How to: Drink at an All-Inclusive

Obviously, drinking is a huge part of the all-inclusive experience. To me, it’s what gives an all-inclusive resort a distinct advantage over cruises. (That and the lack of seasickness.) But here you have to tread carefully: to maintain your health, protect your ego, and get the most for your money.

Step 1: Know what you’re drinking.

The drinks they pour at all-inclusives tend to be on the weak side. This is good for them and for you. I’m a woman of medium size and relatively low tolerance, and I can drink fairly continuously at an all-inclusive without getting too drunk to, say, converse with my parents or remember my rudimentary Spanish.

Although the drinks are weak, remember that a lot of the foofy ones are jammed with sugar and calories. Remember also that you’ll be running around with your gut hanging out all weekend. So watch out. My drink of choice on this trip was the caiparinha. Lime, sugar, rum. No pop, no coconut milk, no high-fructose syrups. This isn’t to say I’ll avoid all pina coladas and mango daiquiris (see above photo). Only that I try to limit them.

Step 2: No shots.

First off, you’re an adult. Beyond college, only idiots do shots. (In college, only idiots do shots, also, but everyone in college is expected to act like an idiot, so there’s no conflict there. Shots will mess you up in no time. The problems with this are obvious.

a) You will get drunker faster than expected, because you’ve been drinking all day and because the sun has taken a lot out of you. Essentially, acting dumb will sneak up on you.

b) You may pass out or be taken back to your room by a concerned companion. This means you are out of it while other people are still having fun.

c) You may find yourself hungover and thus still out of commission the next day. Your friends are hiking Tulum or playing beach volleyball or drinking more, and you’re in bed with a splitting headache, unable to figure out how to change the channel from the Spanish-language version of The Soup. You’re wasting time, and thus wasting money, and no one wants that.

Step 3: Like I said last time–experiment.

I’m not typically a martini drinker. (I’m not really much of a liquor drinker at all, but when the only beer option is Dos Equis, I learn to make do.) But while at an all-inclusive, I’ll try any number of martinis and cosmos and other cocktails that I would never drop a dollar on at home, simply because they’re available and already paid for. This is really the overarching theme of the all-inclusive and why I find them so fun. You don’t have to worry about anything, so you may as well try everything.

Which, speaking of, next week I’ll tell you the things beyond eating and drinking you should try while all-inclusive-ing. (Yes, it’s a verb now.)