, and locals will ask to take you to church. Or they'll be glad to make music right on the dock.
No. 2: Qualia (Australia)
Only Here: Open a wall-size patio door to a private plunge pool, eucalyptus trees and the endless Pacific Ocean — this is definitely Australia.
Why It's On This List: People who live Down Under know about Qualia. It's a dream destination for them, too. The island is within easy reach of the phenomenal beaches of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.
No. 1: Motu Teta (Tahiti)
Only Here: When we say "private island in Tahiti" we don't mean it's someone's private island with 15 villas built on it. Yes, this is someone's island. He bought it as a family getaway. But since he only uses it a few times a year, he decided to rent it out, complete with staff, house and everything people once imagined of Tahitian islands.
Why It's On This List: Photographer Jon Whittle has stayed in nearly a dozen resort bungalows around the islands of Tahiti. He calls this experience unlike any other. "You get to live the local life. Go fish for food. Hunt for lobsters at night. Swim with sharks. It's the complete experience." For one price. The world's best all-inclusive.
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