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Why I Regret Staying at an All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba

Aruba is a paradise known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant local culture. It's a destination that promises an unforgettable vacation, and indeed, my trip to Aruba was memorable—though not entirely for the reasons I anticipated. Reflecting on my stay at one of the RIU all-inclusive resorts, I realize now that my experience could have been significantly enhanced had I opted for a different lodging choice. Here’s why I regret staying at an all-inclusive resort in Aruba and why I believe my money would have been better spent on a regular hotel.

The Allure of All-Inclusive

The concept of an all-inclusive resort is undeniably appealing. The idea of having everything—food, drinks, entertainment, and activities—bundled into one package sounds convenient and hassle-free. It’s especially tempting for travelers who want to relax without constantly reaching for their wallets. This was my initial thought when booking my stay at the RIU resort in Aruba, especially having stayed at so many other all-inclusive resorts in other destinations. However, the reality turned out to be quite different from my expectations.

The Disappointment

From the moment we arrived at the RIU all-inclusive resort, it was clear that the food and amenities were, at best, mediocre. The on-site restaurants offered limited variety, and the quality of the meals left much to be desired. Despite the multiple dining options advertised, the food was often bland and repetitive. After a few days, it felt like we were eating the same dishes over and over again.

Additionally, the amenities that were supposed to enhance our stay were subpar. The pools were crowded, the entertainment was lackluster, and the overall atmosphere felt more like a budget vacation than a luxurious getaway. This was particularly disappointing considering the premium price we paid for the all-inclusive experience.

Missing Out on Local Culture

One of the biggest regrets of staying at an all-inclusive resort was missing out on the vibrant local culture and cuisine that Aruba has to offer. Aruba is home to a plethora of fantastic restaurants, from high-end dining establishments to charming local eateries. By staying confined to the resort, we missed the opportunity to explore these culinary gems.

The island's local culture is rich and diverse, with a variety of activities and attractions that provide a deeper understanding of its heritage. Unfortunately, our resort’s entertainment options were a poor substitute for the authentic experiences available just beyond its gates.

The Financial Perspective

When I consider the money spent on the all-inclusive package, it’s clear that those funds could have been better allocated. A stay at a nice regular hotel would have provided a more comfortable and personalized experience. Additionally, the money saved on the all-inclusive package could have been spent exploring local restaurants and entertainment options, offering a far richer and more fulfilling vacation.


In hindsight, my trip to Aruba would have been significantly enhanced had I opted for a regular hotel rather than an all-inclusive resort. The mediocre food and amenities at the RIU resort did not justify the cost, and the confinement to the resort meant missing out on the vibrant local culture and culinary delights that Aruba is known for. For future travelers, I strongly recommend considering a regular hotel and using the savings to explore the incredible dining and entertainment options that Aruba has to offer. Trust me, your taste buds and your sense of adventure will thank you.

If you’re specifically looking for an all-inclusive experience, Mexico has much better options. The resorts there often offer superior food, amenities, and entertainment, making for a more enjoyable and luxurious stay. You can always reach out to us at (818) 543-1821, and one of our dedicated SVH Travel Agents will help plan your next trip.

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