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“Great location, horrible food” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Barcelo Maya Caribe

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Barcelo Maya Caribe
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 266,3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico   |  
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Up to 30% discount
Ranked #10 of 17 Hotels in Puerto Aventuras
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great location, horrible food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

While the all-inclusive concept is not very appealing to us, my spouse and I decided to visit Mexico as a quick and inexpensive beach getaway. We selected the Barcelo due to its overall positive reviews. In retrospect, I wished I would have read the reviews more carefully.

Depending on the type of traveler you are, the interests you have, and your previous travel experiences, you will either truly enjoy the Barcelo, or never plan to return. As such, I have broken this reviews in several sections to make it easier to find the information that is most pertinent to you.

The Bedroom:

The bedroom was what one would expect at a beach resort. The bed was quite firm and uncomfortable to me, but the pillows were plentiful, fluffy, and  nicer than what I have usually encountered in other Latin American countries.

The Beach:

The beach is nice and clean with plenty of jack fish swimming alongside the bathers. The Beach/Caribe side of the Resort seems nicer with less rocks, but the Beach bar plays obnoxious loud music all day starting at around 10:00 am. I personally just want peace and quiet while at the beach, but I am assuming most of the other guests did not mind the music, and took it as part of the Caribbean/tropical ambiance.

There are several beach activities such as kayaks, sailing, jet skiing, and snorkeling. I recommend snorkeling or swimming by the pier if you want to be around plenty of fishes. It was fun and refreshing. Finally, the resort was not very full, and finding lounge chairs at the beach or by the pool was never a problem.

Beach Bars:

The beach bars only had one bar tender while we were there. Thus, it could take a minute to get drinks, and I can imagine it would take much longer if the hotel was busier. The bars had special drinks everyday, and we tried one each day. The drinks were fairly weak, with basic ingredients. Definitely not premium liqueur, but if you are not particular about your drinks, this should not be a problem.


My main complaint about this resort was its horrible bland and cold food. If you consider yourself a foodie do not go to this resort. Food quantity is not the problem, as there was an overabundance of food, and plenty of options, but don't expect to have an amazing meal while staying here. It is all about quantity rather than quality.

After our first meal there we were unsure how we would be able to stay for 5 days with such sub-par dining options. This review may sound overly critical by some, but food is an essential component of my travels. I seek exotic and gourmet food both at home and abroad, so the food at the Barcelo was disappointing and unsatisfying to say the least. That being said, the food on the beach grills, were warmer, and better seasoned than in the main buffets.

While the food was pretty bland with no hints of the local cuisine. The food would have been more palatable, if it was kept appropriately warm. However, the majority of the dishes are kept under warming lamps, which are inadequate to maintain the temperature. Why not invest on chafers for all the warm dishes? It seems like a pretty easy solution.

If you cannot stomach cold food, I would suggest relying on the pasta station where your dish can be prepared to order. Another option is to eat something from the grill, if you can ask for a freshly grilled burger rather than the several pre-cooked patties that I saw sitting under the heating lamps. The soups also seemed to be warm, as they had appropriate electric tureens.

However, if you are an easy eater, and not overly concerned with seasoning anf temperature, you will probably be very happy at the Barcelo. I effect, most children are likely to have no problem at all with the food.

Finally, of all the meals, breakfast was certainly the least offensive. The refried beans in particular was nice and warm, and had a modicum of seasoning (but not as rich and spicy as refried beans you will find outside the resort). Luckily, we had a chance to have a meal outside of the resort while visiting Tulum, which was delicious. I just hope that most guests don't think that the food here is a good representation of authentic Mexican food.

Specialty Restaurants:

We ate at the Spanish and Mexican restaurants. While the food was better than the buffets, it was nothing to write home about. The food in both restaurants was appropriately warm, which was a vast improvement than the food served in the buffets, but I have eaten better Spanish and Mexican food before. Heck, I have eaten better "Mexican" food in Tokyo.


The staff was great. Nothing to complain here. They were friendly and attentive, and no one ever gave any outward indications of wanting tips. However tips are certainly appreciated.


There are a lot of children in this resort. If the idea of screaming children bothers you, you would do better at an adult-only resort. While there were plenty of couples there, I could not imagine the place as a romantic getaway. Again, it all depends on your level of tolerance.

Travel Representatives:

Travel representatives, and a car rental agency can be found in the same area as the main concierge. These travel representatives are not associated with the resort, but I thought I would share our experience trying to book a visit to Chichen Itza and Tulum.

We were quoted an astronomical price for both tours, as such I told our representative I would check on the prices for a rental car to compare costs. He tried to dissuade us from renting a car, implying on the possibility of highjacking as tourists are easily recognizable by “crooks.”

Okay, last time I checked I was visiting the Yucatan peninsula and not Juarez! Have had driven before in Brazil and in Israel, I was not overly concerned about driving in Mexico. The drive was super easy: the road to Chichen is well maintained and you just need to follow the signs. Just be in the lookout for the speed bumps, because they come out of nowhere : )


The resort has no free wireless -- not even in the lobby. Furthermore, the wireless code only works in one device at a time. If you have multiple users in your party, you either have to buy several access cards, or take turn using the service. In this day and age, this type of wireless service is outdated and quite annoying.

A quick test to see if the Barcelo would be a good option for you (in my humble opinion):

Is gourmet food a big part of your life?
Are you able to and/or enjoy identifying the different ingredients in your meals?
Do you like your food to be warm?
Do you favor premium liqueurs and wine?
Do you like to explore the country you are visiting and  to observe the locals in their daily lives?
Do you mind children screaming on the hotel hallways until about 10:00pm in the evenings?

If you answered Yes to at least 3 of this questions the Barcelo is probably not for you. STAY AWAY!

Is your main vacation goal to lounge at the beach or the pool?
Are you traveling with children?
Are you an easy eater with no food restrictions?
Do you have basic requirements for libations and spirits?
Do you prefer staying in a resort throughout your visit than exploring the countryside and mingling with locals outside the hotel?

If you answered Yes to at least 3 of this questions, you will have a ball at the Barcelo. Have fun!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
6 Thank DCdrifter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Boise, ID
Level Contributor
34 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

Been to Mexico 10 times, Cancun, Akumal, PV, etc... first time to Barcelo as we got a 50% off deal thru orbitz. We stayed at the Caribe resort in the Sayil Building.

Beach in front of Caribe was excellent as you could walk into ocean 300 feet and see many fish, Barracuda etc...
Had no problem finding loungers at pool or on the beach. Hotel only seemed 50% full in Nov.
Staff was excellent
Room was great, had king bed very comfortable (most beds in Mexico HARD) Had many english TV stations, HBO, MAX, ESPN etc....
Breakfast and dinner in Caribe buffet restaurant was good. Dinner was a little better over in tropical/colonial buffet restaurant. (You can eat at either)
Mini golf course was very fun and we played it 4 times in our 10 day stay.
Easy to catch Collectivo in front of resort to playa (25 pesos each way was a deal)
We had the option of seeing the nightly shows at the Caribe theatre or the Tropical/Colonial theatre was was good. Most evening shows pretty enjoyable. Michael Jackson and Latino shows were our favorites.

Lunch at the Capt. Morgans resaturant at Caribe was pretty BAD. Not many choices and food was always COLD. We ended up hanging out at the Olympic pool over at the tropical resort and having lunch at the Palmeras restaurant which was MUCH better than Capt. Morgans.
Items at the stores and resort shopping mall were about 50% more than same items in Playa stores.
Fairly long walk to towel pick up booths but was good excercise.
Maid service was fairly slow on a few days as they didn't get to room until 5pm. Not a big deal.

We took ADO bus from Airport to Playa (120 pesos) then took taxi to hotel (250 pesos)
We like this much better than paying the high cost of shuttle service.

Also went to Playa Jazz Festival Nov 22-24th and it was outstanding. FREE admission on the beach. Will be back next Nov. and do it again.

Room Tip: Find a room midway between lobby and the pool/beach. Find a room away from theatre as its very noisy...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
3 Thank Dacougr32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

Not a 5star more like a 3star

Hotel reception and staff - We didn't get what we paid for - premium alcohol, now having to eat/drink gluten free I would not have accepted a package that did't allow me such options. I was inquiring about internet service and I got about 10 different prices and the run a around, finally I was able to buy a wifi package for the remainder of my stay at an unlimited price.

Food - It was good, edible but boring as it was the same thing every day. Breakfast was the worst selection.

Witnessed a father physically assault his son outside our room only to have that man charge after me then proceeded to punch and kick my door while yelling that he is going to kill me. no option to call 911 had to find the 4 digit code to call reception. Security showed up. I come out to find out that this guy had also thrown another female canadian guest against the wall. The wife shows up to defend her husband (really WTF). to make a long story short this guy gets to remain in the hotel as if nothing happened. I would say that the hotel does not put the safety of their guests first.

The only thing this hotel has going for it, is the beach. I have been to many resorts in the mayan and I have to admit that this beach is beautiful and not rocky at all.

I will never be back to this hotel and I will certainly voice my opinion to friends family and whomever that they would be better off somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
6 Thank KevandLee G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

This was our 2nd trip to these Barceló resorts and were happy to have been invited to a wedding there. We were originally booked for the Maya Beach but were put in to the Caribe as renovations were not completed at the Maya Beach until mid-week. Here are some reviews/tips:

Wedding –This was a classic, picture-perfect wedding in front of the Maya Beach resort. The area for weddings in front of Caribe has more rocks and a dock in the background so you may want to choose according to which you prefer. At the time, there were almost no people at the Maya Beach so it was very private. The Maya Beach area is the end resort so there would consistently not be as many others “by-standers” as well I think.

The coordinator made it a really easy and stress-free process for the couple, the staff was great in all aspects, and we were grateful to have the groom’s uncle, a minister, perform the service. (Documents to be signed in Canada afterwards- the real wedding was on the beach! This makes it easier on all and the important part, the ceremony, is what counts. Something for you to consider if you want a destination wedding)

Hotel – We initially were on the 1st floor but switched to the 3rd and highest floor because of insect bites and it was a bit noisy on the first floor where guests entered the building. So, no bugs and quieter on the 3rd floor. They spray the grounds around 6pm everyday so you may want to avoid these areas for a short time around this time. As we didn’t get a king size bed in our 2nd room we put the two doubles together. Room location is more important and this worked well. To keep the room cool all the time, leave your second room key in the power slot when you are not in the room with the balcony door closed. This will ensure the air conditioning and fan stays on. (The a/c and fan will not turn on if the balcony door is open).

Beach- There are some minor rocks as you enter the Sea from the Caribe resort. This may make it difficult for handicapped or elderly to enter here, as well as not as comfortable for everyone else as well. We recommend setting up 100metres down the beach, just past the lifeguard tower. It’s perfect there for all!! Bring a refillable mug to keep your drinks cool, avoid waste and time going for refills.

Bring your snorkel gear if you have it. If not, it is available. They also have kayaks and paddle boats etc.. We enjoyed snorkelling in the area straight out form the Caribe resort. Follow the perpendicular rope out toward the perimeter boundary-rope. At this “T” section you will find beautiful coral with lots of tropical fish. They love squished bananas so grab a couple to bring from the buffet. We were also told that there is a great spot to snorkel near the Barcelo Palace but never made it over there. Others in our group went on a snorkel tour and had great success seeing large turtles and manta rays, etc..ALSO, there are cenotes a short walk from the resort! You can swim and snorkel in these underground caves. Ask the front desk for directions. They are only a 5-10 minute walk south. Your tour group will likely not tell you about these as they want to sell you expensive day trips. The entrance to these is $5 only and you don’t need anyone to arrange or transport you there.

Other- The food was great and we had 3 “a la carte” meals included for dinners that you will need to book reservations for upon arrival.

We stayed at the Barceló Tropical 5.5 years ago and the Caribe is almost the mirror image in many ways. It will likely cost you less to book at the Caribe or Maya Beach and we would consider this option again.

Para-sailing is fun. We went tandem. It was safe and they stopped for us to take a swim in the open water. Wear contacts as they advise not to use eye-wear. Try to book a time that doesn’t have someone booked in the next time-slot. This will maybe give you a bit more time in the air and swimming afterwards.

For the Adventurous - Our wedding party went on a day trip/excursion provided by AllTourNative that included cenote rappelling/snorkelling (different from the ones by the hotel), zip-lining, a Mayan lunch, 4x4 trucking through crazy rocky jungle, a tour of Tulum and time on the beach at Tulum as well. We’re fairly experienced travellers and this is one of the most memorable tours we have ever had.


Spencer and Holli

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
25 Thank SpenceAndHolli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Frances, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Originally we booked at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort. When we got there for some reason they put us at the Maya Caribe Resort (which is attached to Maya Beach) We ended up getting an ocean/pool view room which we didn't pay extra for. There were alot of rooms available at this time so I'm assuming that's why. And we had access to 3 different hotels (everything is the same at each of them) Our trip from the airport was fine. It was dark so we couldn't see much. Plus the cervasas they served. haha
The resort was pretty quiet at the pools and beach area, there was always lounge chairs avail and you weren't surrounded by people. So it was nice. Weather was great usually 28'Celcuis and no humidity. Never too hot. The beach was beautiful, some rocks walking in but I wore water shoes and it wasn't so bad. The sand was nice and soft too. The ocean water was crystal clear in most spots.
Food was always good at the buffet, different themes every night. We did the 2 ala cartes but we preffered the buffet. More variety.
Our room was nice except for every afternoon it had a stench of sewer to it. Some days really bad, so we didn't stay in there long midday. Our fridge was always fully stocked with waters, beers, and pops.
The shows at night were normal Barcelo shows if you've seen them before. Entertaining.
Drinks were delicious. Don't think that whatever is on the menu is all you can have. I would see someone's and ask what it was and order that. Mango Tango was my fav!
Staff were always friendly. Alot don't speak English though, like maids or cleaning staff. But we managed.
We did 2 excersions, one was snorkelling in a small group of 8 which was nice, we snorkelled for a mile then we drove to a cave and snorkelled in there for awhile, a photographer takes your pics for purchase. Then lunch.
We also went to Playa Del Carmen for a shopping trip. I didn't like it much, it was so busy and too many vendors yelling at you to come in their stores. I actually found the mall that was in between the Caribe and Coloniel Barcelo was cheaper than Playa Del Carmen or our gift shop in the lobby's.
Checkout was very easy and our transfer to the airport was good as well.
I'd reccommend this hotel to anyone.

Room Tip: The Labna building was close to everything. We had the top (3rd) floor on the corner.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
8 Thank jsmith2424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Littleton, Colorado
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

We had a lovely time. We took our two grown children and my son's girlfriend.
When we arrived they said there was a miscommunication with our room. If we would choose a 'lesser' accomdation they would give us points towards all the restaurants.
This was fine, but we found you needed five or six days notice to get into the nicer restaurants. We were there only 4 nights. We sort of felt "scammed."

But we were happy and enjoying ourselves. I bought my first piece of silver jewelry nearby. I tucked it into my suitcase just before checking out. By the time I arrived at the airport the ring was gone. I know it happened within the time we had a bell boy and a cab show up to take us to airport.

Room Tip: Don't put anything valuable in your suitcase, or else watch it at all times when you are checkin...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank luzimmcm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jesup, IA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

We just returned from a one week stay at Barcelo. We had booked the Caribe and were there 4 nights when they moved us (an upgrade) to the Colonial as they were planning to close the Caribe for maintenance.

We had a wonderful time while there. The rooms in both were clean and nicely maintained. The in-room refrigerator was stocked well and when moved to the Colonial (Club Premium) also included some light snacks: peanuts, chips, etc.

The beach was lovely and water was crystal clear-I believe it was better in the Caribe portion. In Colonial it was rather rocky. The small pier between the two hotels had plenty of fish-so check out the free snorkeling equipment (I believe it is 1 hour per day) and can get some good pix. Also rode the water bikes, which was fun, a bit like paddle boats. My husband and kids also took advantage of the pool scuba lesson.

We enjoyed the pool at the Colonial...plenty of activities for everyone...my 14 yr. old daughter and 17 yr old son especiallly enjoyed the water volleyball and the water polo. Swim up bars were great at all the pools.

We ate most of our meals at the Caribe buffet. Service was great----especially Gary and Ezley, they were our favorites. We didn't speak much Spanish, and they didn't speak much English, but that was actually part of the fun. We made it through and everyone was very accomodating. Breakfast was my personal favorite (probably because I don't care for seafood which was offered during the lunch and dinner menus). We ate lunch most times at one of the grills...either Captain Morgan or Mariachi. Even if you are a picky eater, you could definitely get enough to eat. Quantity is not lacking. Our family favorites included the made to order omelets and pasta, guacamole, and the soft serve vanilla ice cream. Just a heads up, the service at the grills was pathetic...we could never get anyone to give us drinks. Wish they would make it a self serve beverage bar (no alcohol) so that wouldn't happen. Inconvenient, but not anything that would ruin our stay. We never used our ala carte resturant certificates as we packed only casual wear and didn't want to make reservations either.

We booked our excursions with Jose from Lomas Travel (he has a desk at the Colonial). We enjoyed snorkeling, ATVs, zip lining, and a shopping trip to Playa del Carmen. Other than that, we enjoyed the amenities that Barcelo offered.

When we booked our trip, it was with hesitation after reading the reviews, but we had a wonderful stay, the resort was beautiful, and we look forward to visiting again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
12 Thank JesupJHawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barcelo Maya Caribe

Address: Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 266,3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Puerto Aventuras
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Spa Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#10 Family Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:4 star — Barcelo Maya Caribe 4*
Number of rooms: 414
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Barcelo Maya Caribe Hotel Puerto Aventuras
Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
Barcelo Maya Caribe Beach
Barcelo Maya Caribe Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

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