10 Cancun Resorts and Hotels That Offer a European Plan

Cancun is home to over 200 resorts, most of which are completely all-inclusive, which means the price of your room includes meals, drinks and entertainment.  Many visitors love to travel on an all-inclusive plan, but others prefer to take the European plan (ep) route, which means the price only includes a room and possibly a continental breakfast. This gives guests an opportunity to experience the local dining scene.

The Krystal Cancun, Krystal Grand Punta Cancun and Aloft are all also located close to the Party Center. Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas is a great option for budget-conscious travelers.

The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort is a superb choice for those wishing to go non all-inclusive as many suites have kitchens. At sister resort Westin Resort & Spa guests can also choose a European plan for the duration of their stay.

The Ritz-Carlton, Nizuc Resort & Spa and both of Cancun’s Marriott resorts, the JW Marriott and Marriott Cancun are other excellent options for those who prefer to travel on a European plan.


This 220-room property is located on the beach in Cancun's Hotel Zone, but it is also very close to downtown Cancun, which makes it a great homebase for checking out restaurants, nightlife, and shopping in both sections of town. Holiday Inn Arenas is one of the few pet-friendly properties in Cancun, accepting dogs under 22 pounds. There are three restaurants, a pool and a fitness center available. Guests can purchase the all-inclusive meal option or opt for the European Plan, which does not include any meals or drinks. There is a bus stop in front of the hotel for easy access to shopping, restaurants, and attractions.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas is a good option for budget conscious travelers.

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Aloft is located in the heart of Cancun's Hotel Zone, in the Party Center, smack in the middle of all the action. This hotel is perfect for those who want to forgo the all-inclusive experience and explore all that the Hotel Zone has to offer. The beach (the hotel provides guests with beach towels), nightclubs, restaurants and a huge supermarket are all just steps away. Rooms are basic but are clean and feature very comfy beds. The hotel offers free WiFi, a restaurant, massages, free pool tables, foosball, popcorn and bicycles in the lobby, and free valet parking. To quite literally top it all off, there is a rooftop pool and bar with cabanas and daily happy hour.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Aloft Cancun is located in the heart of Cancun's Hotel Zone in the party center and is a perfect vacation home base.

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The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun is located at the far end of the Hotel Zone at km 20. With its gorgeous beach and four pools, guests will always find a place to soak up the Caribbean sun. The resort is home to the Heavenly Spa, WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio, outdoor lighted tennis courts and an indoor-outdoor kids club. All six of the hotels dining establishments provide ocean views. The Westin has eight, that's right eight room categories including Deluxe, Balcony, Royal Beach Club, Junior Suite, Royal Beach Club Ambassador Suite, Parlor Suite, Master Suite and the Royal Beach Club Presidential Suite. Guests can choose between all inclusive or European plan.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Westin Resort & Spa is located on a beautiful beach in a quiet part of the Hotel Zone and both AI and EP plans are available.

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Airport - Cun

The Krystal Cancun is just steps away from Cancun's Party Center and shopping and dining and even a bus stop if you do want to venture further from the resort. The hotel boasts three restaurants, three bars, a panoramic pool with swim-up bar and a dreamy beach complete with Bali beds. Visitors can choose from a Standard Guestroom, Deluxe Oceanview, Family Suite, Krystal Club Room, Romantic Room, Junior Suite, and the Master and Presidential Suites which have their own pools. The resort offers the Krystal Kamp Kids Club for little ones, a spa and a fitness center. Guests can choose between all-inclusive or European plan.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Krystal Cancun sits on a calm gorgeous beach and is just steps from Cancun's Party Center.

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The Krystal Grand Punta Cancun is located in the heart of Cancun's Hotel Zone, just steps away from the Party Center, restaurants and shopping. The Krystal's pool area and beach are gorgeous and the views from the oceanfront rooms are spectacular. Guests will enjoy a spa, a fitness center, six restaurants, a pool-snack bar, a lounge-terrace area and a swim-up pool bar. The popular Mexican restaurant, Hacienda el Mortero, is included in the all-inclusive plan. The resort offers facilities for meetings, conventions and weddings. Visitors can choose between all-inclusive or European plan.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: The Krystal's location is excellent and the beach beds are first come, first serve.

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This upscale resort is great for families, couples, or singles. The pool area is lovely, the rooms are well-appointed, nicely decorated, and the staff is outgoing and attentive. All guest rooms and suites have an ocean view. Guests that book a room or suite on the club level will have access to the hotel's exclusive Club 91, where they can enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet each morning, as well as complimentary cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks that are provided throughout the day. In addition to the bars, restaurants, and delis at JW Marriott, guests also have access to the restaurants and bars at Marriott Cancun Resort, the hotel's sister property, located right next door.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: JW Marriott is a luxury resort on a gorgeous beach. Both AI and EP plans are available.

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The Westin Lagunamar is located just across the street from the largest outdoor shopping and entertainment center in Cancun, La Isla. Spacious, richly furnished studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom villas feature ocean views, provide full kitchens and furnished balconies, hand-selected art and other distinctive touches. There are plenty of ways to stay active, be pampered or simply relax. Creative chefs tantalize guests with dishes inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine and international influences, while bar and lounge menus feature original cocktails and old favorites. They also offer the Westin Kids Club with supervised activities, minigolf and water activities. The hotel provides a baby sitting service, barbecue area, business center, a bar, an on-call doctor, a game room, high speed internet, 24-hour room service and a spa.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: The Westin Lagunamar is simply an amazing resort for couples and families alike.

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Marriott Cancun Resort
Photo courtesy of Marriott Cancun Resort

AAA Four Diamond Marriott Cancun Resort is a beautiful hotel that sits on one of Cancun's best beaches. Some of Cancun's finest restaurants, including its only Polynesian restaurant, are part of the hotel. Sacbe Beach Shack offers a lively Friday night Reggae party and a delicious Sunday brunch. Champion's Sports Bar has 2 giant screens and 22 televisions, so you never miss that big game or sporting event. Guests also have access to the restaurants and bars at JW Marriott Cancun, the hotel's sister property, located right next door. The swimming pool offers a swim-up bar and a huge hot tub with a spectacular view of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Comfortable rooms, with balconies and spectacular views of Cancun's Hotel Zone, help guests relax and unwind. The property also features a gift shop, spa and fitness center. Marriott Cancun Resort is a popular venue for weddings and events. For an extra special vacation day, rent one of their fantastic cabanas on the beach.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Marriott Cancun Resort is a AAA Four Diamond resort for those who wish to forgo an all-inclusive plan.

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Luxurious, beautiful Nizuc Resort & Spa is located at the quiet end of Cancun's Hotel Zone on 29 acres of land. This exceptional property, where butler service is available for an additional cost, offers special touches at every turn. The resort just happens to be located near one of the best places to snorkel in Cancun, and guests can explore what's below the surface right off of Nizuc's two beaches. The hotel offers six restaurants, a chef's table experience, a gym, a spa, three lounges and a kids club. The WiFi here is fast, even on the beach. Shhh... you may spot celebrities and other rich and famous guests.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: Nizuc Resort & Spa offers an upscale experience in a peaceful area.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun

This elegant beachfront resort is one of Cancun's finest hotels and has received the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award each year for more than two decades. Ritz-Carlton properties are known for their outstanding service and that's exactly what you'll find at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun. You'll definitely be pampered from the moment you arrive until the the end of your vacation. There are plenty of shaded areas around the pool where little ones can play without risk of sunburn and on the beach there are covered beach villas with lounge chairs, a beach bed, and a hammock. It's the perfect spot for couples, friends or families to spend a day on the beach, since there is plenty of space to relax, nap, sunbathe, or sit in the shade. The Ritz hotel does not offer non-stop activities around the pool each day and is a wonderful place for a low-key, relaxing vacation.

Recommended for Non-All-Inclusive because: It doesn't get much better than the Ritz-Carlton, and Cancun's version lives up to the name.

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Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin