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“Great place just pack the bug spray!!!!! Lots of it...”

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #81 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Woodbridge, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great place just pack the bug spray!!!!! Lots of it...”
Reviewed January 15, 2013

My fiancee & Myself travel a lot. When it's just him and I we usually hit it higer end resorts; however, when we take the kids (4 of them) its different. This time it was Myself, My best friend Christina and the FOUR kids!!!!!!! Yes.... It was a 2 week trip to Sandos Caracol "Eco", it's a nice resort, food wasn't to bad remember you are in Mexico.
Rooms are Cleaned everyday, Beach is nice and clean some sea weed but nothing you can do about that, the water is rocky so be careful if you have children hv them wear water shoes.
I stayed by the smaller pool sat in my lawn chair right next to the bar. :D good and deep not to many people. Kids club is amazing.
The first week there was someone pooping in the Main party pool on a daily bases.... SO GROSS.. and their pool cleaners are NATURAL... Sorry I need a transport truck of bleach after that much crap in the pool. I'll post a photo of my 3rd child when he saw the poop in the pool. SO we stayed away from the main pool. I rather swim in fish poop.
The snorkling in the sink hole is nice its by the lobby, fresh water quite refreshing.
Monkeys are everywhere, their spider monkeys so if you get to close when they have their young, they will throw their POOP at you. My 3rd child got it quite abit.
Pack lots of BUG SPRAY, the mosquito's and black flys are brutal at night, they have repellent all over the place, but its ALL NATURAL. If you buy the spray in the gift shop its very expensive adds up after the amount of spray you'll go through.
If you can over come the poop chucking monkeys and Bug Bites you will be O.k. The resort is beautiful, clean and friendly. However myself will not go back. I will not book a resort that has ECO in the name.

Room Tip: I was on the south side close to the beach our rooms backed on to the small pool was'nt a far wa...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

My partner and I booked in to Sandos Caracol after lots of researching and deliberation, mainly from reading through reviews on TripAdvisor, so it seems only right to pass on tips and review the resort for others. We spent 10 days at resort, staying in a Select Club room with Jacuzzi (although its actually more of a whirlpool bath!)

CHECK-IN/ARRIVAL: Upon arrival from our transfer shuttle, a bell boy greeted us and took care of our luggage, meanwhile we were directed to the Select Club concierge/reception, which is in a separate part of the resort. We were impressed that despite our late arrival, that there was someone there waiting for us, and we were promptly given our wristband and an overview of food options.

BENEFITS OF SELECT CLUB: Part of the reason we were keen to stay as part of the Select Club is that, although we're only in our mid-20's, we have found it a bit of a pain to have children running and screaming around the pool, when all you want to do is chill out. The Select Club is Adults Only, so it means that there's no children in the Select Club pool area, the restaurant, the clubhouse or the Select Club area of the beach.

The bar team at the pool and beach are very good, and make regular trips around both areas to take drink orders. The Select Club restaurant too is superb for breakfast and lunch, if you are looking to escape the main buffet style restaurants like La Laguna, which we wanted to do after our first visit - then it is definitely a vast improvement.

Room service is also offered as part of the Select Club package. The food isn't always delivered as promptly as you'd hope, and the selection on offer isn't ideal as it is made up of mostly cold meats or pre-prepared items that are just presumably microwaved to only a lukewarm temperature. Nevertheless, still a good service and plus to being in Select Club.

Select Club rooms have a mini fridge including cans: 2 x XX lager, 2 x Sol beer, 2 x Miranda (like Fanta), 2 x Pepsi, 2 x Pepsi Light, 2 x 7-Up, 2 x Soda Water. It also had 2 x Apple Juice cartons, 2 x Chocolate bars and 2 x Original Crisps. This would be replenished daily and was always good for a mid-afternoon snack!

The beach clubhouse is a nice addition and seems to be quite undervalued by guests. We had a lovely early evening break in there one evening, playing a game of pool and on the PlayStation upstairs. Was surprised this area was so quiet! A suggestion to the management: It would be great if all the PlayStation consoles could allow two players, so we could have played against each other too.

ENVIRONMENT/SURROUNDINGS: The resort itself is lovely. It is very well maintained and I didn't realise how much I would appreciate being in an "Eco resort" until I was actually surrounded by nature and animals of the nearby 'jungle' environments. It is a common sight to see raccoons, macaws, cats, dogs, donkeys, terrapins and all sorts of fish and birds around the resort. It should be mentioned though that with nature comes Mosquitos! But the resort very kindly provides mosquito repellent dispensers dotted around the resort to fight them off.

One of the things we did on our first few days was to walk on one of the resorts Eco trails, past all of their cenotes and along a suspension bridge, and through their 'jungle' paths. I can't recommend this enough, it's a nice way to break up the day and get some nice photos, whilst also finding your bearings on where everything is in the resort in relation to the main buildings.

RESTAURANTS: I shall sum these up one by one but won't go in to detail. I should add though that almost all restaurants need to be booked in advance, so try to do this at the start of the week to ensure you're not heading to the main buffet every night!

La Laguna - main buffet style restaurant, with themed meals each night. Service in the restaurant is slow and they seem to struggle to cope with the lunch and evening rush. Often tables will be empty but not made when you try to find somewhere to sit. You also often end up getting your own drink, not sure if this is meant to be the case as it wasn't really explained to us.

Las Mascarnas - Mexican themed buffet style restaurant. Usually a lot quieter than La Laguna, and a nicer atmosphere. In the evenings there is usually a Mariachi band that perform to tables, which makes the meal a little more entertaining! Drinks here are served to you and you are a assigned a waiter/waitress but you go up to serve yourself food.

El Templo - A must do. Their evening meals are based around tepanyaki cooking, and each of the chefs put on a great show for the 6 tables in the restaurant. You end up sitting with strangers but its all part of the fun of the 'show.' Good food too, very talented chefs.

La Toscana - Italian themed restaurant. Salads are buffet style, everything else is from the menu. Food was presented well but I ordered a pizza, and it wasn't really very nice but that's because I think I'm quite fussy when it comes to the cheese used on pizza, and it didn't taste like any pizza I'd had before. My partner had tuna steak and enjoyed it.

La Riviera - Mediterranean themed restaurant. From the menu. Fantastic service and all the waiters seemed very friendly and the food was lovely too! If possible, try and ask for a seat towards the rear of the restaurant as it looks out on to a small pond with a water feature.

There are one or two other restaurants which I can't comment on as we didn't get the chance to eat there but they were equally as inviting.

HOUSEKEEPING: This is an area that unfortunately was quite disappointing. Rooms were cleaned to an acceptable standard but we often left a tip in the room, hoping that the maid would go the extra mile to leave out a "swan made out of a towel" (we always find those kind of things nice touches!), but we only had this once. It would also have been nice if the fruit bowl could have been replenished part way through our 10 day stay.

Other than that, all other boxes were ticked and the bed was made each day and towels replaced as standard, but nothing beyond expectation.

ENTERTAINMENT/NIGHTLIFE: The evening entertainment was some of the best we'd seen in a resort, notably the Michael Jackson tribute and the Circus act, which were beyond expectation. The Xcalacoco Mayan evening performances were brilliant and mesmerising. The one by the main cenote should not be missed, it's magical to watch and makes the cenote even more of a spectacle.

Downside to the entertainment though is how quiet and uneventful the evenings can be in each of the resorts bars. For a resort which has its own Adult Only area, we expected a bit more "life" I think, at least a DJ playing some well known music to create some atmosphere, rather than having the same Zumba instructor on the stage every night. Most nights we ended up in conversation and then early to bed, whereas I think we would have liked a night with a bit more drinking and atmosphere for us twentysomethings. But perhaps we should have ventured out of the resort for this, to Cancun instead?

BEACH: The beach is well maintained and by all standards is a great beach. We often saw staff cleaning seaweed from the beach and burying it beneath the sand. Many people have mentioned that they found the sea to be quite rocky, which I can agree with but wasn't so much of an issue for us. We chose to spend one day at Tulum beach (highly recommended), which was more rock-free.

To conclude.. We had a great stay and would recommend Sandos Caracol to our friends, but wish we had budgeted more for evening entertainment outside of the resort. I should also add that as a gay couple, we always have our reservations when travelling that we would encounter some kind of issue or judgement, but had no issue here from check in to check out. Admittedly, we weren't very public, but sharing a room and a table at dinner, caused us no hassle thankfully.

Room Tip: The Select Club Deluxe Room's with Jacuzzi are nice but on reflection we didn't use the jacu...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
24 Thank joemcd121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

This hotel I believe was recently taken over ( previously the Meridian).
The staff is incredibly helpful and also fun to be around. There were some small issues ( key not working ect) but the manager and other staff members bent over backwards to ensure we were happy and had a great time and they threw in some extras as well such as dessert and bottles of champagne sent to our room when we had a complaint about our keys not working
The place is gorgeous, right on the beach, and we would definitly stay there again.
Many options for food if you're choosing the all inclusive.
The only reason I gave it a 4 and not a 5 is because the food is good but not amazing.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JanBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Den Bosch, The Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We stayed at Sandos for 4 days. We held our weddingceremonie here. The weddingplanner (Fernanda) was really great and the location was perfect for a romantic beach wedding. After te ceremony we had a romantic private dinner at the beach. The sea was only 50 meters away from us.

The resort is really nice and there is enough to do, drink and eat. We highly recommend this location if you are looking for celebrating your wedding on a beach.

Room Tip: The resort is really big and most rooms are in the garden of the resort (which is nice). Therefore r...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Petra P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

I was really impressed and suprised, you can never really tell what you are getting when you see stuff online, so we decided to fly out to Mexico to check out some resorts. This resort id great it has a wonderful Kids Club with video games, air hockey, a indoor climbing area and an indoor trampoline. Not to mention its out dorr water park for kids. On top of all this it has nature trails and bike trails (OH the bikes are FREE! not best condition but no extra cost!). Thats just for the kids. The best part is this is a 3 in one resort! So for the people that come to our wedding and have kids they can stay in the "general area" for those that don't have kids and want to use this as a mini vacation can stay in the adults only area and tehy also have a royal elite area! So many options. Fernanda and Stephanie were great and answered all my wedding questions! Can't wait to say I DO at the SANDOS!

Oh just be aware this place is surrounded by nature so there are animals and mesquitos. But if you like nature this place woudl be ideal.

OH! they also offer free equipment for the beach and the lagoon. All equipment is free, the only stuff you have to pay for is the motorized stuff. But the lagoon is clean and right in teh lobby area great for kids and fmaily who are just learning to snorkle.

Room Tip: The area is spread out so there is alot of walking. It is in nature so bring bug repelent. There are...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Katrina F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

Had the best holiday, location,staff,food all first class,we stayed in the select area which was great the only annoyance was trying to get a comfy bed on the beach despite no resevations they were occupied by towels from early in the morning often lying til lunch time when the towels owners would return.my husband went down one morning at 7.30am with no luck stange!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Irene C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2013

Okay, we booked this trip based on the hotel description given on Expedia - which the hotel provides. That was the beginning of our problems. Here are the key points to note:

- We were pounced on at arrival by a goofy American woman named Francine. Francine said she was our personal concierge and would be available to us during our stay. Well, she wasted almost an hour of our time questioning us about where we were from and what I did for a living, even asking what credit card I used to book my trip. She said I should bring that card the next morning to a "special breakfast" they had planned because they did surveys for the credit card companies (I doubt the veracity of that statement). After some due diligence that evening, I discovered the "special breakfast" was a time share sales pitch that could run six hours or longer. I blew that nonsense off, and the woman rang my phone off the wall for three days until she finally got the message. If you run a Google search, you will see the nightmare people have been involved with at this place. No thanks - I don't need a timeshare.

- The resort is clean and the staff are great (excluding the front desk).

- The room descriptions on Expedia are inaccurate. We booked a room that we thought had a bathtub (spa), and when we arrived they gave us a room with a shower and two double beds (we are a couple). I immediately called Francine, and she said she couldn't help because she didn't know anything about the room types - are you kidding me, personal concierge? She transferred me to another person, who transferred me again, and I eventually gave up being on hold. We went down to discuss the issue with the "select club" representative the next day, and we were treated rudely. Although anglo, I speak spanish, and the two staff were bad-mouthing us in spanish and discussing how we booked our trip through Expedia. When we went to the front desk, we got the same treatment. Apparently, they don't like Expedia travelers - you have been warned. In short, we were told there were THREE room options despite Expedia only showing two.

- The resort's beach is awful. It's rocky, and isn't worth wasting time with if you actually want to get in the water. If you like to lie on the sand, then it will meet your needs.

- We booked here because the Expedia described it as an "adults only" resort with access to the facilities at the "other" resort. Well, it's one resort and there isn't much at all for adults. In fact, the "adults only" pool was too crowded each day and we could never get lounge chairs. Very frustrating.

- The Expedia description said the resort had several restaurants to choose from with the all-inclusive package. Well, you do get to choose from several restaurants, but you only get to eat at THREE over a week long stay. The other nights you eat at a "buffet" with rude people who don't understand the concept of a line and waiting for your turn (and enjoy dodging unsupervised children).

- The resort has several large macaws in cages with no toys for mental stimulation - it's very sad for an "eco-resort" to know so little about birds. They also keep a few hairless dogs in a pen with a dirt floor. Oh yes, there are some donkeys too.

- Spider monkeys run wild at the resort, and it's very cool to see them. Three came to our balcony and ate fruit with us - one jumped on my girlfriend's shoulder. That was the highlight of our nine day stay.

In short, I won't be back. I will either spend more money for a better resort, or go on the cheap and rent a simple condo and find my own entertainment. For our next trip in April, we are going to Puerto Morales for better beaches, the reef, and "real" Mexico. As for other travelers, I would avoid this resort and look at some of the better ranked ones like Secrets if you are heading to Playa and want the big resort amenities.

Room Tip: Book the "penthouse" and do not use EXPEDIA for your information or booking.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank LonelyCruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Caracol, General Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, January 12, 2013
Dear guest,

I would like to thank deeply for taking part of your time to sharing your comments about our hotel with the many readers of this important traveler’s site.

I am very sorry to see what a wrong impression you took with you base upon wrong assumptions and other issues which are not reflective of our hotel, our staff neither our policies.

It is very unfortunate to notice that your encounter with Francine made such a negative impression in you. I travel myself extensively to many places including the Miami area in the US. Out of experience I can tell you that in every hotel, for instances in Miami, someone will approach you with an invitation to either a breakfast or meeting or this and that and offer you even money in cash for your participation. In not way did I allow that to disrupt my vacation and yours I believe should not have been disrupted by this, obviously since you raise it, it does appears as though your impression was very negative. I express my apologies if Francine did anything to upset you, I will share this review with her and make certain that yours will be an isolated case. I am positively sure that if you check anything on the internet, you will never find a single negative comment about Francine who is a very decent, humble and service oriented person.

It is my understanding that you impression about our front desk staff, was constructed basically for the issue of the particular requests you had which apparently we could not meet. If you want to elaborate a bit more about this, please feel free to contact me at the below mail address.

Your impression of us not liking Expedia travelers could not be farer from the true. We are one of the hotels which are doing better not only with expedia, but in terms of the online travelers. I guess you could notice that we have a wall filled with awards, many of which were given to us by online service providers such as Expedia, Travelocity, hotelbeds, etc.., this, because of the ratings given to us by visitors to this hotel. An adult’s only section means that two men or two women could choose also to book rooms there coming as friends. Just like in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.. We have rooms with kind size bed, two double beds, etc.. Because of availability, we may not always provide every customer with his /her ideal type of room in terms of bedding; however we do honor always the type of room booked by the tour operators or travel agents. Occasionally the wrong confirmation to a guest may not be a problem in the hotel, for me to respond to you, I would need your data, names, arrival and departure day so that I can tell you what exactly was or where the misunderstanding started, feel please to contact me If you wish my involvement in this and our position.

I am very sorry to see that the issue of the beach in your view makes this resort awful. We have already added lounges to each pool and the beach and will in the coming week add some more so that the comment you make about them not being enough, will not negatively impact other travelers.

We have well over 200 rooms in our adult’s only section. This particular club is sold out almost during the entire year, and a huge number of those customers, are repeat visitors, I will assume that although we respect your opinion of it, that opinion is not reflective of the vast majority of customers staying in that section.

Finally I would like to inform you that the hairless dogs you saw area like that as they belong to a Mayan race which distinctive mark is that they are like that, not because they are not healthy or that we do not care enough about them. The Macaws are well taken care of, they are not in cages, that comment is just not true, I will suggest that you see pictures online in this same internet page, you will certainly find some in which you can see them spending most of their day in front of the 24 hours restaurants with no signs of any cage.. We only place them at night in close areas so that raccoons cannot harm them since raccoons would love to eat them. The reason as to why we have them is just out of humanitarian grounds with animals. Those Macaws came from captivity and we took them here to provide them with a home, care, feed them and have them from time to time being evaluated by a doctor. Since they have never known the jungle, leaving them on their own, would not be a human thing, they cannot find their own food and they cannot defend themselves from animals which may harms them, this will certainly be a death sentence. I am very sorry and at the same time surprise and sadden to see that you put online something base on your sole interpretation not real facts, not real true..

I just can see that we were not the kind of hotel you had in mind as you saw things that are not in here and are not taking place in this hotel.


Kindest wishes,

Luís Ramírez
General Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Director.caracol@sandos.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Property: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Address: Carretera Chetumal Pto Juarez Km 295, Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge 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:
#31 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#45 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#51 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#59 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#72 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sandos Caracol Eco Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 956
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Caracol Beach
Sandos Caracol Eco Hotel
Sandos Caracol Beach Resort Spa
Sandos Select Club
Sandos Caracol Mexico
Hotel Sandos Caracol Eco
Caracol Village Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Mayan Riviera
Sandos Caracol Resort
Sandos Caracol Riviera Maya

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