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!