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“Beautiful resort but unbearably hot in the buffet” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Barcelo Maya Caribe

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Barcelo Maya Caribe
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Ctra Federal Chetumal-Puerto Juarez, Km 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in Puerto Aventuras
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49 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 209 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort but unbearably hot in the buffet”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2010

This was our 8th visit to an all-inclusive resort in the Mayan Riviera and our 3rd visit to the Barcelo Maya. Our other two Barcelo trips were to the Tropical but we decided to “downgrade” to the Caribe for this trip because of the price difference and the fact that we were paying for 2 room. We were traveling with our son and his wife and our two grandkids – 6 year old girl and 4 year old boy.

We made our reservations through Frontier Airlines Vacations. Our flight was on time, was non-stop from Denver, had no charge for luggage, free Direct TV, and free chocolate chip cookies. We got through customs and immigration in 30 minutes, found our USA Transfers guy and were on the van and gone in 10 more minutes, and were at the Barcelo 75 minutes later. This was the first time we used USA Transfers and were pleased with their service. A bellman at the resort checked his roster to see if our names were on it before he would let our luggage off the van – our names were on it.

We were the only ones at check in and the clerk was very friendly and efficient. He acknowledged that we were returning guests and noted that we got the rooms we requested by email – nonsmoking, 3rd floor, close to one another, and with a king bed in one and 2 doubles in another. While we were checking in, a waitress came around with some mango drinks for all of us. We went to our rooms and our luggage was delivered soon afterwards.

We then went to the concierge to make reservations for our 3 a la carte restaurants. The Spanish restaurant was wide open but we had a little trouble getting our times and days for the sea food and steak hours – but we still got reservations. The steak house and sea food restaurant are in the beach grills on the Caribe/Beach side and are only open 3 days a week. We could have picked the Mexican restaurant as one of our 3 choices.

We were very impressed with our rooms. Although they were a little smaller than those at the Tropical, we preferred them. There was a large wide-screen TV on the wall, a very comfortable bed, a big shower head in the shower, the fridge was cold, and the AC worked just fine. The crown molding along the ceiling was a nice touch. The couch was about 6 foot in length and we had it made into a bed so the grandkids could have an overnighter with us if they wanted.

Maid service was good; our room was made up by noon every day. On two nights, we had evening maid service where the towels were changed out and chocolates were placed on our pillows. The contents of our fridge were replaced every day. However, the only snacks we received were two small bags of peanuts daily. On our last visit, our snacks included a much larger variety. Also, we did not receive any welcome goodies such as a fruit basket or bottle of liquor as we had in the past.

The resort did not seem at all full during the 7 days we were there. It was always easy to find a lounger or hammock. The majority of people appeared to be from Italy and Spain and we could walk around all day without hearing anyone speak English. There were quite a few shapely ladies on the beach wearing one-piece European-style bathing suits. Unlike previous experiences, we did not notice a lot of smokers, nor did we notice aggressive behaviors in the buffet.

Food was a mixed bag. We went to three a la carte restaurants and really liked them. The lamb chops and tenderloin with cheese sauce at the Spanish restaurant were great. The filet and rib eye at the steak house (Rancho Grande) were also good but the appetizer bar/salad bar was a real disappointment. The sea food restaurant (Captain Morgan) had an okay lobster tail but we really liked the large shrimp and cold crab claws on the appetizer bar. Service in all 3 restaurants was good. Although the steak house and sea food restaurant were open-air, they were close to the beach and had a nice breeze blowing through. Also, men are not required to wear long pants in these 2 restaurants. Breakfast in the Caribe buffet was usually good. I normally went to the Mexican food area and had refried beans and whatever else they had that day in that section (barbacoa, diced pork in green chili sauce, empanadas, etc.) I also had a lot of papaya/orange juice drinks and wonderful pineapple. The temperature in the non-air-conditioned buffet was usually tolerable at breakfast. Service ranged from excellent to non-existent. For lunch, we ate at one of the beach grills and they all seemed to have the same kinds of food. The hamburgers and grilled flank steaks were excellent but none of them had a taco bar like the ones we saw on our previous trips. Service in all the beach grills was excellent – much better than in the main buffet. Eating dinner in the Caribe buffet was not a pleasant experience. The heat and humidity were unbearable and there was no breeze at all even though the ceiling had a lot of fans. We were drenched in sweat and the kids were irritable. The food was okay but nothing special. One of the fond memories I have about our prior trips to the Barcelo was the wonderful coconut ice cream. And there was coconut ice cream at the Caribe buffet but it and all the other ice cream was liquid – not just soft but totally melted. Service again ranged from good to non-existent. We finally decided to pay an extra $5 each and eat dinner at the Tropical/Colonial buffet. It was money well spent - great service, a much better variety of food, and air conditioning. And the ice cream was solid but there was no coconut ice cream in this buffet when we were there.

We were pleasantly surprised at the bars and drinks during this trip. We never waited more than a few seconds for a drink at any of the bars. The pool/beach bars were always well staffed but they no longer had working self service beer taps. We were very surprised that there was drink service around the pools – we never saw this on our last trips. The beach grills had self serve beer, wine and liquors as well as bartenders to make whatever you wanted. There were usually no other customers at the Caribe lobby bar and we normally had the bartender to ourselves. I once asked the bartender for a glass full of rum so we could have rum and cokes in our room. He emptied a water bottle, filled it with rum, and gave it to me. The theater bars seemed to have a better selection of liquor than the other bars and the bartenders were super. I ordered a lot of mojitos and the bars usually had mint available, unlike our last trips. All bars had both Corona and Negro Modelo on tap. Drinks seemed very consistent as well – my mojitos and margaritas were identical no matter where I got them. The wine seemed a little worse (and nearly undrinkable) than on our last trips, especially the white. The Spanish restaurant had very good sangria for no extra charge.

Our grandkids spent a lot of time at the Colonial’s water park and loved the splash pad at the Caribe. Combined with hours of building sandcastles and bobbing around in the ocean on their floaties, they were happy. They also went to the mini-disco at the Colonial/Tropical theater a couple of times and liked it but the heat and humidity were intense. We went to the Circus show in the theater one night but the kids wanted to leave as soon as they figured out there were no elephants or clowns (we loved the show). The kids also liked the activities at the shopping center during Mexican Fiesta night.

The sea was very calm and crystal clear on most days but on one day, it was very murky and full of sea weed. I only went snorkeling once near the pier and saw a huge variety of fish I had not seen before. We also spent a lot of time in the Caribe, Beach, and Colonial pools – they were very clean. We enjoyed our night swims in the Caribe pool – the pools are beautifully lit and virtually empty at night – staff will ask you to leave at 10:00 so they can start adding chemicals.

We did not see any mammals on the grounds during this trip but did see lots of iguanas, small lizards, and frogs. As usual, the resort was full of beautiful birds. This was the first time we saw snakes at the Barcelo – to the south of Captain Morgan. I have no idea what kind they were – they were dark gray, about 3 feet long, and about an inch in diameter.

We saw a lot of sting rays near shore past the southern boundary of the resort, but did not see any in the swimming areas around the Beach or Caribe sides. We saw no jellyfish and did not see any mosquitos. However, we all had a few small bites on our bodies toward the end of our stay.

On our last day, we checked out at noon and spent the next hour in the lobby drinking beer while waiting for our 1:00 USA Transfers pick up. At exactly 1:00, the van pulled up and we were at the airport in a little over an hour. Note: If you drink a few beers before getting on the van, your ride to the airport will be miserable.

The main thing we love about the Barcelo is that you can camp out for the day and be just steps away from either a pool or the beach. And the place is incredibly beautiful and has as nice of a beach as any I’ve seen. We will return to the Barcelo Maya but not in August (who would have thought that it would be hot in Mexico in August?) and not to the Caribe or Beach. We would rather spend a little extra and go to one of the other sections that would give us better dining experiences.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2010

This is actually five resorts on about a mile and one-half white sand beach. Those who pay for the premium packages have access to all facilities in four of the resorts including access to air-conditioned buffets and several sepcialty restaurants. Located about one hour south of Cancun, Mexico, the resorts are huge but have plenty of room so that you do not ever feel crowded. The food is great and the service is tops with premium drinks of about any brand you could want. In August it is very very hot but the pools are nice and the ocean is quite warm just a short distance from many of the rooms. If the place is full up, and they said they were, there are probably 4 to 5 thousand guests on the grounds. But again, there was actually no feeling of crowding due to the large area the resorts cover. Our friends who were located in the same building we were in had $800.00 stolen from thier locked room safe and the management not only would not appologize but called them a liar when they reported the theft. For this reason we will not be returning to what is otherwise a great resort. It is a real shame that a theft such as this puts a dark cloud over the whole affair. P.S. If you want good wine, take your own because you won't get any there.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Level Contributor
65 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2010

This was our 4th trip to an all-inclusive in Mexico, and 5th overall (Sirenis in Punta Cana). The other 3 Mexican resorts were Iberostar, Riu and Gran Bahia Principe. Our group consisted of 4 adults (2 grandparents + 2 parents) and 2 kids (ages 11 and 9).

Here's how Barcelo compares to the others:

1. Food and drinks - comparable to slightly better buffets + formal dinners. A bit of a hassle to get formal dinner reservations. If you want quality booze, ask for it otherwise they will serve you domestic brands by default.

2. Service - comparable. Resort bars felt a bit understaffed at times but never had to wait more than a few minutes for a drink anywhere.

3. Entertainment - comparable. Theather Kukulkan was extremely hot during shows at night, needs more fans and improved circulation...

4. Fitness facilities - better than any I've seen at other resorts thus far.

5. Beach - better.

6. Pools - comparable. We spent most of our time at the Beach report, rather than the Caribe, because the animation team and therefore the majority of the activities were located there.

7. Animation team - comparable. No problems speaking English.

8. Rooms - comparable.

9. Cleanliness - comparable. Staff worked very hard to keep rooms and grounds clean. Pools got a little spoogy by the end of the day, as you may expect, with sunscreen, booze, sand etc...

10. Location - about 100KM from Cancun airport. At least 60-75 minute drive with no stops.

11. Clientele - mostly European, maybe 15% from U.S. Surprisingly few from UK relative to experience on prior trips.

Bottom line - if you go expecting a 5-star hotel, you will be disappointed. This isn't the Ritz where every last detail is painstakingly attended to. This is a good quality hotel and you will have a good time.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2010

I was very nervous prior to arriving for our vacation at Barcelo Maya Beach & Carib.I had let several bad reviews make worry me. My family (husband & two sons 16 & 18) have made many trips to Mexico over the years. But this year we where bringing along my niece, her husband and her 3 sons (10, 16 & 18) for their first vacation abroad ever. Luckily from the moment we arrived we had no worries. Our check in was smooth & quick. We had a total of 4 rooms, 2 connected and 2 down the hall a little. The mini bars were filled daily ,the A/C's worked great, the rooms and resort were clean. Several times we left our keys iin the room and the front desk sent people within minutes to let us in. We had quick and friendly servce wherever we went. All 9 of us were able to get reservations at the Steak House, Spanish restiurant and Mexican restaurant with no problems. We found it incredulous that reviews mentioned blah buffets, when we could hardly believe the amount of daily variety offered. The snorkeling also was fun and just right for beginners. I would definitely visit again.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2010

Our family with 2 children ages 4 and 8 stayed at the Barcelo Maya Caribe for 10 days in July. We were very excited to go to Riviera Maya for the first time. We had recently read negative reviews about this resort which had made us skeptical and quite worried because we didn't know what to expect. Upon arrival at the resort, we dealt with Enrique at reception who was very pleasant and one of the staff members also greeted us with refreshing drinks. Because there were no more standard rooms left we were upgraded to club premium which made us very happy.
Our room was very clean and nice and the fridge was full of refreshments (beer,water, softdrinks and juices) which was fully restocked every day. The first night the A/C was not working very well but the next day we told reception and the problem was fixed right away and we no longer had A/C problems for the rest of our stay.
We were surprised that people had written negative reviews about the staff because all the Barcelo staff that we encountered were all very polite and friendly. The resort is very well maintained and kept clean. The grounds are beautiful and the pools are clean. There is also a very nice waterpark for children ages 4 - 12. The beach is absolutely gorgeous with white sand and turquoise water. You can also snorkel and feed the fish either at the beach or off the dock. The food was very good and the buffet had a different theme every day with a wide variety. We enjoyed the Mexican food a lot. We recommend the Seafood and the Steakhouse restaurants and we also recommend the Japanese restaurant which has a 15$ fee per person but is well worth it. We have travelled to the Caribbean several times before and we can say that this was one of our favorite trips. We recommend this resort to everyone and would go back in a heartbeat.

Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Lawton, Oklahoma
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2010

We arrived later than we wanted to due to airline problems. The first room was hot and several other problems. we went to the desk than to dinner. when we returned to the room it was still hot we went back to the desk they put us in another room for the evening. The next morning they put us in a cool and comfortable room. Some of the preople at the desk are nice some are not! We went to the pool. a very nice pool! I got out of the pool to go to the restroom I fell and broke my left arm and dislocated my shoulder. I spent 2 nights in the hospital. The hotel I believed showed no compassion, concern, or cared that I fell at their hotel. The manager said the hotel was not responsible because I did not have shoes on. Be very very careful around the pool area we saw people fall with and without shoes.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2010

We are a well traveled family of three and this is our third trip to the Riviera Maya. Maybe it is unfair to compare, but, last year we stayed at the Iberostar in Playa and were thrilled. 5 star in every way. This year we wanted to add more snorkeling to our trip so we picked the Barcelo since it had on site snorkeling.

Check-in: Only allowed to have two keys to the room...even though my daughter is 17. I didn't fight about it too much...could probably have gotten a third key if I had gone to management...but, was tired and didn't wanna fight. Warned about the cost of lost keys ($5) and towel cards ($20) and given a map of property. No welcome drinks...ok...I know that's a little petty...but, hey...it was what we were use to.

Room: We were on the 1st floor and were happy with the room. AC worked just fine supported by a ceiling fan. I had no problem making the room too cold...and if I can do that then I am happy. I did hear from some that were on the third (top) floor that their rooms were too hot. Heat rises...so when we travel to a hot/humid place, we always try to avoid the top floors. Good cleaning staff kept up with our two-a-days...showers...we're a very active family..so needed extra towels. Totaly happy w/housekeeping.

Service...Poor in most aspects. Not that they were rude...I just found that most staff spoke little or no English and so they were not very helpful if you did not speak Spanish. They seemed to be alot more friendly to Spanish speaking people. No wait staff at the pool or beach. You have to go to the swim up bars or open air bars to get drinks....no one brings them to you. The swim up bars, by the way, are all in the open pool areas. They are surronded by kids and there are no adult only areas. (Except in the Barcelo Palace part of the property which you are not permitted in unless your staying there).

Restaurants: Food was no better than average. My water glass, wine glass, soda glass coffee cup etc was constantly empty and I had to ask for refills. The last couple days we had a little gal named Veronica in the main buffet who was really good at keeping up...so we tried to sit only in her section after that. Even the speciality resaurants were just OK...I had lamb chops in the Spanish and a Bacon wrapped Filet in the Steakhouse that were both pretty good. On the other hand the steakhouse served the thinest T-Bone I've ever seen adn the seafood restaurant was not good at all.

Alcohol: All-inclusive is not all-inclusive here. No bourbon (even Jim Beam cost extra) or whiskey other than a house scotch was included. Only a couple of house wines available at dinner...most cost extra. As long as your drinking tequilla or rum you'll be okay.

Room-Service. Food available 24 hours in your room...but...not included...you must pay extra.

Pools: Very good. You are able to use the pools for 4 seperate parts of the property. One is where all the action is...music, games, entertainment, etc... One is fairly quiet... The other two cater ALOT more to kids with water slides fountains, etc.

Beach. Not nearly as well maintained as Iberostar. Nice sandy beach until you get 20 or so feet from shore...then the bottom gets rocky.

Snorkeling: Which was one of the reasons we went to this resort...was just OK. Right off the dock there are alot of fish waiting for you to feed them. If you swim out a little away from shore from the dock, you can get into a reef area that had a nice variety of fish...but, they are a little on the smallish side. Still, it wasn't bad...I guess I would say AVERAGE.

OTHER: They had a few other things that were nice to have. A putt-putt course which was ok...if you took the effort to get all the leaves/vegetation off the course. A small pitch and putt course (4 very short holes). A discoteque for the partiers. A feww other things as well.

The resort is certainly much more enjoyable with younger kids 5 to 15 ish because of the pool/activities.

Let me just add that we went to the new park Xplor as one of our excursions. I recommend it VERY highly. Best money I've spent. The zip lines would have been worth the price alone and you get so much more. check out their website.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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: Ctra Federal 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
#8 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#8 Spa Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Family Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Barcelo Maya Caribe 4*
Number of rooms: 414
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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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