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Canto Del Sol Plaza Vallarta
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Reviews (2,784)
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Reviewed January 10, 2013

I went to Canto last year and just started writing reviews now. I do remember Canto being quite enjoyable though. The location was great, the service was fast and the food was good. The food did all start to taste the same by the end but there were tons of close restaurants outside the hotel to go and enjoy. It had a nice pool with a swim up bar an outdoor buffet and snack bar. The rooms were comfy and clean and I will most likely be returning to Canto in the near future.

Room Tip: Affordable, nice get away
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Dancha21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

What a great place to stay! I've travelled to 72 countries independently over 25 years and this was my first time staying at an all-inclusive and won't be my last. The staff at the hotel made this place great and their service was amazing. Poolside, we dealt with Jorge and Chuy and both were super. We made sure that we tipped them as we found out they make about 60 pesos a day ($6) so they really depend on tips.

Room Tip: Ask for a Garden room that overlooks the pool.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank OneWorldGlobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canto_Del_Sol-Team, General Manager at Canto Del Sol Plaza Vallarta, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2013

Dear Guest of Canto Del Sol,

We thank you very much for have chosen our lovely hotel for spending your recent holidays, and are pleased that you did enjoy our product and service. We appreciate your comments about our staff and hope to welcome you soon back to serve you at your home away from home.
You can also contact us at guestserv@cantodelsol.com

Sincerely yours

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

My wife, 5 year old daughter and I were looking for a cheap all inclusive with a kids club and Canto exceeded our expectations. The overall facilty is older but doesn't look run down or tired. It is quite authentic Mexican, not generic mega-resort style. Also, because it's been around for a while it has the bonus of being very centrally located (Oxxo convenience store, drug store, liquor store, Mega grocery store, other shops, bus stop) all from a few steps to a few minutes away walking. The airport is about 10 minutes away (80 peso cab ride) to the north and the malecon/old downtown is a quick 10 minute bus ride south. The staff was absolutely super - helpful, friendly, eager to serve, mostly very good english and patient with attempts at spanish - they really made the experience so much better that it pushed my rating from in the 3.5 range (based just on the facility), to a solid 4+ overall. For those interested, I'll run down things in more detail below but if you can get this for around $1000US/Cdn per person, you won't be disappointed!

Check in - we had a weird flight time (arrived in PV after 6am, at hotel before 8am) so we initally were told that we couldn't check in/get all inclusive wristband 'til noon. They let us leave our luggage and gave us a different wristband that meant we could hang around but not use the resaurants/bars. That was a bad start, but after wandering around a bit and just starting to think about how to kill a couple hours, we had just sat down beside the pool when a porter came and told us our rooms were ready and we could check in! We were in our room and all set to go by 9am, waaaaay better than waiting 'til noon! On the other end of the trip, we did have a room right 'til we checked out (at 3am, shuttle picked us up promptly at 3:05am) so we really ended up getting the most out of our 7 day booking!

Rooms - These have been recently refreshed and ours was bigger than they look in pictures. We ended up in an exterior view room, not pool view that we were originally booked for. This may have been due to the tip my wife slipped the lady that checked us in, but whatever the reason, it was worth it! We had a small deck with a partial ocean view, but most importantly we had a fridge/kitchenette. It was nice to have the extra counter space and sink; we didn't use the cooktop/microwave/etc, just the fridge. Beds were perfectly comfortable, pillows were even pretty good and I'm kinda' fussy about pillows! The toilet/shower room with sink just outside is my preferred hotel room arrangement and all three were in good shape and worked well. There was a hair dryer for my wife and she used it extensively! TV was pretty new LG flat screen, about 40" and there were a few english channels, though my daughter was very happy to watch cartoons in spanish on any channel! The AC worked very well but we usually slept with the patio door open to hear the ocean and were very comfortable. Not much light and tough to find plug ins but that's not untypical of most any hotel I've been in. The in-room safe was easy to set the combination and at eye-height inside the closet so very convenient to use.

Pool - The pool area is excellent, plenty big enough and with lots of levels in the pool to sit or even lay in the water. The majority of the pool is about 4' deep with a seating ledge all the way around. Water is heated and very comfortable temperature. Not many seats at the pool bar but no one stayed there very long anyway - you just swam over to get a drink, then back to lounge in the sun elsewhere in or around the pool. Around the pool, there are signs posted "Don't Save Chairs", but everyone does it so if you have a preferred spot, go save your chair before you have breakfast! They are the comfortable, sling-style fabric (not hard plastic) lounge chairs. The kiddie pool is right next to the main pool, just the right separation and size for the 2-8 crowd. My daugher is a good enough swimmer that she could also go in the main pool but she couldn't touch bottom in most of the big pool, so parents beware.

Kids Club - This was a highlight of the trip. Anna was excellent with my daugher and any kids I saw around. They did lots of activities every day; many crafts, some games, some beach activities, a few quiet times back at the nice Kid Club room. Anna would keep kids for the whole day as long as there were a few around, including getting them lunch, but the schedule was a good example of "Mexican Time" - very fluid! Some days the program was done by noon, others it went 'til late afternoon! No matter, my daugher loved Anna and any time playing with kids!

SIDE NOTE - This is as good a time as any to mention something. Until Boxing Day (Dec 26), most of the people in the resort were "Northerners", probably Canadians. After that date, things got much more crowded and the majority switched to Mexicans. One GOOD thing that came of this was that more Mexican kids joined the Kids Club every day (my daugher was the only kid actually signed in to the Kids Club before that) and they were EXCELLENT with my daughter! Even with the language barrier, I'd say she met more nice Mexican kids than Canadian kids. Too many Cdn. kids seemed "stand-offish", maybe nervous parents or just not used to travelling...

Bars/drinks - The main bar is the pool bar - open from around 10am 'til midnight. It was pretty busy a lot of the time, but if you're smart you'll develop a relationship with a favorite bartender (a few 20 peso/$1US tips over your time there help this), your usual drink will be ready for you as soon as you're spotted! Daniel was my favorite bartender - made excellent "chelada" and was very helpful and friendly. There are also a few waiters that were endlessly hustling around the pool and even down on the beach - again, tipping is appropriate - so you have no excuse for going dry!!! The lounge bar, just off the main reception area, was open in the evenings and was fine for a quick drink before or after an a la carte meal, plus they had activities in this area a few times. They had a few recognizable brands (Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum) and Modelo and Negra Modelo on tap. The only "bad" drink I had was one night at supper in the buffet restaurant, I ordered a gin martini. The gin, which was good enough in a gin and tonic, was not suitable for a martini. Otherwise, be sure to try a few different things...in moderation! *NOTE - I just remembered that the house wine is also pretty bad, both red and white. I only tried each once, that was enough. My wife drank sangria lots, so it was probably fine mixed, like the gin, but not so good on it's own.

Beach area - Yes, this is smaller than many resort beach areas, but it's plenty big enough. I really liked how close the beach and pool are; easy to go back and forth between them. Again, if you want a lounger, get there early. The sand is a bit rocky and in the middle of the swim area there are some pretty decent boulders under the water that are pretty tough on feet so swim on the south end of the roped off area. The boogie boards and kayaks are all in pretty good shape and easy to use; you can ask for instruction if you need it. The red warning flags were always up but other than one day the surf was fairly mild. Of course, keep a close eye on kids or weak swimmers 'cause you never know when a bigger wave is gonna' sneak up on you, but there was never any undertow past the breakers. Just be sure to empty your pockets/crotch of pebbles after you've been in the surf a bit! There are lots of vendors all day long, persistent but not obnoxious. Ignore them if you want - "No gracias" will usually do it - but IMHO a little haggling is part of the experience! A good rule of thumb is counter with about 1/3 of what they ask first, settle somewhere in the middle. We had my daughters hair braided - she's never sat so still for an hour before! I'm sorry, I don't know how much that cost. I bought shrimp skewers one day - they were excellent - make sure you buy when the vendor is carrying lots (that means they should be fresher). I think they were 25 pesos for each skewer but I got two for 40 pesos. FYI, my wife and I have never hesitated to try vendor/street food on any of our vacations and we've been lucky enough to never have had any bad consequences. I wanted fresh oysters (had these in PV on a previous trip) but after the first couple days (when I kept forgetting to bring cash with me) I didn't see any oyster vendors. I also bought ice cream for my daughter and a friend she'd made and was playing with - didn't negotiate that one 'cause they had prices listed on their cart. The only other thing I bought on the beach was a horse ride for my daughter. He wanted 400 pesos. I knew she didn't want/need that long a ride, just a quick jaunt up and down our beach a couple times, so we ended up paying 100 pesos for about 10 minutes of riding and pictures before and after - perfect!

Food/Restaurants - Food was all good-not huge selection but always enough good things to choose from to satisfy. The main buffet always had a made-to-order grill (omletts/fried eggs at breakfast, something themed at other meals) and an authentic quesadilla grill (breakfast only), along with fresh fruit/salad, a kids section and about 15 other hot dishes (meat, veggies, beans, pasta, etc.). Any time fish was available, it was a standout and I'm not normally much of a fish lover. Service was usually excellent. "The Grill" a la carte was the best - really cool location and good food (though it had the least impressive service), Mexican #2, Italian #3. Be sure to order the Spanish Coffee at the end of the meal, they put on a great show with this!

Other activities - They have a workout area, which we didn't use. It looked ok if that's your thing. What we did use was the tennis facility. We played twice on the outdoor clay courts for an hour each time. This was a highlight of the trip for me, having never played on clay before. When you check in, the info sheet you get says you can only book tennis during the evening, not good. I went and asked when we could book and they said any time you want! You can book any time of day but only 24 hours in advance. If you're a tennis enthusiast at all, I suggest you give this a try. Either the 4 outdoor clay courts or the 4 indoor hard surfaces, all were in really good shape and a cool venue to play in. Don't worry about how good/bad you are - I saw people at all skill levels playing! We even had our daugher with us one day - she played a bit but was mostly happy to chase after balls between points.

I'm sure there's other stuff I am forgetting...like the entertainment crew. They worked very hard during the day putting on activities around the pool and on the beach, then the same crew put on the evening show. The shows were heavy on lip syncing old rock and roll songs while dancing - they worked really hard at it but don't expect much better than a decent high school show. The music was loud enough that we had to remove ourselves to a seat further back so my daughter wouldn't complain about the volume. We stayed for all of 2 shows and my wife and daughter went to another but didn't last for the whole thing. In other words, don't be afraid to miss a show if you have something better planned!
A couple other notes. We drank the tap water as needed, no ill effects. One day we got our towels mixed up with a group from Winnipeg we were hanging around with and the towel guy gave me a bit of grief about bringing back the wrong color towel. Bottom line, keep track of your towels/towel cards and room key cards - they seem kinda' serious about you not losing them.

Room Tip: Some outside rooms have useable decks, ask for one with a fridge/kitchenette for a bit more space. There is only one elevator, right off the lobby, so you'll likely be using stairs unless you happen to be close to the lobby.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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32  Thank KDIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canto_Del_Sol-Team, General Manager at Canto Del Sol Plaza Vallarta, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2013

Dear Guest of Canto Del Sol,

Thank you so much for sharing your recent vacation experience at Canto del Sol.
We are pleased that you did enjoy our attention and our product, and that we did create you a excellent holiday experience. We appreciate your recognition of our permanent updating and refreshing of our installations, and also your feedback about improvement opportunities, on which we follow up immediately, as our commitment is to be always beyond expectations of all our customers.

We all hope to welcome you soon back to serve you at your home away from home. You can also contact us at guestserv@cantodelsol.com

Sincerely yours

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

I would not return to this hotel, they seem to cater to " local families" way more than us from the north. The manager canceled all the beach volleyball and water activities that we were promised. Sometimes, when we needed it most, we had a very hard time finding drinking water and even had to sneak it from an unattended bar. To give the hotel credit, the food was pretty decent and the live entertainment was very good. All in all, I hope to save another young group from having to leave the resort in order to have a good time. Thanks!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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9  Thank Teamcanada14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Canto Del Sol was an older hotel. It measured up well for a 3 star. We went over the Christmas week. It was a smaller resort than one we stayed at in Playa Del Carmen last year. We rather liked that. Seeing people daily opens up for chatting, we were able to meet many other people staying there. I would say 1/2 the resort was Mexican families which just enhanced the experience of being in Mexico. The town of Puerto Vallarta is charming and we felt very comfortable there.
Ok, details of the resort. The rooms were big, ours did not have a fridge but we really did not need one. I would suggest bringing a water bottle or to to fill up at the bar to keep for drinking. I did drink the filtered water from the tap several times and did not have any problems(because I did not know better at first). Our room was on the outside, first floor. While first floor was good the room was dark for my liking. We would ask for a room facing the pool next time. Rooms were clean, bed was hard.....but I miss it now. Pool was smaller but it was not crowed until the end of our trip when lots of people were coming to celebrate New Years there.
We enjoyed the food and drinks. Other than the main restaurant and a cantina for snacks there were 3 specialized restaurants available. We only ate at Santa Maria, Mexican food, it was delicious. The entertainment was a dance review that happened most nights from 8 - 9. After that you are on your own. People often went into town to clubs. Our daughters, 20 and 23, went with other people and said it was good. They felt safe. Usually though we would sit by the cantina and play cards, this is often where we got to really talk to other people. The beach was a bit of a disappointment. It is very small, the surf was rough. I would not recommend it for small children. Even our year old daughters got thrown about and cuts on legs. Maybe it was just the time of year? It was not just their beach but every beach we went to.

We would go back to Canto Del Sol.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Kathy8992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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