Top 12 all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean

CNN  — 

If there’s one thing better than guaranteed sunshine and blue skies on your next vacation, it’s the knowledge that there will be no nasty surprises come check-out time.

All-inclusive vacations mean that one price fits all, covering almost everything, save those optional extras or upgrades.

Mexico and the Caribbean boast countless options to kick back and relax, so here are 12 of the best destinations when it comes to staying in style – but also on budget:

1. The Crane Resort, Barbados

Crane Beach in Barbados has been voted one of the world’s best and The Crane Resort sits on its pink sands. Dining avoids the buffet option often seen elsewhere, with restaurants including L’Azure offering fresh seafood overlooking the ocean or Italian classics at D’Onofrio’s Trattoria.

At their Bar 1887, rum punch is on the menu, as well as the promise that “happy hour can be every hour.” The resort features six swimming pools, waterfalls, whirlpools and private pools, gardens and terraces. This is definitely one for your travel list.

From $1,651 per couple for a three-night stay.

The Crane, St. Philip, Barbados,

2. UNICO Riviera Maya, Mexico

Unlimited spa treatments, golf and off-property excursions are some of the draws at the UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya. The recently opened property is adults only and intriguingly named after its latitude and longitude on the Yucatan Peninsula.

They also offer an app that promises to allow you to order pretty much anything via your phone – and open your room door. A dirty martini to your sunbed? Housekeeping to make up the room?

When you can drag yourself away, there are five globally-inspired gourmet restaurants, six bars and lounges and three pools.

From $1,539 per couple for a three-night stay.

UNICO 20°87° Hotel, Riviera Maya, Mexico,

3. Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

One of the Caribbean island of Grenada’s biggest draws is Grand Anse Beach, three curved miles of golden sand and home to Spice Island Beach Resort.

Popular with couples and families, the all-inclusive, AAA Five Diamond resort includes premium cocktails and house wines.

Grenada is famed for its herbs, spices and chocolate, and all three appear across the menus at their gourmet restaurant Oliver’s, where Creole cuisine is front and center. Lunch is served at Sea and Surf Terrace & Bar, and in-room dining is another option.

The herbs show up again in treatments at Janissa’s Spa, tucked away in a tropical garden. Evenings are capped off with reggae and steel bands.

From $3,435 per couple for three nights.

Spice Island Beach Resort, Grand Anse Beach, St. George’s, Grenada,

4. Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraíso, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Guests at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraíso can lounge near, or even in, the water.

Located in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, an hour south of Cancun, the Grand Hotel Paraíso is the top tier of Iberostar’s portfolio of properties.

The adults-only, five-star resort in Playa del Carmen lives up to its name with indoor botanical gardens, a pool with a sliding roof and an 18-hole golf course, with one round included per person.

If you have the energy to leave your beach cabana or private terrace, there is a huge array of other sports and activities, everything from archery to tai chi. Plenty of gourmet dining options then allow you to indulge before catching a show in the on-site theater.

From $1,600 per couple for a three-night stay.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraíso, Playa del Carmen, Mexico,

5. Cap Maison, St. Lucia

St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s most stunning islands and the Cap Maison resort offers dramatic clifftop vistas featuring both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Forty-nine suites are spread over three landscaped acres, all designed in Spanish Caribbean style, while private white sand beaches add to the sense of exclusivity.

When it comes to fine dining, the Cliff at Cap offers contemporary French Caribbean cuisine. The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill serves up a more casual experience on the sand.

The most impressive dining experience – and undoubtedly Instagram-friendly – is Rock Maison, a scenic perch accessed only by a wooden staircase from the clifftop, where champagne is delivered by zip line. Best not to try that one at home.

All-inclusive offers from $1,698 per couple for three nights.

Cap Maison, St. Lucia,

6. Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas covers a whopping 7,000 verdant acres, meaning personalized privacy is guaranteed. Guests can choose from hotel rooms, suites or luxury villas for those wanting to really kick back in style.

There’s a polo club if you need to work on your game, a 370-berth marina for the yacht, a tennis center and even a 245-acre shooting club.

Golf is a specialty with three famously tough courses, including the ominously named Teeth of of the Dog. Entertainment wise, it doesn’t get much bigger or grander than a 5,000-seat amphitheater that was inaugurated by none other than Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. Expect gourmet cuisine and fine wines and spirits as standard across the multiple dining options.

From $2,192 per couple for a three-night stay.

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, La Romana, Dominican Republic,

7. Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island offers hard-to-match privacy and luxury.

Most of the year, Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the picturesque British Virgin Islands is out of reach to all but the 0.01% as the entire property has to be hired for groups of up to 34 people.

However, “celebration weeks” on selected dates from April to October allow for couples and smaller groups to experience why it is known as one of the world’s great escapes.

The price is still pretty eye-watering for three nights, but includes all food and drinks served in a variety of rather special locations, as well as water sports from windsurfing and kite surfing to sailing and scuba diving. Infinity pools, hot tubs and a spa allow you to de-stress even further, while the team of more than 100 staffers is on hand for anything else.

From $13,170 per couple for three nights.

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands,

8. Sunset at the Palms, Jamaica

Unleash your inner Tarzan in Negril, Jamaica, home to the Sunset at the Palms adults-only boutique hotel, built in “treehouse style.”

Hummingbirds, butterflies and even a resident mongoose wander the grounds around the 85 rooms, which benefit from proximity to both the jungle and the beach at the scarily named Bloody Bay.

A tennis court, a selection of water sports, pools and all meals and beverages are included, while on arrival at Montego Bay airport you get fast-tracked through immigration and customs.

From $999 per couple for three nights.

Sunset at the Palms, Negril, Jamaica,

9. Grand Velas Los Cabos, Mexico

Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is home to Grand Velas Los Cabos, where every suite offers ocean views and more than 1,180 square feet of space to call your own.

Five restaurants serve global cuisines with a wine program led by a sommelier who celebrates Mexican and international vintages alike.

If exercise is your thing, there’s an enormous spa, hydrotherapy facility and Technogym with personal trainers, plus six wellness suites featuring juice bars and fitness. But with a staff ratio of 3 to 1 and 24-hour butler service, gourmet temptation is never far away.

From $4,500 per couple for a three-night stay.

Grand Velas Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico,

10. Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, Mexico

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun offers 103 suites in a private Riviera Maya hideaway between the world’s second largest barrier reef and a nature preserve.

The suites are designed as private residences, so it may be difficult to pull yourself away from the pristine beaches, but when you do, local excursions include snorkeling underground rivers or exploring ancient Mayan ruins.

A sunset cruise and a complimentary bottle of tequila are also included, although not necessarily at the same time. Children under 12 eat and stay free.

From $2,208 per couple for three nights.

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico,

11. Curtain Bluff, Antigua

The views are almost as powerful as the sun at Curtain Bluff in Antigua.

Tucked in 20 lush acres of southern Antigua, Curtain Bluff opened in 1962 and has remained under the same ownership since. With just 72 accommodations, all boasting ocean views, the resort is also proud of its “family welcome” and 65% ratio of repeat guests.

Gourmet dining and drinks, a spa and water sports are all included, but one unique element is the Old Road Fund, started in 1974 by the resort’s founders.

It was originally designed to support families in the local community, but it has grown to the point where more than $1 million has been invested in university education for local students, medical relief programs and more.

From $2,400 for a couple for a three-night stay.

Curtain Bluff, Antigua,

12. Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

St. Lucia's rugged terrain creates a stunning setting for Sugar Beach.

Few Caribbean locales can match the scenic wow factor of St. Lucia’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons, two mountains providing the backdrop to Sugar Beach.

The resort sits in 100 acres of rain forest fronted by white sand beaches, where non-motorized water sports such as snorkeling, sailing and windsurfing are included. Each room has a plunge pool and butler service, while a range of meal plans allow you to choose from dining à la carte to all-inclusive.

From $4,764 per couple for three nights.

Sugar Beach, Val des Pitons, Soufriere, St. Lucia,

Chris Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based travel and food writer and communications consultant. Follow him on Twitter at @chrismdwyer or visit