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“An excellent family resort”

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #82 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed June 12, 2013

We just returned from a week long vacation with our 9 and 10 year old sons. The crazy, torrential rain was a real disappointment, but we tried to make the best of our rainy first 4 days.
I can't say enough about what a good job the staff did of trying to keep things dry. They were constantly working to keep things as dry and "normal" as possible for guests, but the weather was quite extreme. Our room (on the top floor) had quite a bad leak in the ceiling, but thankfully was in the shower and not a huge inconvenience. I am hoping it will be repaired for guests in the future as I know it has been there a while. We inquired the second day about moving rooms, but were told there was really nowhere to go!?
The grounds are beautiful and the kids loved all of the amazing wildlife!
The food was amazing! The chef(s) and staff work very long hours and were always happy to answer questions and do what they could for you. Food was always fresh and tasty and there were options for everyone. We dined at the Mexican buffet the first night we were there, but sadly it did not re-open before we left (it suffered water damage with all of the rain). We had breakfast every morning in the Italian restaurant and enjoyed the Japanese, Brazilian and steak and fish a la carte restaurants for dinner. Japanese was our favourite experience by far and our server Shannon and chef made the night one to remember. It was excellent!
Shows were excellent and I don't expect you would see any better anywhere!
My one complaint is similar to many others, the "guest services" people were only interested in getting you to do tours of the property. They would begin a conversation with you and seem interested in what you wanted to do, where you were from etc., but very quickly the conversation would change to one in which they wanted you to book a tour of the hotel with them. I found them quite aggressive and this happened to us more than once. It was annoying to say the least. Call them what they are and not "guest services", it is very misleading to guests.
Please have more small bills available to guests at the "cashier". I asked on many different occasions to have larger bills broken so I could tip staff, but they never seemed to have any (until the day we were leaving!)
Ferdinando makes the best mojitos at the Snack bar. Go and see him as he is always smiling and extremely friendly!
It is worth the taxi fare to Akumal. We spent the day at the beach there snorkelling with the sea turtles, fish, manta rays and stingrays. It will cost you about $45 for 4 people each way (the hotel tax rep told us $35, but drivers told us otherwise!), but pack a bag and stay the day. The beach is gorgeous (no rocks like the resort) and our kids both said it was the highlight of their trip.
All in all, despite the rain, we had a fabulous vacation and the management at Sandos should be very proud of their friendly, hardworking staff.
We would highly recommend this resort!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank nksv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,253 - 4,259 of 12,873 reviews

Reviewed June 12, 2013

really love the place and atmosphere. we went a whole group of friens, singles and couples and were upgraded to a suite with jacuzzi. there is a really nice energy in this hotel as the people and the hotel staff are full of positive energy or at least the ones we encountered.
The food is really nice
Beach is just OK since there some big rocks in it. but it has a nive view with lots of palm trees.
had really nice memories in this Hotel. It is a good 4 stars hotel where you can have a very good time with family of friends.

Room Tip: suites are worth it
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank younesde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013

There are few things I will state that haven't been said already. Negatives first. One of them is the "eco-tourism" thing. It's nice that they try to give back to the environment a little, but it's not what I thought of as being a "green" resort other than it's in the jungle (ok, there are small things they do like no running water in the public toilets, auto lights and shutoffs on sinks). For example, the maid left the tube TV on every day after cleaning - needless electricity use. And tube tv's use a lot more electric than flat panels (which would be a nice upgrade). The lights and energy use around the place are astounding, especially at Christmas (but looked great). There is a solar panel only out near the ruins. The food waste must be enormous and there are a lot of dishes no one tries, yet they keep making them anyway. Should be quality not quantity! Too many odd looking egg & meat dishes. How about more coconut/pineapple/salsa-based dishes with vanilla flavor (etc) since they can easily grow them and be self-sustaining and spend less $ on meat? I didn't see a single coconut other than on the trees.

There were only a few other slight annoyances for me. Our room was quite large but not real well kept by the maid. I think it all depends who you get, as most of the reviews on maids are good. The grout was done poorly and was a mess all over the tiles, some hair in the shower etc. It wasn't cleaned WELL until mid-week - conveniently right before the inspection maid came to look. There was unnecessary painting and cleaning the hand railings that no one uses - even shampooing the walkways, daily, which was impressive, but those people could have been cleaning the bathrooms better. The safe didn't work as many others have said, that was a bit of a pain to get fixed. And we had asked for a cot that wasn't there, but it arrived while we were out at dinner which was perfect. Beach wasn't great - rough water, no fish seen, probably just there at the wrong time for snorkeling. Topless women abounded despite any rules, and our kids were uncomfortable with it. Our first experience - we planned around a scheduled ecotour and the man cancelled it on us because we were the only family there, then he stood around talking to someone for an hour instead so we didn't bother trying it again. The front desk was great to us but was overwhelmed by customers a couple times.

They upgraded our bracelets without us asking, for the adults-only areas, which weren't heavily used. We only took advantage of it once, they were different in minor ways but with the other pools, it didn't bother us having kids around, and kept our kids busy. One of the adult pools was warm with jets and no one was in it. The adults did get in the colder pools for activites, the cool temps were refreshing. I think they avoided it sometimes because they would rather rest while the kids played, not as some say because it was too cold.

There are SO many features to go see and learn about in this resort, I don't see how kids couldn't love it, as well as adventurous adults. Ruins, hikes, bikes, snorkeling, beach, pools, kid's club, shows - it's endless. And there was no event that they didn't enjoy. We had two perfect encounters with monkeys. The first morning we were out on our balcony and one came flying into the trees out of who knows where, and scared us good. The 2nd one was right on the roof of our 2nd hotel room - an adult climbed up, then another adult with a baby on back - walked all the way across the edge of the roof and jumped out to another tree. Our roof was a shortcut for them. We didn't see them by the pools or anything, so it all seemed very natural. Also saw tons of iguanas once we knew where to look (under sidewalks when it's colder). Few mosquitos, definitely not an issue and we did a LOT of hiking. I don't see why anyone would complain about the walking because you have to get a little exercise when eating/resting so much!

The snack shack was great for the kids (although we got tired of burgers and wish they had eggs in the morning, at least) and the swings were a favorite for all of us. The racoons are only pests late at night, so go to la laguna for those times instead, it doesn't take any longer as it's buffet, and you never have to wait for food unless it's a reservation. You are in the jungle so the animals are supposed to be a benefit, and I haven't read of anyone ever getting bit or anything, and saw quite a few kids feeding/provoking the animals. The restaurants we reserved with & without our kids were varied, classy, and timely with wonderful service. NO complaints except some annoying disrespectful customers. The hibachi chefs are still learning but tried their best and did a nice job and that room has great atmosphere. They served our three kids full meals of high quality food - same as the adults, which impressed us (they could not eat it all, so we helped out). The Christmas gala was amazing and they had a LOT of extras for Christmas celebrations - they do Christmas much better there than we do in the USA. We feel these were great bonuses to an already great trip. Lobster, large shrimp, fresh carved turkey.... you can see what you're in for with food on their FB page but Christmas was far better than the normal buffets.

The (plentiful) support staff were wonderful - a few "serious" bartenders, who were not as fun as the happy ones, and I agree you don't get the exact alcohol you want unless you bug them (for me it's not worth haggling someone when I'm on vacation, it only frustrates me so I'd rather let it go and get an extra drink). I did ask for Bacardi a few times and they kindly obliged. I asked for a lime daiquiri many times and actually got one the last day there, they usually tried to give mango instead for some reason. They had new, closed bottles of Jose Cuervo on display that were never opened (why bother?). They did have 4 nice bottles of alcohol in the room and unlimited wine refills at every dinner, so you definitely got plenty, unless you bathe in it. At certain areas only, waitresses would circulate and offer drinks, their English was limited but the service was nice. Props go to Gabriel in La Laguna, the guys at the kid's pool bar, Alicia at main pool, & the waiters at El Templo, Nora (for reservations) but there are many others who deserve it, just too many names to remember. The snack shack workers and main pool bar guys were slightly grumpy compared to the rest.

We stood our ground with not doing the "tour" and they were a little pushy with it but not too bad. We met others who did it, bought in, and were thrilled by it. I didn't think the time was worth the free squirt guns & blanket. They also offered a souvenir tequila bottle which we already had one of in our room...

The power went out once at night and their generators provided full electric within seconds while it was out.

I give the place "best value" despite a few negatives that people keep listing, but I am hesitant to give it a solid 5 stars for the same reasons. We stayed in Cozumel a few years back in a nice resort but the food was similar and it was a small place - apples to oranges in comparison, this was a much better value however. This has got to be the best place for KIDS. Tip: book through Apple for cheaper rates, transfers and great service.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank alowell1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2013

This is our 5th consectutive stay at Sandos , and I can say , the iprovemnts are obvious! Luis Ramirez the manager has worked tirelessly to make this a fantastic vacation destination , and it has paid off. The difference between now and 5 years ago are remarkable. This is our 3rd day here on a 6 day vacation and we could not be happier. We never feel like a customer , we feel like family here. I cannot give enough praise to Mr Ramirez , he is always available and always attentive to our requests or comments. The biggest improvement this year seems to be the food quality. The food has gone from mediocre to great! The service is always top notch , all the staff re friendly and hard working and will always go beyond whats expected of them to make sure we are comfortable. There is so much to do here , swim the cenotes , the Mayan shows , diving with Scuba Libre , you never have to leave the resort and still experience the best Mexico has to offer. We stayed in the Royal Elite rooms again and these are 5 star accomandations. The beds are better than home , and we are treated like royalty. There is so much more to comment on , but Im just reviewing the highlights . Thank you Sandos for another relaxing , carefree , and fun vacation and thanks Mr Ramirez for your tireless work that has made Sandos our home away from home.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank sharkdiverTennessee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2013

I stayed in Sandos Caracol from May 25 to June 1,2013 with my family and another friends.
This was my first trip to Riviera Maya ( 3 times at Cancun ) and the experience at Sandos Caracol was a A+
The service, security and the facilities are excellent.
The aqua park is a great place for the childrens.
The Staff at the Kids Club is grandiose and marvelouse ( Steffie,Miyuky,Oxmara,Luz ) are very concern of the care and treatment with kids.
My kids prefer to stay at the Kids Club instead to visit others places in Quintana Roo.
The restaurants are very good ( japanese was my favorite ).
We knew and talk with the General Manager Luis Ramirez during our walks in the Hotel and he was very gentle with us.
In a near future I hope to return to Sandos Caracol.
Best Regards
Antonio J. Claudio

Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank Antonio C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

My wife and I were at Sandos Caracol in April and we would be remise if we did not sing their praise. First off : Tamara in customer service is such a dear and our reservation far was more exceptional and catered to our special occasion of my wife 50 th birthday, from the cake made of towels and flowers, the champagne, chocolate covered strawberry's and the delicious cake which we enjoyed on the oversized balcony overlooking the sea. Tamara is such a dear and a true ambassador for Sandos and a wonderful person.
At the new Royal Elite facility, Vicky and Antonio made breakfast and lunch such a treat and always looked forward to. From early morning smiles that do light up Mexico the friendly banter at lunch they truly enjoy their jobs and it shows in all aspects of the attitude. You all make it very difficult for us to go any where else. We will see you all at Christmas, talk to you on facebook.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank derrick p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

This is the first time we came to this hotel with 3 children 6,3, and 1. The first day was not great, we got a room in complex 33 on the second floor, we did not know that there are no elevators and since we had a Junior suite for 5 people all of them were located on the first or second floor, nothing on the ground level. We changed to the first floor in complex 26 but still had a difficult time getting the carriage up to the first floor with sleeping children. The rooms were in terrible condition, rundown, old furniture, jacuzzi on the porch that I would not even touch. I was still hopeful since the hotel has a water park which was great for kids.

After 1 day of walking around I noticed there were rooms by the pool. these were stunning new rooms, suites in excellent condition. I went to speak to Marianna who initially checked us in, she was very professional, nice, accomadating, always with a smile despite my complaining. We paid a little extra and upgraded to a room on the ground floor by the pool and since that moment the vacation turned in to a dream. Our kids spend a lot of time in the water park as well as the pool. We were on the ground floor so no carriage issues. We had 2 showers and 2 bathrooms. We spent some time on the beach which is rocky but the waves are not high so there is a lot of shallow areas the kids can swim in. The food is really good, our favorite was the Brazillian and Japanese restaurants to go to. We will definately come back next year.

My only suggestion is that maybe there can be an improvement in the toilet seat covers in the rooms by the pool. Currently the ones that are there have a space in them at the end so it feels like you are in a public bathroom as oppose to a 1 bedroom suite.

Personal thank you to Mariana, I cant describe how nice and helpful she was. Always asking how things were and if everything was ok. If anyone goes to this hotel you should as for her.

Room Tip: Please get the rooms by the pool or the ones that are updated. Also bld 20-29 are the closest to eve...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Violina F
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:
#31 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#46 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#59 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#72 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $171 - $438 (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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