Spent a week (March 18-26) at Villas Del Mar in Puerto Aventuras, Unit E-103. Very nice 2-bedroom condo on the ground floor with great access to the pools and common area.
First, about the condos -- ours was very nice, well decorated, clean, everything was in working order except the dishwasher which was fixed quickly. Maid service comes every 2 days, which is just about perfect. Traveled with a family of 5 -- 3 kids aged 12, 6, and 4. The 2 bedroom worked well, with 2 double beds in the second bedroom for the kids and a great master suite. Building E had a very good location -- very near the center of the town, right next to the pool. It looked to me like all the buildings would be a good choice and if you have preference for beach front vs. pool front, you can certainly find whatever you want. Personal preference is for a ground-floor condo -- we never felt that there were too many people walking by or anything and the convenience can't be beat. Traveled with other families who stayed on other floors, and the 4th floor has a great ocean view. 2nd and 3rd floor are nothing special. There is no building-wide Internet availability at the condos, although some of them have high-speed Internet, and I was able to see plenty of unsecured WiFi networks on the patio. There is an Internet Cafe about 300 yards from the condo -- Cafe Cafe, where you can use a PC or just use their WiFi connection for a fee.
The rental experience was great. We rented through Sol Maya Vacation Rentals (www.solmayarentals.com). No affiliation with them, and no experience with them before, but was very satisfied. Andrew Leigh and his wife Lisa met us upon arrival, gave us the keys and the lay of the land. We had them do some grocery shopping in Playa for us prior to arrival, and I highly recommend this, as the grocery stores in Puerto Aventuras are sufficient for essentials, but not really for a week-long stay if you plan on cooking yourself. Arriving on vacation having your condo stocked with your favorite food (with a few allowances for brand substitutions) for a modest service fee is well worth it.
The pools are great for big and little kids alike -- zero entry in both pools, but they are plenty big to accommodate the larger kids. The beach was great -- by far the best beach in the area. It is clear that the staff works hard to maintain the beach. Great sandy entry, no waves to speak of, and great snorkeling straight out in front of the condos.
Maintenance of the common grounds was fantastic, with cleaning and maintenance folks always busy, but never in the way and always polite. No problem getting chairs at the pool or beach -- always plenty available, so you don't have to claim your spot at 6:30 am like so many other places in Mexico.
The town of Puerto Aventuras is cute, and you can find most of what you need (except tennis balls, which I learned the hard way -- there is a great grass court on the property). We felt very comfortable letting the older kids (our 12-year-old, plus another 12-year-old and a 13-year-old) walk around town unattended after the first couple of days.
Food in town was good overall. Especially recommend the food at Si Si Si -- brand new restaurant that opened while we were there. Portions are huge. Dessert at Cafe Ole is the best. Milkshakes and waffles at Cafe Cafe are also a must. Ate at the pub and sports bar as well, and both were adequate.
Did the dolphin experience with the little kids. Pretty expensive but a neat thing to do. The pictures will cost you $20 each, and we found little opportunity to negotiate.
By far the best thing we did was find someone to cook a couple of meals for us in our condo and babysit our little kids a few times. Through our rental agency, we were referred to Tina, who is an absolute gem. Cooked us a fantastic Mexican meal one night (best guacamole ever!), and a great Malaysian meal another night. Very reasonable prices and fantastic fresh food made right in your condo -- even accommodated 1 vegetarian in the group with no problem. Her menu includes Mexican, Greek, Malaysian, German, and Italian food. We used Tina for babysitting a couple of times (with our travel companions, a total of 4 little kids, 2 10-year-olds, and 3 pre-teens), and the kids loved her. We felt very safe leaving our kids with her. No previous experience with her and no affiliation, but if you want to contact her, email is email@example.com
Other activities I would recommend include snorkeling at a Cenote -- we went to Garden of Eden and it has a great cliff (about 20 feet) to jump off of for the bigger kids. It is a $5 cab ride, maybe $4 to get in, and you can take the bus back. Also went to Playa Paraiso in Tulum, which is a fantastic beach and a good change of pace if you want waves for a day, as there are really no waves at the beach in Puerto Aventuras. The golf course at Puerto Aventuras is fine for kids, but not for a serious golfer. We went to Mayakoba, which is fantastic -- great service and a beautiful place.
Would definitely recommend and will be going back next year.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.