Each year my husband and I try to take a vacation away as a couple. No kids. No distractions. We can’t make a long getaway happen every year, but it’s something we prioritize in our marriage. Whether we take a short weekend getaway or a 5-night long vacation, we love our time together. Thankfully, we have two sets of parents that are willing to watch their grandkids for a few nights so that we can escape everyday life. 

This year we opted for 5 nights at Excellence Playa Mujeres. It was our second time visiting this resort and once again, we loved it. Today I’m sharing a breakdown of what we spent on this all-inclusive vacation!

*Note: this is not a sponsored post. We paid in full for this and all our past vacations.

Where We Stayed: Excellence Playa Mujeres

This was our second time visiting Excellence Playa Mujeres. We chose this resort for a few reasons: 

  1. The flight from Houston to Cancun is short (about 2 hours).
  2. It’s an adults only all-inclusive resort. This means that ALL food and drinks (even alcohol) is included in the price. We love that all inclusive resorts make it easier to budget for your trip! No need to have to worry about how much you’re spending on dinner while at the resort…its all included.
  3. The service is amazing at Excellence Resorts.

We have been to Excellence Playa Mujeres as well as Excellence Riviera Cancun. Out of the two resorts, we prefer the Playa Mujeres location. Overall it has a better beach and we enjoy the modern resort.

Excellence Playa Mujeres pool and beach

Budget Breakdown

I don’t feel like enough people talk about HOW much it costs to enjoy a relaxing all-inclusive vacation. But you know me, I love sharing budgets. Let’s break down how much we spent on this trip down to the penny!

Flights: $169.92

We spent $169.92 on flights from Houston to Cancun. We flew Southwest and used points that we earned with the Southwest Card to book my flight. I also have the Southwest Companion Pass which I earned with our Southwest Card. This means my husband flies free with me! All I have to do is book my flight and then add him on as well. We do have to pay taxes and fees for his flights though.

We earned the Southwest Companion pass in the summer of 2019. It was supposed to expire at the end of 2020, but Southwest extended the pass through the end of 2021 due to the pandemic. We love the Southwest Companion pass because it makes flying so inexpensive.

flight cost

While bookign the flight was free, we still had to pay taxes and fees on these flights. Taxes and fees for flights within the United States are typically only $11 each way, but international flights are a little more expensive.

We paid $84.69 each for airport taxes and fees. These fees included:

  • US 9/11 Security Fee
  • Animal and and plant health inspection fee
  • US Immigration and Naturalization user fee
  • US customs user fee
  • Tourism tax
  • International airport transportation tax
airport fees broken down by price

Resort Cost: $2,926.18

We spent $2,926.18 to stay at Excellence Playa Mujeres. This cost included:

  • 5 Nights in a Terrace Suite with Plunge Pool (we had our own private pool which was wonderful)
  • All food
  • All drinks (yes, unlimited alcohol!)
  • Nightly entertainment
  • Use of kayaks, paddleboards, and even a small catamaran

The food at Excellence Resorts is absolutely delicious. Forget what you know about all-inclusive resort food…this place is the best.

Excellence Playa Mujeres has 9 restaurants and most are open each night. Our favorite is Chez Isabelle as well as Basmati. 

Excellence Resorts offer both a non-refundable and refundable option when checking out. While the non-refundable option is less expensive, we decided to stick with the refundable option when we booked. Thankfully the refundable option gave us free private transportation to and from the Cancun Airport. The transportation was clean, safe, and quick!

resort fees with pool background

Spa: $104.40

During this trip, my husband and I decided to spend extra on the hydrotherapy massage. We’ve had a couples massage at this resort in the past and it was delightful. But since we were already splurging on a private catamaran ride, we decided to only book the hydrotherapy massage this time.

We had a guide that took us through all the hydrotherapy treatments and we ended the massage with time to unwind by the pool! The treatment for 2 cost $104.40 and we tipped our guide (see what we tipped down below in the cash tipping section).

spa fees with sky background

Private Catamaran Ride: $790.58

We decided that this year we would charter our own private catamaran for several hours. In the past, we took the ferry to Isla Mujeres, rented a golf cart, and explored the little island near Cancun. But this year we wanted a different experience.

We booked a private catamaran with 3 crew members from Experiencas Cancun. We had the catamaran to ourselves for 7 hours. All drinks (water and alcohol) were included in the cost. During our time we snorkeled in 2 different locations (the underwater museum near Isla Mujeres as well as a large reef area). We also docked at Isla Mujeres and spent time on their beautiful beach.

catamaran boat

The cost for the catamaran rental came out to $640.58 and we tipped each crew member $50 at the end of the ride ($150 total).

This experience was one that I’ve been dreaming about for years and if you have room in your budget, it’s definitely an incredible experience you will enjoy! Make this a less expensive excursion when you go with anothre couple or friend.

private catamaran cost

Gifts/Other: $93.59

While away enjoying an adults-only vacation, our kids spent 6 nights with their grandparents. We are very fortunate to have 2 sets of grandparents that are very hands-on and excited to watch our kids. We spent $93.59 on gifts for the kids as well as a bottle of Tylenol (which we had forgotten to pack).

allison and matt baggerly

Airport Parking: $49.42

We left our car in an airport parking lot for 5 nights. The total cost for uncovered parking came out to $49.42. This is commonly missed expense when you’re planning a vacation away. We booked in advance to save 20% on the cost!

boat picture

Cash Tips: $334.00

We never go to Mexico without bringing more than enough money for tips! While Excellence Resorts don’t require tips, it is welcomed. We see it as a way to give back and say thank you to those serving us and helping us enjoy a wonderful vacation. 

Before leaving the country, I plan out exactly how much money I think I’ll need in tips. Then, I add another $100 just in case. I even break down my bills into the exact denominations that I will need. For instance, we tipped $5 at lunch and $5 at dinner each day. We had 6 lunches and 5 dinners, so I brought eleven $5 bills for meals. The same is true for housekeeping. We brought enough to tip housekeeping $5 each day.

Below I’ve broken down what we actually spent on cash tips:

  • Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner For 5 Nights: $67.00
  • Cab Ride To/From Marina (cost of the cab ride plus tips): $65.00
  • Spa Tipping: $20.00
  • Tip for Airport Driver ($15 tip each way): $30.00 
  • Isla Mujeres Beach Chairs & Water: $18.00
  • Drinks, Housekeeping, Other: $134.00 

If you plan to visit an all-inclusive resort, please include tipping as part of your budget.

cash tips breakdown

Total Cost: $4,468.09

All in all, we spent $4,468.09 on our 5-night vacation. While this might be a perfect price point for some, it might be too expensive for others. I believe that with the right budget, you can enjoy a beautiful all-inclusive vacation! Below I’m sharing tips for how to save money on the all-inclusive vacation of your dreams!

cancun beach

Ways To Save Money On Your All-Inclusive Vacation

Want to save money on your next all-inclusive? Try these tips below.

  1. Visit resorts during off season times. Mexico tends to be less expensive during the summer due to the hot weather. However the rates for rooms drop in price which is a great option for those who want to stay on a budget!
  2. Skip any excursions or spa treatments. Staying at an all-inclusive resort can be relaxing and fun without the added expenses.
  3. Enjoy the free entertainment and beach equipment. The resort we stayed in had kayaks, paddleboards, and even a small sailing catamaran that can be used for free. You can have a blast with these beach toys at no extra cost!
  4. Book a standard room instead of a rooftop room or upgraded room. Most of the time you’re at the pool or beach, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out!
tips on spending less beach background

Frequently Asked Questions

When I shared all about our resort experience on Instagram (I have a highlight bubble where I shared a room tour as well as other videos of the resort), I received hundreds of questions from followers who wanted more details. Many people were wondering what we paid, but I received many other questions as well.

I’ll be answering some of the frequently asked questions below.

Did you take your kids with you?

Nope! This is an adults-only resort. No one under 18 years is allowed! The Finest is a family-friendly resort by the same company. If you want to bring your kids, this is the resort you’ll want to check out.

Did you pay up front or do they allow monthly payments?

We booked the trip and they charge you the full price 30 days before you arrive. We paid for it with our credit card and then immediately paid off the credit card after the charge went through. If you book the refundable option, you can cancel within 24 hours of arriving and they will give you back your payment.

couple on beach

Do they make you listen to a timeshare speech?

Nope! Excellence resorts do not have timeshare options which means no one will be pushing you to buy a timeshare. If you’ve ever sat thorugh a dreaded timeshare presentation then you’ll appreciate that NO ONE will ask you to do this at Excellence Resorts.

Is this a chain resort? Or only in Cancun?

This resort has 2 locations in Cancun, 2 locations in Punta Cana, and 1 location in Jamaica! We haven’t been to the Punta Cana or Jamaica locations…yet.

How was the food quality? What if I have food allergies?

This resort has many restaurants and very delicious food! When you check in to the resort they will ask you if you have any food allergies. Then at every meal they ask again. Our first time to visit an Excellence Resort we were with another couple and the wife had a food allergy. At every single meal they made sure to discuss her allergy so that she didn’t accidentally order a dish that would make her sick.

drink on beach

How far is the airport from the resort?

The drive from the airport to the Excellence Playa Mujeres was about 35-40 minutes. This is also another perk! Some resorts are a 2 hour drive from the airport. It’s nice to be able to arrive at the resort soon after your flight lands.

How long do you save for a trip like this?

We save all year long for our vacation in our vacation sinking fund. We have a separate savings account with Ally Bank and set aside money each month for these large trips. As our vaction gets closer, we even increase our monthly savings rate. By setting up automatic withdrawals, saving money for vacation is easy!

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
Playa Norte at Isla Mueres

Excellence Play Muneres: Can you really enjoy it on a budget?

I do think that you CAN enjoy this all-inclusive resort on a budget. Remeber that a budget simply comes down to creating a plan for your money. When you’re willing to save in advance, taking an all-inclusve vacation can be stress free and affordable!

Have questions about our expierence at Excellence Playa Mujeres? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!