We stayed at the Sandos Caracol for 10 days at the end of October. Overall, I'd say the trip was great...we have 3 kids, ages 9, 11 & 12, and they all had a fabulous time. They had never been to Mexico or a resort like that before so everything was new and wonderful for them. For my husband and myself, it was less so, however, we knew going in that this was only a 3 1/2 star resort, and just as the concierge said on the first night - "not the most luxurious" resort out there.
Food....the food was just okay. We didn't starve, we always found something to eat, but it got tiresome after a week for sure, and we've experienced much better in the Riviera Maya at other resorts.
Swimming.....the beach area itself was wonderful, with beautiful white sand (although they could definitely use more huts on the beach, we would go down by 7:30 to get our lounge chairs and some days it was slim pickings already!); however the swimming areas were awful, full of rocks and coral. We had expected it to be a little bad because of reviews we'd read here, but even with water shoes, my husband and kids ended up with cut feet, knees, hands, etc. I just stayed out of the water, I didn't enjoy having to watch every step I took!
Rooms....I could definitely see why part of the hotel was closed for renovations, the rooms are in need of it. Our shower was nasty, all the water drained to the wrong end and sat there stagnant and stinking. The water pressure in the shower was low to nonexistent (seriously - we'd be in the middle of a shower and the water would just taper off to absolutely nothing!), the temperature would change at will and constantly from freezing to boiling...it was ridiculous.
However, it wasn't anything that even came close to ruining our experience...it was just irritating, and once they get all the rooms renovated, I think those problems will be taken care of and they'll be beautiful.
Now to the positive:
Service....I would say the people who work at this resort are worthy of 5 stars on their own. Very friendly staff and excellent service. The grounds and rooms were kept VERY clean, the housekeepers always left little towel animals on our bed, the fridge was well-stocked....the staff here seem to be happy and hard-working. From the front desk, to the restaurants and buffet, to the bars, for the most part everybody was great. Eric at the pool bar was especially wonderful...my kids LOVED him!
Pools....it was great that they had the 3 different options - adult, quiet and main pools, plus the waterpark. Definitely made it possible to mix things up a little. My kids tried the waterpark one afternoon and had alot of fun, but didn't want to go back, so maybe it was just a little young for them. Same with the quiet pool. So we spent all our time at the main pool, where they had music, games and activities, and at the beach. The activities at the main pool were quite well done and they had fun just watching alot of time. They went to the Kids Club one evening, just to try it out....it was geared for a younger crowd for sure, but they had lots of fun and like so many other things here - it made for variety in our activities.
Activities....the staff did a great job of keeping the guests entertained - from activites at the pool, to beach volleyball and soccer, to the sorkeling and boogie boards - there were lots of options to keep the kids busy!
The shows that we saw were very well done....we only caught a couple but really enjoyed what we saw. The kids liked the afternoon movies as well...we wish that they'd all had sub-titles, but the ones that did were a nice break from the sun and something different!
The resort itself was an unusual experience....the smells in some areas were a little off-putting, especially crossing the bridge into the International Buffet....not a nice introduction to a restaurant at all!! For the most part, the jungle experience was pretty cool, with the animals everywhere and interesting paths. At night it got a little too dark, but it was quite pretty during the day. And we enjoyed all the different routes and paths to take around the grounds...mixed things up and became a game to pick the fastest route!
Our first night there we were given a room in the 45 block, which are the absolute furthest rooms from everything....however when we asked for a different room, they switched us the very next day with absolutely no issue. We packed up our stuff in the morning, switched our keys at the desk and our luggage was delivered to the new room within a few hours - another example of their excellent customer service.
The bellboys and front desk staff were fabulous at check-in and at check-out as well......there was no wait at all, we were delivered right to our room after check-in; and at check-out, we just packed up our stuff, called the desk, and then went out to enjoy our last morning at the beach....when we were ready to leave, our luggage was all sitting in the lobby waiting for us.
Although we probably wouldn't return to this particular resort (partly because we like to try new places and partly because the swimming area was a disappointment), we would try a Sandos again and we would DEFINITELY recommend this resort to other families like ourselves - larger than 4 people and on a budget!! I think because our expectations were realistic, we enjoyed our vacation, our kids had a fabulous time, they can't wait to go to Mexico again and we left with wonderful memories of this resort!
Rooms with lower numbers are closer to the beach, pools and restaurants.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.