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“February 11-21”

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #84 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Abbotsford
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“February 11-21”
Reviewed February 23, 2014

First off, we really loved this resort. I enjoyed all the animals - as cheeky as they were. People have complained about the animals wandering around and begging for food but that is a learned behaviour from being fed by humans. It's only my opinion but the animals aren't the issue - it's the well-meaning people who constantly feed these critters; whereby creating bad habits in the little guys. If you're not fond of animals...or children for that matter....this resort will NOT be the one for you.

Our check in was a breeze - we were immediately brought to the Select Club reception, given some cold drinks, room keys and off we went. Our room was nice - yep - it smelled musty but I don't think that's terribly unusual in such a humid climate. We got the building, bed, extra pillows and amenities that I had pre-requested prior to arrival. We stayed in 6311 and had free wifi the whole time and the bonus of monkeys vistiting our balcony each day. One even came into the room when we left the screen open! I guess it saw the plate of fruit on the table.

We only used the adult pool a couple of times because pools aren't really our thing. We come for the sand, ocean and sealife. I heard lots of complaining about the rocky beach and the adult area became crowded with families because that's were the sandy parts were. However, security was on top of removing any families with kids or those who didn't have the correct wrist bands and were trying to use the adult beach beds. This was appreciated for those of us paid extra for these small perks. The waitress in this area (often only one for the ENTIRE area) worked tirelessly and with a smile on her face. She works so hard - please tip her well.

If you want sand and are a decent swimmer just swim past the sand whales in the adult section to where you see the turquiose waters. This is a sand bar about waist to chest deep that is beautiful on calm days and fun on windy ones - loved playing in the waves. For those who aren't big on swimming but like to wade or have kids who like to play in the water - 2 minutes past the Elite section is a vast expanse of beautiful sand and turqiouse waters. We always bring water shoes when we travel and our own snorkel gear and both proved useful at this resort.

Where this resort could use improvement is to provide more entertainment for the adult-only guests. They offer the pool, restaraunt and beach section but nothing as far as night time entertainment. We thought some later parties at the Select Club Beachhouse would have been fun...some good music and a late closing time would have provided a nice way to meet people, have some drinks and have something to do (past 10pm) without kids around. My husband and I found ourselves wandering around aimlessly and often going to our rooms by 9:45pm because we couldn't find any real entertainment for grownups. To compensate, we travelled into PDC several times. Funnny enough, we ran into a couple from the resort there and had a fun time with them there!

We loved Jesus from the Italian buffet as he was always accomodating, smiling and helpful. We ended up eating there far more than the International buffet as that one was completely lacking in service. Each time we tried the International we would rarely have our drink order taken. When we got fed up, and got our own drinks from the fountain machines, the wait staff glared at us. But what was the alternative? Even when our drink orders were taken they rarely arrived before our meal was finished. However, we did notice that people seemed to rarely tip at this resort. We tip everyone - bartenders, waiters, maids...everyone and several times a day. We always count on tipping at least $20 per day. But, like I said we rarely saw anyone tipping. So, maybe this is part of the reason for the lack of good service - the International buffet is massive and seems understaffed...so that, being run off their feet without any compensation may have made some of the wait staff bitter. Or maybe we just caught them in a bad week - we'll never know.

Our maid was named Dalia and she came around 10am each day. Our room was spotless and we believed she earned every penny we gave her...awesome job Dalia!

We never got any mosquito bites. We saw people who were bit to bits but these bugs never bothered us at all...not while walking nor while sleeping at night. And we never had to use any repellent, even though we brought some.

All in all we really loved this trip and believe that it is what YOU make it. If you have a tendency to sweat the little things and those little things feel massive in your mind and might make or break your trip then you'll probably find plenty to complain about anywhere you go. But if you're the type to let the little things add character to your trip then you will love your vacation here. As I mentioned - there are areas that Sandos could improve upon but it didn't prevent us from loving every second of being at this resort...it just enabled us to make choices on how to better it for ourselves.

Room Tip: 6311 - always had wifi, no issues with the AC, toilet, shower pressure or anything else. Monkeys vi...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Sony72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Arvada, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014 via mobile

We have stayed at Sandos 4 times now and it never gets old. We always leave with things we didn't have time to do, but there's always next time. This property is very big and there is a lot of walking. If you have a hard time walking you can get the golf cart to pick you up and I would suggest asking for a room closer to restaurants and ocean. Food is good we LOVE the Italian restaurant. There is always food at the snack bar right in the middle of the town. This time we ate at the Japanese restaurant the kids loved it because they cook right in front of you. My 12year old even tried sushi The ocean is a little rocky water shoes are a good idea.
If you have kids this is the place for you.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank nailgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

Let me start by saying that this was my 3rd stay at Sandos Caracol, so I know the resort well. There are so many things I like about the resort, but unfortunately this visit had a few disappointments.

The grounds are amazing! I love the jungle feel of it. Not all concrete and brick. There are many walking paths. There are bikes to use and a bike path through the jungle. There is a beautiful cenote to swim in. There are animals to see. And you are only a short cab ride away from Playa del Carmen. We saw monkeys, a mama with a baby monkey, coati, raccoons, iguana, turtles, parrots, etc. all roaming the jungle grounds of the resort. PEOPLE...DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS!!

Unfortunately, this resort is trying too hard to please everyone. There is an awesome looking children's pool with Waterpark. It looked like a lot of fun. There is a Kid's Club. They have an adults only pool, which is very far away from the beach. The pool is clean and has a restaurant right next to it. The main pool is loud, and filled with kids and drunks. The adults only pool is more sedate and very relaxing. The drinks are better at this pool.

Be prepared for check in. Three times I have been here... My room is never ready! Why? Because they want you to meet with your "private concierge" so he/she can tell you about the resort and arrange a tour of the resort. This "tour" comes with a "free" breakfast. Really?? You are at an all-inclusive! Don't get sucked in unless you want to waste at least 90 minutes of a beautiful sunny morning hearing about why you should spend $7500 to upgrade. This is their version of a timeshare. Just say No! They will not persist after that.

My favorite saying is that I don't go to an all-inclusive just for the food and as I am not a picky eater by any means, I can always find something to eat. Wow! Not this time. The food was pretty bad. They have theme nights at the buffet. Spanish, International, Mexican, etc. but the buffet is the same every night. And the food is below average. Even the fruit didn't look/taste good. Everything looked like it was low quality food. The speciality restaurants are fair, but you can't get a reservation to them even though the place is empty. We walked into the Italian restaurant on our first night. There was one other couple in the place and they wouldn't seat us without reservations. We walked all the way back to the lobby to ask about it. The (sweetest) lady at the desk made a call and lo and behold, they had an opening. We ate dinner there. The food was awesome. Our waiter (Carlos?) was super but never did we see more than 10-12 tables full. We couldn't get reservations to any other restaurants but I know from previous visits that the Japanese is also good. Make your reservations immediately when you get there!

The rooms are adequate. Comfortable beds, clean, towel animals on your bed, water cooler in room. We saw a few little bugs...you are in the jungle! They try very hard to keep everything clean. But let's face it...people are slobs. They do the best they can. The people working here work really hard and everyone is so pleasant. Everyone will acknowledge you, say hello and smile.

So, all in all I like this resort. Would I go again? I would go again with kids...they will love it. It is more of a family friendly resort than a couples resort. It is not a 4 star. I have been to several all inclusives and I would give this one a 3 star...average.

Room Tip: Large resort. Choose a room depending on whether you are traveling with children or want adults only...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank jlwilm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2014

We have just returned from a week at the Sandos Caracol. It is listed as a 4* and it is rated properly, not more not less. Our disappointment was with the Select Club +21 which you pay extra for. It is a new concept from what we were told but we found they are still more oriented towards young families. I recommended this resort to my daughter since our grandson is 3yrs old and this would be the ideal location for them.

The food and drinks are good and things are well maintained. The lobby is not impressive when compared to other resorts in Mexico and they should move the luggage aside because the entrance always looks crappy and not inviting.

They indicate dress codes for the a la carte but do not enforce it which is not a good thing in my opinion. We really felt that the resort should just remain with what they are good it at which is families. We were there for Valentines day and there was NOTHING to underline this, at least not in the adult area. The shows are concentrated towards families, again nothing special for Valentines day.

Rooms were clean but very very plain, no luxury here. Our balcony faced the back of the Brazilian restaurant and all we heard was the generator, plus the tiny tiny balcony made it impossible to sit comfortably together. No grass or beautification in our area. They have adopted the Eco mentality which is great but there are many places on the resort which have stagnant water and this causes very foul smells and of course mosquitoes........we were eaten alive, they also leave the doors open to your rooms when cleaning so we were eaten alive at night....quite unpleasant.

There are pluses to this resort, the staff is extremely attentive and always smiling. They are hard workers and listen to your recommendations. I do believe they want to make the adults area a good place and trust me the pool area is clean and really nice but unless you keep the family area and adults desperate (including shows) you will not succeed in satisfying both. Bottom line stick to what you are good at!!!!!!!!!!

We did not hate our experience but we were disappointed.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Mona-Danny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Visited here just before Christmas leaving on Christmas Eve but wishing we could have extended our stay till the New Year.We spent 10 days at the resort in the Select Club.We found all the facilities were both as described but in some case far better.Most breakfasts were taken in the Mexican and the choice was excellent. The staff in here shone out with a bright and cheery welcome every morning not forgetting the Mamosa's .But in general the staff are the jewel in the crown for this place. All. The food whether in the self service or a la carte was fantastic . Room was well equipped airy and cleaned every day to a good standard.Room service was also efficient.
The only gripe was that some other visitors had appalling standards of hygiene ignoring the hand wash at the entrance of the restaurants and bars then helping themselves in the self service with their grubby unwashed fingers. This I believe is the main cause of the tummy upsets mentioned in some reviews.We ate everywhere and did not suffer from any problems.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ozzieStafford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Our experience was much better than many other who have left reviews here. I don't know if we just got lucky or if our expectations are different.
We booked a Junior Suite with a jacuzzi on the balcony because I wanted to be sure we had a large balcony. We arrived in the evening on the 15th and there were very few people at the desk, so no wait. We were upgraded to a junior suite in the Superior Elite section. Not sure why. Our room was just like the ones pictured on the website. King bed, double futon, jacuzzi in the room, but with a large balcony. We were in room 822. We had south/east sun all day, but some trees for privacy- which is good because we overlooked the very busy main pool. We also were next to the internet room, so we had wifi, though it worked best on the balcony as opposed to in the room. We quickly figured out that we could take the bridges across to the main area instead of walking all the way around on the paths. The only complaints about the room are the noise and the beds. The music from the pool is loud all day and there is music at La Mascaras lounge at night. It was tough for the kids to get to sleep at a decent hour. The king size bed was way too hard for us. If my husband's feet wouldn't have been hanging off the end, we would have given the kids the king bed and slept on the futon ourselves.

The grounds at Sandos Eco are amazing. Staff was tirelessly cleaning and manicuring the grounds. We tried to take advantage of being at a different type of resort by walking a lot and exploring in the rain forest paths. We looked for animals and found new ones every day. The "wildlife" was amazing- but not that wild. Our younger son was crazy about the critters. The Mayan ruins are neat to explore. We took some less obvious paths and found additional ruins in the area.
The beach is rocky and there is a lot of coral. It's not powder beach like on the strip in Cancun. It's still lovely. The kids spent their time catching tiny fish in the tidal pools and snorkelling off the breaks. It's all in what you prefer, I guess.

We all went snorkelling in the main cenote. It was beautiful, peaceful, and it's amazing how clear the water is in there. There were some larger fish and turtles to see. We didn't snorkel at any of the other sites, but if we ever go back, we will.

The restaurants were above average for buffet. We went to two a la carte restaurants and agreed that we preferred the buffet. The Mediterranean a la carte is on the beach and is worth it for the view and an evening in the semi-enclosed space. We spent a lot of time just sitting at the snack bar and watching people and animals alike. Of course, the soft serve ice cream was a hit.

We didn't go to the pools as much as we might have. The main pool was very loud and by the afternoon, it was inhabited by really drunk people. We preferred the chill out pool, which also had music, but it wasn't as loud. Unfortunately, my husband cut his foot on the floor of the chill out pool. It was quite a mess, but we were glad it hadn't been one of the kids. The Aquapark was fun for our younger son (9) but our 11 year old wanted nothing to do with it. There too, the music was loud and annoying. The kids were having fun regardless.

I've read a lot of reviews raving about the staff. I can't say we had the same experience. We found the service to be one of the weak points. When we found a good server, we would return to them as much as possible. We always tip when we are at an all-inclusive. At his place the staff seemed shocked when we tipped. We noticed that most people didn't bother to tip at all. I think that may be a part of why the service is mediocre. The problem is that tipping for service is of no value if no one else does it because the staff won't remember us from one day to the next due to the sheer volume of people at the resort. That said, the people who work at this resort work HARD. I have the utmost respect for all of them.

Housekeeping was good, though we never knew when he would come. One day he came when we were out and the kids had left their iPads out. We noticed them "missing" as soon as we got in. After the panic settled, we realized that staff will put your valuables in the safe if you leave them out. We had to have someone come up to open the safe, but it was fast and the fellow who helped us was super sweet.

We only saw two shows- Superheros and the first part of Xcalacoco. Both were very well done. We wish we had been there longer so we could have seen more of the Mayan performances and the Michael Jackson tribute. In regards to performances, we suspect there were things going on that we didn't know about. We often heard tribal music while we were out exploring, but we didn't know where or what it was. It would be helpful if the information boards were more... informative about these other events.

In the evening there were vendors set up in the main area. We bought a few nice items and many of them were very reasonably priced. The vendors are prepared to haggle, so don't just pay what they say it costs without trying.

We spent 5 nights at this resort and I have to say we enjoyed it very much. We didn't see and do everything was to do. The only cons were: husband cutting his foot on the pool floor; he went to the Dr to have it looked at, but she wanted $120 to do anything, so we went to the store and bought a $25 tube of ointment and patched him up ourselves. Other cons: we found the music a little too much; the service was just ok; and the beds were very hard.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank CAB733
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

We were travelling with one toddler and an infant and were looking for a resort that would be entertaining enough to amuse us for a whole week without having to go offsite and this was great. First of all the beach is within reasonable walking distance from the rooms. Our room was also close to the kids pool and restaurants.

We chose a jungle view junior suite which was great. We had a jacuzzi on our balcony and were provided with a complimentary water cooler with potable water, which was refilled as necessary. A warning to parents of young kids that the minibar was not cold enough to keep the milk.

The beach itself was nice, plenty of chairs and palapas. The waves were a bit big for young kids, but there are areas where they can play safely at the edge, plus one area where there is a breakwater to clam things down. You can also walk freely down the beach past other resorts which is nice.

Upon arrival we were introduced to our 'personal concierge' who wanted to invite us to a 'welcome breakfast'. Do not fall for this. it is a sales pitch. We skipped it and were glad we did. We also did not take the royal elite upgrade and had no regrets.

The food was great. Only thing I would say is that the 6:30 start time for dinner at the buffets is a bit late for young kids. The a la carte restaurants open at 5:30 though.

Besides the beach and pools, there is a lot to do. Our son enjoyed the kids club; the main cenote is beautiful to swim in; there are animals everywhere to see (don't be an idiot and feed them though); and there are even mayan ruins on site. The family show is great as are the mayan shows 2x a week.

The staff were great and very helpful. In particular, Noemi, who took us on a tour of the cenotes even though it was no longer regularly scheduled. Also, the guy watching the cenote who helped us find a life jacket to fit my son.

My husband even tried out the temazcal ceremony at the spa. He said it was a unique experience, though the woman who ran it did not speak enough english to explain what he was supposed to do.
I had a massage on the beach which I enjoyed.

The resort makes some efforts to be environmentally friendly - they offer only reusable cups and have many 'eco-tips' posted around. Though this is great, when it comes to ground maintenance etc they seem much like every other resort and I would encourage them to do more in this respect.

Overall, it was a great experience an I would recommend this resort.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank silverblue13
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

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
#52 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
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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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