A vacation is what you make it and my boyfriend and I loved our time at Sandos! I read a lot of bad reviews on Trip Advisor for Sandos Caracol and after being here I can say that they are uncalled for but everyone has different expectations. I believe that in order to love being at an eco-resort like Sandos Caracol you must like - NATURE, WALKING and ANIMALS. After all it’s in the name…it’s an ECO RESORT. My boyfriend and I stayed here for 3 nights, 4 days (April 17-20) traveling from Washington, DC. We quickly realized that a 3 night stay is not nearly long enough here. There is so much to do and it is so beautiful. You need at least 5-7 nights. We wish we had booked a longer stay.First vacation we booked through Cheap Caribbean and it was a success! Here is what I think you should know from our experience: 1. AMSTAR TRANSPORTATION ROUND TRIP- It was easy to find the Amstar reps once you get outside the airport. Look for the AMSTAR signs and reps will direct you where to go. There were 2 other couples on the same shuttle with us. We were the second stop. It took about 35-45 min to get to our resort from Cancun. When you get to your resort DON'T FORGET to find the Amstar reps at Sandos (at the sports bar) and arrange for your transportation back. The day of the return, our flight was at 2PM and we got picked up at 10AM that morning. The driver who was very nice made 2 other pick-ups as well from different resorts. It didn't bother us at all that the transportation was shared. PLEASE TIP YOUR DRIVER! 2. RESORT OVERALL -- The resort grounds are beautiful and kept clean. They have animals on the grounds that roam free (we saw coati, raccoons, cats, iguanas, spider monkeys and lots of birds) and they have animals they take care of – donkeys, deer, macaws and peacocks. The resort is big but we didn’t mind the walking. That was a bonus for us. I believe if we had more days we would have gotten to know the resort better. We did get lost a few times but it allowed us to explore. 3. COUPLES TRIP/SELECT CLUB-- If you are traveling as a couple Select Club is the way to go (it was only $35/person more to upgrade when we got our package).The Select Club section was well worth the upgrade. With Select Club, you get an adult-only pool, an adult-only breakfast restaurant and an adult-only section of the beach with beds and lounge chairs. The Select Club buildings are secluded from the chaos of the general population with families and kids. Take a look at the map beforehand, these buildings (#s 58-73) are close to the reception area and there is no beach view so if you want beach view you should request a room closer to that area. We liked that it was quiet here at night. It’s at the most a 10 minute walk from the beach. 4. OUR SELECT CLUB ROOM -- The room (building 62, corner room, third floor 6224) had a king size bed and it was nice and clean with a balcony. The room didn't seem outdated to me. The absolutely best part, was that on our last morning there we woke up at 630AM to spider monkeys in the trees in front of our balcony. One had a baby monkey on its back. It was incredible. Every night we would leave the balcony door open with the screen door closed and we would wake up to bird sounds every morning. 5. CHECK IN: Normally, if you book an Adult Only Select Club room you have your own check-in reception area (I read this on TA) but since we booked through here we still had to check in at the main reception. Check-in and check-out went smooth. Carlos at the main reception desk was wonderful at check-in and he was also helpful in answering other questions we had throughout our stay. 6. SOCIAL CONCIERGE: Rhina Lantigua and Laurie Warden were two absolutely wonderful and helpful social concierges. Contact them to book your a-la-carte reservations ahead of time. The resort has 5 a-la-carte restaurants. Rhina Lantigua made our a-la-carte reservation and Laurie Warden made our building requests. Rhina's email is email@example.com and Laurie's email is firstname.lastname@example.org 7. SPOTTING MONKEYS - Before we went I read tons of reviews on Trip Advisor about Select Club buildings where guests spotted spider monkeys off their balcony. If you want to increase your chance to see monkeys, my advice is to request a room anywhere from number 60 – 63 or 66. Ask for a room on higher floors overlooking trees. Select Club Buildings are # 58 – 73. 8. WIFI -- In building 62, we did have WIFI, it was spotty at times but it worked well enough. We were also able to catch WIFI at the Adult Only Pool and at the Adult Only Section of the beach. As well as main lobby. We liked to be disconnected and away from our phones so WIFI wasn't important to us. 9. YOGA CLASS -On Saturday morning we went to class (meeting spot was the Spa) then we all walked to a large deck area overlooking one of the cenotes (by the Mexican restaurant). Class was held by Patrick who was subbing in for Juan Carlos, an instructor I had read a lot about on TA reviews. We did hatha yoga with Patrick which was awesome. 10. PHOTO SAFARI ACTIVITY - We did the photo safari at 9AM one morning. Our tour guide was Esperanza and we were actually the only two people on the tour at the time. We were able to catch some nice shots of the animals. Esperanza was really friendly and informative. We really liked our tour and we learned a lot from her about the animals and the resort grounds. 11. CENOTE EXPLORER ACTIVITY - The Cenote Explorers activity at 1AM at the cenote behind the main lobby was informative but only 15mins. They provide you with goggles but not with the snorkel for hygiene purposes. You can also snorkel in the cenote by yourself from the morning until 4PM. If we had more time at the resort we would have gone again to swim by ourselves. 12. BIKES AND BIKE PATH - The bike path around the Select Club area and goes up to the Mayan ruins then turns back around the same way. We borrowed bikes from the bike stand near main lobby. Make sure you sign for the bike and there may be a wait. We really enjoyed exploring on our bikes. 13. XCALACOCO FIRE SHOW –It’s held on Saturday night at the Mayan ruins on the resort grounds. It not to be missed! Get there early for a good seat and bring a cushion from your room if you get one of the front stone log seats. 14. LOCAL VENDORS ON MAIN STRIP – We got some cool stuff at reasonable prices. The resort’s main store is overpriced. Avoid going there unless it’s a necessity! We speak Spanish fairly well so it was easier to communicate and negotiate. Normally, if you are buying more than one thing from a stand you can get a $5-7 discount. 15. RESTAURANTS – MAKE A-LA-CARTE RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME, ESPECIALLY IF YOU GO DURING BUSY SEASONS (spring break, summer break). We went mid-April and we didn’t find it too packed. We dined at Riviera (Mediterranean cuisine) and Los Lirios (Argentinian Steak & Fish restaurant). At Riviera we requested a table with beach view ahead of time, they have a few tables that are on a terrace overlooking the beach. We had a romantic dinner here. The food is what I call European size portions but nonetheless it was good. At Los Lirios we were taken care of by Alejandro. You can also request a window table here and you will have beach view. At Los Lirios, the portions are bigger and you also get more courses. 16. SELECT CLUB BREAKFAST RESTAURANT – Select Club guests have access to an adult-only breakfast/lunch spot. We ate breakfast here two mornings. It was very good, not to mention you can have your coffee with Baileys. It is located by the adults only pool. At night this restaurant becomes the Brazilian steakhouse a-la-carte which unfortunately we didn't have time to try. 17. BEACH – WATER SHOES ARE A MUST! It's true that entry into the sea is rocky and there is an algae problem affecting the whole coast (at least as of March/April 2015) but this is not the resort’s fault. We brought water shoes so we spent very little time at the pool and still enjoyed the beach. 18. ADULTS ONLY BEACH – There is a part of the sea where there are significantly less rocks and you can walk on white sand. There was also less algae here when we were there. There is a beach bar in this area, hammocks, beds and cushion lounge beds. 19. MASSAGES NEXT TO ADULT ONLY BEACH AREA - Inexpensive $35 massages on the beach. You hear the ocean waves and you feel the breeze, it’s quite relaxing. The massages were full body and we really enjoyed them. I recommend everyone to get a massage here! You can make an appointment the same day if you speak to one of the helpful staff there. The manager is an American woman from Philadelphia. Everyone is so hard working there and friendly. Please tip the staff and the cleaning service! They work so hard for 12 hours or more on their feet so they can accommodate the guests. A little from you goes a long way for someone else. I could go on and on because we really had such a good time here but this review is getting way too long! Until next time Sandos Caracol!
My husband and I have been to the Mayan Riviera area a couple of times, but this was the first time with our almost 2-year-old son. We had a great time and would love to go back. The room was nice, clean, spacious, and maintained. The only problem we had was that we requested two double beds and instead got a king bed with a sofa. We requested extra sheets so we could make a bed on the sofa for our son, and it took 4 or 5 phone calls before the sheets arrived. They apologized profusely for the mix up/delay, and we didn't have any other issues. Other than that, the housekeeping staff did a good job (Thanks Rebeca!) and brought extra towels and water when we requested it. People always complain about the beds. No, they're not the softest, but they're just like every other bed in a resort in Mexico and they're definitely not that bad. We were in building 50. Don't let the map deceive you. The map makes it look worse than it is. It is a big resort, but it's not like it takes 10 minutes to walk from the last row of buildings to the lobby. It's about a 2 1/2 minute walk. Not bad at all. And if you take the path through the jungle, it's really quick. We carried our son pretty much everywhere if he was too tired to walk, and I can say it was harder to carry him through the airport than it was through the resort. Being in that last row of buildings is really no big deal because everything is within a short walk. This resort is fantastic for kids. Our son loved the Aqua Park. Even at his age/size, he was able to ride on every slide and just kept asking to go again. I have seen a few reviews complaining about the water being cold. It was a little on the cooler side, but definitely not cold. Once you're in the water for a minute, you don't notice it being cold. It's actually refreshing on a hot day. Our son didn't mind the temperature of the water. He was too busy having fun on the slides. I was a little surprised that there wasn't a zero-depth area, but it didn't seem to be a problem. Our son is a little on the smaller side for his age, and the water level was probably about at his ribs, but he didn't have trouble walking around in the water. The Kids Club is great too. We weren't interested in dropping our son off and leaving him, but if you have a child as young as ours, you can stay with them and watch them play. They had a a large play structure with slides, stuff to crawl through, and a ball pit, a bouncey house, a trampoline, XBox, foosball, air hockey, crayons and paper, and a movie theater. Our son had a blast in the bouncey house, trampoline, and ball pit. If you are interested in dropping your child off and leaving, I think it's pretty secure. There was a woman at the front counter signing kids in and out and locking the gate, and another woman walking around in the play area watching the kids. I wouldn't say there is a lot of supervision, but it's a pretty contained area and there are at least a couple of adults nearby. The eco aspect of the resort is neat. There are recycling bins everywhere and they appreciate you sorting your trash and using the recycling bins. They left a lot of the natural jungle and just built within it instead of leveling everything and just having concrete everywhere. So it's neat that you can take a little side path through the jungle to get back to your room. You can see where they grow herbs, and do their composting, and even where they have native bees. We saw deer, iguanas, raccoons, cats, parrots, and of course the donkeys in the center of the resort. It's a neat place for kids who like animals. The beach is nice and very big. We never had trouble finding chairs and didn't feel crowded. There was a volleyball net set up and there always seemed to be a game going. We bought a bucket and shovel set in the gift shop and our son had a blast playing on the beach, digging in the sand, and trying to chase the birds. The ocean was a little rough from the wind and just being on the east side (if you want calmer water, try Cozumel) but it was still fine for wading. The food was good. We didn't have trouble finding something we liked at every meal. With our little one, we didn't even try to do a la carte and instead just stuck with the buffets. I think our favorite was actually the Mexican buffet. They made fresh fajitas and were carving fresh meat for tacos all the time. It also wasn't as busy as the La Laguna International buffet, and was easier to get a table. We ate at the international buffet several times for breakfast and it was good too. The International buffet had some good dishes for lunch and dinner too. They made a fish with chipotle sauce that was fantastic. My husband did the omelete bar every day and it was fairly quick and he seemed to enjoy it. Our least favorite was the Italian restaurant. The information book in our room said the Italian restaurant was a buffet, but at night they converted it to a la carte so you had to have a reservation. We did try the buffet one day at lunch but it wasn't anything to write home about. Having tasted the milk in Mexico before and remembering that it tasted funny, I was a little concerned before we left about whether my son would drink it. So before we left I researched it and found that it is actually "ultra pasteurized." My son drank it, and I tasted it, and it was totally fine. It tastes a little creamier than skim or 1% milk in the USA which I think is what most people are used to. If you have little kids, you're probably used to tasting whole milk - that's what it tasted like to me. If you're concerned like I was, don't be. No issues there. The only complaint we had about the restaurants was the hours they were open. They didn't open for lunch until 12:30. That's a little late when you have a little one, especially when he has completely worn himself out playing and just wants to eat and take a nap. It would have been nice if the restaurants were open at 11:30 for lunch. Instead, we had to eat at the snack bar for lunch several times, or just let our little boy fall asleep and then eat late in the afternoon. The snack bar was good for burgers, hot dogs, french fries, nachos, and ice cream. The bars did a good job with drinks. There were enough bars that there was never a long wait. This was a fantastic resort for a family with small children. We're already thinking about going back next year and perhaps taking our nephew or friends with kids because there was just so much for kids to do. I highly recommend this resort.
My husband, 5 year old son and I stayed at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa from 6/27/14 thru 7/2/14. This is a WONDERFUL family resort! My husband and I are in our mid/late twenties and have stayed in many of the mega resorts in Cancun in the past couple of years, but wanted to have our first family vacation. Since we are not huge Disney fans, we opted with Mexico, as our son’s biggest request was to see the ocean. I did a lot of research prior to booking a family friendly resort. We not only wanted quality time at the beach, but I wanted my son to get some educational value and culture out of the trip. Sandos was a great choice! There are so many activities going on every day, we were there for 6 days and still didn’t see everything! I don’t want to make this too long, so I will point out the main things that impressed me/things to watch out for: Negatives: (these were not really issues to us, but could be issues for other families) • The beds are hard. Yes, they are hard, but honestly, you are so busy during the day, when you go to bed, you pass right out. I never woke up sore or anything, but they are very stiff. • We really enjoyed the beach, but yes, you do need water shoes when you get in. There are several patches of sandy spots to swim in if you walk down the beach, but the majority of the shore is rocky. We actually enjoyed this though, there are so many fish and snails to explore and you can still enjoy the ocean. This is not your typical Cancun, sandy, white beach, but it is still amazing. • Walking-this is a large resort with a lot of walking. We enjoyed the exercise and sightseeing, but to some, this could be a problem • The donkeys – The donkeys that are pinned up in the main area are taken care of, but they do look sad. I am an animal lover and it did make me a bit disheartened seeing them just standing in the heat. But, they are taken care of, as are all the animals you see throughout the resort. • The time share pitch – I knew this was coming from reading previous comments. Once we checked in, a nice women took us aside to show us the Elite option. I stopped her right away, in a polite, but straight forward manner to tell her we weren’t interested. That was it. They are just doing their job, so no need to be mean. Just be straight forward and say no. End of story. • It is a family resort-Lot of kids. We went there knowing this, but a couple that wants alone time should book the adult side. I never really noticed too many unruly children, but I suspect that there are plenty that roll through. If you’re bringing your kids, just keep them in check! Positives: • The grounds are beautiful! The staff works really hard to keep everything looking great. We loved walking around, checking out the different trees, plants, flowers, trails, and cenotes. This is one of the best parts about staying at Sandos! • The entertainment! We were able to catch the Michael Jackson, Superhero, Mayan Fire and Arrival shows and they ALL were AMAZING! I am not one for cheesy things, and I was VERY surprised and impressed with the Michael Jackson impersonator! Both the Fire and Arrival shows were both just awesome, a must see. The staff does such a great job; just another reason that we loved this resort. My 5 year old loved everything- entertained 100% of time during all shows we watched! • The staff is great! We never had one bad experience with anyone working there. Alex Cruz and Naomi were so sweet! There were so many more staff members I would love to recognize, but I don’t remember their names. Everyone works so hard at Sandos, so treat them with respect! • The Eco Tour- Unfortunately, we only were able to catch one tour, but it was one of my favorite parts of this trip! Naomi does such a wonderful job teaching the group about various things about the Mayan culture and environment. Make sure to catch a tour for sure! • Bike rides- Take advantage, it’s a blast, totally recommend it. We did it twice and had a great time! • Pools/Waterpark- My son loved the waterpark. Yes, there are a lot of kids, but it was perfect for my 5 year old. The main pool was really busy in the afternoon, so we only went there in the mornings, but it was fun. They do a lot of activities there, which we didn’t participate in, but they looked fun. The chill out pool was great! Not many people, there is a bar and it was just what were are looking for. It is kind of hidden and you can’t see the ocean, but great to just relax by for a bit. • Food-The food was good. Enjoyed all of the buffets, but the Italian buffet was my favorite. The a la cart restaurants were very good, too! I am somewhat health conscious and I don’t let me son eat a lot of junk and there was plenty of healthy options to choose from. • The wildlife-We LOVED the fact that there are animals everywhere, in their natural habitat, for the most part. • Our Room-We were in building 29, which was a deluxe room, and was renovated. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was nice. The Jacuzzi tub was awesome, even though we only used it once. The maid service was great, always cleaned well, mini fridge always stocked. Our air conditioner leaked one day, because our sliding glass door was opened a crack and caused a lot of condensation. They came quick, fixed the issue and cleaned up the water in no time. • Shop Vendors-They brought in shop vendors to sell goods so you don’t have to leave the resort. If you haggle, you can get good prices for just about anything you would see out in the markets. Tips: • If you want to enjoy a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear water, take a taxi to the sister resort, Sandos Playcar Beach Resort! It is about $14 USD each ride from the Eco resort to the beach resort and took about 15 minutes to get there. You can eat, drink and relax there all day long! We had a great time at their beach, spent some time at the pool and ate at one of their buffets. It was fun and definitely I recommend it. • Tipping-of course it’s not required, but the staff works so hard and in my opinion, they deserve it. • Bring your own bug spray. It comes in handy. • Water shoes! • Floaties – They can air them up for you. We didn’t bring any, but lots of people had them and I wish we would have. You can buy them in their store, but way cheaper to bring from home. • READ THE GUIDE THAT IS IN YOUR ROOM! This has the schedules for everything going on throughout the resort for everyday of the week. Make a list of what you want to do and do it! There is so much going on, which can be a bit overwhelming, so take it one day at a time. • Email the resort, email@example.com, a week or two ahead of time to put in your reservations for dinner, request a certain building or just ask questions. Because we emailed ahead, Alex was kind enough to give us adult only access. Sadly, we weren’t really able to use it since we had our son, but we REALLY appreciated the great services. Things we missed out on, but wish we could have done: • Kids Club-We didn’t use the Kids Club as I wanted to do things as a family since that was the point of the trip, but it looked like a lot of fun for the kiddos. They do so many activities with them and the girls that work there seem very sweet and attentive. They do hand out pagers to the parents so they can be alerted if needed. • The spa. Looked really nice. My husband went to the gym and said it was decent. I heard the Yoga there is amazing. I am sure I am missing something, but I think you get the idea. Overall, it was a fabulous family vacation. We were blessed to have perfect weather the whole time, but with it being so open, I can see it being a bit tedious if it rains. But that is how it will be at many of the resorts around there. If you are looking to drink on the beach all day, party and/or just relax and do nothing, this is NOT the resort for you. There is just so much to do, so be ready to explore and have a GREAT time! Thank you Sandos, we will be back This is our 3rd trip booked with CheapCaribbean,com and as always, everything went smooth. Wouldn't book with anyone else!
Great all inclusive resort. Yes the beach is a bit rocky(just a bit) but not an issue at all (take some beach shoes), saw some beautiful fish just a few feet away from the shore. The beach was really an amazing experience. There is plenty of wildlife roaming freely Spider monkeys, Contis, racoons, lot of cats. I loved it. Lots of places to eat, make reservations a the Japanese steakhouse (only place you need to). Food was great except at the Brazilian steakhouse, felt it was a bit cold (or maybe I'm just used to meat being served really hot). Check their website for a schedule for the entertaining shows, got an opportunity to see the Fire Shaman show that was amazing. Staff was really helpful and friendly. During checking in, was offered a tour (time share); refused it and went directly to the room (saved a few hours). Transit from the airport is pretty simple either get a shuttle ($50) or a cab ($100). It was very environment friendly. Solar panels, reusable cups, recycling bins everywhere. Tip for the resort. Have a daily schedule of programs by the main reception area (the one that was there was vague). For example when we went for the Fire of Life Ceremony we had no idea that there was going to be amazing food there and dined before the event. Definitely recommend this place. Happy travels.
I really depend on reviews when choosing a vacation destination, so I try to reciprocate upon returning myself. This was my first booking experience with Cheap Caribbean and I would undoubtedly do it again. The website is clear, concise and no hidden fees. Additionally, they were always very responsive to questions both before I booked and after I booked. However, the true test came when an individual in my party mistakenly grabbed her husband’s passport instead of hers by mistake. This could have been a catastrophe, but the airport staff and Cheap Caribbean responded in top notch fashion and got her flight, airport transfers and hotel check-in all revised and squared away like champs. Arriving into Cancun and going through customs were as expected. We arranged a private transfer to our hotel thru Cheap Caribbean via Amstar; one of the best decisions I made. Yes, it was a bit expensive, but totally worth it, even to this frugal traveler. The airport is congested, but we were able to easily locate the Amstar Representative and were in our private vehicle within minutes and on our way. The driver was courteous, the vehicle was clean and as a bonus, it even had free Wi-Fi! We arrived at the hotel in about 40 minutes from the airport. The resort is gated, with security present. This was important to me as we were traveling as 2 women with our teenage daughters. The bellboy promptly secured our luggage and escorted us to check-in. The check-in process was seamless and we were loaded onto the golf cart with our luggage within minutes and on our way to our room. One young man lugged all of our bags up three flights of stairs (no elevators…keep that in mind when getting your room assignment) and got us settled in our room. He gave us a quick tour and ensured we had everything we needed. Side note, please tip…these guys (and gals) work really long, hard days. The room was comfortable, and as expected. Our fridge was stocked with beer, soft drinks, juices, chips and candy. We had robes, slippers and 2 nice beach towels. I was surprised to find a nice note, along with a bottle of champagne, a bottle of tequila and a fruit plate from Pauline. Pauline was my personal concierge, and an employee of Sandos, but I believe she is also associated with Cheap Caribbean, and she is a PEACH! Pauline helped me get a waiver for my daughter, who’s 17, to use the gym and spa, otherwise she would have been prohibited because she was underage. Pauline also arranged reservations to a sold out restaurant and hosted a private party at the Mexican restaurant. Overall, Pauline went above and beyond. We got our first opportunity to explore the grounds on our way to dinner…the paths through the rainforest are amazing and very well marked, but a little dark at night. We used our flashlight feature on our cell phones. Be sure to explore, it’s worth it. Look for the hammocks quietly tucked away for a siesta and embrace the rope bridge, if your stable on your feet, it’s a fun adventure. Most of our breakfasts were eaten at La Laguna (the buffet) and were as expected. There was LOTS of variety, I never got bored with choices. What I particularly liked: egg/omelet station, crispy bacon, and good coffee. My daughter liked the many cereal options as well as the fruit and 3 milk flavors: plain, chocolate and strawberry. Lunches typically consisted of a break from the beach/pool and a quick bite at El Nido. It is a 24 hour snack bar that serves the typical favorites like burgers, hot dogs, nuggets, fries, nachos and cheese, etc. There is also an ice cream machine in there and curbs the sweet tooth. Dinners were all delicious. My 2 favorites were El Templo (Japanese) and Los Lirios (Steak and Fish). Reservations are recommended at each, but so worth it (thank you, Pauline). El Templo was a lot of fun and our chef really interacted with us a lot and put on a good show cooking the meal in front of us. Los Lirios offered the best service by far and the food was prepared perfectly. We were lucky enough the make friends with Adalfo, an employee at the resort. He was definitely a key element to making our vacation a huge success. Adalfo was practically our personal guide and our go-to for everything from restaurant recommendations, to private swimming tours, bike rides, walking tours, etc. Adalfo even helped when my daughter broke out from bug bites. He identified the likely source right away and instead of a trip to the medical clinic on-site, he suggested Benadryl and cortisone cream which cleared it right up. Adalfo is a huge asset to Sandos; do yourself a favor and look him up. Adalfo can usually be found near the Sports Bar and with the dogs, tell him St. Louis says “hi.” Since I mentioned it above, I will touch on it again really quick. You are literally in a jungle, so yes, there are bugs; mostly at night. We were expecting this and brought bug spray, but I also saw bug repellent out and about for public use, similar to hand sanitizer stations. Obviously, my daughter wasn’t very diligent and paid the price. I should note though, my daughter is especially prone to reactions to bug bites, even at home. Another honorable mention goes out to “Hey-sus” (forgot spelling). He gives a magnificent boat tour and “painted” my daughter and her friend. He loves his Mayan culture and also gives great advice for making the most of your vacation. We frequented his boat dock often just to stop by and shoot the breeze. We were there for the sun and spent endless hours at the pool and beach. Lounges were plentiful always. Activities and music all day long were going on at the pool. Bar service was good and quick, even when just asking for 2 ice waters. Again folks…a small tip goes a long way! The beach was awesome in my opinion. Clean, soft sand, lots of sunshine and plenty of shade; the perfect combination. I don’t go to swim in the ocean so the rocks weren’t an issue to me at all. I enjoy walks up and down the shoreline and sitting along the edge so the waves lap up on my legs. If this combination appeals to you, you’ll be in heaven. I should mention, there were a few beach vendors, but they were polite and I never felt pressured. There was bar service at the beach as well. Again, thumbs up! Oh, almost forgot, the girls rented a jet ski which was reasonable. 30 minutes was plenty as you really get beat up from the waves, but still fun nonetheless. We used the waterpark/slides an hour or so one afternoon. It was fine for seventeen year olds, but this is truly a smaller kid’s paradise. Lather up the sunscreen and enjoy! Be sure to check out the shows in the theater. Not all of the shows will suit your taste, as about ½ of them are geared more towards kids and then vice versa. The Fire of Life Ceremony is by far the best. It seems like every afternoon there is a wedding that takes place on the cenote stage, which is adjacent to the open lobby area. It is actually very beautiful to watch. I loved seeing the different decorations, color schemes and dresses. Additionally, I think it is just amazing to watch a new chapter begin. The gym was well equipped and the spa area was nice. I didn’t take advantage of spa services, but I heard they were amazing. I did enjoy the hot tub and small pool area. A very quiet and peaceful way to wrap up your day. We went into Playa Del Carmen one evening. It was ok, but I would skip it next time and do a sunset cruise instead. I saved the highlight of our trip to the end. We booked this hotel primarily for the “jungle” affect and it didn’t disappoint. The first morning I was sitting on my balcony enjoying my tea, a good book and my fruit plate when I heard some wrestling of the leaves above me. Before I knew it, a spider monkey was perched on my balcony with his heart set on my banana. Soon after he scarfed that down a momma with a baby on her back joined him. They were not aggressive, but very curious, and after all, I had grapes too. To my surprise, the male monkey decided to scope out my room and leaped on both beds before settling in to chill out on my daughter’s bed. He stayed for quite some time before I “shewed” him off in fear of his gang of buddies might decide to join him, as there were now 4 monkeys on my balcony and 1 in my room watching Fox News in the morning. So not only did I have an amazing experience and some good pictures to share, I have a great story to tell and a memory with my daughter that will last a lifetime. Our monkey story is titled: “me Tarzan, you Jane.” Thank you Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, we can’t wait to visit again!
We just got back from our first stay (Nov 27-Dec 4) at an all-inclusive resort and I must say I'm completely sold on the all-inclusive! This place was absolutely wonderful - the people were all so friendly and helpful and accommodating. Everything was very clean and well maintained - they were always working around the resort, sweeping, cleaning, trimming, planting. The grounds are beautiful, well kept- lots of wildlife, birds chirping in the morning, monkeys, raccoons, caotis, cats, donkeys, peacocks. It was amazing. There is a lot of walking and there is not much signage so its confusing and easy to get lost. We spent about 15 minutes the first night trying to find the location of the show at the Plaza del Sol and never would have found it if an employee hadn’t taken us there. There are a lot of mosquitoes at night but just bring bug spray and you should be okay. Beware of your “personal concierge” that introduces herself when you first get there and tells you she is there to help you with anything during your stay. She/he is actually trying to sell you a timeshare. She wasn’t really pushy but once we told her no, we never saw her again. AMSTAR - Transportation between airport and resort was through Amstar and we had no problems. The only negative was that we had to be in the lobby for ride to airport at 9:15 and our plane didn't leave until 1:15. We upgraded to the Deluxe Adults only section and it was definitely worth it. The extras like 24 hour room service, robes and slippers in your room, adults only beach area and pool, free wi-fi, the premium alcohol, the use of the spa and gym, the cabanas at the beach and the a la carte restaurant for breakfast made it worth the extra money. ROOMS – The room was very nice. It was spotless and comfortable and housekeeping made towel animals every day. I had requested a 3rd floor room but we got a 1st floor so I was initially disappointed because I felt like they should have been able to accommodate my request but then we found out that the 3rd floor is the superior upgrade which costs extra. The first floor ended up being fine. It was great to have room service – my husband ordered ice at least one or two times a day and we would wake up sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning and order room service and they were always very nice about it. FOOD/RESTAURANTS – I had read a lot of mixed reviews about the food so we weren’t expecting a lot but we ended up being very pleasantly surprised. We found the food to be great even at the buffets. There was so much variety and it was good quality. We ate at the Laguna International buffet several times (reviews said it was bad but we found plenty of good food especially if you got when it first opens for lunch or dinner) and at Mexican buffet a couple times. I always judge a buffet by how fresh the lettuce is and the lettuce was super fresh and crispy and never had any brown leaves. I can’t believe people complained about the food. Los Lirios was very good– great ambience, good food and the steaks were done perfectly however my husband and I are very particular about our steaks and didn’t really like the beef but I think most people would love it. We had booked reservations but then were told they stopped requiring reservations there and it was first come, first serve. It was a 2+ hour wait when we went at 7:00, which was ridiculous so we ended up coming back at 9:30 (after the show) and were able to get in. Riviera – food was wonderful, service was a little slow so don’t be in a rush but their shrimp cocktail is amazing. Japanese steakhouse was delicious with a fun entertaining show. Brazil restaurant was very good as well – way too much food though – they just kept bringing you more and more meats. The romantic boat ride (about 15 minutes long) with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries was really nice too – make sure you book ahead of time when you make dinner reservations. ENTERTAINMENT – The shows we saw were great, the Fire show was interesting and entertaining, Freddy Jackson show was great and even the Super Heroes kids show was good. There’s a lot of great talent at this resort. There was always something going on at the main pool – Zumba, water aerobics, stuff for kids, special lunches, etc. SPA/GYM – It was really nice to have use of the spa and gym (a deluxe upgrade) with the sauna, hot tub, jet beds. My mornings usually consisted of 30 minute workout at the well equipped gym or Yoga (which was about 1-1/2 to 2 hours long so I only did it once – the Yoga was great but I wish it was shorter, maybe an hour) followed by hot tub, sauna, swim in the spa pool, breakfast at the adults only poolside restaurant with a mimosa or two and then head to the beach followed by an afternoon nap in one of the cabanas around 4. The cabanas were usually taken by around 9 or 10 but at 4 people would leave and we could usually get one and still have an hour or so to hang out. BEACH – The beach itself is not the greatest. The water is pretty churned up with lots of seaweed and there are a lot of rocks so you have to use water shoes if you’re going to get in the ocean. The beach area is very small especially on the regular side – the adults only side is a little bit better, plenty of chairs, hammocks and cabana beds. The water is much nice further out so we took a kayak out (free!) and it was actually crystal clear blue, warm and beautiful. We took turns getting out of the kayak and swimming around. You’re not really supposed to get out of the kayak but we did and it was easy to get back into the kayak as long as one person stays in the boat. It was well worth it. The cenotes were awesome – crystal clear and beautiful. There’s one big one by the lobby but we also found a couple cenotes that were off the beaten path when we went exploring - you can get in and swim around and very private. The only thing we paid extra for was jet ski rental and that was a little price but A LOT of fun!! SHOPPING – There are a few shops there but they are way overpriced. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they have vendors come in with local products and that was pretty cool but I think they are employees of Sandos so I thought the prices were still a little high. They do bargain but if you really want great deals you probably have to go into town. We never felt a need to go into town so we didn’t do much shopping. There is a place next to the adults only beach that offers massages for $35-40 and it was wonderful… outside listening to the ocean waves and birds and other wildlife feeling the breeze. It was so good I ended up getting two massages while I was there. I’m a massage therapist and am pretty particular about my massages and I was very happy especially for that price - Isabel did a deep tissue massage that was absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend treating yourself to a massage while you’re there. It’s a good idea to bring some dollars so you can tip especially when you have people going above and beyond i.e. 2am room service, bringing drinks to you while you’re laying on the beach, housekeeping etc. I would definitely recommend this resort especially if you’re a nature lover and we plan on going back here.
This was our first visit to Mexico. Overall, had a really enjoyable experience and made terrific family memories. We were impressed with Sandos. Loved our welcome of being greeting with nice drinks as we exited our taxi. All staff were very friendly and the service was fantastic. Loved our room as well as the eco-friendly portion of the resort. Loved the trails to get to our room and all around the resort. Loved the animals found in nature on the resort. Loved the beach. Did not have any trouble ever getting a lounge chair. I was glad to see the sand whales. They protect the beach from erosion, and gave a boundary for how far out to swim. I felt safer with my kids in the water because of them. However, we did want to go kayaking and we tried. They had so many rocks by the kayaks that we could not navigate around them. Next time we will bring water shoes. In the begining, we loved all of the food and staying at an all inclusive resort - a first for us. However, after a few days it would have been nice to have more of a selection. The mexican restaurant was being renovated so it was closed. Had that been open, it may have been enough of a change. Loved the shows and mexican night on the paths in the center of the resort. Did not enjoy the welcome breakfast and would recommend skipping it. It is just a timeshare ploy. Overall we loved the experience and will definitely return to Mexico. We would also be glad to return to this resort.
I have vacationed on at least a dozen times in Mexico to all-inclusive resorts. Generally, I keep the amount of rooms in mind and go for 200-300 max. I also keep adults-only in mind. This resort is about 1000 rooms, and allow children. My wife has never been on a trip like this, she typically does a sail the Caribbean sea type vacation, so when I started looking to take her she saw Sandos Caracol over my shoulder and told me to quit looking. Yeah, we booked even though I was very nervous about some of the features at this resort... because monkeys. I read reviews, watched youtube videos, and did every bit of research I could on this resort before we left to be "mentally prepared" for what may be. A lot of what I read was mixed. Let me clear up some of these mixed issues from our experience. Size of the resort: Yes, it is big, though a lot of reviews are exaggerated and the Youtube videos are edited. We stayed in a room as about as far away from the beach as they could have put us, travel time without distraction was about 5-7 minutes. (This was perfect for us). We are in our mid 30's, and in decent shape. We were sore by day 4. However, we did this to ourselves. We wanted to see everything (we also included a trip to town and a trip to Coba). So we walked much, MUCH, more than was required of us to have an enjoyable time. My advice it to look at the grounds on Google Maps. There are some photos, and even some 360 photos that give a much better sense of scale than we got reading reviews or looking at videos. If you are limited with your mobility, there were golf carts driven by staff, bicycles loaned to guests, and some folks had motorized wheelchairs (I assume some of the motorized wheelchairs were privately owned by those guests, but there were some that you could rent from the resort). In any regard, there is going to be some walking involved. Make the best decision you can on your own abilities. Food: It was excellent. I am no food critic, but I have been eating food just about every day of my life so I think my experience warrants an opinion. We had dinner at Los Lirios (Steak and Seafood) more times than I would like to admit, which had us miss out on a few of the other restaurants. Los Lirios was amazing with the quality of food and service. The cuts of the steak you order are not pretend cuts of steak, they are actually New York Strips, Ribeyes, Fillets, etc... etc... We missed Salvia (vegan), La Riviera (Mediterranean) , and Las Mascaras (Mexican buffet). However, if the food quality and service held true to the other restaurants available, I am sure they were great. Now, La Laguna (international buffet) and the Snack Bar were VERY buffet style. We did get a few stale chips, and a few "colder" food items. Honestly, these issues were corrected incredibly fast, and weren't anything to really get upset about. If you can appreciate that they are trying to serve 1000's of folks at least 3 meals a day, this is an area I personally allow for some "slack". Salad is not cut small. They are very large pieces. I understand this helps keep the leaf from wilting as fast, so be prepared to either open very wide, or eat your salad with a knife. I would eat at any restaurant there, for any meal, without concern of quality. Smell: Yes, there was a septic type smell on occasion by the Lobby Side of the snack bar (where we noticed it anyway). It wasn't overpowering, but on occasion it was certainly present. It wasn't persistent, and was not concerning enough for myself to question what it was. If it smells, walk away. It probably won't when you come back by again. -my actual review- AMAZING!!!! This was by far my favorite resort I have been to. Sure, I haven't been to them all, nor even a measurable fraction, but enough to know that the folks here are at the top of their profession. I will certainly plan my next vacation back to this resort and my wife agrees. Pro tips: Go see Jaime at the Elephant bar (5pm-12am was his shift while we were there) for a drink. This gentleman is no bar tender, he is an artist. He made the best mojito and best strawberry/banana daiquiri on the property. My wife also enjoyed all of his "surprise me" drinks, as did I. Still up at 11pm? You didn't come on vacation to sleep? Go to the disco and hang out with Rosy, Eugeno, and Jesus. Even when the only guests were my wife and I in the disco, it was still a very good time. The third part of the Xcalacoco three part shows, the one out back by the ruins with fire. Eat a light dinner, or not at all if possible. They have a ton of local foods and drinks before, during, and after. My wife had read that somewhere, but we had forgotten and had Los Lirios... We still snacked a bit, though we missed out on a lot I think. Only bummer for us was the size of the balcony and the style of chairs we had weren't comfortable. But the amount of time we spent in our room was so minimal, that this wasn't even a real concern at the end of it all. We will definitely be going back here without a doubt.
We booked the Sandos Caracol for our 6th wedding anniversary and were very much looking forward to our stay. I had read so many good reviews that I chose to overlook the negative ones and hope for the best. We have previously stayed at the Occidental Grand Xcaret, Excellence Riviera Cancun, Aventura Spa Palace, Iberostar Grand Paraiso and Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium. We knew this was not going to be a luxurious resort but we were expecting it to at least be on par with the Occidental Grand Xcaret. To say we were disappointed with this resort would be an understatement! We called CheapCaribbean the morning after we arrived and a wonderful representative named Susan helped us make arrangements to transfer to the Gran Bahia Principe Sian Ka'an. Best decision ever! Check-In: Our van pulled up to the hotel immediately after a very large tour group had arrived so we knew we would be in for quite a wait. Moments after stepping into the lobby we were approached by a member of the Guest Services team who acknowledged the long wait ahead and said she was going to review the resort amenities with us in the meantime. She took us over to the Select Club lobby, where there is only one desk to check people in, and proceeded to give us a very thorough explanation of the resort before turning on the pressure to attend the "Welcome Breakfast" (aka time share presentation) the next morning. She told us the resort wasn't a time share property but that they had a membership program for return guests. We knew from reading other reviews that it was, in fact, a time share presentation and were not at all interested. About an hour later, we were finally checked in and made our way to our room. Room: The room was our next disappointment. At first glance, it appeared to be decent enough but as we settled in, we discovered numerous issues. First, there was a welcome letter on the desk that was addressed to some other couple and dated the day before our arrival. Not very welcoming! We noticed there were shot glasses and champagne flutes in the room but nothing to put in them. We inquired about this at the front desk and were told we only get beer and soft drinks in our room. Why put these glasses in the room if there's no need for them? The floor was filthy and had clearly not been swept or mopped before our arrival. The bathtub was full of dirt and leaves. I went to wash my face and found that there were no wash cloths. I made do without a wash cloth but then found long black hairs folded up in the bath towels. When it was time to go to sleep, we pulled back the sheets to find even more hair on the pillows and dirt in the sheets. Totally unacceptable! We did let the front desk know about the issues and they sent someone from housekeeping up right away. Unfortunately after the room was cleaned, my face cleanser went missing. One last thing to note, unlike other resorts we've been to, there are no blackout blinds on the sliding glass door so our room was full of light at 6am. Perhaps, if our room was facing west, this wouldn't have been an issue. Food: We ate dinner at Las Mascaras and breakfast at La Laguna. The dinner buffet was the worst buffet food we've had at any resort in the area but was far superior to the breakfast at La Laguna. When researching resorts, were excited that see that the Caracol had a Mexican buffet as Mexican food can sometimes be hard to come by at the all-inclusive resorts in this area. The selection was decent and we were hopeful that this was a sign of good things to come. Breakfast is usually one of our favorite meals in Mexico but everything we tried was inedible. We had waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes (they didn't have hash browns but mashed potatoes and whole, roasted potatoes), pastries, juice and coffee. It was all bad! Service was also lacking. This experience was all the confirmation we needed to know that moving to a new resort was the only way to salvage our vacation. Even at the Select Club beach bar, we found the drinks to be weak and watered down but that's not entirely surprising given the price we paid for this resort. If you want top quality drinks, you will need to pay a little more for your vacation. Crowding: We had read numerous reviews stating how large the resort was and how much walking was involved. We actually found this resort to have a much smaller footprint than most of the places we've previously stayed and, with 956 rooms, there are just not enough amenities to go around. There were a ton of people everywhere we went and we never had a quiet moment to ourselves. The bars, the restaurants, the pools and the walkways were teeming with people day and night. We did not find this resort to be in any way conducive to a relaxing, romantic getaway although I can see why it might be appealing to families looking for a place their kids can go wild. I would NOT recommend this resort for couples or those seeking a quiet adults-only getaway. Even when the Xcaret, which did not have adult only section, was at 100% capacity, we were able to find quiet spaces where we could get away from the masses and relax. Sandos Caracol is extremely overbuilt. Passport Copies: When we checked in, the resort took a copy of our passports. The only other resort to do this was the Occidental Grand Xcaret. When we got back to the States, Customs told my husband that his passport had been reported as lost while we were in Mexico. His passport was never lost and we certainly did not report it as such. It seems the resort was unhappy with our decision to check-out early and decided to use their copy maliciously as no one else would have had access to the passport information needed to report it as lost. In conclusion, we had a terrible experience at Sandos Caracol and would not recommend it to anyone. Many of the reviewers who've left positive reviews have only written one review. If this is your first experience at an all-inclusive resort, you might not be disappointed but if you've stayed at any other resort, you will most likely not enjoy it here.
Overall, Sandos is an AMAZING resort, especially if you want to be around nature as there are animals everywhere and I loved that! We got an excellent deal on CC and stayed in a Jr. Jacuzzi Suite Penthouse in the Select Club area. I recommend upgrading to Select Club because you get access to a private, adults only pool and restaurant, and a section on the beach with comfy beds! Overall food was great. We were not as impressed by the ala-carte restaurants as we were with the buffets. In the restaurants, you get one entree and one side usually and that's it. You can't get like 3 apps for a meal instead or anything. Asian Restaurant needs to have REAL sushi, we were not impressed with california rolls. Italian Restaurant was very good! But again, the buffet was our favorite due to the variety and that you can go back for seconds. This gave us the option to try different things and we liked that. Our room was AMAZING and quite and private. We overlooked the adults-only pool and were on the top (third floor). Stairs were not fun, but well worth it to keep this place eco-friendly. We got tricked into going to the timeshare presentation. NOT WORTH it! They say 90 minutes but they mean 3-4 hours! We were promised a rental car with FULL insurance coverage for 1 day and when we were finally done with the presentation, not only was it too late to do most of what we had planned for the day, but the rental car place said they didn't even offer full coverage. Sandos ended up giving us a measely $100 bucks instead for our time, but made ME run all the way across the grounds to "exchange" my gift. This barely covered our cab fare for the day and we were not pleased. Also, they are super nice on the tour and during the presentation, but when they get you to the sales table expect to be pressured. They said at the beginning that if we like it, good and if not, no worries we say goodbye and shake hands. Not the case. After we made it clear we did not want to buy, he was rude and cold to us. And left us on the completely other side of the resort, lost. We had to ask like 3 people how to get back towards our rooms. So, yeah...stay away from the timeshare presentation and you're all good. Besides, the Royal Elite rooms may be ocean front, but they're all by the loud pool with NO privacy. We liked our room MUCH better. Other than this, the bartenders and room attendants were great. Towels were always replaced and the fridge restocked every other day. We loved the towel art as well on our bed each day! The grounds are so beaufitul especially the cenote and they even have small Mayan ruins that you can go see via bikes that you can borrow for free near the front lobby. There are a ton of raccoons and caotis near the center main snack bar, and we get it that they are around because they want food. I didn't like seeing little brat kids chasing them or yelling at them nor did we like seeing employees clapping loudly to scare them away. To us, (even though a racoon stole our hotdog lol) they were to be expected and even welcomed. They are part of nature which this resort is literally built around so we enjoyed seeing them up close. Scaring them away just made me feel bad and I didn't like seeing people do it. Also, they have cats on the ground and one day we saw one who looked very old, had ticks and mites and looked like he had puncture wounds on both of his sides. Would be nice if they gave these animals MEDICAL CARE but no one seemed to notice him much...very sad. They have a gift shop and vendors various nights, but they are very overpriced. If you plan to go to Chichen Itza or Coba or Tulum, save your money for there as things are the same but much cheaper at the ruins. Also, get a massage on the beach near the Select Club chairs, only $35 for an hour as opposed to the overpriced Spa (which IS lovely, just too expensive). The beach was amazing at Sandos. A little rocky, but if you have watershoes on you are good to go. We saw lots of cool fish and the sand is so clean and soft. We would come back in a heartbeat even though there were a few negatives about our experience. The good surely outweighed the bad and we plan to go back soon!