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AI vs. Non AI my experience

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Level Contributor
157 posts
16 reviews
AI vs. Non AI my experience

My husband and I have been to Cabo 6 times (Melia, Presidente, VDA, etc.), the most recent last week. This was the first time we opted *not* to take the AI route.

In Dec we stayed at VDA and purchased the AI option for our family of 4, the cost was $1,700 which included food and drinks from the restaurants at VDA and VDP. Room service is not included nor is the honor bar items. Tips are also not included, that (plus the first night room service and a few items from the honor bar) added another $800 to our bill.

Last week we purchased food at City Club and the VDP store for the smaller items. We got breakfast items (cereal, milk, yogurt, eggs, juice, fruit, toast and coffee) lunch items (bread, mayo, ham, peppers, cheese, pb&J, chips, juice boxes, soda) plus dish soap, laundry detergent, baggies, beer, tequila, marg mix and water.

We ate breakfast on our beautiful balcony, every day but one (had the hotel buffet that morning). We had picnic lunches most days at the beach or by the pool and 3 days supplemented with a snacks at the pool bar. We brought beers and margs to the pool but ordered a round on 2 if we were there all day. Not once were we hassled for bringing out own food/drinks.

We had dinner out at Mi Casa, Solomon’s, Crazy Lobster, the VDP Fiesta and La Fonda. Avg $100 per night. This was the highlight of our trip. We so enjoyed meeting the locals, trying new places and eating the delicious food!

So in Dec (AI Option) we spent about $2,500 and ate and drank only at VDA/VDP

March (non AI) we spent $300 on groceries, $500 for snacks, drinks, one breakfast, Fiesta at VDP, and about $400 on dinners out totaling $1,200. So for us, the non AI option was much cheaper and we got to try some great restaurants in town.

To add to that I felt way better this time (in Dec I ate so much just because I could) in March I ate more like I do at home.

As for the cocktails, we are big drinkers while on vacation so we thought the drinks alone on the AI deal would be worth it. This time we brought numerous beers to the pool each day. When I felt like raising my hand and ordering something from the bar, I did. When the kids felt like a smoothie, we ordered one. We just kept it to once or twice a day.

I never thought I would say that I preferred the non AI option but I really did! It was much cheaper, too!

Level Contributor
7,267 posts
1. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience


great report. ive been telling people this for years! Buena Suerte..... jim

Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
Level Contributor
10,128 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

So at least now we have someone who has "been there done that" to agree with us when we say don't go AI and enjoy Cabo. And that is the best part, visiting the other restaurants and socializing with the locals.

My husband just got back from Cabo with a friend of his, who always went the high end AI or Pedregal route. He's gone bonkers now since he did it our way and can't wait to go back with his wife to enjoy the smaller places and chat with the locals as well.

Thanks for the report.

Kodiak Island...
Level Contributor
643 posts
1 review
3. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

We've never done AI but I would have to agree with everyone. As much as we enjoyed the resort it would have been miserable feeling like you HAD to eat there all the time. Getting downtown for dinners and lunches was a huge part of the experience.

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
1,062 posts
1 review
4. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience


We stayed at the Palace in Feb. We loved the hotel and the food was pretty good. We are not picky eaters, BUT we were in town nearly the whole time or on excursions, we went to the pool twice in 5 days (short trip). A package deal w/ AI is just as cheap as airfare and a hotel from DFW and we came out ahead because of the drinks in the evening at the hotel. I have been to a bunch of AI's and always used them but not in Cabo.

St. Louis
Level Contributor
342 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

non AI in cabo is the only way to go.

Level Contributor
4,054 posts
6. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

Right on! We were forced to take the AI at the Tesoro as we are using a timeshare exchange week. Because we will not be paying them any money for the rooms they get money out of us from the manditory AI.It's not that expensive so we will be eating at other places! I do not like AIs and the only times that I have used them is when I have vacationed to places that are so out there that you had no choice. Some AIs are very good but you are stuck to that resort and you feel guilty by going out to venture any other place to see or eat! You miss all the adventure and options of whats out there other than the resort you are at. If a person wants to stay set at one spot and not worry about going anywhere to look for a place to eat or activities than an AI is the way to go! But for me it is like holding me back from all that's out there and meeting people, trying different foods and things.

This is just my opinion mind you!!! Party on!


Olympia, Washington
Level Contributor
2,538 posts
15 reviews
7. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

Excellent report! I'm glad somebody who has done both kept track of the costs. Everytime I've estimated the costs the non-AI plan comes out ahead but it was hard to be sure. Thanks!

Eliot, Maine
Level Contributor
725 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

Nice report. In the total expense you did not mention the cost of a timeshare unit, and how does it compare to standard hotel, maybe not in your case' but the cost of a day wasted because of a timeshare Monger has to be considered.. Glad you had a good trip. thanks

Level Contributor
5,806 posts
49 reviews
9. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

Along this same line, has anyone stayed at the Royal Solaris. I just got a week there and was wondering if you don't pay for the room and just the all-inclusive as an owner, would it be worth the price. I have been to Cabo many times and love all the mom and pop places, but just thought I would give Solaris a try just for fun and about $1000 for the week.

Hey Jim aka YM jump on in here and give me your thoughts.

Level Contributor
48 posts
10. Re: AI vs. Non AI my experience

Hey, that is a relief to me! I was a bit worried about not getting all inclusive and paying big bucks for every meal and drink! Pacifica does not offer the AI option but we wanted to stay there. We'll stock up, too, as much as we can. I have read elsewhere that the staff there doesn't seem to mind when you bring your own drinks to the pool or beach but we will be sure to buy from them sometimes anyways.

nine days to go - may as well be an eternity!!