The Jamaican city of Ocho Rios gave birth to the first ever all-inclusive Caribbean resort. From that moment on, these types of Caribbean resorts have sprouted up all across the region – some beaches seem to have a one corresponding to every grain of sand. In fact, the only islands without these resorts are the uninhabited ones, or the privately owned ones (but even that's not a guarantee). And many travelers wouldn't have it any other way. A charming way to both ingest some of the native island flavor in a familiar environment that has nearly everything you need on hand, Caribbean resorts are world-renowned vacation spots, and unlike any other.
The differences between regular and all-inclusive Caribbean resorts are sometimes small, sometimes huge. Normal resorts offer a few beach going necessities – snorkel and surf rentals, umbrellas and chairs for the beach. All-inclusives are all about activities and tours and the like – want to take a ride to the capital city with 12 of your neighbors? Want to jump into the middle of a beach volleyball game at any time? These are the things you find in an all-inclusive resort.
Caribbean-style resorts are available all over the region, and while most of them are within the large chain of islands in the Caribbean sea, there are also options for these accommodations in Florida, which is a great choice for travelers looking for a family-friendly resort option. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, for instance, is near Disney World, which is a perfect way to combine a Caribbean getaway with something fun for the kids. Purists still tend to head for the islands, but if a Caribbean vacation is your dream and you need a little flexibility, then the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort might be perfect.
If you do choose to head into the Caribbean proper, then depending on where you want to go and what you want to spend, there is hardly a limit on what you can find in these islands. All-inclusive Caribbean resorts are certainly the most popular way to travel, and the majority of them can be found on tourist paradises such as Jamaica, Aruba and the Dominican Republic. Here you can find more utilitarian locales, where students and budget travelers flock too every winter, right alongside some of the best Caribbean resorts. St. Barts, like many of the former French islands, have the most decadent and deluxe offerings – but not the most available. Since one of the prerequisite selling points of these tiny resorts is intimacy, you may have to book far in advance. The Hotel Isle de France, on St. Barts, might be the most exclusive resort in the entire Caribbean.
Sophistication has its price on other islands too – the Sandy Lane Hotel & Golf Club on Barbados is considered by many to be one of the best Caribbean resorts, St. Kitts has Ottley's Plantation Inn, whereas Curacao has the Marriott Beach Resort and Emerald Casino. Though it is not one of the many all-inclusive Caribbean resorts that are available, no one would blame if you never got around to leaving the hotel grounds.
Many of the most affordable Caribbean resorts are on the trendy island of Aruba. Trying desperately to overcome Jamaica as the top tourist location in the Caribbean, Aruba is doing so by wooing travelers with its wide array of budget all-inclusive Caribbean resorts. That extra money can be spent at the prerequisite line of bars and casinos the island has to offer – the party island is always ready.