Maybe AI isn't such a good thing for anyone in Mexico.
So when I take a week and head to a sunny destination, I actually enjoy the simplicity of the AI resort. Don't have to worry about how much extra money I'll need, don't have to worry about leaving the hotel three times a day just to find something to eat (although I know the regular hotels generally have things to offer). This is my first trip to Maz. If I decide to come back, I may very well take peoples' advice and fully experience all the fine restaurants the town has to offer.
I will be staying at the Riu next week. But we still plan to leave the resort several times. Up to Lionis', into the Golden Zone and into Old Mazatlan. The city will be getting some of our tourist dollars, just not all of them.
Just my 2 cents. :)Edited: 7:03 pm, January 22, 2013
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Good point, BJones.
I would never do an AI and not leave the resort. What a waste.
Just because a person stays at an AI resort doesn't mean that they never leave the resort. We always take the local bus or taxi to explore different parts of the city that we vacation in. We shop at the markets, go to the restaurants, and do tours. I would never suggest that a person travel to Mexico and never leave the resort. What a waste of a vacation! We loved Mazatlan and can't wait to return. There is so much to do and see.Edited: 7:31 pm, January 22, 2013
Let's not forget how unique and wonderful Mazatlan is. It's great that the resorts are all mainly in the Golden Zone within walking distance to many, many, many great restaurants. When we go to Mayan Riviera or Cabo and stay on the corridor AI is much more convenient because it would be just too inconvenient, costly and time consuming to get out for all your meals cuz everything isn't right there for you.
When our kids were younger I couldn't imagine a trip that wasn't AI - they just wanted to be in the pool and able to eat and drink whatever they want - and forget about sight seeing! Also, when visiting a new location that you don't know it makes it easier as well.
But with Mazatlan even newcomers can enjoy a non AI experience without knowing the area because it is so easy to get around and so easy to find a great restaurant - even if you don't know what you're looking for.
After many AI trips, this next vacation to Mazatlan we are renting a condo and have a different restaurant picked out for our dinner each night - and even some breakfast and lunch locations decided upon!
I wish they would offer different levels of AI. Like include drinks and breakfast only for a smaller fee. I would be on my own for lunch and dinner.
El Cid does offer two different levels of AI. Due to some marketing quirk the 1 bedroom suite I usually book is cheaper with the basic AI. I eat breakfast and have fruit drinks by the pool and eat out every day. I go AI because it actually saves me money on breakfast and lunch and allows me to spend more out and about so everyone gets their share and I'm a happy guy!
I personally like ai but I dont use it only and never leave the resort. That really would be a waste. Mazatlan is an awsome very special city with soooo much to offer. We are careful of course but we always go out and explore and eat out a lot. Getting back to the question on ai or no ai , we go for it simply for the conveinence of it. Drinks by pool, snacks maybe, sometimes breakfast.whatever we feel like! Is it the "best deal"doing it this way? Likely not but thats not the point. We both work hard all year to be able to come to mexico on vacation and I like having that ai wristband just so I can have whatever at the hotel whenever. Just to be clear though we definatly go out a lot too. We alllook forward to coming here all year and even if it maybe costs a bit more spoil yourself and get the ai as well. But thats just me.
There are times, and places, where AI makes good sense. Like Cokechick 21 (We are talking Coka Cola here. right?:-) )said, there are times when it makes perfect sense. However there are some who do AI because they are used to prices off resort being very high. Lots of people don't know how affordable dining out is here in Mazatlan. That is why, when someone asks "AI or not AI" a bunch of folks come on and advise AGAINST AI here. And yet there are times when it makes sense, even here.
But I have truely met so many people who go AI because they think they are "saving money", and many who would never dare to leave the resort grounds. There are tons of people who think the Gold Zone is 'downtown'.
I can't help but think just about everyone here posting never read the linked article.
All of the posts are about their preferences.
The most disturbing point in the article is about booking AI that most of the money never gets to Mexico. It is paid out to tour packagers to promote AI.
Resorts like RIU are not Mexican Corporations but are just exploiting the country for every cent they can. Sure they pay some wages and taxes but nothing else for the local economy.