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Old 08-07-2017, 10:26 PM   #21
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If you are going to an all inclusive then does it actually matter where the resort is? Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico what difference does it make, you will eat the same food, swim in a small patch of the same ocean, ignore the same staff in a polite Canadian way.

Left to my own devices in Jamaica I'd end up getting robbed and shot in Kingston as its the home of the music that has dominated my taste since I was 15, theres no way I'm spending my time in a resort that looks like every other resort in the world
Um yeah it makes a huge difference. Cuba and Jaimaica don't even compare to Mexico food wise.

You might as well bring food with you to Cuba, most awful food you will ever eat.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:12 PM   #22
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You might as well bring food with you to Cuba, most awful food you will ever eat.
I complete agree
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:15 PM   #23
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It's hard to be super accurate when ignoring the crippling poverty generally experienced by the majority of Mexico. Honesty about the state of the country of Mexico doesn't help book a return stay. Being reminded that your one week stay is equal to the annual salary of the guy who bussed your table is bad for business.
Mexico is an upper middle income country and the majority of Mexicans are middle class people just like the majority of Canadians. Factoring purchasing power, most resort staff make a decent living, especially those who are bilingual. Not to say there aren't pockets of crippling poverty in Mexico and significant problems with income inequality, but I think your portrayal of the country is pretty dated. There's a reason Mexico has its own illegal immigration crisis at the border with Guatemala.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:42 PM   #24
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Also, if you're going to an all inclusive, prepare yourself to be surrounded by the worst, most disgusting people North America has to offer. I'd recommend the Mayan riviera or Playa del Carmen for an AI - weather should be good in November, it's not as crazy as Cancun but still easy to get to, and there are plenty of activities within a short drive.

I've stayed at a few all inclusives and I get the ease of going that route, but I much prefer staying at a local hotel and eating at the restaurants in town. The food is far better, you actually get to experience a great culture, and the price generally works out to be the same or cheaper. Tulum, Sayulita, and Puerto Escondido are all great spots for this.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:34 AM   #25
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Mexico will be the cheapest by leaps and bounds, it's why it's so popular.

Everyone will have differing opinions but from my experience and others I have talked to Mexico is great on the cheap or large groups but if you have been anywhere else like Bahamas, Jamaica, Turks etc it is not comparable when it comes to the experience off resort. Mexico resorts are really good, it's leaving the resort when you need to do your homework.
Always found going off resort in Mexico very easy. Been to Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Cabos. With yelp it's pretty easy these days. Obviously it's better to meet a local and have them give you advice.
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:07 AM   #26
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Um yeah it makes a huge difference. Cuba and Jaimaica don't even compare to Mexico food wise.

You might as well bring food with you to Cuba, most awful food you will ever eat.
Cuba has fantastic food, you just have to go off resort. I don't remember the resort food in Jamaica being that bad? Maybe you had a crap resort. The people in Cuba are far better than Mexico. So much more friendly, and far less sketchy.

The difference of where you go mostly comes down to what you want to do off resort. If I am going to Cuba, I'll be making a trip to Havana. Cancun? Chichen Itza. Jamaica? Waterfalls, and the Appleton tour. Everything on resort is mostly exchangeable, though Cuba will have the worst food though I was at one that was pretty good.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:27 AM   #27
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As with anything you get what you pay for.

There are plenty of fantastic resorts with fantastic food and amenities. But you will pay for it.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:24 PM   #28
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I stayed in Cabo at a Secrets resort. Pretty pricey, but honestly it's as close to a 10/10 as you can get. Food great, staff great, hotel great, spa great, etc. Only knock is waves are too big to actually go into the ocean, but the beach is nice. The town itself feels very safe and is very Americanized.

Next time though, I would go to a cheaper place, and spend more money on off-resort activities like boating/fishing or exploring.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:34 PM   #29
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Swim with dolphins
Avoid this. The conditions are inhumane and it's just an all-around depressing experience. I would imagine it's probably in the same neighbourhood as paying for sex, just more socially acceptable.

EDIT: Should add this applies to the places that keep them in captivity. If you happen to swim with them in the wild then congrats, your life is whimsical.

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Old 08-08-2017, 02:49 PM   #30
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Avoid this. The conditions are inhumane and it's just an all-around depressing experience. I would imagine it's probably in the same neighbourhood as paying for sex, just more socially acceptable.

EDIT: Should add this applies to the places that keep them in captivity. If you happen to swim with them in the wild then congrats, your life is whimsical.
Ya, when I was much younger we did this in Cuba. It was part of the snorkel trip, and I didn't have a lot of interest in it, but since it was included we went with it. I was also probably mislead that they were not viable in the ocean due to wounds, and were being studied. This was in a large caged area offshore.

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again. It isn't even really all that great an experience. Kinda fun, but nothing worth paying for.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:52 PM   #31
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I was told by a travel agent that due to embargoes, Cuba simply has less access to food ingredients. The embargo is over now, so maybe that's changed.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:56 PM   #32
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Ya, when I was much younger we did this in Cuba. It was part of the snorkel trip, and I didn't have a lot of interest in it, but since it was included we went with it. I was also probably mislead that they were not viable in the ocean due to wounds, and were being studied. This was in a large caged area offshore.

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again. It isn't even really all that great an experience. Kinda fun, but nothing worth paying for.
Yeah I went about 4 years ago with my girlfriend because it was a bucket list item for her but we both agreed afterwards that it just felt wrong and depressing.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:58 PM   #33
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I was told by a travel agent that due to embargoes, Cuba simply has less access to food ingredients. The embargo is over now, so maybe that's changed.
Less ingredients but also massively less food, essentially the cooks on the island, mostly the mums and grandmas haven't had the opportunity to cook properly in 50 years, the resorts now fly in chefs from outside to make up the deficit, it will be interesting to see if Cuba regains its culinary traditions over the next decades.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:00 PM   #34
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I've always found it very disappointing how all inclusives always serve bland American style food. Real local cuisine is cheap to make and would taste so much better. The resorts always cater to the demographic that wants to sit in front of a food through for a week.

Basically unless you are at a high end resort with great a la carte restaurants, expect to be disappointed with food and drinks.
We stayed at Grande Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay, Jamaica a couple of months ago and I thought the buffets were really good. There was a choice of two at the resort (along with a la carte restaurants) and I found the selection to be large and varied. Plenty of local cuisine there as well from boiled bananas to sweet potato pudding, tripe, octopus and plenty of other things.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:25 PM   #35
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I do think a lot of people go to the lower third of Hotels and expect to have a top notch holiday with amazing food and everything else. The "Star" rating system is very suspect and tricks people who think they are going to a 4 or 5 star hotel when its really not.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:39 PM   #36
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Avoid this. The conditions are inhumane and it's just an all-around depressing experience. I would imagine it's probably in the same neighbourhood as paying for sex, just more socially acceptable.

EDIT: Should add this applies to the places that keep them in captivity. If you happen to swim with them in the wild then congrats, your life is whimsical.
When we went in the Bahamas it was with wild dolphins, I can imagine swimming with them in a pool or similar would be super depressing. We took a boat just off shore in Bimini Island and there was about 10-15 of them swimming around the boat. They let you hop in and swim around with them for a few hours. I ending up swimming with one right beside me for about 15 minutes and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life as the dolphin was interacting with me the entire time. From tapping me with its fin when it changed directions to stopping when I got tired it was pretty damn whimsical
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:53 PM   #37
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Mexico is an upper middle income country and the majority of Mexicans are middle class people just like the majority of Canadians. Factoring purchasing power, most resort staff make a decent living, especially those who are bilingual. Not to say there aren't pockets of crippling poverty in Mexico and significant problems with income inequality, but I think your portrayal of the country is pretty dated. There's a reason Mexico has its own illegal immigration crisis at the border with Guatemala.
Spot on comment. His portrayal of Mexico is quite ignorant, and a typical soap box comment from someone wanting to white knight on a discussion forum.

My buddy actually worked at a couple of the resorts down in Playa Del Carmen, and made a reasonable living doing so. Working at the resort also gave him the opportunity to learn English and move to other properties throughout the company which is how he ended up in Canada.

Did he make a fortune working at the resorts down there, nope. That said, he had an apartment, owned a car, and has disposable income. He actually gets quite offended when people find out he worked at those resorts and ask him about getting paid a couple dollars a day. His general response is that you must have a problem with going to Banff or Lake Louise then, because the service industry workers there get treated no different than the ones at these resorts in Mexico. Like most Mexicans i've met, my buddy is extremely proud and always encourages people to visit his home. In fact, the last time I was there he insisted I leave the resort to go have dinner with his family (all of whom are working class down there) and their house. Was the house up to Canadian standards, definitely not. Were they on the brink of poverty? Nope. Just very happy and proud people.

And even if Mexico was just this impoverished wasteland built to cater to North American tourists, what would not going do other than take much needed jobs away from the local economy?

If there is a reason to not go to Mexico, it's the crime and cartels. I've been there about 15 times and I see it getting worse and worse. Tourist areas were completely off limits before, but that has definitely changed over the past couple of years. Never worried me before, but now it's starting to make me second guess going there. We've spent a lot of time in Cabo and that area is especially bad now which is a shame because it's a beautiful area and the people are super hospitable. There was even a shooting in the lobby of the resort we generally stay at.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:53 PM   #38
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I do think a lot of people go to the lower third of Hotels and expect to have a top notch holiday with amazing food and everything else. The "Star" rating system is very suspect and tricks people who think they are going to a 4 or 5 star hotel when its really not.
Yeah, this is important too, a 3-star Mexican Hotel...okay, but a 3-Star Cuban Hotel? Not going to be the same.

You get what you pay for and do your research.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:56 PM   #39
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Also, if you're going to an all inclusive, prepare yourself to be surrounded by the worst, most disgusting people North America has to offer. I'd recommend the Mayan riviera or Playa del Carmen for an AI - weather should be good in November, it's not as crazy as Cancun but still easy to get to, and there are plenty of activities within a short drive.

I've stayed at a few all inclusives and I get the ease of going that route, but I much prefer staying at a local hotel and eating at the restaurants in town. The food is far better, you actually get to experience a great culture, and the price generally works out to be the same or cheaper. Tulum, Sayulita, and Puerto Escondido are all great spots for this.
October and November is prime hurricane season in the Mayan Riviera is it not? I've always avoided that area from September to the end of November for that very reason. Nothing will likely happen, but I can't imagine being stuck in that humidity with no power or access to the outside world for days so I usually go to the Pacific side during those months if I am going.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:57 PM   #40
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I've gone to all-inclusive a couple times (once in Mexico and once in Barbados). Both times I got really good deals, so I didn't mind going out to eat at other places some of the time.

In general, I wouldn't do an all-inclusive again unless I got another great deal. I like to explore and try local places, so it's not worth it to me.

Jamaica might be worthwhile, as I know some areas are not the safest, so it might be nice to have a guaranteed "safe" zone. I guess you could say the same about Mexico, although I wandered around there and never felt unsafe (Playa del Carmen, super busy and super touristy and Loreto on Baja California Sur which is the anti-resort.)

Barbados is another island I enjoy visiting. There are lots of great restaurants and sites / activities you can organize on your own though, so I don't think an AI is the best option. Maybe somewhere that offers breakfast instead? The last two times I went there, I stayed at a small, local hotel though.
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