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“Last minute getaway!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Ranked #70 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Indianapolis
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Last minute getaway!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014

This was our first trip to the Caracol property. We previously had stayed at Sandos Playacar and really enjoyed that area. The resort was beautiful! The food was good, always had plenty of choices. I think our favorite al a carte was the Japanese restaurant, it was awesome. We traveled with Royal Elite, which in my opinion is the only way to go. They treat you like royalty! The drinks were fresh, strong and yummy. All of the staff were wonderful. I really enjoyed the Eco friendliness of the resort. The exclusive Royal Elite area was magnificent. The infinity pool was gorgeous, the beach beds were wonderful. Never had any problem getting one while we were there. The beach was not the best, way too rocky, so swimming in the ocean was really difficult. But I don't necessarily care to swim in the ocean too much, but, a dip every now and then would have been nice. The restaurant in the Royal Elite area was great for breakfast and lunch. One downside for us was it was really more of a family resort. We have 3 children of our own, but, when we go on a romantic getaway for just the two of us, we don't necessarily want to be around everyone else's children :) But, if you are traveling with family, then, go here .. definitely a family place. I think the only other thing that maybe I didn't like was that it was kind of out by itself.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jenafeekay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 27 March 2014
Dear Jennafeekay

After visiting already two of our Sandos properties we thank you for your trust and choice and hope to see you soon again in one of our resorts.

The Royal Elite is an amazing area for members only that really makes you feel to be in another world. All the Sandos worker appreciate the wonderful comments you left on the tripadvisor website and also the Eco friendliness is a big work in good advances process thanks to the efforts of
a great team.


The beaches in Mexico are federal property therefore no hotel is allowed without due gov-ernment permission, to undertake any corrective work even if it is to improve it or make it more accessible not only to customers around the hotel within that beach area, but the public at large.
We have thousands of customers who visited this property in the past, many who still come as repeat customers and can agree that our beach was one of the nicest beaches in the area and that indeed it has endured some negative changes in the past years as a result of terrible weather conditions such as storms and systematic erosion. We will make it better when the permission of the government is in our hands.

We hope to welcome you back soon!

Kindest regards,

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014

I really enjoyed my vacation at this resort. The buildings are only 3 stories high and built into the jungle which I loved. You can go on eco tours with a very fun and knowledgeable tour guide, which are different every day so you can learn about the jungle, animals (which you see everywhere, harmless), lizards, cenote and the local legends. Great for kids too. The beach is beautiful but rocky because of the coral reef so I would recommend water shoes but we managed without them. Our room (in the 1600 series) was placed really well so we had easy access to beach, pools and restaurants. There are some small ruins on the resort which you can explore.

Favorite thing - the yoga classes with Juan Carlos! Every morning at 8:00 you can meet at the spa/ gym to get a mat and a towel and head off to a shaded platform where you do 90 minutes of yoga. So good for the soul to look up through the trees and see blue skies and yellow butterflies overhead. Juan Carlos is a wonderful yoga master who easily leads everyone regardless of experience or expertise through a series of sun salutations.

The only detraction for us was the pressure to take a 90 minute tour of the upscale part of the resort. We were offered gifts and cash as incentive and promised that it wasn't a time share presentation. We declined but really were feeling like we needed to avoid parts of the main lobby where the sales people were ready to give the pitch one more shot. Everyone was very pleasant but had a hard time taking no for an answer.

Overall great time and the people were truly lovely and helpful.

Room Tip: Buildings 13 to 20 were centrally located
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JayJay162014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 27 March 2014
Dear Jay Jay,

On behalf of the general managemnt of the Sandos Eco Experience Resort we truly appreciate the time you have taken to write about your stay and to share your vacation adventures with the Tripadvisor Community.


We are very delighted to read that you were part of the Yoga classes of Juan Carlos who manages relaxing every guest in our hotel with his 90min sessions starting every morning but Sunday in the Spa area for all those who have a reservation for this special activity. We have already passed on your appreciation to him and all the other Sandos team members who made your stay special.

We look forward to seeing you again at Sandos Caracol soom.

Sincerely yours,

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
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Sherwood Park, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014

I just returned from this resort 3 days ago and wish I could have stayed longer .
I read many reviews previous to leaving so wasn't expecting perfection and lord knows
there are not many places to go that are almost perfect.
My experience was very good. We were booked in the adults only select club and were upgraded to a Jacuzzi suite overlooking the cenote.
People say there is a lot of walking but the walks were very nice, you come across the animals and you are mostly in the shade as there are so many trees. I've been to resorts where the walk is under the hot sun the whole time and this was much nicer.
I felt like i was staying in a hotel in some zoo or sort of animal park in some ways which was really nice because you also have the food and restaurants and pools and amenities the beach right there.. what else could you ask for?
We found the beach no problem, just wear your water shoes because of the rocks , you can walk around and over the rocks and once your past a little way out its clear sand and you can walk quite a ways out before getting too deep. We snorkeled right there a couple times and there were a lot of fish. Kayaking is nice and free for half hour a day; we also took a fishing trip from there. It was good except the guys that took us weren't overly friendly but they do know what spots to go to .
We also took the bikes for a ride which was nice too .
Aquasize in the adult pool is at 11:30 daily and fun.
Drinks at that pool were always coming around . I enjoyed it there because there was no loud Mexican music all day every day , just nice soft relaxing background music.
The monkeys visited that pool area a couple times over the week and once a monkey even walked to somebodys belongings and grabbed a sandal and dragged it away.
Our room was great and no musty smell or anything.
Dinner at the Brazilian good , if your a big meat eater, Japanese was good and also the steak house was good.
My partner got sick one day and we had to skip supper so i ordered room service, it was really really good and fast so we decided on the day of leaving to order room service again and it was again really good. Better than the buffet food for some reason.
The chicken wings in the Mexican restaurant are so good you have to try those.
We missed going to the spa and yoga but otherwise we took in everything we wanted to do.
I would love to go back even though I usually am one to go to different places to try all the time.
I loved the beds on the beach, just get there early to get one. I also liked that is wasn't such a long ride to Playa Del Carmen ($14 each way for a cab) and not too far from the airport either.
We had a note on our door to come to concierge and that ended up being the time share thing, we didn't go and were not bugged to go to it either.
For kids this place is great too. A bit of beach and zoo all in one.
One more thing, there is a drink called a spa smoothie that is good and healthy
and they also served beet juice in the Italian restaurant buffet.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Jeannette S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
Dear Jeanette,

It is nice to read that you have enjoyed the beautiful green walks in our resort, the animals surprising you, the beautiful snorkeling possibilities and all the rest of the nice comments you have left us on the tripadvisor website. We appreciate the time you have taken to leave your opinion to other future guests and also the Sandos team as perfection is not what we may reach but yes a wonderful unique experience in our fantastic resort.

The roomservice, the chicken wings in the Mexican and all our monkeys are waiting for you to meet you soon again, also do we invite you to participate in the nice activities you may have missed this time. It would be great to be your host again. Hope to see you soon!

Best regards,

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
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Waukesha, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

We traveled with our daughter, son in law and two grandchildren (ages 4 and 6). My wife and I have gone to an adults only resort in Riviera Maya for the last couple of year's, but this is the first time to a family resort.

Pros:
We stayed in the royal elite section (ocean front superior). The room itself was very nice, spacious, plenty of closet space, two separate bathrooms and none of the mold smell we had read about in other reviews.

The grandchildren loved the shows, especially the mayan and superhero shows. Getting to take pictures with the superheroes after was a big plus.

The 4 year old loved the kids water park, I think it was a little small for our 6 year old, but we are close to the water park capitol of the world at the dells so he is used to a little bigger. they both enjoyed time at the main pool and beach.

The ala carte restaurants were good, we especially enjoyed and would highly recommend the Mediterranean, the food was great and the view was phenomenal.

For the most part, 85% of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

Cons:
The maid service wasn't really good at all. the plunger in one of our bathroom sinks was broke and the way they fixed it was to take it out and lay it by the side of the sink for the week. The lotion dispenser in my room was empty, so I left the cover open so they could see it. Two days later the cover was still open and lotion still empty. We had spilled some coffee on the blanket so we placed the blanket on the floor to be changed, they replaced it with a much smaller thinner blanket and we found the dirty on shoved in the closet (really weird)

the bed was extremely hard, I know some people like a firm mattress, but I felt like I was sleeping on a rock.

Everywhere you went on the resort, it seemed like something was in some form of disrepair, from some of the beach showers not working to broken tables and chairs. We had signed up for the romantic boat ride which we were told the day before that it was not in service. We were told that they would send chocolate covered strawberries to the room with some champagne. We received the strawberries but not the champagne. We went to the spa and the steam room was not in service.

The ocean is pretty much unswimmable with the exception of a small area in front of the adults only section. Fortunately it was the little ones first time in the ocean and they didn't want to venture to far out any ways.

The food is mediocre at best with the exception of a few ala carte restaurants. The buffet was always crowded, out of items and placement didn't make much sense. They say the items change daily, but I never really saw much change. I really don't think I could have eaten one more meal at the international buffet.

I do not understand the eco feel the resort is trying to sell, with the exception of having the water coolers in your rooms and re using cups, I didn't see anything different than every other resort down there, in fact I have seen more animals, flowers, and greenery at most others.

I have read a lot of complaints about mosquitos, I did not have a problem, but my wife, and children had quite a few bites.

other info:

There is a spot next to the resort where we got a wonderful massage ($40 per person). I would highly recommend.

Sorry to make this so long, but like I said, we did all have a great time, vacation is what you make it and it was nice to share this experience with my family, but when we do it again, we will definitely look to go somewhere else. I would have only given 2 1/2, but trip advisor does not use half points.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank arossi2415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
Dear Guest,

We are happy to read that you appreciated the rooms in the Royal Elite section, as well as the evening entertainment, the a la carte options with the Riviera as a favorite, the official biggest hotel waterpark in the Riviera Maya and the service of most of our employees.


Regarding the maid service we want to assure you we have already made some changes in the supervisor taking care of the area where you stayed to avoid the things you have mentioned us from happening again in the future. We apologize also for the reparation of the canoe and one of two saunas during your stay to assure the safety of our guests, and some promises not being met by our hotel.



We are proud to have the official certificate of the Rainforest Alliance organization that has certified the last few years to be a sustainable business and an example for many others not only for the water dispensers and for the plastic cups, also for the protection of animals, donations to several Mayan villages, cleaning of the beaches of the entire Riviera Maya, reforestation of areas in and outside Playa del Carmen, solar panels on more than 100 rooms already, and much much more. We are on organization that participates in environmentally friendly or green activities to ensure that all processes, products, and manufacturing activities adequately address current environmental concerns while maintaining a profit. In other words, it is a business that “meets the needs of the present world without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. We understand all our efforts may not be exposed or clear for all our visitors but during the daily eco tours we try to explain our responsible travelers of all the activities we do and procedures we have in place to protect the environment. We know we still have a long way to go but every day we put our part into a better life.

Thank you once again for choosing the Sandos Eco Experience and have a great day.

Kind regards

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
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Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
39 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

This is a big resort, we were fooled into thinking hat select area was a smaller resort tagged onto the full resort, but no the select buildings are the furthest from the beach. The select restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch. The food is good, but service is slow. If in a hurry, we were not, then use the main buffet. Service around the select pool was excellent: well made drinks, prompt attention to our needs. The select area has a private corner of the 'beach'. Service was good. There are snacks available. There is a service desk at the beach, as good as the main select service desk. The rooms are relatively now. They were spotlessly clean. Not even a hint of a musty smell. For a resort built on a mangrove and jungle there was an amazing lack of mosquitoes, but beware of the sand fleas at the beach!

The a la carte restaurants were reasonably good. I has an excellent rib eye steak at the vegetarian restaurant. That wa sour favorite. Try the welcome smoothy, very good, but even better if you add a couple of shots of vodka!

main disappointment - the beach is very disappointing. The sand is dirty since the tide does not refresh it in the seating areas. There is nowhere to swim off the beach! The water is shallow and rocky. Very difficult to get far enough out to swim or the snorkel.

The facilities for children appear to be excellent. We would recommend this for young families.

Room Tip: just take what they give you. Not worth the hastle.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank CharlieGOO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
We appreciate the opinion you have shared with other travelers on the tripadvisor website and thank you for your preference in Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort.

We are happy to read that you have enjoyed the personal service and the extras our only adult section means for a more quiet and relaxing couple holiday, on the other hand have we already reviewed the delay in service you have experiences in the Jungle restaurant.

Indeed there are some specific spots on the beach in which corals and rocky area can be found. This is not an issue related to our hotel as the beaches in Mexico are federal property and particularly considering that as ours is a very dynamic beach, the weather conditions such as storms or hurricanes can change the composition of this.

And yes if you have kids, our hotel has some very special areas for them as you have seen, some amazing spots no other resorts offer, the hotel has an area for any nationality or any age!

Thank you once again for your time invested in leaving us your experience!

Kindest regards,

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2014 via mobile

We got what we needed out of this vacation:
- plenty of walking around the hotel to get out of our sedentary lifestyle this snowy winter
- surprising animal encounters for our son (monkeys, peacocks, donkeys, raccoons, parrots, iguanas, dogs, cats, turtles, fish)
- swimming in the sea as well as kids pool

The beach was not breathtaking: rocky bottom and seaweed, but it was tolerable and there were places to get in comfortably.

Food was not to die for:
- for us adults, it was kind of a benefit since we didn't overeat; nothing looked like you "had to have it".
- for our son, it was a problem. No hot oatmeal or any other porridge; delicate cutlets or other toddler friendly foods. their kids menu is fries, macaroni and cheese, fish sticks - all the things we don't
give to our son.

Room ok. There was no shower head with hose or a bath in the room so washing up our son was a problem. No elevators, so had to drag the stroller up snd down the stairs all the time.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Anyushka28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
Dear Guest,

Your comments regarding your recent stay in the Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort are very much appreciated by the entire team of workers you recently met during your holidays. We are very happy to read that you have enjoyed the beautiful environment surrounding us as well as the animals and kids wonderful areas we offer.

Thanks to the time you have invested in leaving your experience on the tripadvisor travel site, lots of other people who are thinking about the Riviera Maya will read how beautiful the Mexican attention to the guests is in our resort.

If you would visit us again it will be our pleasure to adapt the menu to your needs in the best possible way so do not hesitate to write us before your arrival and we do the rest!

Yours Truly

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 March 2014

We (two adults and a 6 y-o) visited Sandos Caracol last week of February, 2014.

BEACH: There is a long, nice, sandy and clean C-shaped beach with many palm trees (larger east end, non-existing middle, and a smaller west end) with Select Club (Adults only) at its east end and the Scuba Libre water sports shop and the Royal Elite buildings at the other, west end.

The east beach is better: great swimming (MUST wear water shoes), lots of marine life (fish swim around your legs!), more beach chairs available. West beach is fine but you must put up with all the marine sports traffic—boats and Sea-dos roaring by.

NEGATIVES: there are theoretically 4 bars serving this very long beach: starting at the east end there is a small bar in the Select Club building, poorly supplied; the swim-up bar at the main pool (close to the middle of the beach) opens at 10:30 and is usually very busy; the (middle) beach bar is mysteriously closed for no reason; lastly you can go to the Royal Elite bar but it is a bit of a walk. There is NO beach service.
The beach chairs are very uncomfortable and it may become difficult to find an unoccupied one, especially if you need more than 2 together.


POOLS: There are 5 pools on the property: the Adult Only (Select Club)—which we did not use having been “burdened” by a 6 y-o.

There is a fantastic Aqua Club for kids: if you have an independent 4-5 year old, your vacation is made. The pool has several slides and fountains, is less than 2 feet deep, and has a lifeguard on duty to keep an eye on the little hooligans. The only issue--if you are a worry wart kind of parent—the pool is below your line of vision unless you stand at the rail. This is also a no-booze zone but there is a snack bar with slushies, soft serve, drinks, and a lovely lady with a hot dog/hamburger cart.

Closer to the beach is a Chill Out pool, smallish, quieter, with a great bar and good depth (4 feet), surrounded by trees so there is a daily chance of spotting a spider monkey. NEGATIVES: since it is so nice, it is difficult to find a beach chair—half of the pool is constantly in a shadow (tall trees) and the other has no shadow at all.

Lastly, there is the main pool. Rather narrow, shaped like the number 8, its upper portion is used daily for mid-day exercise/aqua/dance classes, loud and bad music blares constantly (there is a swim-up bar); on the other end, about 1/3 has been designated for kids so there is the associated noise of wee ones. It is very difficult to find a beach chair. NEGATIVES: lack of chairs, loud music/noise, little swimming space.

Lastly, for those of us willing to put up the big bucks, there is the Royal Elite infinity pool, with a swim-up bar, lovely beach beds but little shade.

FOOD: Food is very, very good. You can get it in 4 different ways.

Buffet: the International, open for all meals, is the largest one; we took all our breakfasts there and were very happy. Line up starts with fruit, cereal, cheeses and cold cuts, oatmeal, bacon, sausages, and potatoes, egg dishes, pancakes and freshly fried donuts, and ends up with hot dishes more suitable for dinner, salads and more fresh fruit and juices. Avoid all the prepared foods and head straight to the omelet section, get a fresh crepe, and freshly squeezed fruit/veggie juice. Breads and pastries are very good. The eating hall is large and cavernous and very noisy. The straw roof, 25 feet high, amplifies the noise to a very unpleasant level; head for the smaller back room, overlooking a river with turtles and fish (and an occasional cat and racoon!).
Italian buffet is smaller and harder to get into. Mind we only had lunch there so I don’t know what the breakfast looks like. Unless you are there right at the opening, you will have to wait. The food is very good: salads, pasta made to order, pizza, meats: we had great fish (mahi-mahi) and roasted turkey; fabulous desserts, and wine.

Mexican is open for breakfast and dinner but not lunch; sadly, because of my husband’s dietary needs we did not eat there.

Restaurant: the resort has 6 restaurants; we dined in 3.

Fogo the Brasil is an open air, Brazilian style grill with fantastic meats (7-8 different kinds) which arrive on your plate via a nice gent with a huge spit. He brings, in turn, a spit with Chorizo, chicken, flank steak, pork, turkey, NY strip and two other types of beef marinated and grilled to perfection (the chorizo, chicken and flank were great, I found the pork and turkey dry but my husband loved the beef). There is little to accompany this protein fest. Desserts are spectacular. For entertainment there are several feral cats and ducks—cats love the meat and will persuade you to share. Ducks are just a side show. Since the restaurant is close to the mangrove forest, there are ferocious mosquitoes which will make a meal out of you so wear bug repellant.

Los Lirios is locate in the Royal Elite building and has the look of a very fancy place but is a bit too stuffy for its own good. I did not find the food all that spectacular; we had tuna tartar which was not diced fine enough and a ceviche which was seasoned with curry (?), and a sea bass and a NY steak which were OK. Desserts were also good (apple tart and a nut brownie).


Lastly we ate at La Riviera which serves Mediterranean cuisine. Best place by far. On the beach, with great views of Cozumel, sea breeze and a very friendly cat in attendance (he loves tuna!). Although my tuna was very dry, my husband’s mahi-mahi was great as were soft shell crab and beef carpaccio for appetizer. Nice desserts: white chocolate tiramisu and chocolate lava cake.

There are also a great Japanese, vegetarian, and of course, the Italian places at the resort but we did not eat there. The vegetarian—Salvia, is right on the beach.

NEGATIVE: make your reservations as soon as you arrive; it is nearly impossible to get them.

Snack bars: there are several snack bars on the resort. We ate at the main one near the International buffet and at the Aqua Park (see above for kids’ pool)’; the main one serves a variety of hot food (burgers, chicken, hot dogs, tamales) all day long. Very convenient but not the best of course.

Poolside: every day at lunch time at the main pool and the sports bar, there are small stations serving small bites: tacos, chicken or tuna salad on toast, grilled meats. Sports bar has a portable churro fryer, and those little things are perfection! Nice little touch if you are rushing like we were for our 1:00 snorkeling tour.

ROOM: there are several rows of buildings perpendicular to the beach, set in the mangrove forest, reached by walkways (foot and vehicular traffic). All buildings are 3 stories high, with 4 rooms each.

Ours was in the upper 40’s, in the last row farthest from the main area. Standard room with two queen size beds, an old TV on top of a cabinet with the fridge, small table which was (half) taken by a large water cooler, chair and a bench, two large closets in the hallway. Large bathroom with separate toilet and a shower room.

NEGATIVES: the light in the room is very poorly designed, the mirror is hanged very high, the countertop in the bathroom is very high (any child under 6 will not be able to wash hands/brush teeth without assistance), the balcony is very small and furnished with two incredibly uncomfortable chairs of wood and metal (some may have a bit better, plastic wicker chairs).

Great housekeeping service every morning.

ENTERTAINMENT: A lot to see and do!
Shows: there is one every night at 8:30 for little or big people. The most spectacular ones are the Mayan shows on Saturday (with fire, awesome!), Tuesday and Thursday; as well as Wednesday Disney dance show (my 6 y-o loved it!). There are two movies daily: at 5:30 for the wee ones, and 7:30 for PG13 audience. (Be prepared for the voice over for the visually impaired).

Photos: many photographers will approach you on the beach, some are from the resort taking romantic photos of you and spouse, with sexy-looking pirates, or other accoutrements, others are private companies set up off site, with animals (parrots, monkeys, boa, and iguana). Price is usually 10.00 a photo.

Market: almost every afternoon/night there is a Mexican crafts market along the main avenue. Arts and crafts: lather, jewelry, pottery, clothing: nice, pretty OK prices. We bought a bottle of local honey for 5.00. There are local artists: painters—one paints with his fingers on tiles, another with spray paints (AMAZING!)

Store: the resort store is well supplied with stuff you may need and souvenirs to take home. Do not buy coffee or vanilla as Duty Free is cheaper (on the way home!).

Sports bar: looked great, giant chess set, shuffle board, ping pong tables, TV screens tuned in to a soccer game, always full of families with preteens, nice bar to sit and relax in while your little ones play.

Activities: apparently there is always something going on such as volleyball, yoga or dance classes. Since we did not seek such entertainment, I have nothing to report.

Water sports: in one word: GREAT! Well set up, legitimate: parasailing (120.00 per couple for @30 min) snorkeling (45.00 pp, 2 hours), catamaran (10.00), kayak (free); you can also SCUBA, rent a Sea-do, or go deep sea fishing. Wait to be approached at the pool or on the beach by one of their agents; same price but they work on commission and it is nice to kick some money their way.

INTERNET CAFÉ: This was a very pleasant surprise, tucked in behind the Mexican restaurant. Must be a new thing as it is not advertised. It is nice to just duck in, once a day, to check emails.

SITE: You are in the mangrove forest but it is difficult to call it lush. Mostly it is a marshy ground with trees and walkways over it. There will be some mosquitoes after dark and in the early morning. The resort is large and it is easy to get lost; there are maps posted in several places but if you have a poor sense of directions, you are SOL. Be prepared to walk A LOT! In some unexpected places, you will be amazed by the flora: ginger and crab claw (I found 4 different types!) flowers, hibiscus and bougainvillea of every colour, banana palms and papaya trees.

ANIMALS: The resort has a great variety of them, both (semi)domestic and wild. There are two burros (against the rules, we brought them apples and pears from the buffet which were greatly appreciated), two Mexican dogs (sadly chained all the time in a little hut), and a family of peacocks (tired looking gent and 4 hens). In the middle of the resort site there is an enclosure with 11 white tail deer. We could not find any (advertised) flamingos!
At dusk, coatis and racoons come out in droves especially near the snack bar (El Nido). We were advised not to feed them. There are also two (very talkative) parrots.
There are several cats in residence, some are very friendly, others keep the distance. They frequent the International Buffet and some restaurants.
Birds abound. They wake you up at dusk, soar over the beach, and try to steal your French fries. Grackles, Yucatan jays and peckers, frigate birds, cormorants, great kissady, and chuckalucca (I am repeating names after a conversation with a bird watcher as I know next to nothing about them).
Fish in the cenote, turtles, and iguanas everywhere.


Perfect day at the resort: up and breakfast at 7:30, International buffet with chocolate covered pancakes and fresh omelet. Beach by 8:30; already hot. Sunbathe, bathe and look for marine life on the rocks. Remember to “hydrate”! 10:30 to the Aqua Park! No booze but welcomed shade abounds. Lunch at 12:30, head for the Italian buffet. Remember to “hydrate” with nice cold white wine! Drop kids off at the kids’ club and head for some adult activities: parasailing for two, snorkeling, take the hobby cat for a spin, go for a kayak ride, snorkeling in the cenote, take a bike ride around the resort or just “hydrate” and enjoy the peace and quiet! At 5:30 there is a movie for kids in the sports bar, then a game of giant chess, shuffle board or ping pong. Dinner at 7:00 and on with the show (8:30) at the theatre, on the beach or the Sun Square. By 9:30, crawl to your room and bed. Next day, rise and repeat.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
30 Thank dinkthecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandos_Caracol, Subdirector/ Assistant Manager at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this review, 25 March 2014
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderfully detailed experience at Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort.

We are so glad that you and your family had such a fantastic time here. We really appreciate your praise regarding all our excellent hard working staff in the hotel, and they are all so happy that they contributed to your overall positive experience. We have taken your suggestions into consideration and inform you that our goal is to keep on improving constantly not only the rooms also some other interesting issues our guests as yourself let us know, we appreciate your input very much.

We hope that you will be back to see us again in the future, write us before and we repeat this fantastic experience once again!

Kindest regards,

Nicki Van den Auwelant
Assistant Manager
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
Subdirector.caracol@sandos.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#27 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#40 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 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
Reservation Options:
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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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