Post Labor-Day, five day vacation. This resort is BIG. Broken into five sections, the layout is a little confusing but after a few strolls through the beautifully manicured landscape you will understand where everything is. Section One - Maya Beach good. Was closed at this time of year but from the looks of the grounds looked good. Section Two - Maya Caribe - Where we stayed was moderate and upscaled . Section 3 and 4 - Maya Colonial and Maya Tropical were a little better grounds with a few extra amenities, but we were allowed access to that section's pools and grills. Section 5 - Maya Palace - Top of the line all air-conditioned eating facilities, truly all inclusive but quite a bit more expensive to stay on this part of the grounds. Here is my review of Maya Caribe - Rooms: Clean, comfortable. Fridge restocked every afternoon, good selection of beverages. Bathroom, beds and balconies all handsomely designed and modern. View from balcony was of trees, which affords you privacy when sunning or just relaxing. Maid service was slow but the room was done by end of day. Their was a concierge in each building complex. She was able to arrange reservations for on premises restaurants. Food: The Barcelo Maya Caribe has adopted the "pay for better" dinner option. The facility has several restaurants that, when you want that special meal, are not part of the all-inclusive and require a small fee to dine. We ate at two of these specialty restaurants, the Mexican themed one was very pretty, the service was very professional and friendly the food was good and nicely done. We also ate at the Steakhouse. Very, very good. Service was commendable and the chef came out to chat with the patrons; a nice touch. However, if you don't want to spend extra money the buffet is nicely appointed, service is very good and there are tons of choices at every meal. Go on, experiment. Try something you've never tasted before, you might like it.
The beach- It is nicer in the middle (from the Tropical to the Caribe). Plenty of chairs and plenty of palms on the beach for shade. Cleaned daily the sand is fine grain and cool underfoot. Plenty of clear shallow water to see schools of colorful fish. Only complaint, why don't they have more towel huts, had to walk away from the beach and pools to get towels.
Staff - Most staff spoke halting English but could sufficiently communicate. Afterall folks, its Mexico and people there speak Spanish, learn a few words in their language, it is helpfully appreciated. There were plenty of workers cleaning, sprucing and servicing. They do a fine job and were friendly and helpful.
There were no pushy sales guys, very little advertising for excursions (except on their internat TV channel). No vendors on the beach (thank goodness), Only drawback is that it is located over an hour from Cancun airport, but as isolated as it is, there are plenty of snorkeling, sightseeing, boating and other excursions available nearby including Xplor, a new theme park. The concierge or the excursion office in the lobby can arrange trips for you. They are not overly expensive. We took the shopping tour of Playa del Carmen and it was very exciting. 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen is a mile long strip of shops, restaurants and people. Great for people watching and shopping. Be careful if you go off the main streets. Pretty safe but always be attentive when out and about in public in another country. Ask for bottled water when out of the resort.
What I liked: The price of this trip was very reasonable. The resort was relaxing yet lively, plenty of everything yet enough room to vacation without feeling you are crowded. What I did not like: If you go after Labor Day the crowd is predominantly European or Mexican. They have different ways than Americans and if you are from the USA you should be prepared to be a little alienated, but if you like people you will meld in nicely.