I’ve been so excited to write this blog post and share all the details with you guys but I realized quickly this was gonna have to be broken up into a 3-part series.
The burning question you guys all asked the most was:
“which did you like better… All-Inclusive or the AirBnB?"
So today, we will start with that!
Then I will share a post of each place with all the details of where we ate, what we did, and all the things!
This is probably not the answer you are hoping for but…….honestly I loved both equally for different reasons, and I will explain.
It all depends on...
your goals for the trip
what kind of experience you're looking for
Each place is a completely different experience with a different vibe.
I was working with a budget so I researched forever trying to get the most for our money!
I had been saving up for this trip for over a year and to stay the whole 7 days at the Excellence El Carmen would have put me over budget so that’s why I decided to split up the trip and looked for an AirBnb as well and was able to have both experiences.
The AirBnB at The Aquamarina
I booked the AirBnB 2-3 weeks before we left...yep! I don't know why I always do this, but I read reviews until I fall asleep so many nights trying to make sure I get the best place before I ever just pull the trigger and book something and it drives Tyler crazy lol!
I finally landed on this unit at The Aquamarina in Cap Cana and it was wonderful!
Cap Cana, Dominican Republic is just 15 minutes south of the popular destination, Punta Cana and one of our new favorite places for a beach vacation for sure! It was safe, had beautiful amenities and pools, restaurants on site and gorgeous calm blue water!
I originally searched on AirBnb to find this unit, but ultimately booked directly from the rental company, Palmera Rentals. Which actually saved me several hundred dollars in fees booking directly through the rental agency.
The Views & The Water
It wasn’t crowded!
The best perk about the AirBnb at the Aquamarina was it wasn’t crowded and felt like we had the beach to ourself most days!
They had free cabanas to use each day on the beach, which Tyler loved cause he could get in the shade while I soaked up the sun. At the pool or beach, we never had to fight for a chair or umbrella which made things even better.
If you're like us, you're wondering...okay why is this paradise place not crowded???
From what we learned, this area of Cape Cana (where Aquamarina is and the Punta Palmera resort thats next door) is mainly 75% second home owners not rented out and only about 25% are even listed to rent on AirBnb or local rental agencies.
Most of these owners aren’t at their vacation home very often. And, very few are rented. This gives that low key relaxing vibe, if you don’t like crowds of people.
It was really secluded and I loved that we could literally walk (or ride a golf cart) to dinner each night to restaurants on site that were really good. But, we also had a full kitchen and cooked our own breakfast and lunch to save some money!
I loved the PRICE!
You just can't beat the price! We went in late February and You can get units as low a $175.00 a night for a 2 bedroom and up to $350.00 a night for a 3 bedroom.
I mean if you live in the south you know It’s hard to stay in Florida or 30A on the beach for $150.00 a night during prime season. So, we loved that it really helped stretch our budget but that was safe, had beautiful views of that turquoise blue water and we didn't have to fight any crowds. It was the perfect low key start to our trip!
Our 1 Bedroom Unit at the Aquamarina
An AirBnB at a place like the Aquamarina may be the perfect way to go for you if...
If you are on a budget, but want to go on a Caribbean vacation, be beach-front, have gorgeous blue waters in a safe & beautiful area...this is the place for you!!
Cap Cana is away from all the crowds, it’s gated, safe, and on the side of the island where the water is a beautiful blue! Plus, there is plenty to do nearby—from adventure, to island cruises and more!
Check out the AirBnB wishlist I made for places to stay in Cap Cana, Punta Cana!
Now, let's talk about the All-Inclusive experience!
If you are celebrating a milestone, looking to go all out, be waited on hand and foot, and never have to think about anything once you arrive but what swimsuit you're gonna wear that day...
...the Excellence El Carmen is for you!
Okay, y'all...it was pretty amazing, I won’t lie! From the moment we pulled up, they immediately took our bags out of our hands, handed us a cold towel and glass of champagne.
The staff was incredible, so friendly and went above and beyond to make sure our every need was met, we were happy and having a great experience.
So many activities, you didn't have to think about anything!
The things we loved most was just not having to think about anything! There are activities scheduled everyday & shows every night to attend.
All sorts of classes were offered—everything from archery to cooking. There were several workout classes (if you're into working out on vacation) and they even had card games going and Beach volleyball.
We were able to choose from 12 different restaurants—from French to Seafood and more, it was there! You can order whatever you want, when you want or eat multiple places in a night if you want! We may have tried one of every dessert one night! Lol
Pools & Amenities
The pools and amenities were beautiful and to my surprise not as crowded as I’d expected. It was obviously more people than at the AirBnb. But, not to the point it wasn't enjoyable.
The Excellence Club guests had their own section of beach roped off with cabanas and umbrellas for everyone as well as beach towels, sunscreen, and after sun care for you so that all you have to bring it yourself.
You see what I mean lol it’s a whole different experience! Lol
When you consider the unlimited food, drinks, entertainment, classes, free shuttles to airport and all the things...the price for the Excellence Resort is not bad if it's within your budget!
If you are looking for a trip to truly relax, not have to worry about cooking, cleaning up and have everything at your fingertips the all inclusive is a splurge I would suggest.
There was little to not love at either place from the STUNNING waters and pristine upkeep of the area and friendly locals.
I hope this comparison was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, feel free to comment or send me a DM on Instagram @vintagepickin
Have a great day!