I stayed at the Barcelo Maya Beach in May 2008 for one week. Late review but better late than never I suppose. I travelled there with a friend (both of us gals in our early 30's) looking for an amazing beach and a great place to relax. We found it at the Barcelo. This is a huge resort with 5 resorts in one but it never seemed crowded and we found it easy to get anywhere we wanted to go.
It took about 6 hours to Cancun from Vancouver. It was quick to get our bags and easy to find our Air Canada rep outside the terminal who directed us to our bus. Do not stop to talk to anyone along the way, there are many official looking people inside the terminal offering to help. They are trying to either sell you timeshares of get large tips for carrying your bags for you a very small distance. Your rep will be outside. It was about an hour and a half to the resort from the airport with several stops along the way. You can buy beer on the bus for $3.00 US if you like.
Check in was fast and easy. We were given a standard room with garden view in the Coba building right next to the lobby and close to the buffet. The pools and beach were a quick walk (about 5 minutes) on beautiful walkways. The rooms are somewhat dated but very clean. The room was cleaned daily and the fridge was always stocked. Something I have not seen mentioned in other reviews is the slotted bathroom door which does not provide a lot of privacy.
So many to choose from as you can use the pools from all 5 of the Barcelo resorts and always lots of chairs in the sun or in the shade. The palace pool quickly became our favorite with the chairs in the water. Service at the swim up bars was touch and go depending on the bartender. A few times we were offered poolside service for drinks at the Palace pool although I dont think our bracelets entitled us to this.
Breathtaking. The beach is best on the Beach/Caribe side of the resort but stretches about two kilometers. You can walk forever and the sand is amazing. No need for water shoes to walk or swim here. Again there is always a ton of chairs no matter what time of day or if you want shade or sun. We spent most evenings hanging out on the beach listening to the waves. There does not appear to be any rules about using the pools or beach at night like I have read at some other resorts as we did this most nights and never had a problem, but didnt really see anyone else doing this.
The main buffet food was great, lots of selection and a different theme every night for dinner. I cant speak for the a la carte's as we did not try any of them. The lunch buffets by the beach were also very good and you could wear your beach clothes inside. The salsa was so tasty. The lobby bar is a good place to relax and meet some people. Also enjoyed the beach bars and swim up bars. Try a dirty monkey, they are fantastic.
We took a cab ($18 US each way) to Playa del Carmen to shop. Didnt find the deals to be fantastic but did pick up a few things. You can find a lot of the same things for the same prices at the shops in the hotel but would recommend the trip to Playa for the restaurants and bars and the mariachi bands that play in the evening. The tequila shop with the samples was my personal favorite.
We booked two tours in Playa (Chichen Itza and Xel-Ha) because the prices were much cheaper, almost half but when they came to pick us up we realized why. The tour company did not use the big fancy buses like if you book through the hotel. They were vans and a few people actually had to sit on each other's lap on the Chichen Itza tour as they didnt have enough seats. It is a long drive to Chichen Itza I must note. We stopped for lunch and a swim in a cenote on the way back. Chichen Itza is a must see, absolutely amazing. I wish we had more time to spend at the site as we didnt get to see it all.
Xel-Ha was also amazing. Great snorkelling and tubing down the lazy river. You can easily spend the whole day here and not see/do it all so I would recommend the full day tour.
I also booked a Coba half day tour through the hotel. This includes your transportation there, a guided tour and also some time to spend on your own. A half day here is enough and you must check out the beach, it is stunning.
We found staff to be very friendly and helpful. The only exception to this was the towel hut but I think it was more of a language barrier thing as we dont speak any spanish and the english was limited.
The only thing I did not like about this resort is having to leave it. I would absolutely go back and would recommend it to anyone looking for a large resort that has an amazing beach and a ton of stuff to do and also plenty of quiet places if you just want to relax.
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Maya Beach
- Barcelo Maya Palace
- Barcelo Maya Mexico
- Barcelo Maya Resort
- Catalonia Rivera Maya
- Maya Beach Resort
- Barcelo Beach Maya Mayan Resort Riviera
- Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Cancun
- Barcelo Maya Beach Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico