Me and my 11 year old daughter spend 6 nights at Sandos Caracol (April 25 - May 1). We had really good time. It was my second trip to Mexico's AI (Riu Tequila previously) and I will say that - everything went great. The key (in my opinion) to a satisfying vacation is 1) know what you want (in my case: 3 1/2 star hotel, AI, kids friendly and with a lot of shade, close to Playa del Carmen); 2) good research of the hotel (thank you Trip Advisor), and last - maybe the most important: NO EXPECTATIONS.
Now to the Sandos Caracol: since I want to have contact with my husband at home I choose the Select Club for their Beach Club internet access.
Our room was in building 64, close to Select Club pool and to the lobby. In the room: the bed was OK, no musky smell, clean and wonderful with jungle view - peaceful and quiet. We had some "more party orientated" people in our block, but I or my daughter didn't have any problems sleeping (two times though someone tried to enter our room at night - but I was locking the door from inside - so no intruders). This is a note to anyone with this kind of problem: all rooms have inside lock (not just chain) that you can use and no card will open your door from outside.
FOOD: we ate at Brazilian restaurant (very good if you like meat), Mediterranean restaurant (great) and Oriental (very good). To all who complain about slow service in all restaurants: try to avoid making your reservations on Wednesday. All staff is shifted to Mexican Night and the restaurants are just simply short staffed. Our Oriental restaurant reservation I made on Wed. (my mistake, since I thought that the Mexican night is on Thursday) and we missed the great looking Mexican food served outside. And the service was slow - we tipped the waitress in the Oriental restaurant regardless - he was working extremely hard to fulfill the missing staff. Snack bar: mostly fast food - not my preferable food - but kids in the resort loved it. We ate breakfasts in Italian restaurant - very, very nice; and lunches just snacking on Beach Select Club offerings - very nice sandwiches, nuts, fruits etc. La Laguna - buffet - eat just once and it was too crowded, but plentiful of food for every taste.
BEACH: incredible views, white sand and some rocks - my daughter favorite spot for fish photo-hunting. We liked walks on the beach, looking for shells and discovering ocean-small creature’s lives - fascinating!
TIP: If you are looking for a great massage with relaxing wave sound - just walk past Select Beach Club; just keep walking past the Sandos Spa on the beach, until the Massages sign on white banner - $30.00 US for a 1hour soft tissue/deep tissue/relaxing massage. Great experience. Too bad for me - I had mine on the day before we left.
EXPLORING: we planned one excursion - Xplor this time - wonderful experience - check their website - I purchased the tickets over the internet at home (10% off) and took a taxi there (250.00 Pesos each way) - worth it, since we were the bosses on our vacation and wanted to have some flexibility - not follow anyone’s schedule - it took us 25 minutes each way - not over the hour for big buses transportation - and financially not a big difference - highly recommended!
Playa del Carmen: 120.00 pesos each way taxi - great town and worth exploring and spending the time in - it changed a lot since our last visit, two years ago - lots of restaurants, stores, cafés...we went twice: first for nice evening and chatting with my husband over the Skye in café with free WiFi, taking money from ATM (bank one) and braids. The second time for shopping for souvenirs - try markets on 5th Ave close to 1, 2, 3 Calle - best prices and if you are good in bargaining - 1/3 of the price in store at Sandos and 1/8 of those from vendors from Mexican night - this same things!!!
Sandos Caracol is such a resort that (in my opinion) everyone will find it to their liking - if you are a party person - main pool is where all the activity is concentrating - you will be satisfied. If you are looking for more quiet and peaceful - Select Club is for you: the rooms are located further away from the center of the resort, more walking though), pool - more quiet with great restaurant for lunch next to it; Beach Club - not that crowded with the snacks and easy access to air conditioned facility (you can change the towels, use the lockers, computer, WiFi access - very convenient and relaxing). For the luxury seeking: the newly build rooms with ocean view (close to main pool though). Four restaurants and buffets - so many choices - everyone can find something to their liking - I think.
The resort is really big and offers lots of activities - we couldn't simply try all of it. Planet Earth lectures (10-15 min) - wonderful and informative, the canoe - wonderful to swim in - great for snorkeling beginners. We didn't visit the archeological site - the tour was at 2pm every day - but it was too hot for me (I hoped for some cloudy day to do it) - I heard it is great place to visit.
ENTERTAINMENT: Mexican Night show and Mystique Show - both great - the dancers/performers - great, high level, stage trained amateurs - you may not see them on Broadway or in Circus De Soleil (different style of performance), but I am sure as a performers on cultural events, invited by your Art Museums in USA - tickets are selling at $80.00 and up - just enjoy it while in AI for free.
Everyone is different and has different expectations. Here, I just wished to share my thoughts and experience from the six day stay in that lovely hotel.
My biggest thank you for all people working there to make my vacation wonderful - they are all working very hard, with devotion to make the tourists experience worth to come back.
Since my vacation is over: when we are at our offices, cubicles, hospitals, gas stations, attorney offices, restaurants...etc. providing service to others - not everything works perfectly all the time and we are sometimes in a cranky mood, stressed and in need for vacation - those exact people you meet at your vacation destination - the ones who work so you can relax and the ones who are relaxing with you. Just a thought. Personally it took me 3 days of my total 6 to finally just sit in shade on the beach, read book and enjoy without that rush feeling that I should go and do something - workaholic on vacation syndrome I guess....
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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