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“Eco & Family Friendly 100%”

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #80 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed May 16, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of staying here on Cinco de Mayo. When you arrive to the resort you will find a huge entry way where you check in. Since we were in the Adults Only Select Club, we were directed to go check in with the clubs check in located by the adults only pools and Brazilian Restaurant. Check in took a little too long for my liking considering they one had one person working. Our room and luggage took a little bit to get, but grabbed a bite to eat. While walking around, the resort had a ton of kid friendly activities.They have a game room located by the buffet and this is where there was a walk way back to the beach, lazy river, and pools. The water was simply beautiful and the beach was much larger than I excepted in the Riviera Maya. I would definitly book this for any of my clients with children and or tweens.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Lindsey N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,274 - 4,280 of 12,790 reviews

Reviewed May 16, 2013

Without writing a long winded, expansive review, let me tell you that this hotel had very few, if any, short falls. Stayed from April 21-28. Check-in/front desk was always helpfull, lines were never long. Bars/drinks are good with premium liquor available on request. Food was great at all the restaurants, buffets always had plenty of choices. We ate at 3 al a cartes (pre-booked a week before leaving with Alex at web relations - thanks Alex!), the Steak/Fish, the Japanese and the Mediterranean. The beach was great and the kids loved it. In the water there was a mix of sandy bottom for wading out and rocks/coral/structure for snokelling with the kids to see the fish. We requested a high floor and central location and got building 28. It was very close to the kids water park, the Mexican restuarant and the Chill out pool. Perfect spot. I left a note and a tip for our minibar guy asking for water and beer only, no pop. He kept is stocked that way for the entire week. No matter time of day, pool or beach, we never had a problem finding a chair. Didn't see much of the towel game being played.

After staying a week, here are the things I learned about the resort:
- while the main pool had all the activities and the swim up bar, the chill out pool was the one we kept going back to. Hardly anyone there, the bartender was never very busy (fast service!) and you almost had the pool to yourself.
- massage huts just north of the resort on the beach offer a much better value than the resort spa ($25 for 1 hr If I remember correctly
- don't miss the fire show or cenote show that go tues and thurs nights at 8:30 pm. Get there 1/2 hour early to get a good seat. The fire show has a bar set up and lots of food as well.
- the Mexican restaurant is great for breakfasts as there was never anyone there, maybe 4 or so tables (out of 80?). Conversely, the International buffet was always busy. One morning two people started arguing behind me about who was next in line at the omlette station.
- the Italian buffet for lunch was usually less busy than the International. Plus fresh made pasta dishes every day.
- for the Canadians, get pesos from the bank machine in the cancun airport. The bank machine at the resort only spits out US.
- the sows at the theater each night are great family fun. Our 7 year old starred as Andy in the Toy Story show on Disney night. It was quite memorable.
- the kids club here is amazing, as well as the ladies that staff the club. Our kids loved going there and there is an amazing variety of activities for the kids.
- the animals and pathways/walkways make the journeys from place to place much more interesting for the kids. The resort is smaller that it looks like on a map and our 4 and 7 year olds never complained once about something being too far as they always knew there would be something interesting to see or explore along the way.
- while there is a resort info session after check-in, don't skip it if you don't know the resort or the features, it's very informative. They will bring up the Royal Elite Club all your questions are answered, but a simple no thank you was all that was needed. There was no hard sell or anything, and I appreciated that.
- went snokeling in the cenote just off the lobby. Saw lots of fish and a turtle. Our 7 year old loved it!

In summary, we all enjoyed this resort and would not hesitate to return!

Room Tip: Buildings 28-30ish are central and very close to the chill-out pool, the water park and the Mexican...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Brick_Tamblin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

Everything that has to be said about this resort has already been said by other reviewers. We went as a couple and stayed in the Adults Only section, which was a wise choice - a lovely big adults only pool, and adults only a la carte restaurant for breakfast and dinner which was super - great staff and lovely, well presented food with plenty of choice. Special mention to Grey and Patti, two of the breakfast waitresses who were the most cheerful people I have ever met and worked superbly well as a team.

Our room in block 68 was on the top (2nd) floor and was clean, spacious, loads of towels, huge bed and nice little balcony. Very useful hot and cold water dispenser and fridge full of beers, soft drinks and soda water.

For evening meals we avoided La Laguna, as it looked really busy - we ate in Los Lirios (three times), the Riviera and the Brazilian (twice) - all excellent. The other evenings we ate in the Mexican buffet restaurant, which was quieter and had a nice outside eating area, and enjoyed very good food indeed. We ate in the Italian buffet for lunch one day - the food was good, but it was very busy and noisy. One night we went into Playa del Carmen to shop, and ate in a Mariachia restaurant.

There are lots of animals, both living wild and domesticated - if you don't like animals, don't come here and then complain about them - we loved it, especially when the spider monkeys came down to the adults only restaurant at lunchtime on two occasions and got close enough to touch, and be photographed eating fruit which the staff gave them as a treat. There are cheeky racoons and coatis who will take every opportunity to steal food too, and iguanas who love being hand fed hibiscus flowers.

The resort is very clean, all of the staff are helpful and friendly, and the food is the best I have ever had at an all-inclusive.

We didn't really spend much time in the main resort, but I don't think we would have enjoyed our holiday as much had we not been in the adults only section - the main hotel was quite busy, there was always noise from the bars and entertainment area and we wouldn't have enjoyed the buffet restaurants.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank FoxyLady101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

I work for a 5* hotel in jamaica so when i arrived at this hotel i knew what hotels wanted a voucher and payment, i had my voucher ready,my passport, but the guy that approached me was super rude telling me i have to check in 4 persons or i can't check in, now imagine my frastration when my voucher says 1room,1 adult then when i tried to show him this he walked away left me standing there and went chatting with another guest. I went to the concierge lady who was more understanding she took the time to go through my paperwork and told me to come talk to manuel, he was extremely friendly mind you am an asst. Front desk Manager, he explained to me what he was seeing in his system and that he will go ahead and do my check in and he will resolve the issues with his sales office, he was apologetic and sincere through the whole process, he made sure i was ok everyday i was here,when your thousands of miles away from home its wonderful to have someone greet you with a smile and the best personality ever, i wish i could pack manuel up and bring him home with me. The rest of the hotel is perfect i just wished i hadn't met that first guy. Ask for manuel when you come here he is the best at the front desk.

Room Tip: Book select club rooms puts you close to everything and your a preferred customer.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank babyg10-02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

We stayed at Sandos from April 27 through May 5. We have been travelling to Cancun and Playa regularly over the last five years. We were very excited about this resort based on what we read in reviews. We travelled with 3 children (2, 6, 8) and could not wait to show them what this resort had to offer. Overall, we had good time but we are not likely to return to this hotel. The best I can explain is that we did not connect to this place so we will keep on exploring other options.

ROOMS. The hotel grounds are huge so your room location is the key to comfortable stay. When we booked our trip in early January , standard rooms were not available and we reserved Deluxe with Jacuzzi. I would not recommend this type of room. The room is shaped awkwardly and Jacuzzi takes up half the space. Prior to our arrival, I contacted the customer service rep and asked to be placed not far from the kids pool and the beach. I also asked for reservations at a couple of restaurants. Upon arrival, we learnt that we were placed in building 50 which is towards the very back of the property. It took us half an hour to get to the beach with a two year old without a stroller and 20 minutes with a stroller. One of the rooms was clearly a smoking room. I must also say that the room did not look or feel clean. My kids ran around the room barefoot and ended up with dirty black feet. The king size bed was rock hard. I saw a lot of reviews saying that higher numbered rooms are renovated and cleaner. This is not the case. We were transferred to Standard Room in Building 29 the next day and our new rooms were cleaner, better equipped (softer beds) and appeared much newer. We had no complaints with regards to rooms in Building 29 except for a missing shower curtain and no baby crib. We had to ask for a crib three times before it finally made it to our new room. We waited for a shower curtain for two days.

KIDS CLUB. Our kids are always excited about Kids Clubs. They always beg to go to the Kids Club. This was not the case here. The Kids Club reminded me IKEA playground. There are a couple of ladies watching a bunch of kids running and jumping around. They do not really do a whole lot of activities with them. They have a few activities scheduled throughout the day. But if you miss these activities, your kids will likely just jump around on a trampoline until you come to pick them up. I was also disappointed that after our 8 day stay – no one at Kids Club knew my children’s names. We have previously stayed at smaller resorts with less fancy Kids Clubs but we always felt that our children received personal attention. Two of my children did participate in the Disney Show and it was the highlight of their trip. I learnt about this show through one of the reviews here prior to our trip and asked staff to get my kids involved. The show takes place on Fridays and you have to bring kids to the club in the morning for rehearsal.

AQUAPARK. I would say Aquapark is for kids under 8. My 2 year old enjoyed it the most. My 6 and 8 old were not as interested.

BEACH. The beach gets pretty crowded by 11 am and we were at the resort before their pick season. Select Club + Royal Elite areas take one third of the beach and were 80% vacant most of the time –seems like a big waste of space to me. There are rocks and corral in the water so you might want to bring water shoes. If you walk towards the Mexican flag (on your left if you face the ocean), you will find local vendors offering massages on the beach for much less than what the hotel charges. My hubby and I got an hour of relaxing + deep tissue message for $35/person. It was great. Ask for Anna – she is super.

SNORKLLING. This is the best part about this resort. You actually have to pay for snorkeling trips at other resorts. Here it is free, better and a just a few feet away from the shore. If you swim towards the wave breaking sand bags when the water is calm and bring along a couple of crackers, you will be rewarded by hundreds of fish chasing you around for food. We took some amazing footage while feeding the fish.

FOOD. The food was average. We ate primarily at La Laguna. Huge thanks to Antonia and Juanita for putting up and cleaning after our messy two year old. We dined at three a La Carte restaurants: La Rivera, Fogo de Brazil and Los Ririos. Food at Los Ririos was by far the best. The other two restaurants were ok.

AIRPORT TRANSFER. We were recommended Amazing Tours for transfer by the resort representative. We paid $146 for a round trip for 7 people. We were picked up and dropped off at the airport timely.

Room Tip: With standard rooms, shoot for Buildngs 21-29. Building 21 is right on the beach - you might even be...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank YelenaH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

just back from a week at the Sandos Caracol after checking carefully which resort close to Playa del Carmen was the most indicated for a family stay...
The experience was excellent!
The Sandos Caracol is a nice "Eco" resort 20minutes far from Playa del Carmen... Lot of restaurants inside, swimming pools, good quality food and excellent service in all areas.
I was particularly impressed by the friendly staff and by the fact that everything was extremely clean.
My 3 yrs old son was happy to spend time at the baby club and me and my couple too at the SPA;-)
It's an international resort, very few Italians (I met just a couple of others) , lot of French, Mexicans, Russians and of course Americans.
Language, if you don't speak a fluent spanish, is not an issue as it's easy to being understood in italian... so I'm suggesting more people from my country to visit the Sandos;-)

Last thing to mention... it is an "Eco"resort... so lot of attention to environment impact, wonderful green areas, some Cenotes to swim in... and lot of animals around: we saw monkeys jumping on the threes just in front on our room window...it was very exciting and my baby was so happy that he is still speaking about it to all his little friends:-)
I booked via Voyage Prive (my Company) and I got also a very good rate...which of course made my vacation even more nicer.

Room Tip: Select Club rooms looks like to be an excellent choice, but even "standard" rooms (were I...
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank StefanoRavani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

We have been at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort for 1 week in May 2013.
The resort is something incredible: built in the jungle, few km north of Playa del Carmen, respecting the environment and perfectly integrated with the wildlife.
Our vacation at Caracol has been amazing and we describe here our experiences.
Eco: the word “Eco” is not casual. The entire structure is built IN the mangrove forest and you are literally surrounded by the wildlife. Mapaches (racoons), coatis, cats, monkeys, farm animals, iguanas, parrots, tucanos, birds…you won’t miss anyone of them, every single day of your vacation.
Animals are wilds and must be treated as wilds: if you leave your dinner outside your door or on the balcony expect them to clean all the dishes and eat all the food!
The Resort
Is spread all over a big area that includes also ancient Mayan ruins (Xcalacoco) directly in your hotel and a cenote (the typical phenomenon of underground water springs of Yucatan). The resort is close to Playa del Carmen and is connected with other near resorts, private residences and a golf course connected by private roads. To enter this big complex you need to pass 2 check-points, that gives you the idea of security. If you have rented a car (as we did) you can go directly from the resort to Playa del Carmen through a private new road (avenida de pintores): in 5 mins you’ll be in 5th avenue. The resort facilities include also an only adults area with private pool and beach club, a Royal elite area with a private beach club and pool, an aquapark (wet’n wild style), a miniclub and different pools with bars. Activities are rolling all the day and is really impossible to get bored. You can enjoy the beach (very nice and clean) or practice all the sports that you have in mind (snorkelling, beach volley, football, kitesurf, jetski, biking…etc). The only negative point, in our opinion, is the sea in front of the hotel, with many rocks and fake barriers to protect the beach that waste the panorama. If you want to spend your day in the Caribbean sea, better go to Playa del Carmen that offer better beach and good facilities (to pay…). The hotel organise also some activity related to mayan culture and ecology, discovering all the different spot in the resort related to this 2 themes. Don’t miss the eco-tour, especially with your children.
The SPA area was a little bit unsatisfying: building seems old and a lot of SPA facilities were not working (Turkish bath, sauna and outdoor water path). Honestly we hadn’t tried the massage treatments, so we can’t give you feedbacks. The SPA receptionist seemed also not well prepared since my wife asked for yoga lessons and the reply was that the schedule was at 8pm 2 days per week…while it was at 8am 3 times per week.
Every day there is a show at 8.30 pm at the theatre and we recommend you to not lose all the mayan shows (on Tuesday and Thursday) that are played at the cenote and at the mayan arena, near the ruins, they are really well done. Costumes, music, lights, choreography have nothing to envy to a Broadway production.
The Room
We stayed into a Only Adult Penthouse and the room was really nice and big: bedroom and living room separated, big balcony with sun beds and a private Jacuzzi! Rooms are very silent and clean, towels changed every day. Bed was a very comfortable king size. We had 2 AC, one for each room, and a fan on the bedroom. Very appreciated the automatic water dispenser! As we had the room in only adult area we can take advantage of a dedicated reception, a private pool, a dedicated beach club with BIG bed. The resort is mostly family oriented, and this solution is the best choice if you are looking for relax.
The Food
We need to divide our experience in 2 parts: the “all-inclusive buffet” part and the “à la carte” part.
The first extremely disappointing and the second very positive.
At breakfast we always stayed at the only adults bar and is all à la carte, there is no buffet. For this reason be relaxed and don’t be in hurry, it takes time to prepare food.
At lunch you can only eat at buffet restaurants (3 for lunch as the Italian restaurant become a buffet during lunchtime) or at the bars that serve only snacks. Honestly the quality of buffet is terrible and after a couple of days we decided to went out for lunch or simply eat a snack at beach club. At dinner you can chose between many different à la carte theme restaurants: Brasilian, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean and Grill. The à la carte restaurants are accessible with reservation only…you can book them at reception and they will give you a receipt that you need to bring with you for the dinner. BUT, you have only the right to do 3 reservations per week and don’t try to enter without, they will not let you enter! We recommend you the Riviera and especially the Japanese “El Templo” (probably the best in the resort). At the end we had to go out also for dinner the rest of the nights, or order the room service (24h and complimentary).

In general we recommend the Sandos Caracol and we need to spend a very positive words for all the people working in this big resort: of course you can always find some one that is not good but in general all the people working here has done its best to make our experience fantastic and unique.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank FabriEnri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Address: Carretera Chetumal Pto Juarez Km 295, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
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:
#30 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 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: $169 - $445 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sandos Caracol Eco Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 956
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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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