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“Best trip ever!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cardon Adventure Resort

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Cardon Adventure Resort
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north of Mazatlan, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 130 Hotels in Sinaloa
Long Beach, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Best trip ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

I don't know where to begin. A friend of mine went Cardon last October and wouldn't stop raving about it. I had my 40th birthday coming up so I figure I why not go to Cardon for a surf trip.
I expected the waves to be good, the hotel to be nice and the food to be tasty.
Well, EVERYTHING was way beyond expectations. The surf was absolutely perfect. Glassy Head to Overhead 200-250 yard lefts everyday ALL WEEK LONG. I seriously thought I was dreaming.
The hotel is a slice of heaven. Imagine floating in an infinity pool or sitting in the jacuzzi after a long surf session just watching the waves peel by as you rest until you're ready to surf again.
The hotel grounds are clean, well maintained and beautiful. Rooms are spotless. AC in each room. Each room has a view of the beach.
The cuisine is top notch. I was never hungry. Each course was prepared with the freshest ingredients. Every day lunch and dinner was something different and creative and fantastic.
The hotel staff, the owners and surf host Jeff were all great people. Anything asked for, anything you needed was taken care of within minutes. I was blown away.
The most amazing thing about the trip was meeting the guests. By the end of the week, we all exchanged contact info and email each other frequently. They are all now friends of mine.
So, what else can I say. If you like surfing perfect lefts until your legs burn, eat amazing food, stay in a beautiful boutique like hotel with really great people, GO!!!!
My wife and 8 year old daughter came along and had a blast as well! And they don't surf.
I booked my spot for next July as well as late April. Yup, I'm going twice next year. It was that great.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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23 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2011

North of Mazatlan is the small beach side pueblo of Celestino Gasca. Once known for aqua culture with large warehouses and factories, those are slowly being replaced by small independent beach resorts where you can enjoy beautiful sunset walks on sandy public beaches and world class surfing at two point breaks. Having a number of resorts near perfect surf you might get the idea that as a surfer ,which I happen to be, this would be a dream come true.
For anyone surfing there prior to the introduction of the Cardon Adventure Resort, this was true. Mexican surfers had been going there for years along with a few hardy travelers that just happened to stumble upon it. Everyone getting along, totally stoked .....living the dream.
Initially when the Cardon Adventure Resort opened things were pretty much as they had been before, but
it didn’t take long before the owners of Cardon decided they owned the surf. Their mandate became “Only our guests are allowed to surf here “. Access for local Mexican surfers was seriously restricted and anyone else showing up to enjoy the surf was bullied out of the water. Within just a few short years this dramatic change has resulted in an escalation of terrorism by the owners of Cardon Adventure Resort and their employees. Some of the employees just happen to be surfers from California.Two years ago after an altercation in the surf with an employee of the Cardon resort, a well known visiting surfer was escorted from his resort at gunpoint by thugs.
My wife and I have been going to Celestino Gasca for years, always staying at the original resort right in front of the main point. On a recent trip we had planned on staying for ten days. The first day went great; just a few Mexican surfer friends sharing the waves, just like the good old days. The second day my friends and I were enjoying a repeat of the day before until Jeff Phillips, the American thug employed by Cardon, paddled out. When I was sitting by myself he began his normal tirade, screaming “I’m going to F___K you up! I’m gonna take you out”. As usual I just tried to ignore him. Day three my wife and I decided to wait until the Cardon crew had finished their session before paddling out. Watching everyone walking by our palapa including Jeff, I thought this may be a good way to handle things. Just taking turns, sounded like a good plan to me. We paddled out into an empty lineup. After about half an hour Jeff comes paddling back out on a hugh long board and proceeds to put his newest battle plan into action. This time he never says one word to us. At first I thought it was kind of a relief, but that didn’t last long. I have been surfing all my life and what happen next was beyond anything I have ever experienced before. It was like some sort of absurd pro surf contest where the rules have been changed without telling of all the contestants. Now the Cardon team scored points by sitting on the shoulder, blocking us from ever taking off on a wave, dropping in front of us if we even tried to take off, finally we gave up and paddled in. It was like constantly being cut off on the freeway by a mad man.
After this fiasco we were in our beach front palapa, where we had previously spent many happy hours, relaxing and watching the surf, with friends we had met in the water, including guests of Cardon. Soon Omar, one of the owners of Cardon Adventure resort walked by to tell us “NEVER COME BACK”. Beating his chest he said “THIS IS MY BREAK” That no other resort on the beach is allowed to rent to surfers. If we didn’t leave “We would see his power”. Fearing for our safety we left the next day, leaving behind friends and a place we had loved for years.

Cardon Adventure Resort has created is a very dangerous situation for everyone. If this continues it will only be a question of time before some unsuspecting surfer following their dream is seriously injured or killed. Whether it be a guest of one of the other resorts, someone at Cardon, or the general public, no one is immune to the violent situation they have created.

It is my hope those reading this will rethink their support of the Cardon Adventure Resort. Be it a business association or a vacation to the resort.
Hopefully with the help of the global community we can convince Cardon to end this sad and violent path they have decided to go down. Then we can all go back to living the dream.

Embassy officials in Mazatlan told us our report was not first they had received. Anyone with any knowledge of similar behavior by Cardon Adventure resort is urged to contact the following authorities.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, CA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2011

If you've been to Cardon before, you should know that it is completely different now. If you have never been to Cardon and you are looking at this review, you are at least considering it, so claim your spot. Today. Just put in your deposit to guarantee that you will be able to have an absolutely AMAZING trip.
When I say it's different, I mean Cardon MOVED up the beach. Remember when you used to have to walk up the beach from camp a few years ago? Now it's right out front. I mean, roll over in your bed-lay in your hammock-sip a cocktail in the pool-sit on your private balcony-eating lunch in the A/C and check out the surf OUT FRONT.
I am not going to mention too much about the surf here. You're thinking about going to Cardon, so you've seen the videos and read about the warm water and how private it is. Plus, if I say too much...It might be even more difficult to claim a spot. You know what I mean...There are only 16 spots available each week. This pretty much ensures that the lineup will be uncrowded and everyone will get plenty of surf. Just dont come down out of shape.
The resort (used to be more like a surf camp, now it's luxurious) is pretty much all alone on the beach. Yes, there's all that Mexican Drug Cartel crap going on...it's in Sinaloa, Mexico. If you're not a drug dealer or a weapons trade kinda person, you'll be fine-especially once you get to Cardon. They will pick you up at the airport and drive you directly to the gated resort. Once you are in-you will have forgotten all about that stuff anyway. It truly is NOT an issue. There is security 24 hours a day. A guard is litterally sitting outside all night, walking the property. I felt very safe.
You have seen everyone else's reviews on the food. Yes, it's delicious. And there are PLENTY of mealtimes, so you will never go hungry. A couple of things to add: they will try to accomodate your strange allergies and cook your food to order, but everyone pretty much has the same meal as each other for lunch and dinnertimes. The food is all included in the price of your stay, so eat up! Dinnertime is enjoyed as a group. Like, everyone (all 10-16 people) staying at the resort eats together at a huge table. Breakfast, snacks and lunch are on your own time, depending on when you want to get out of the water-or roll in. Another thing, it's not as gourmet as some people say, so dont be scared of some exquisite meal. It's really nice, dont get me wrong, but if you're used to drive-thru dining, this is more like a home cooked meal*and not always Mexican food, either. A Variety of Cold Beers and a Full Bar is available to you 24 hours a day too. The cost of your drinks is additional and is kept by an honor system of tally marks. Bring extra money to pay your tab at the end of your stay. You can use a credit card if you are the winner of "Who got the most Tally Marks", but be prepared to pay an extra 6% on top of your international charges when you use a credit card.
You will also have to pay for any fishing trips or massages ($30 for an hour) you get upon the completion of your trip.
You dont really need to bring much else. Obviously, your board(s) and an extra leash and your regular stuff like clothes and you know..other crap. What I mean is, at Cardon they want to make it as easy as possible for you and they have had plenty of people over the years that have made suggestions or asked for enough stuff so it's pretty much stocked. These are some things you dont need to bring because they have it: Shampoo and Conditioner in your room, snacks (except nuts, they dont have nuts) Surf movies, Deck of Cards, Smashball, Books, Pepto, warm water wax (but you should get it just so the guy selling it to you will be jealous), Beach towels, International plugs-not necessary, and soft toilet paper.
Your room is going to be amazing. A Huge step up from the old Cardon. The beds are super comfy and SUPER Clean. The construction of this place has been done very well and they spared no expense for your privacy. What I mean here is that if you are having your massage or even better, having sex...the other guests wont hear a thing from your room. There is a wall mounted flat screen TV in your room with a dvd player. The TV has all the hookups so if you want to watch surfing you (or someone else) recorded on your videocamera, you can hook it up*bring your cables. There are plenty of outlets to charge all your crap. The wi-fi doesnt work so well in your room, but it works perfect (and fast) in the common room. The bathroom is a decent size with a private area for the toilet. All the fixtures and the tile is really nice and the room is decorated beautifully. There is also a small hotel fridge with a coffee maker in your room. The fridge is stocked with beers and sodas and even ICE CREAM BARS! Just be sure to keep those tally marks going. You will be super comfy...No bugs inside and A/C works like a champ.
The service at this place is Crazy Awesome. Everyone that works here wants you to write a good review somewhere and it shows. (Not that they ask for it or even know that you will feel it's necessary right when you get home) They want you to be as comfortably satisfied as possible on a vacation. From the surf to the cleanliness to the detail of your afternoon snack, these people are working for YOU. It's so cool-and they are down to earth and laid back. When you go home, you will have met some awesome people. Not just the staff (that have worked here for years), but the other guests at the property.
By the end of your incredible week at Cardon you would have surfed your brains out-in WARM water, completely relaxed, taken a NAP or two in the middle of a workday, enjoyed delicious food, read a book, played a game or two of ping pong, walked along the beach, got a suntan, had a massage, caught a fish, and made some really interesting new friendships. Oh-and you will have reserved a spot for your next trip to Cardon.

Room Tip: Downstairs rooms get to walk out onto the lawn straight for the beach, but upstairs balconies are be...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leucadia, California
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

Cardon is amazing. I have never written a review before and this trip was so good I felt compelled to share the reasons why it was so good. First of all, I am a woman and traveled to Cardon with another woman. I have to say we were a little nervous going somewhere new in Mexico neither one of us had ever been before. The staff reassured us it was completely safe. Not only did we feel safe while we were there, we never felt like we needed to lock our door or put our valuables in a “safe place”. We were picked up at the airport by the Cardon staff and transported the hour drive to the resort. Once you enter the gates you have arrived and you are literally in PARADISE. There is no need to go anywhere else once you are at Cardon. Staff is on site 24 hours a day seven days a week!! If you need anything they are more than happy to help you.
The week was so relaxing and peaceful. The pool and Jacuzzi area are perfect to kick back and read your favorite book. The beach is really clean. The staff takes such pride in their property that they are out at dawn every morning picking up anything that might have washed up over night. We saw lots of dolphins playing right offshore and even spotted a flock of Pink Flamingos flying over!
Ok, let’s get to the food…. AMAZING. I am what I would consider a “picky eater” and I loved the food. You will not go hungry at Cardon. Even if you miss a meal because you are surfing or napping the chef will happily accommodate you!
The surfing is EPIC. There is something for everyone. If you are a beginner there is an area where it is easier to learn. If you have kids they have boogie boards you can use. If you are an experienced surfer you will love the two point breaks which are absolutely un-crowded long peeling lefts.
You will not be disappointed if you stay at Cardon!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Encinitas, California, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

This is a really special place. The surf is great, the food amazing and the service even better. It's very unique, even in the boutique hotel arena. When you are here, you are here. So this is type of place for people who like to go into the city. Here you surf, eat and relax. Walking on the miles of beach is an option for people who don't surf and want some exercise. But this is a place where you can really unwind.

The pool and jacuzzi and clean and beautiful. The rooms and clean and nice. Comfy beds. Flat screen tv's with dvd player in room.

It's unique b/c you eat all meals together with the rest of the 14 guests. Only 16 people are here at a time. If you don't make one of the times the staff is always willing to make you something. And they run this place like it's an extension of you home. Go behind the bar and make yourself a drink if someone isn't there to serve you, which most of the time they are:)
It's so cute b/c you write down on a sheet all the drinks and snacks you have and it's all the honor system. Everything is included. All the fresh water you can drink, juice, milk etc. The honor system is for alcohol and extra goodies if you choose.

We will be back.

Room Tip: There are only 8 rooms. They are all equally as good. 4 upstairs might have a slightly better view...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carlsbad
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2011

I traveled to a lot of spots over my 45 years of surfing, each one started out uncrowded but as the years go by each of the spots I have traveled to got more and more crowded and I would check them off my list as "no fun any more". I have been to Cardon 8 or 10 times and each time the crowds have not been a factor except Sundays when the locals show up. The last trip at the beginning of August we had 13 guys in the camp and 90% of the time it was just our group in the water. Surfing with just your friends is as good as it gets especially if someone eats it, we all get to rub it in. Great food, service, rooms, pool, and the surf is good. Be ready to paddle the wave is long and if it is big there will be a rip but still fun rideable surf.

Room Tip: Every room has a veiw of the surf
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2011 via mobile

Been back a week and we're all still buzzing about this place. Location - just sit up in bed and check it, grab your board and paddle out. Surf is fun for all levels. Our American host Jeff was gracious in and out of the water. Ideal for families. We can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cardon Adventure Resort

Address: north of Mazatlan, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Sinaloa
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 130 Hotels in Sinaloa
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Cardon Adventure Hotel Sinaloa
Cardon Adventure Resort Mexico/Sinaloa

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