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“Terrific place to stay”
Review of Playa Caribe

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Playa Caribe
Certificate of Excellence
South Brunswick, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Terrific place to stay”
Reviewed 13 February 2014

Three girlfriends and I just got back from a "girls week" in #6 at Playa Caribe (Feb 3-10). The unit was pretty much perfect: spacious, clean, air-conditioning worked great, beds comfortable, plenty of hot water in the showers and good pressure, the kitchen extremely well-equipped - everything we had been led to expect through reading reviews beforehand. The staff was always friendly and eager to help. We rented a golf cart for the week: if someone was around when we returned at night from dinner, they would help us plug it in and every morning we would find it fully charged, unplugged and the charger neatly stowed. We only requested maid service every other day or so, but housekeeping did a fabulous job on those days.

We loved the artwork/decorations in the unit -- they worked perfectly. Even after being there for a few days, I would suddenly notice something on the wall or on a shelf I hadn't really looked at before -- major kudos to the owners for assembling and placing the pieces in a way that was very Mexican and reflective of the area without being in any way overwhelming or tourist-tacky.

#6 is on the 2nd floor, on the south side of the building, overlooking the pool. The view from the quite spacious balcony is not as panoramic as the center units -- obstructed on one side by the center units and on the other by a derelict building we referred to as "our someday fixer-upper" :), but looking out over the bay was very relaxing -- we saw lovely sunrises almost every morning, pelicans and other birds flying by, iguanas and yes, occasional turtles coming up for air in the afternoon. The jungle-facing balcony off the 2nd bedroom has a table and two comfortable chairs and provided a nice outdoor place to sit when the morning sun got too fierce for the ocean-facing balcony. The master bedroom also has a small balcony facing the road and overlooking the condo office building -- no furniture, not much of a view, but it was perfect for drying our snorkel equipment and shorty wetsuits -- even has hooks for hanging the latter.

The beach is smallish compared to the resorts/condos we've stayed in previously in Playa Del Carmen, and not as scrupulously-kept, but it was perfectly adequate and prettier -- we accept that the ocean has seaweed that washes up on shore, it never bothered us. The tradeoff, of course, is being only steps away from wonderful snorkeling. The first few days we were there it was quite windy and HMB was pretty rough, so we snorkeled at Yal-Ku and Akumal Bay, but it calmed down by the end of our week and we were able to go out a couple of times. Yes, getting in and out of the water is...challenging due to the rocks. I wore fin socks -- water shoes would probably be better, but I wanted to be able to use my fins once I got deep enough to put them on. I had to take it slow and be careful, but the socks worked. And it was definitely worth the effort -- saw some really interesting fish and reefs -- I wish I'd been able to go out there more.

The location is perfect, roughly half-way between Yal-Ku and the Akumal "Arches". It's walkable to either location, but hot; we were glad we'd rented the golf cart. La Buena Vida restaurant is only a short stroll -- it quickly became one of our favorite places to eat dinner, although we did enjoy others in "town" (Turtle Bay, Pancho Villas) and ventured over to Akumal Pueblo one night for really good hamburgers at Tequillaville as well.

A couple of very very minor nitpicks: as others have said, the internet was intermittent at best and there was no pattern to when it did and didn't work. None of us really needed it for earning a living or anything, but it was occasionally a little frustrating when you would be out all day, have a limited time to contact home before going out again for dinner and it would turn out to be one of the mysterious "outage" periods. We also had an issue with the TV in the living room, which didn't work for several days -- it turned out the two TVs (the other one is in the master bedroom) worked off the same box and there was some problem with the "mirroring" capability -- eventually Agustin just brought in a different set. Only one of our party really cared about having the TV, so it wasn't a huge problem, but it was a minor annoyance (and once it was fixed it was nice being able to catch a little of the Winter Olympics at night).

Our last couple of days, we suddenly began to experience an occasional very high-pitched sort of whistling noise emanating from somewhere above the kitchen, loud enough to wake us up early in the morning or later at night and lasting about 5-10 minutes each time it happened. We never fully figured it out: our guess was that it had something to do with the water pipes from the unit above us -- it was only on those days that we'd even heard anyone walking around up there, it may have just been whenever they took a shower or something.

We discovered about halfway through the week that being located directly over the pool had its liabilities. Our first few days were very serene and calm -- people occasionally swam or just floated around in the pool -- everyone was quietly friendly, it was very nice and exactly what we'd wanted for our vacation. One afternoon, we arrived back to the condo to discover the pool chock-full of very active and noisy children; fortunately, we never saw that particular bunch again -- they must have just been visiting for the day -- but it did make us think twice about our location. Also, on our second to last day, a family moved in below us with 3 youngsters who were in the pool by 6:30 am, loudly doing what children do. I can't really blame them -- they were very excited -- but it wasn't exactly conducive to the beautifully tranquil mornings we'd come to expect out on the balcony up to that point. Fortunately, this only happened on their first day; either someone else complained (we didn't) or the parents read the rules stating that the pool didn't open until 8 am. Kids will be kids; they're loud, especially around pools -- I'm not really complaining. Just something to think about when selecting a unit -- I suspect the ones on the North side, away from the pool, would be a tad quieter.

A couple of other points of information (not complaints): There is no land line phone in the unit and really the only place we got any kind of cell service (Verizon) was out on the balcony off the 2nd bedroom. We generally just called home when we were in town -- cell service was quite good there. The WiFi was good when it worked, but as I've said, oddly intermittent. The 2 TVs "mirror" each other, so you cannot watch two different stations at the same time. There are quite a few stations on the satellite TV but they're all pretty much in Spanish -- don't expect to keep up with your favorite programs while down there. There are a couple of little stores very close to the condo where you can get ice and beer, and a couple of slightly larger stores by the Arches with a decent selection but we only used that for filler; we stopped at Soriana to stock up on breakfast and lunch stuff on our way down from the airport, which worked out great. There's no laundry at Playa Caribe, but there is a wash-n-fold next to one of the stores in town which was very convenient -- after doing a horse-riding excursion, we all needed to wash our "going home" jeans. Dropped them off at 8 am and got them back by 6 pm that day (closed on Sundays), very reasonable prices.

We definitely plan on going back next year -- we've been traveling down to the Riviera Maya every year now for 7 years and our stay at Playa Caribe turned out to the be the best trip we've had so far.

Room Tip: Upper floors a must for best views. Units away from the pool (north side - 4, 7, 10) probably quiet...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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2 Thank Fleethecold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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English first
Brigantine, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2014

We stayed In unit 4 from January 27, 2014 to February 4th and it was wonderful from the time we step foot in until the last minute we were there. The location is great you can walk anywhere, but going with my brother and sister in law who don't like to walk we rented a golf cart, I must say it was good especially if you had a little to much to drink. Our second night there the air did not work so Augusta gave us another key to another unit til they could fix it the next day, we declined and it was fine. When we got there patties was cleaning our unit so we just put our cold food away so we could let her finish her work. No matter what you needed patties and agusta were there to help you. The unit was spotless and the view was beautiful . We cooked breakfast every morning and we did lunch at the beach. If you have never been to this area bring water shoes it is rocky, but we just drove our golfcart to the local beach, great snorkeling many turtles,stingrays. I can't say enough about the unit will def go back, actually akumal is our favorite place, but they are building a secrets resort on the best beach so I'm not sure how that is going to be me personally I'm not happy. I hope this helps when trying to find a place to stay

  • Stayed January 2014
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Helpful?
Thank Ssooy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2014

Our third time staying at these beautiful condos. Staff onsite...wonderful and accommodating. Condos.. gorgeous and clean. Beach nice.... very tough water entry. My sister bruised her knee badly. Tile throughout condo is very slippery when wet. I took a terrible tumble and strained a toe very badly. It's still sore and swollen.
Our second time staying for 10 days the internet was down the entire time. Gave it another try this year as we were told the issues were all resolved. Booked two weeks. HOWEVER.... Unless you run down to the office to ask Augustin to reboot it sometimes several times a day... nothing. First ten days... nothing after 6pm till he got back to work in the am. We even offered to reboot it when he'd go home. Last few days it was okay.... however when we left today.. it was down again. No response when I emailed the property manager and a response from the condo owner one week later. For some people no internet is not a big deal. For me.. because I run my business in the evenings off it as did one of our friends it's a clincher not to stay again. Kudos to Augustin in the office for his unending patience with the problem.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jane01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pabloxdiaz, Gerente at Playa Caribe, responded to this review, 4 February 2014
I extend my apologies for not been able to restore the service sooner. The hot spot components come directly from the United States. We replaced the faulty part as soon as we got it and now we keep a spare one in stock.

Should you give us another chance, I´m sure our reservations department can offer you something special to compensate you for your trouble.

Best regards

Pablo Diaz
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
69 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed in Unit 8 for 2 weeks, Jan 18-Feb 1. We were 2 couples and this unit was spacious enough for us to feel comfortable and uncrowded. It was very well laid out and the bedrooms and bathrooms were a very nice size. We loved the sunken showers and the small decks off of each bedroom. One bedroom has a king bed and tv, and one bedroom has a small fridge and couch, with a queen bed. The main living/kitchen area was nice and workable. The couch was adequate for a couple of people and the counter had 3 chairs, as well as the kitchen table, which had seating for 4. Lots of dishes, cookware and utensils for use in the kitchen half of the room, with plenty of counter space. The blender was great to have as well.
Not having to worry about the drinking water for ice, or washing produce, even brushing our teeth was great. Really liked that feature. The satellite tv was fine but was out for 3 days. No biggie. Wifi worked great when it worked, which was often, but would mysteriously go off at certain times of day, no pattern. It always came back on eventually.
The view from the main deck in the living area was breathtaking. All 3 decks faced the ocean. We didn't miss one sunrise. And yes, we saw turtles from our deck! Such a wonderful place to kick back with a blended drink and watch the sailboats go by. It was very spacious.
Our housekeeper, Patricia, was super kind and very thorough! She looked after us so well and the rooms were cleaned and tidied up everyday.
After 2 weeks, we were taking the stairs better, but it's a long way up when you are obviously horribly out of shape! The view was worth the climb. If you keep going up, the rooftop offered incredible views as well.
At no time did we feel unsafe, or worry about anything here. There is security on site, and a high police presence in the area. We ( on the 3rd floor, mind you) slept with patio doors open to hear the pounding surf.
The condo is in a great spot, about halfway between the arches of Akumal and Yal Ku Lagoon. Just a short walk from La Buena Vida, a beach bar and restaurant. It was a 20 minute or so walk into town and we usually went in every day for one reason or another. It's across the street from a tiny grocery and a yummy little restaurant. And of course Half Moon Bay, which the condo is situated on, has excellent snorkeling. You MUST have water shoes here. We saw turtles, rays, eels and many different kinds of fish. Excellent coral formations to explore! A little lacking in colour, but beautiful nonetheless. It was rough most times we went out but we are experienced swimmers and exercised caution. I would be cautious to recommend a beginner start there, and suggest the calmer waters of Akumal Bay or Yal Ku instead.
We had great days at Yal Ku, PDC, Tulum and the beautiful Paraiso Beach, and a fantastic day at Xpu-Ha Beach. It was the prettiest beach I've ever seen.
The beach at the condo was...a beach. A small one, impossible to enter the water without putting on shoes, uneven for walking. Certainly adequate for all things beachy, but a far cry from any of the others I've mentioned. Perhaps that's a good thing, it will always remain quiet, and personal.
Would I stay here again? Probably not. I truly missed that 'beautiful beach' experience but I loved everything else about this sweet little condo. I knew about the beach going in and was in no way disappointed.
One more word about the service here. One afternoon, after arriving back at the room, the AC wasn't working. I went to the office, and the nice man there said he was calling the repairman for us, but he wouldn't be able to come until the next day. He promptly passed me the keys to another room and asked us to please sleep in there for the night if we liked, to stay cool. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open from shock, I was not expecting that. We checked the room out and it was beautifully decorated with a different, but equally neat layout. As it turned out, the night had a lovely breeze and we didn't feel the need to leave our room, but it sure was nice to have the option.
All in all, a wonderfully restful vacation spot!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Michelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
168 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2014 via mobile

I'm slightly prejudiced as far as Akumal is concerned - our 21st visit to this slice of heaven and now that we're retired, our visits are longer ( 3 weeks this time and next year 4). Playa Caribe has several advantages above the rest: drinkable water, great cleaning services everyday, nice beach, spacious condo VERY well supplied with cooking utensils, balcony which showcases sunrises and moonrises. And location is perfect for la Lunita restaurant, Buena Vida, que Onda restaurant, walkable to Akumal bay and LolHa. Snorkeling on half moon bay is amazing - but wait for a calm day.
We fall asleep to the sound of the surf-and look forward to the sun embracing us! Anyway- you won't regret staying here!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Ronnjonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2013

We booked #11 for four nights. This condo is very well kitted out incl blender, cocktail glasses - everything you need. There is a small supermarket across the street for beer and milk etc - 25 metre walk and very convenient. The beach is quiet compared to Akumal bay but requires some confidence to swim here. Stay here with confidence.

Room Tip: # 5, 8 and 11 have the best views, 3 balconies and are directly above each other. #11 requires climb...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank tonyandirene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duvall, Washington
Level Contributor
138 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2013

While I know most places on this coast of the Yucatan boast the friendliest staff and great this and the best that, This place is it! Walking distance to several great restaurants, Turtles right out your front door. Great people! almost too nice. We're coming back May of 2014 and again, and again.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jimandsusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Playa Caribe

Property: Playa Caribe
Address: Lote 34 | Half Moon Bay, Akumal, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Akumal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Caribe consists of twelve 2 bedroom condos and 3 studios. Generally regarded as the best on Halfmoon Bay. We have the only water treatment (RO) system that allows you to use and drink the water safely just like home. We have a pool and are centrally located to all that the Akumal area has to offer. Some of the best snorkeling is right off our beach. You will see turtles all year round right from our patio. Hope to see you soon in paradise. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Playa Caribe Hotel Akumal
Playa Caribe Riviera Maya, Mexico - Akumal

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