My husband and I stayed at the Barcelo Maya Caribe from November 11th to the 20th. We were originally booked at the Barcelo Beach but were put in the Caribe because the Beach wasn't open yet because of the time of year. I don't usually do this but I'm going to break down my review as to not drag on forever.
This took entirely too long (about 2 and 1/2 hours). We went with Sunwing and they made 5 stops with ours being the last on the way there.
The beach in front of all 5 resorts is very nice with lots of lounge chairs. Powder white sand with some rocky areas mostly near the pier. Ocean entry is probably the nicest in front of the Tropical/Palace pools just because it gradually slopes down. Ocean entry in front of the Beach/Caribe is a little rocky and has a bit of a drop when you first get in but after that is perfect. I really don't think water shoes are necessary anywhere but I will say you should probably shuffle your feet while in the shallow water as I came across a large stingray twice (pretty awesome by the way).
This is why I picked this resort and it did not disappoint in any way. If you want to swim with loads of fish just go down to the end of the pier that separates the Beach/Caribe from the Colonial/Tropical/Palace side and jump in. If you can't swim either wear a life jacket or stay out of the water in this area as there is only one ladder to exit the (some people kept clinging to it while I was there). If you want to see sea turtles walk out into the water in front of the Palace pool and watch for their little heads to pop out of the water. Lots of live coral if you swim around the rocks right next to the Palace. The one thing I was horrified to see was the amount of people stepping on coral and one nutjob woman actually pulling out sea fans...not cool
The Caribe pool was freezing and could use a good scrub down. We mostly used to pools at the Colonial and Tropical Resorts. They were clean and warm. The Palace pool is nice too and huge! Pool bars were all pretty good and really didn't take that long to get service.
The rooms were clean, spacious, and had good size tvs with lots of channels (mostly Spanish but some in English). Mini fridge was always stocked with water, juice, Coke, Fanta, and Corona. Housekeeping did a good job, never any issues getting bath towels. Comfy slippers in the closet. The only problems we had with the room was our keycard didn't work a few times and had to be reactivated, and our in-room safe seemed to give us a lot of errors before working every time we would lock it.
Breakfast buffet was amazing with everything you could possibly ever want. The made to order omelettes and pancakes were great! Dinner buffet was pretty good with every night being a different theme. The ball was kinda dropped with lunch at the buffet and at Captain Morgans beach grill. We tried the Steak House and Italian Restaurant over at the Colonial/Tropical Resort and they were both great. Seeing as we were there in November the open air buffet at the Caribe was just lovely however if you're staying at a hotter time of year I might suggest staying at the Colonial/Tropical as their buffets are indoor and air-conditioned (they also have a little more range in food).
There always seemed to be some sort of entertainment or activity going on. Zumba and aquafit near the pools during the day, and lotsa karaoke at night. You could be as active and involved as you want or just hang by the beach or the pool.
Very nice and clean inside. Services are pretty overpriced but hey you're on vacation :)
Just a few things I should mention:
-When you check in they give you a book of coupons. If you want to upgrade to the Premium Club there is a coupon in the booklet for $400 towards the upgrade. Be sure to upgrade right away if you want to do this and are only staying a week because it has to be for 7 days. It was worth it to us so we could try out all the resorts (except the Palace) buffets and a la carte's. You also get wifi, free room service, discounts, and a room closer to the beach with this.
- Wifi does not work on the beach and its harder to get a signal the further away from the lobby you are. Sometimes I would get a signal by the pool, but not often.
- The staff are all wonderful. Not ever did I even pass any staff member and not get an "Hola". Most of the servers, receptionists, and spa staff can speak broken English but don't expect that from the maids or grounds keepers. Bring lots of American dollar bills for tipping.
- Don't expect to hear English a lot as we found most of the other guests were European.
This was my 4th trip to Mexico and my 7th all-inclusive. No resort is perfect, but I would high recommend this one!