We have been at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort for 1 week in May 2013.
The resort is something incredible: built in the jungle, few km north of Playa del Carmen, respecting the environment and perfectly integrated with the wildlife.
Our vacation at Caracol has been amazing and we describe here our experiences.
Eco: the word “Eco” is not casual. The entire structure is built IN the mangrove forest and you are literally surrounded by the wildlife. Mapaches (racoons), coatis, cats, monkeys, farm animals, iguanas, parrots, tucanos, birds…you won’t miss anyone of them, every single day of your vacation.
Animals are wilds and must be treated as wilds: if you leave your dinner outside your door or on the balcony expect them to clean all the dishes and eat all the food!
Is spread all over a big area that includes also ancient Mayan ruins (Xcalacoco) directly in your hotel and a cenote (the typical phenomenon of underground water springs of Yucatan). The resort is close to Playa del Carmen and is connected with other near resorts, private residences and a golf course connected by private roads. To enter this big complex you need to pass 2 check-points, that gives you the idea of security. If you have rented a car (as we did) you can go directly from the resort to Playa del Carmen through a private new road (avenida de pintores): in 5 mins you’ll be in 5th avenue. The resort facilities include also an only adults area with private pool and beach club, a Royal elite area with a private beach club and pool, an aquapark (wet’n wild style), a miniclub and different pools with bars. Activities are rolling all the day and is really impossible to get bored. You can enjoy the beach (very nice and clean) or practice all the sports that you have in mind (snorkelling, beach volley, football, kitesurf, jetski, biking…etc). The only negative point, in our opinion, is the sea in front of the hotel, with many rocks and fake barriers to protect the beach that waste the panorama. If you want to spend your day in the Caribbean sea, better go to Playa del Carmen that offer better beach and good facilities (to pay…). The hotel organise also some activity related to mayan culture and ecology, discovering all the different spot in the resort related to this 2 themes. Don’t miss the eco-tour, especially with your children.
The SPA area was a little bit unsatisfying: building seems old and a lot of SPA facilities were not working (Turkish bath, sauna and outdoor water path). Honestly we hadn’t tried the massage treatments, so we can’t give you feedbacks. The SPA receptionist seemed also not well prepared since my wife asked for yoga lessons and the reply was that the schedule was at 8pm 2 days per week…while it was at 8am 3 times per week.
Every day there is a show at 8.30 pm at the theatre and we recommend you to not lose all the mayan shows (on Tuesday and Thursday) that are played at the cenote and at the mayan arena, near the ruins, they are really well done. Costumes, music, lights, choreography have nothing to envy to a Broadway production.
We stayed into a Only Adult Penthouse and the room was really nice and big: bedroom and living room separated, big balcony with sun beds and a private Jacuzzi! Rooms are very silent and clean, towels changed every day. Bed was a very comfortable king size. We had 2 AC, one for each room, and a fan on the bedroom. Very appreciated the automatic water dispenser! As we had the room in only adult area we can take advantage of a dedicated reception, a private pool, a dedicated beach club with BIG bed. The resort is mostly family oriented, and this solution is the best choice if you are looking for relax.
We need to divide our experience in 2 parts: the “all-inclusive buffet” part and the “à la carte” part.
The first extremely disappointing and the second very positive.
At breakfast we always stayed at the only adults bar and is all à la carte, there is no buffet. For this reason be relaxed and don’t be in hurry, it takes time to prepare food.
At lunch you can only eat at buffet restaurants (3 for lunch as the Italian restaurant become a buffet during lunchtime) or at the bars that serve only snacks. Honestly the quality of buffet is terrible and after a couple of days we decided to went out for lunch or simply eat a snack at beach club. At dinner you can chose between many different à la carte theme restaurants: Brasilian, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean and Grill. The à la carte restaurants are accessible with reservation only…you can book them at reception and they will give you a receipt that you need to bring with you for the dinner. BUT, you have only the right to do 3 reservations per week and don’t try to enter without, they will not let you enter! We recommend you the Riviera and especially the Japanese “El Templo” (probably the best in the resort). At the end we had to go out also for dinner the rest of the nights, or order the room service (24h and complimentary).
In general we recommend the Sandos Caracol and we need to spend a very positive words for all the people working in this big resort: of course you can always find some one that is not good but in general all the people working here has done its best to make our experience fantastic and unique.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.