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“Nice little trip for the price”

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #83 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 6 February 2010

My hubby and I stayed there Jan 3-14. For the price, it was great. Sure, I can complain about the time share stalkers...watch out for the 'welcome breakfast' it's a trick. We were often woken to construction sounds, very early in the morning. The pillows were tiny and there were a few squished bugs on the walls, no big deal. We arranged for a wake up call but they neglected call us. We woke up on time, so I didn't complain. The wave breaker mounds were kind of creepy -I sure wish I brought water shoes. All of the staff were friendly and helpful. Personally, if you go with the flow, and make the best of it...you will have a good time. Be sure to visit Saul, at the beach bar. We didn't tip that boy for the first few days-and many days in between...Ola coca cola! He kept our drinks full for 11 days! Food was pretty good. It did get a bit boring, but sometimes so does the food at home. Just go buffet hopping ;) The grounds of the resort were constantly groomed, and well maintained. We always noticed someone cleaning something. There were a variety of rather friendly animals on the resort, and one cool cat with a broken fang. Lots of cozy sitting areas...just look for them. We had a problem with our in room safe and it was fixed 10 minutes after i phoned. The bed was nice and firm, and everything worked in our room. Even the water pressure was better than at home (and hot too). There were fresh towels everyday. So, really I shouldn't complain. We paid a very fair price, we got some sunshine, we did not get sick and i didn't have to cook or do dishes...yay!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank TravelingBugFever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,162 - 6,166 of 12,789 reviews

Reviewed 6 February 2010

If you're looking for a family friendly resort or even a romantic get-away, this is the one. My husband and I and our two children, ages 9 &11, spent two weeks at the Sandos Caracol and loved every minute of it! We had a Jr. Suite in the Select Club area with a pool view. Booked through Signature Vacations.

FRONT DESK & GUEST SERVICES - Checking in was a breeze. Our room was ready and the staff was very friendly and welcoming. If you are checking in during the day or even passing through the lobby throughout your stay, you will get bombarded from the Guest Service staff. They will offer you a breakfast meeting where the salesperson will take you on a 90 minute tour of the resort, show you all the activities the resort has to offer as well as try and sell you their 'timeshare'. We didn't take the tour, they can be very pushy but found that when telling them "no, we are not interested” they listened and understood.

But, the Guest Service staff can also be very helpful, more so than the front desk at times... We did take the time to talk a bit with one of the reps about the area and she was very happy to give us restaurant recommendations, maps of Playa del Carmen and any other information we requested about the area.

When we arrived we noticed the screen door on our terrace was bent and jammed half open, we mentioned this to the Guest Service rep and within an hour maintenance was at our door ready to fix it. We also requested extra pillows through the GS rep and again the pillows were brought up almost immediately. So, during the day I would recommend calling GS for requests or even complaints. The front desk can be slow at filling requests, especially at night, had we requested the pillows through them we might still be waiting ;)

ROOM - Upon arrival our room was very clean and prepared for us. It was spacious with a King bed and pull-out couch for the kids plus extra seating and coffee tables. Before we left, I had read a review from someone very disappointed with the resort, he also had a Jr Suite and complained that the pull-out couch hardly fit and they couldn't get out to their patio because the bed was in the way. We had no such problem. There was plenty of room between the patio door and the bed; in fact there were side tables on either side of the couch/bed. We did find the king bed mattress to be a bit hard but by the end of the day we were so tired we didn't care. The patio was very spacious. It had an outdoor jacuzzi tub, two large chairs and an additional lounger with plenty of room left over. My only complaint is that the Select Club rooms are in the opposite end of the resort from the beach. I would have loved to have our Select room with an ocean view.

FOOD - We had no issues with the food and found lots of variety. There are 2 breakfast and lunch buffets (the International and the Italian). 3 dinner buffets, International, Italian and Mexican. 4 ala carte dinner choices (reservations required) Plus several snack bars, and ala carte lunch restaurants. If you are in the Select Club you also have the choice of the ala carte restaurant next to the Select pool which serves breakfast and lunch from 10:30am to 4:00pm, and the snack bar at the Select Club beach section. The snack bar in the middle of the resort, next to the disco, is 24 hours as well as 24 room service. So even if you arrive starving in the wee hours of the night or have to catch the bus back to the airport before the break of dawn there is always food available. If ordering room service plan ahead of time, it can take about an hour before your food arrives. My kids loved ordering banana smoothies and say the elephant bar in the main lobby made the best ones.

GROUNDS & MAINTENANCE - This is not a 5 star resort and yes, it is older. But, we did find it very clean and the staff very friendly. We noticed the gardeners and maintenance crew out at all hours working and cleaning up. From what we understand and saw they do have plans in motion to upgrade the resort and we were very pleased. This is also a large resort and can be confusing the first couple of days.

BEACH, POOLS, ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT – Plenty for kids and adults! In the Select Club pool area is the Kids Club. Our kids were too old for the Kids Club but from what we saw the kids in the club were having fun. There are 4 pools, the Select Club pool, the kids water park, the adult pool and the main pool in front of the beach. We mostly stayed at the Select pool; it was less crowded and felt like it was our own private pool. We never went to the adult only pool and the water park with the slides and spray things was tons of fun for the kids. They also played lots of the kids music, Disney songs, Hanna Montana, Jones Bros. Etc...

The main pool is where most of the action is. In the center of the resort next to the snack bar is a huge bulletin board that lists the activities for the day. All or most of these activities were located at the main pool. The entertainment was great.

Every night of the week there is a different show in the theater, it’s not top billing but you can tell they put a lot of work and effort into their shows. They also play a different movie every night, with popcorn of course...

The beach was beautiful. There are man-made breakers that don’t look so pretty but are wonderful at keeping the waves to a minimum. They make the beach much safer for smaller kids to play in the ocean. They are also fun to play on. If you have water shoes, I would recommend bringing them to the beach. There are several large rocks out near the breakers and it can get slippery. If you are in the Select Club there are beach beds and comfy loungers to relax on.

There is also a complimentary shuttle bus to and from Playa del Carmen every day on the hour from 9:00am until about 5:00pm. If you don’t feel like waiting for the bus there is also 24 hour taxi service and for a family of 4 it cost us $10US to get back from Playa.

LANGUAGE & GRATUITIES – This is an all-inclusive resort. No, you don’t have to tip and not once did we ever feel it was expected. We did tip. The staff here works hard. You don’t have to tip much, we kept our room pretty clean so we didn’t have to have our room cleaned everyday but when we did we’d leave a couple of dollars on the bed for the housekeeper. At the Select Club waiters would bring us drinks by the pool or beach so we’d give a dollar or two once and a while. In the restaurants and buffets the staff was always very friendly and efficient at clearing our tables and refilling our drinks so we’d leave a dollar or two for them as well. It’s not much to us but they appreciate it and a little goes a loooong way!

If you are taking a bus anywhere – excursions, to/from the airport, to Playa del Carmen, anywhere - the drivers and guides DO expect a tip and are very vocal about it. Some more than others.

This resort is in Mexico. Yes, the staff speaks Spanish. Unless you speak Spanish there will be somewhat of a language barrier. Most of the staff does speak English very well. We found and noticed with others as well, that if you make an effort to speak even a little bit of basic Spanish, things go smoother and the staff is even more willing to help. We also found like us, the friendlier couples/families who made an effort and got to know the waiters and housekeepers and bartenders etc, were greeted and treated much nicer.

EXCURSIONS – We booked our trip with Signature Vacations so when we wanted to go on an excursion we would book it with them at their desk in the ‘piano bar’. Claire was very friendly, helpful and informative. We went on the Captain Hooks Pirate Adventure – VERY FUN for kids and adults! We also did the dolphin swim and the Mayan Coba adventure. Loved everything!

INTERNET & WiFi - There is a desk behind the Guest Services area where you can purchase your WiFi code but If you are in the Select Club there is free WiFi and computers to use upstairs in the beach club.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16  Thank luvsmyvacay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2010

We just returned from a fabulous week with our 3 year old at the Sandos Caracol Resort in the Mayan Riviera. I would absolutely go back to this resport and take all of my children - it was a wonderful place. I have lots to say about the resort and will categorize it as follows:

Resort
- First off, the resort is beautiful, set in the mangrove forest. Everywhere you go is private. The view off every balcony is private. There are small quiet bars all of the place and everywhere you go there is comfortable, private seating with huge plush pillows. There are lots of staff, but most bar, maintenance and cleaning staff do not speak english. If you have a question go to the reception or ask the activities staff - they seem to speak multiple launguages. There is a lot of wildlife around which is cool - iguanas, turtles, fish, donkeys, peacocks, toucans, and a lot of other birds.

Restaurants
- Overall the food was good. Wouldn't say it was the best ever, but the quality was good and the selection was great. Of the 'reservation' restaurants we ate at the Chinese, Steak and Brazilian. Brazilian was the best - just fantasctic overall. There are also 3 buffets; Mexican, Italiana and International - we loved the Mexican one, but they were all good. I couldn't get enough of the rice pudding!

Rooms
- At Sandos you either get a good room location or a fancy room. The older units are closer to the beach/pool/restaurants. We were very happy with our room in unit 21. It was clean and nice, but not super fancy. If you want fancy you should stay on the newer side of the resort - but it is a walk to the pool/beach. Given the amount of time we spent in our room (very litle) we much preferred being right on the beach.
- Cribs are good. They have a mix of wooden cribs and playpens. Both were excellent and you don't need to bring your own from home.

- Aqua Park. This was a great hilight for us. The Aqua Park just opened in December and is absolutely beautiful. Much bigger than the photos show. 15 waterslides, lots of sprayers and a walk up bar. We spent time there every day, and kids club takes the kids there too.

Beach/Snorkeling
- awesome, awesome, awesome. Great shade, comfortable loungers, excellent man-made sand dunes made for a very calm area for swimming.
- we snorkeled right off the beach. The man-made sand dunes make an excellent barrier and the reef was great for free snorkeling. We saw sea anenomes, trumpet fish, about 20 other kinds of fish and even a manta ray!

Pool
- total of 4 pools. Main one by the beach is very big and nice. Great shallow area for kids. About 3.6 feet deep everywhere else. Adults only one in a tucked away area. And 2 more for select club members.

Staff
- Activities staff were fantastic. Most of them speak 3 or 4 languages and they are all wonderful. They put on a great program with aquafit, dancing lessons, bingo, painting pottery, and much more.

KidsClub
- At first I wasn't sure if I would want to leave my 3 year old at KidsClub, but we gave it a shot and she absolutely loved it! Special mention to Natalia and Anna who were fantastic - my daughter would rather go to kids club then stay with us. They run from 10am - 5pm and you can drop kids off between 10 and 11 and again between 2 and 3. Kids Club is located near the Select Club pool (it was hard to find that out!).

Gym
- My husband used the gym every day. It was large and had good equipment. Only complaint was that the hours were limited. 7am - 8pm.

Day Trips
- we went to Tulum and Xcaret. Take the hotel shuttle into Playa Del Carmen and take the bus to Tulum ($5) or Xcaret ($3.50). Much cheaper than taking the package deals!

Overall - loved the resort and can't wait to go back! It was fantastic for the price.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank MiljaCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2010

Just returned from Sandos Caracol and had a very nice stay. I also checked the reviews before by trip and became concerned by some of the comments, but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the rooms need a little updating, but they were clean and serviced as expected. The beach is fantastic! The cement barriers that were put in the water to keep the larger waves from eroding the beach, made swimming in the water so much more fun! Trying to get past those barriers when the waves are pushing you away, proved to be a challenge, but was so much fun! My friends and I felt like little kids playing in the water. The food has great variety and the drinks are fantastic! Of course, they are a little weak, but if you ask for a shot on the side, you can just pour it in. We had no problems with any of the staff. Check-in was very efficient and every time I needed something, it was handled promptly. The animals on the resort added a special treat! If you like to lounge on the beach, have some cocktails, have a love for animals and enjoy a variety of food.........I would recommend this resort! Also, the town of Playa Del Carmen is only 10 minutes away, which is also very convenient.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Travelngrl44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2010

Overall:

My wife and I and our two children (11 and 9) felt this resort had a great beach and lots of entertainment, but fell short in the quality of the rooms, the pool, the grounds, and the execution of necessary daily resort maintenance. As a result, although we will definitely return the Riviera Maya (based on the wonderful experiences we have had in the past) we probably will not return to this particular resort.



Staff:

Overall the staff was pleasant and wanted to be helpful, but the facilities and execution often fell short of expectations. For example, when we arrived, the fridge in our room was leaking and left a puddle on the floor, it took three calls and clean-up attempts to get it fixed. The remote control only went down, not up, it took two days to get a new one. The clock in the room did not work; it was not fixed until the last day of our 5 day stay.



Rooms:

I will give the resort credit for the fact that the rooms did not have the typical musty smell that is very common in tropical resorts, but the rooms were small, the beds were pretty hard, and the furnishings in the rooms were pretty old. As mentioned above, the fridge did not work, the remote did not work and the clock did not work. The shower was leaking water from the pipe as it exited the wall.



Pool:

The main pool was pretty old, and was disconnected from the beach. The resort said they planned to remodel it. The resort does have a very good, new children’s pool/water park with a number of small water slides and water features that our kids enjoyed quite a bit.



Grounds:

Grounds were not very well maintained, and the resort seemed to choose odd times to work on them. They had mowers and weed eaters by the pool in the middle of the day making a racket and generally destroying the ambiance. They fogged for mosquitoes just before dinner, filling some of the restaurants with the fog. I recognize that these things have to be done, but they can be done more discretely to avoid causing problems for guests. Most of the buildings did not have much or any foundation plantings, and as you walked around you could see exposed pipes and you could see under the bottoms of many buildings. With just a bit more care and planning almost all of these things could be avoided. This resort is labeled and "eco" resort and is supposed to have wildlife. It does have some cute raccoons that love French fries, and some cats, but other than that there is not much in the way of wildlife. We say a lot more wildlife when we stayed at the Colonial Palladium Resort a few years back.



Beach:

The beach was very good. They had plenty of space, and had installed erosion control that broke the waves and created a great calm swimming area, this was one of the calmest ocean beaches I have seen, this was one of the strong points of the resort.



Food:

Food at the buffets was plentiful and pretty good. Food in the ala carte restaurants was decent, but nothing to write home about.



Entertainment:

This resort had lots of entertainment, another strong point for the resort. There were activities and shows all through the day, so if you enjoy shows and organized activities, this is a good resort for you.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank AuTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Address: Carretera Chetumal Pto Juarez Km 295, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#30 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#59 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#72 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $214 - $558 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sandos Caracol Eco Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 956
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Also Known As:
Caracol Beach
Sandos Caracol Eco Hotel
Sandos Caracol Beach Resort Spa
Sandos Select Club
Sandos Caracol Mexico
Hotel Sandos Caracol Eco
Caracol Village Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Mayan Riviera
Sandos Caracol Resort
Sandos Caracol Riviera Maya

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