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Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Ottawa
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368 posts
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Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

I've always wondered why people would travel to an incredibly bio-diverse country like Costa Rica with all that it has to offer...and stay in a white-bread, cookie-cutter, boring, homogenized environment like an all-inclusive. With its mega-pools, bars restaurants...all on-site. Plus T.V.'s, Wifi, A/C. All the comforts of home. Who needs it? Isn't travel all about experiencing a new place, culture, people, traditions? Do we really want to turn every other country into an Americanized version? Firstly, you may never meet an actual Tico ( some of the the friendliest people on this planet!) or you may never get off site and actually walk through the rainforest, or visit a volcano, or stroll along a completely deserted beach, or see some incredible wildlife close by your lodging, or buy some fruit from a local fruit stand. You may be too busy enjoying your daily massage or swim-up bar to get out and see the REAL Costa Rica. All I know is that I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced so much of this amazing country and its wonderful people, without ever going near an AI. Just my two cents. PURA VIDA!!

Providence, RI
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41 posts
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1. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Although I generally don't like to tell people how spend their vacation, I have to agree. If all inclusive is important to you, I don't think Costa Rica is the best fit for your vacation. The country is AMAZING and so diverse -- and the people are among the friendliest I've ever encountered. If you want to go to CR, go and explore the country -- don't stay at the equivalent of a land-locked cruise ship. But that's just my opinion. Whatever your choice, have fun - but really think about other options before booking AI.

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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2. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

It may be that the economics push them towards a particular AI, maybe there's a promotion or something.

But, yeah, if I'm doing the AI thing, I'm looking at Mexico ten times before I look at Costa Rica. Ironically, of course there are lots of boutique places plus ecotouristic and nature-oriented places to stay and see in Mexico very close to the AIs there. Which makes the choice of AIs in Costa Rica all the more puzzling, since usually they're not near the sights and options that AIs in, say, the Riviera Maya are.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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3. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Sometimes one just needs a rest. The place does not matter and you have no intention of exploring the surroundings. I faced this when being super tired and just needing a break. I would just stay in Canada but too cold in winter and I just want to lie somewhere. Why Costa Rica rather than Mexico or Cuba? Sometimes it has to do with food quality, a special deal comes up or the place is just not as crowded as the other one.

I travel a lot and enjoy discovering new cultures, trying new food, hiking, etc. But sometimes I also want to turn my brain to off and just rest.

Nothing wrong either way.

San Francisco...
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for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
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4. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Seems like there are a lot of reasons. I ask the same question about Mexico where I go alone, as a single mature female, for a couple of months a year and have never done an AI. However, it's pretty obvious that many people go to Mexico and never leave their resort, on both the Pacific and Mayan side.

Despite being an independent traveler in Mexico, I did go on a tour to Costa Rica and people might ask why I did that also, since Costa Rica is not a difficult country to tour without a tour or AI -- especially for younger people. I'd been planning my trip for 25 years (yes, it's true) but never found anyone to go with me and I'm a disabled older female, so I took a tour. However, I actually wandered the (one) street of Tortuguero alone -- met some nice locals --- and walked the streets of La Fortuna and Santa Elena (met some friendly Ticos, in their shops and their restaurants) and generally did a pretty good job of getting out and about, even going by bus and boat in a group. Fortunately, my tour (unlike some) offered us enough independent time to wander and search out places away from the group.

My brother owns some kind of fractional timeshare-type thing in a very expensive area of Peninsula Papagayo and I can't understand why he stays in that fancy house either, except he has money and he thinks he is seeing Costa Rica (well, he did rent a car and get out and about) whereas I would never stay someplace like that.

People do what they do for their own reasons. My guess is (as was said above), some people just want to rest (after all, it's their long-awaited vacation --- often from horrible weather), some want to cross something off their bucket-list (even if they really didn't see "the real Costa Rica"), some people are afraid to wander around in a country where they don't know the language and others are maybe going for their first trip and will get intrigued by the country and come back and do it themselves the next time. All kinds of reasons.

If people are intrigued about the country, they will eventually find this TripAdvisor forum and figure out that Costa Rica offers so many more opportunities than an AI resort could offer. Some will open their eyes and others will still opt for a relaxing beach vacation which could be in *Any Country, World.* Everyone's different and if people are working their behind off 51 weeks a year and want to do a warm week in an AI, so be it. I just hope they don't totally miss the magical wildlife of Costa Rica. I'll be returning soon, just for that.

Gosh, the world would be boring if people were all alike.

guanacaste
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5. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

That is a good question, why?

There are good options that will not cost more going European Plan vrs All Inclusive.

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Well, you don't really need to stay at an AI in order to rest! That's kind of a bogus type of excuse.

There are plenty of really beautiful hotels and lodges all over the country where you can "rest." I don't see it as "resting" when you go to someplace where there is always something to do, the bar and the swim-up bar are specialities and there is nightly entertainment. Sometimes the most important question people ask about an AI is "what brand of liquor do they sell?"

If I were wanting a "rest" - I would be looking at a beautiful, comfortable hotel or lodge in a quiet area but accessible to a couple of restaurants. Whether it's beach (which is where the AI's are) or forest or mountain, it doesn't really matter.

No one says that if you don't go to an AI, you can't "rest." If you have a stress-filled life, just find a place where you can spend a week in peace. Walking in the forest is one of the most "restful" things you can do!

But I agree with Marly on this point: The world would be boring if we were all alike. Yes, people have their own reasons for staying at an AI. Sometimes we question that and if someone has some second thoughts and doesn't do an AI in Costa Rica, it will be a new and rewarding experience for them.

But after all, it's their vacation and their money so their choice. In this forum, we present a lot of information -- but in the end, people need to make up their own mind about what suits them best.

I think the worst reason to choose an AI in Costa Rica is because that's what they have done somewhere else. That's just a kind of fear or laziness that shuts the door on a whole new and rewarding way of doing things. Costa Rica is different from every other country -- each country is unique in its own way.

Pensacola, Florida
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7. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

We have been to Costa Rica several times over past decade, and had never stayed at an AI. However on our last trip down, our 40thlast anniversary trip, we decided to spend a few days at the Westin, mainly to give us a chance to catch our breath, as we were pretty ambitious on our trip activities. Best choice that we could have made. We opted for "the cookie cutter" option over staying in a "Costa Rican" hotel, because you never know what you are getting with some of these places, and we were looking for comfort to unwind. To many of the local places use bait and switch tactics, or negelect to inform you that all their ammenities are closed or the pictures on their web site are enhanced to make it look nicer than it really is. The other problem is, there is a group of posters that try to make the local options the only options. Everyones wants and needs are not the same. I try to make my reviews and posts as honest as I can, from my perspective.

Costa Rica
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8. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

Well, I guess you could say the same about some AI's! There's no reason to think that an AI won't do "bait and switch," advertise that everything is included when it really is not, or not have all the facilities as advertised. This kind of misleading information has nothing to do AI or non-AI - it has to do with being a very careful "shopper."

Every photo of every business on the internet tries to make it look better! That's the name of the game! But you can always find an assortment of reviews and photographs from people who have stayed there - sometimes even videos on You Tube. If you are not sure about a place, you can always ask a question about it here on the forum.

I don't get this part "...there is a group of posters that try to make the local options the only options...." Most of the people who post here who have a deep experience with Costa Rica will try to explain that an AI may not be the "best fit" for Costa Rica. But I have never seen anyone claim that the "local options are the only options." Plus -- what is a "local option?" I guess it's meant to mean "non-AI."

Toronto
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9. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

People have many reasons for choosing an AI, no matter in which country it is located. Whatever their reasons are, they don't have to be rationalized or even explained to others. They are what they are. Not everyone agrees with or understands the reasons, but it shouldn't matter.

We should not attempt to sway people one way or the other, just inform them of what the country has to offer.

I stay at the Westin every year, but I don't use the AI. Ever. Why? It doesn't matter. I just choose not to. Most people do, and I don't question the reasons why they do. It's up to them. Neither is right or wrong. People make whatever decision is right for them.

I do know one couple that stays at the Westin because there is an onsite doctor (and now an ambulance). It's not something that most people would think of, but it's very important to this couple. Everyone's reasons are different.

Quintana Roo, Mexico
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571 posts
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10. Re: Why do people choose all-inclusives in C.R.?

When my husband and I were visiting CR last year, we were glad that we didn't take our 3 yr old with us. My child is not a good sleeper so she not only would make everyone on the plane miserable, she would probably stress us out during the vacation when she's hungry and tired. We enjoyed our Mexico trip with her when she was 2 simply because of AI. Whenever she's hungry there's always food around. Whenever she's tired we go back to the room.

Same for my parents. My Dad would love the fact that he could go down to the buffet and pick whatever he likes. If Chef Mom would be the one picking everything from the menu for him, he'd probably find it more relaxing to stay home.

So i think it really depends on each traveller's need and situation. Personally I would not choose AI for CR because there are too many places to see. I would love to bring my girl to CR one day because she loves animals and the nature, but will probably wait till she's 5 or 6.