Old Reviews – Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa

  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa (Select Club)   Terry ~ Ottawa

March 2009

Arrival: March 7 – 14
Travelled with Go Travel Direct / Sky Service, departing Ottawa at 6:00 AM. Arrived at Cancun airport and cleared Immigration with no problems. At Customs, they ask you to push a button (I thought it was for a picture – it didn’t say!). There’s a light on top – if its green you go straight through – if its red, they hand search your hand baggage. Once you clear Customs, proceed straight through the airport, following the signs for the taxis and buses. Ignore the folks wearing blue shirts inside the airport – they’ll try to send you to a counter of them on the pretext of directing you to your bus – however they are actually trying to talk you into attending a timeshare sales pitch. When you exit the terminal, look for someone holding a sign with your charter company’s name on it (ie: Sunwing, Go Travel, etc.). Porters will collect your bags at this point and take them to the bus (they expect a tip – I flipped them a buck US). There’s a bar just outside the airport on your left so if there’s time you can grab a beer – not cheap though – we paid $6 US each for a Bud Light! Likely the domestic brands are cheaper. Travel time to the resort was approximately 20 minutes. Not sure whether it was because we had the Select Club or just with Go Travel, but Rachel (One of the two Go Travel’s reps at the resort) checked us in on the bus trip, handing out our room keys and wrist bands. This was great as check-in time isn’t until 3:00 PM, so when we arrived at the resort we just left our bags in the lobby, changed into our swim suits and hit the beach.

Rooms
The rooms were clean and comfortable, and quiet at night. Our building number was 68, fairly close to the lobby area. It had a small balcony with only room for a small table and two chairs. Came with coffee pot, stocked bar fridge, iron & ironing board, satellite TV, 4 bottles of booze (Tequila, Brandy, Vodka & Champagne), hair dryer, etc. Our room had two double beds – our travelling companions had a King bed and a couch (daybed). Power to the room is supplied when you put your door card in the receptacle by the door. Of course, unless you get another card at the desk and leave it in all the time, the power to the fridge goes off when the card is removed… Service was excellent, always cleaned and restocked daily – generally a different towel animal each day. We left 2$ US and a small bag od dollar store items each day for the maid – she did a great job.

Restaurants and Bars The resort has lots of choices for both buffets and restaurants. I liked the way reservations were made – we lined up the second day at around 7:00 AM and made reservations at all of the restaurants for the week. The Steak House is the only restaurant you have to reserve the day of. We tried them all, and enjoyed all except the Brazilian – probably because we all find it a very heavy meal with all the meat. Also, this was the only restaurant where we were bothered by mosquitos – we never saw any anywhere else on the resort. If you go here, use mosquito repellant. Wait staff were attentive, although at most restaurants we felt a little rushed – this because they have several sittings so must get the guests in and out before the next round. Oh, if you like wine with your meals, the stuff they serve is horrible. Do yourselves a favor and go into town and buy some decent stuff. They don’t mind if you bring your wine to a meal. If you buy what they offer on their wine menu (reasonable price for a restaurant), get a chiller bucket for the reds as its served at air temperature (around 80 degrees), and way to warm for drinking. They will charge wine you buy to your room, so you don’t need any cash.

My most favorite spot was the coffee bar, located behind the Mexican restaurant. They have a menu of flaming coffees (Spanish, Mayan, etc.) and a nice lounge atmosphere. Once we found it, we went there every night after dinner.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Immaculately clean resort. My wife saw one cigarette butt on the beach – this was the only garbage we saw. The beach was washed out a few years ago but they have been rebuilding. Overall I’d rate it acceptable. They do have breakers built out in the water, so there is a fairly good area where you don’t have to worry about the waves. There’s some rocks so you might want to wear water shoes. If you go out to the breakers (shore side) you’ll ofter see schools of tropical fish. Also we saw a couple of Pelicans that are quite tame and you can get quite close to them. You can walk a long distance along the beach either direction. The pools were good – some maintenance needed in some areas (loose/missing tiles) but nothing really negative to say about them. The main pool is where the young (or those who think they are) hang out – usually busy & noisy. The others were quiet and never had a problem at any time of day finding seats available (ditto for the beach).

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t take any tours, but did go into Playa del Carmen and also went to Cozumel. $20US for a return trip by ferry (air conditioned)- about 30 minutes each way. Did some shopping in Cozumel, bought some tequila at a tequilera and had lunch at a restaurant recommended by the store owner (good food).

Other Comments
TIPS – staff at the resort do not expect tips. We did tip the servers at the beach when we were able, and ocassionally the bartenders, but often they were gone onto the next customer as they never hung around or expected one.

SHOPPING – Most places expect Mexican Pesos – I’d suggest taking Pesos instead of American Dollars. Watch the exchange rate so you don’t get ripped off. There are lots of exchange places in town. 5th Avenus is the main shopping street in Playa, closed off to vehicles (except intersections). You can get there 10$ US one way by taxi, or the resort has a free shuttle, limited space. If you want to buy some tequila to bring back, go into town and goto the MEGA Store (north from 5th Avenue on Constituyentes Avenue about 6 blocks or so on the left). They have a good liquor section there with good prices and if you don’t know one tequila from another, the man in the liquor section will give you a crash course in what to look for and help you select an appropriate one. Note if you go in the store and have any bags, they need to be checked before you go in. They also have a good exchange rate if you’re travelling with American dollars.

SELECT CLUB EXTRAS – Private pool, robes & slippers, fruit platter in room, room service, private restaurant for breakfast, lunch (which was a la carte), internet access at the internet cafe. STAFF – courteous and efficient but not outgoing in general. Not sure whether this was by training (ie: don’t mingle with the guests) or just their way.

COMMUNICATIONS – My Bell cell phone did not work here – I had service, but couldn’t make or receive calls. Fortunately we had internet service so was able to communicate back home via the internet.

RATING – most places give this resort a 4 or 4.5 rating. I would rate it 4.5 – 5 star. A good size – spread out enough that it never seemed crowded with an excellent food variety, lots of pools and places to explore, and very clean.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Janna ~ Winnipeg

March 2009

Arrival: March 10 – 17
Excellent! No problems with Skyservice or check-in.

Rooms
Very clean. The only negative here was the beds were SUPER hard! By day three we ended up buying some Robaxacet in the Gift Shop for our stiff and sore backs. Also, getting hot water in the shower was hit and miss. We had to let the shower run for a least 10 minutes to get hot water, and then it would go from hot to cold….We had two different rooms during our stay. The first room was an adjoining room (we were traveling as a couple, not as part of a group) the neighbours sounded like they were in the room with us! The front desk called to see how we liked our room. We mentioned it was noisy, so they offered to move us the next day. The new room was better noise-wise but I suspect it was largely to do with neighbours themselves, as this room was also adjoining! Next time, I think I would spend the money and get a Junior Suite, or do the Select Club.

Restaurants and Bars
Awesome! Lots of food, lots of choices, great staff!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was nice, I liked the artificial bulkheads! It made a nice calm section in front of the resort, AND it was a lot of fun to play on and over them.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went on the Tulum/Xel-ha combo. Both excellent venues. We had a blast. It might be too long a day for anyone with young kids. You are gone for about 12 hours, and it is a lot of sitting on the bus. Dropping people off at other resorts along the way gets a bit tedious, however, if you have good sports in your group, it is well worth it. Next time, I think I would bring a second bathing suit or a change of clothes so I don’t have to be in a wet suit all day!

Other Comments Overall, great destination. It was perfect for the two of us, but it would be a great place for a big group or family. There are enough things going on that you could do your own thing if you wanted. Mayan can’t be beat if you are into Excursions too….there are SO many things to do! We plan to go back next year!

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Kelly ~ Toronto

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 19 – 26 Our flight with Skyservice out of Toronto was a hour late departing, they said it was because of ice on the tarmac but the other Skyservice flight leaving to Cancun scheduled to depart at the same time, left on time…hmmmm. I will admit it was pretty icy…but the GTAA is pretty good at ensuring this is taken care of. Arrival at Cancun airport was very organized and fast. The last time I was through Cancun Airport it was painfully slow waiting to clear customs no problems at all. In fact they’ve done a awesome job of redoing the terminal and its up to date and very modern…felt like I was at Pearson.

After a 45 minute drive to the resort we were escorted to the theatre were a staff member who spoke no english put our braclets on, handed us our packages and room keys and we were on our way. For those who signed up for the Sandos Club 4U…forget it, upgrades etc were not even an option. We did however get rooms in the 20th block…closest to the beach, pools and everything…perfect location…call ahead and request. See the maps posted on this site for building locations.

Rooms
Rooms are pretty basic, mini bar, safe, lots of towels. No dresser tho to put your clothes. Just a closet…lots of hangers though. The balcony is something to be desired…you can’t even sit out on these things…I’m not sure you can really call it a balcony. It barely fit the two little chairs provided on it. Bathroom..Took a long time to get hot water in the shower. Would turn it on and wait at least 5 minutes before it would get warm. Bed was hard but we found it just fine and had no problems sleeping. In fact we slept incredibly well.

Restaurants and Bars
Lots of restaurants to choose from but very difficult to get a reservation at the a la cartes. If you weren’t down at the main lobby by 7am to book you didn’t get one. We got a reservation at the Brazilian in the Select Club..this is the only thing that you can use at the select club. The main buffet had the usual breakfast fare, lunch…burgers on the beach were amazing. Main buffet at night seemed to serve the same thing night after night. We did eat once at the Mexican and Italian buffets…they were pretty good too. Heard from other people that the steak restarant was good but we never were able to get a reservation. The 24 hour bar/snack was a good place for a late lunch as well…they just have snacks like nachos, pizza, ice cream, burgers and hotdogs. Bars…tons of them, lots of places to get a drink…and drinks were strong!! The draft beer (apparently its Dos Equis??) was something to be desired the beer in your room (cans of Dos Equis and Sol) were a better choice. We tipped the guy stocking the bar daily and he provided us with lots of beer and bottle water daily. Margartias were not the greatest and I attibute this to the tequila they used. Other than that the drinks were plentiful and very tasty. Oh ya they set up a bar on the beach every day with a "Drink of the day" these were always good…and strong…!

Beach/Pools/Grounds Beach…well has definitely suffered from years of erosion. The "Humpedback Whales" (aka Sandbags) in the water to stop the erosion actually inhibit the water from being circulated and clear. There were rocky areas but you just watch where you are walking and the further you got out the sandbags the better it was. Pools were freezing cold…there are 4 pools plus the Spa pool. The main pool you had to get a towel on the chairs by 5:30am otherwise you would never get a seat. It was always very busy. The pool near building 24 was a adults only quiet pool and had a bar only, but strangely enough no washroom facilities…hmmm The pool near building 29 had a swim up bar and very nice clean washrooms. The select club pool you can’t use unless your in the select club…and personally the location of the select club is so far from anything not sure why anyone would want to be there anyway. Its at least a 15 minute walk to the beach and is back by the main driveway were all the buses arrive/depart. To each his own I guess. The Spa pool was probably the coldest of all of them…including the jacuzzis built in. But if you go behind the spa there is a hot jacuzzi, steam rooms, saunas etc.

The grounds are very nice, lots of cenotes with fish and turtles. Really interesting place…all these walk ways and different ways around the resort. We found there were mosquitos in the evening mostly near the "Piano" bar probably because its right beside a cenote and pond…breeding ground for mosquitos.

Other Comments
All in all nice resort, wouldn’t go back to this resort and probably wouldn’t recommend it. (Still Love Playa Del Carmen tho) Not to say the resort wasn’t nice…but its really pushing to be called a 4-star…maybe a 3-star plus. My experience has been with the Rius, Barcelos and Iberostars so maybe I’m biased but the beach not being the greatest and the rooms just ok, bring it down a few notches. The food was good and plentiful but not a lot of variety…meaning it really didn’t change from day to day. No theme nights..actually they had a French theme night in the main buffet the only thing french we saw was profiteroles in the dessert bar. The food was exactly the same as it was the night before. Oh ya they served sangria on french night..HUH???

Oh ya one last thing…we found out on one of our last days that we had full access to the Sandos Playacar…had we known this we would have gone there during the day. Its apparently much nicer etc than the Caracol. Oh well you get what you paid for and your vacation is what you make of it….and yes we all still had a fabulous holiday… and will be going back again to Playa Del Carmen just not the Caracol.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   

March 2009

We stayed in this resort (on the Select club side) from Feb. 14 to 28. We really enjoyed our stay, our room, the food, the bars, the service were all great. (The service in this resort whether in restaurants, lobbies, bars etc… is better than any other resort we have been to in the last years; better than Cuba and the Dominican).

The beaches in this area (we walked 1 hour south to Playa del Carmen and 30 minutes north) is very rocky (coral) in some areas but nonetheless, the water is aqua blue, clear and beautiful and there are parts of the beach where when you walk in the ocean that is all you have, soft white sand. As mentioned in other reviews, in front of the Sandos there are big sand bags (breakwater) approx. 50-75 feet from shore and these do nothing aesthetically to the beach of this resort, however there are areas that are very nice to swim in and we were there 2 weeks and had no problems. I suggest bringing water shoes or crocks for those who are afraid of stepping on rocks – especially if you want to swim beyond the sand bags (nice waves).

Overall, as far as the resort goes we do not have much to add that has not already been said. It is a large, clean, beautiful and well maintained by the staff. Our stay was perfect except for ONE MAJOR PROBLEM. Money was stolen from our safe a couple of days before we left. We realised this when we emptied our safe before checkout. They took all the US cash from my husband’s wallet. Nothing else was taken (thank God). All our papers, our passports, credit cards were still there. It was not a huge sum of money but regardless, we reported this to Guest Services. They told us this had NEVER happened before (whatever!) and asked us to fill out a report which we did. A security guard brought us back to the room to check god knows what and then we heard nothing. They did not seem to care; they knew we were leaving in a few hours. So, once again beware and have a nice and safe trip.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Andrew ~ USA, New Mexico

March 2009

Arrival: February 10 – 15
Our arrival was a late one. When we got in we were told that our room was not ready and they were going to switch us rooms they told us to get something to eat first and it would be ready. The way the hotel worked and what was included was not explained well at all.

Rooms
The very first room was not nice at all it had not been cleaned well and was dirty in some spots and left alot to be desired. However our next room the following day was a very nice one when they swicthed us.

Restaurants and Bars
The food was nice it was hit and miss though. Still trying to figure out how anyone can make a bad cheese cake???

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools where very nice and the gounds well kept, and the beach was nice too but we enjoyed all the animals around us.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Went to see the mayan temples in my option it is a must see!!

Other Comments I was very up set with the spa the jacuzzi were not hot and one was ice cold at night. Then when we went into the steam room I was burnt badly. they control is high up and over a seated bench So you have no idea you are standing also right in front of the steam outlet. There is no warning and the steam comes out strong and it was a very scary thing for my little girl to see happen.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Jean ~ Toronto , Canada

February 2009

Arrival: Feb 1st 2009 – Feb 8th
Flight landed on time,be careful not to stop and ask anyone especially with blue shirts on they try to suck you in for timeshare.

Rooms:
Rooms were awesome, kept very clean nice and bright.

Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants and Bars were truly great although my husband and I really enjoyed the Laguna restaurant for pretty much all of our meals. They were outsstanding.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pools were kept very clean, beach had lots of chairs so you never had to worry about finding something to sit or lay on. Eveyday you could see the maintenance team working on the grounds.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t partipate in the activities on the resort there was many. We did the F1 and ATV tour totally worth every penny, Did the evening in Cancun with our Signature Rep at COCO Bongo Awesome (owned by Jim Carrey)and the last night there we did the Captain Hook boat tour ( Pirate Ship) they put on a fantastic show and the steak and lobster dinner was outstanding.

Other Comments: I have to admit I was nervous at first about going to MExico as you hear so many stories. Well I would definately recommend this trip as we both felt so safe and secure.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Lynn ~ Manitoba

February 2009

Arrival:
Arrival was quick and efficient. Only issue, we felt as if we were handed over to the staff that were interested in selling spots in the hotel.

Rooms:
We were given the newer rooms which were very clean. Only down fall is that they are very far from the beach and food areas. After a few days of alot of walking, we requested to be moved closer and front desk staff did. They were very good for any requests.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was good at the three buffet’s. Always found something good to eat. managed to get into the a la cartes, good food, but fill up fast.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach was wonderful. alot of chairs. Water area, yes coral, but we always made it out without hurting the feet. The sand bag burms we liked as it kept the waves at bay. if you want the waves, a few feet in either direction you will find.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The main pool area always seemed to have something going on. We didn’t get there much as our room was quite a distance away and chairs are booked quite early. Other two pools were good, more quite tho.

Other Comments: Would recommend and return to this resort. We did not mind the walking as it was great exercise. Staff were always very good and accommodating. Grounds were kept very clean. One small issue in our room, and within minutes front desk had someone there to look at it. impressed. All in all we enjoyed ourselves.

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  Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa   Shelley ~ Ontario, Canada

January 2009

Arrival: Jan 9 -16
We flew into the cancun airport and our flight was on time. We were through the airport and loaded into our shuttle van baggage and all in 20 minutes. The resort is a 40 minute drive with one stop to drop off people at another resort. When we got to the resort,check in was prompt and courteous. All the front desk staff are very friendly and speak very good english. The bell boys were great, and insisted on loading our luggage into our little golf cart shuttle to our room. We were not to lift a finger and were taken to our room immediately.

Rooms:
Our room was fabulous. Very clean and we were close to the beach as requested. There was lots of towels, bath mats, hand towels. A few people were complaining about no face cloths but so what! Bring your own or use a hand towel. Our mini bar was stocked daily and there were a few days we even turned them away because we were still full from the day before. The maids are great, we returned to a well stocked and very clean room daily. Nothing was touched or tampered with. Anything we requested was delivered immediately, extra pillows etc…

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants were great and worthy of a five star resort. We ate at the Brazilian, Japanese and Seafood and all were excellent. The buffet restaurants were very good as well. The food was always fresh and lots of variety. We chose to eat breakfast at the Mexican restaurant a few mornings because you were able to sit outside on the deck which is surrounded by the mangrove jungle and alot of exotic birds are everywhere. It’s very pretty.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: We were at this same resort last year and can not believe the work that has been done in a year. The beach last year was rocky and almost non existant because of hurricane’s but it is great now. The resort has a large section of beach with everything for everyone. If you want a quiet day to read a book, soak in the sun etc go to either end of the beach the central part always has something going on.

The pools are great, the main pool is busy with activities all day and seems to be a favorite for families with young children, the adult only pool is very nice and is a quite tranquil place to spend the day. If there is a party happening it seems to be at the swim up bar pool.
The gardens and grounds of this resort are absoutley stunning and very vell maintained.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Xel-ha is a must. The snorkelling is great. Xcaret is a must for their night show but a long day for families with young children. Playa del Carmen is great for a day of shopping, there is a shuttle bus for free or a cab will cost you $10.00 canadian one way

Other Comments: My husband and I have been travelling for 10 years now and we have never gone to the same resort twice because we felt there was too much to see and experience but we returned to Sandos again because we knew it was a clean ,safe resort that we could stay at while doing the rest of the things we wanted to do last year and ran out of time….However, the changes this resort has made in a year is amazing. This is fast becoming the most unique resort in the Mayan Riveria. It is a 5 star plus…It is becoming the most unique, beautiful and enviromentaly responsible resort in the Mayan Riveria. The resort is located in the heart of the Mayan Riveria and it’s location is perfect, close to everything and yet the resort itself is a tourist must see, that you don’t want to leave. The wildlife and various animals that live at the resort as well are great. It is a beautiful resort that is everything you are hoping for. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions! We highly recommend this resort to anyone, or a family

asroy@kos.net

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   John ~ Midhurst, Ontario, Canada

January 2009

Arrival: Dec 26/08 to Jan 2/09
Dec 2008 All went very smoothly. We were a group of 8 and the check-in was efficient and easy.

Rooms:
Our room was spacious and very clean. We had about a 5-10 minute walk to the beach because the resort is quite big..BUT.. the walk was beautiful and easy and not bothersome at all.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was excellent, the bars numerous, convenient, and fairly busy. We enjoyed the a la carte restaurants, especially the Mediterrainian, where we had a wonderful meal and a good laugh with the staff.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds, pools etc are incredibly well maintained. The staff are friendly and unobtrusively, hard working. Get to the beach early to put a towel or book on a set of chairs, they fill quickly.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Members of our group went parasailing and had a great time. I have done a fair bit of snorkelling and was disappointed with the snorkelling excursion, but others enjoyed it. Beach volleyball available everyday, allday. We also went on a day excursion to the ruins at Coba. It is not only the highest pyramid in the area but the only one you can climb. The day also included a zipline(fun), kayaking in a lagoon(so,so) and rapelling into a ceynote(awesome).

Other Comments: We loved this resort, facilities, food, staff, everything. Our only negative experience was hugely delaying traffic jams away from the resort because the military had set up random check points for no purpose that was evident to any of us. In general a great time was had by all.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Debbie ~ Prince Albert

January 2009

Arrival: January 2009
Went relatively smoothly, however we tried to get VIP upgrades with their on-line sign up but with the hotel being full they said they could not upgrade our rooms or allow for a later checkout.

Rooms:
The room was beautiful, air conditioned and clean.

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants and bars were all very good. The food was excellent with 1 uncooked hamburger from the snack bar. The Oriental restaurant was my favorite, the food was so delicious and presentation was fancy.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The workers were busy everyday keeping the grounds looking lush and beautiful. The pool bars were refreshing and the bar tenders were all very friendly, excellent service.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to Playa and did a lot of market shopping as well as going to Costco. We went into Cancun one day and went to Applebee’s restaurant which was a nice change from the mexican food at the resort, excellent food and prices!

Other Comments: Our resort was very nice, the manager at the restaurants was there endlessly everyday trying to ensure everyone was getting good service and food. The hotel was nice but also very busy. People everywhere and you do get a chance to work your butt off trying to get from one end of the resort to the other. We were put as far away from the beach and pools as possible but enjoyed the peacefullness at night time away from the noise. Everyone from bellboys, to maids, bartenders, security was all friendly and helpful. We will definitely like to return to this resort in the future!

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Heather ~ Canada

January 2009

Arrival: December 2008
The bus from the airport takes about 45mins. Ignore anyone who approaches you in the airport saying things like, "Do you need help finding your shuttle?" Your shuttle is very easy to find and will be waiting just outside the door. These people look very official but just want to sell you a timeshare.

Rooms:
Very clean. Had a little trouble with getting the mini bar re-stocked. The upgraded room with the jacuzzi IN the room is not worth it. The tub sits right in the middle of the room and is absolutely HUGE. The rooms with the tub outside, on the balcony looked beautiful.

Restaurants and Bars:
Great food. Lots of choice. Excellent and friendly service.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Grounds were lovely and well maintained. The pool areas were also lovely, especially the Adult Pool except the water did not appear too clean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Rented a small car from Signature vacation representative at the resort for the day – 75USD. Planned a half day at COBA – highly recommended and the other half at TULUM for sunset. Also great.

Went snorkeling with Mayan Adventure tours – excellent and a good deal.

Other Comments: **Lots of families/kids here. **Get up early to secure lounge chairs at ocean and pool. All gone by 8am. **Ocean view obstructed by manmade sandbars – unsightly **Bring water shoes. Ocean floor is very sharp. **This resort is also a timeshare – so you will be approached. Just say no thankyou. Be firm and confident or you will be spending half the day with them. Overall, we (a mid-thirties couple) give the resort a 7/10. It is a nice resort, in a beautiful part of Mexico and is good value for money. It is not a luxury resort…it sits right between being a place to party and a place to relax – it is a little on the noisy side, but you can find one or two spots that are quite calm as well (if you get them early in the morning).

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Jeronimo ~ Spain

December 2008

Arrival:
We took bus from cancun airport -ado bus- to playa del carmen. Paid around 4usd adults and half price children. Bus is confortable and a/c. Much cheaper than those transfer guys (70usd & up). From playa del carmen to sandos caracol took taxi for 100 pesos (10usd)

Rooms:
Great. Took deluxe room w/jacuzzi queen bed plus sofabed for children. Cleaning staff very professional, they do the room everyday. Tip avoid rooms near main pool -beach pool- on weekends in order to avoid noisy people.

Restaurants and Bars:
Great food , great staff working helpful & kind. Regardless if you tip they will receive always with a smile.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pools are the lowest of this resort. You will find pieces of pool cover inside water and may cut your feet/toes. I personally found childrens pool, the one near the beach dangerous for children as they leave aluminium poles rising from water.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Kids club a must. The staff is wonderful with you & your children. They care for them as you will do. Avoid taking tours from hotel. Take free hotel bus to playa del carmen and compare prices. Same for car hire.

Other Comments: All in all place is value for the money. Avoid timesharing sales people, just say "no thanks". Enjoy your vacation in sandos you will not be dissapointed.

jeronimov@yahoo.com

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Carly ~ Toronto, Ontario

August 2008

Arrival and Flight : The flight was really good on the way there and on the way back. When I first got there, the vacation company i was with (Signature vacations) we’re waiting right outside the airport to take us on the bus, to get to the resort. It was very well organized and everyone was very friendly.

Rooms : The rooms we’re very nice, and well organized. We stayed in a deluxe room, so we had an amazing jacuzzi. Very nice to kick back and relax in. The cleaners we’re very friendly and did a very nice job cleaning the rooms every morning.

Restaurants : All the restaurants we’re amazing. The two favourite of mine we’re the italian restaurant and the steakhouse. The italian restaurant was no nice, and had amazing food, very delicious.And the steakhouse, was really really good. The steak was amazing, best steak I;ve had in a while.

Bars : The bars we’re very very good. Hahaha, the servers we’re cool, and they took care of you if you had a little too much to drink.

Beach and Pools : Oh man, the beaches we’re amazing. Words can’t describe how beautiful it is. The ocean was soo nice, and there are these sandbars that you can swim out to, and just lay there or sit there and look out at the beautiful ocean. The pools we;re really nice too, with all the cool swim up bars.. it seemed like everyone really enjoyed those. The kids did too, because they can swim up and get a drink of water, or juice, or pop, and go swim off with their friends. Just si nice, and amazingly beautiful.

Grounds : The grounds are so clean and so beautiful. You see workers sweeping the concrete and just trying to make everything look that much better. It was so nice. The jungle is so nice to wake up and look at every morning. And you feel like your so safe there, it’s amazing.

Activities and Entertainment : The activites at night and during the day we’re so nice and entertaining. They have sooo many amazing things for you to do during the day like : parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, hennah tatoos, paddle boating, kids club. And at night they had different entertainment every night. My favourite was the Beach party, that happens every saturday. They also had a Miss Sandos competiton, which was reallyfun and cool. They have live entertainment, like a Micheal Jakcson interpretor. Very nice.

Tours : I didn’t go on many tours, but the one that i did go on was amazing. Some friends and I took a rental car to a place where we went ATV-ing through the jungle, and that was crazy. Then, we stopped at a real Mayan village, and saw how the families lived there, and they cooked us one of their meals. After, we went snorkeling in an underground bat cave, and the water that we snorkled in was so beautiful and so clear, and the bats didn’t bother anyone at all.

Departure and Check Out : The departure and check was really quick and really well organised. It was very sad also, because we really didn;t want to leave.

Conclusion : I strongly recommend this resort. It’s absolutely breath taking, and I had the best time of my life. I’ve been on many vacations, and been to many resorts, and this one, was by far the best. Everyone is soo friendly that works there, and they keep you in good shape. Everything is just so amazing. If you want to have the time of your life, i highly stress that you go to this resort. Just, simply amazing.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Laura ~ Austin, Texas

June 2008

Arrival and Flight: We flew Continental Airlines and we very happy with their service. The one *huge* drawback to our trip was that our flight going home left Cancun at 7:00 a.m., meaning that we had to get to the airport by 5:00 a.m. Factor in the forty-five minute ride from Sandos Caracol to the Cancun airport and it works out to a very, very early morning…

Rooms: We got a non-smoking room with two double beds. The front desk clerk asked us, when we checked in, if we wanted to be close to the beach and pool, and we said yes. She said we were so lucky to get the room we got – she mentioned that it was in an incredible location. So, yes, it was a fairly quick walk to the beach and pool, but it overlooked a dirt alley that was filled with empty trash bins. Not so lovely.

Restaurants: The restaurants were fine – there was a broad selection of food at the buffets though, after being at the resort for a few days, one tends to notice that the same entrees are offered over and over. That’s fine, really, though the entrees themselves are fairly bland, to account for varying tastes, I guess. The waitstaff, however, were extremely friendly and attentive. Without fail, the restaurant employees were excellent.

Bars: The bars were fine – quick and friendly service.

Beach and Pools: The beach was great; know ahead of time, in case it offends you, that the crowd is mostly European and so many women are topless. The beach chairs are comfortable and the beach is kept really clean. I can’t say the same for the pools…they seemed (and felt) a little slimy and, as other reviewers have reported, I saw someone cut his foot on a loose tile. We stayed on the beach to avoid what seemed like dirty and slightly dangerous pools.

Grounds: The grounds are really beautiful and will be especially enjoyed by those who haven’t been to this part of the world before. The resort is really beautifully done.

Activities and Entertainment: We had a great time painting items (a frame and a vase) to take home. Besides that, we didn’t take part in activities. I did use the workout room once and found it to be clean and modern.

Tours: We elected not to do any tours this trip, as we had already been to the tour destinations on previous trips.

Departure and Check Out: Check out was quick and accurate.

Conclusion: The all-inclusive part of the resort is very handy, and enables you to enjoy the beach and sun without worrying about where your next meal will come from. Free bar is great, though of course there are always a few people who drink too much and then assault your ears (or that of your children) with their profanities. For families, I suggest going early in the week and leaving on Saturday – we saw a marked difference in the type of people that arrived over the weekend, and because we had our young daughter with us, the drunkenness and profanities were bothersome.

I was surprised at the number of sales pitches going on – the pitches appeared to be for day tours and for buying time shares at the resort. We managed to not have to suffer through one, though we were told that we had to in order to get our shuttle bus for our return trip to the airport signed. That was a HUGE turnoff, since we had already paid for that shuttle transfer and most certainly shouldn’t be subjected to a sales pitch for something for which we had already paid. That was annoying but is the fault of our tour service (CheapCaribbean.com) rather than of the Sandos Caracol.

Overall, the resort is pretty and the rooms are clean (great maid service); the activities seem well-organized; the restaurants provide plenty of food with excellent service; the beach is great (but the pools are not).

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Andrew ~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 2008

Arrival and Flight
YYZ, VIA ATL, Delta Airlines/Return: Air Transat Via CUN.

Rooms
Always spend the money for a DELUXE OCEAN FRONT ROOM. I always get it here….ALWAYS! Jacuzzi, large balcony, ocean view, big washroom, king bed and huge living quarters…literraly, you can live in there.

Restaurants
I don’t like the buffet, to water downed as all are. I only eat the a la carte. Since was only staying for 4 days, I only get 1 reservation. But I just show up at the times and hope there is room (always no shows).

Bars
Seen them all, drank at em all, partied to hard at them all. The best one is the 24 hr one…the poolside bar is bad. The resort seems to have left this one out. The beach bar is much better.

Beach and Pools
Beach is much better shape then it was a few months back. They are trying to remake the beach into what it was a few years ago before the hurricanes….still a little rocky at some spots, but more sand means easier access and much more comfort in the water. (feed the fish out at the black sand bag bunkers). The pools are all right, but the kid areas smells alot like some extract water (if you know what I mean).

Grounds
Well kept. Alot of lizards and animal life around. I saw two tucans, 6 iguanas, and i partied so hard one night I saw racoons come out from the bushes…AWSOME. At that same time I was feeding a stray cat. There is also turtles and large tarpon in the lagoons…great site. Also, when I was leaving it was a full moon so the large crabs were coming out, as they are drawn to the gravity of the moon.

Activities and Entertainment
Lots to do, more then enough fun.

Tours
Snorkeling, dolphins and whale sharks are the best one!

Departure and Check Out
left may 24th, check out was easy.

Conclusion I got some ***** that gave me attitude by the pool (the towel guy). I just gave him a piece of my mind. I don’t have ANY or no respect for individuals who want to hassel and harrass me for a towel and ruin a great vacation. So I spoke with the resort manager and made sure this guy was talked to. Never had a problem again. I paid my money, I get my service, I leave with a smile, I come back again.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Patty and Kevin ~ Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

May 2008

Arrival and Flight – Our flight left on time from Saskatoon. The Skyservices crew for the flight down were all really nice except for two. One of the male attendants was just plain rude and head flight attendant was….well, she was a bit of a snob. Once we arrived in Cancun we were overwhelmed with people trying to get us into time shares. That was a turn off for sure. The tour guide on our bus to the resort was hilarious and really made everyone feel welcome to the country. Upon arrival at the resort, we were treated like gold.

Rooms – Our room was a typical hotel room but the hotel cleaning staff really knew how to jazz the place up. The towels were folded like animals and the pillows and blankets on the bed were always set in cool designs every morning. The cleaning staff did an amazing job and they deserve a raise. The staff restocked the mini bar with the drinks we wanted every second day which was really nice.

Restaurants – We were really impressed with International Buffet Restaurant, Mexican Restaurant, Chinese/Japanese Restaurant and the Steak House. The choices of food each day was wonderful. If you couldn’t find anything you liked, you were too picky. Breakfast, dinner and supper, there was always something wonderful to please your taste buds. The restaurant staff were really nice and the servers were attentive and polite. The Italian and Mediterranean were pretty good but were not as good as the others.

Bars – Having 11 bars at the resort was terrific. We could grab a drink and go for a walk. By the time you were done your drink, you were at another bar. It doesn’t get any better than that. All the bartenders were really nice and loved to joke around with the guests. The Coffee Bar was terrific. Love the Spanish coffee!!!!!!!!! Our favorite bar was the Piano Bar. Very relaxing and inviting place.

Beach and Pools – The beach isn’t that great for swimming but you had lots of spots to lay and soak up the sun. We preferred the main pool. It was clean and full of activity. They worked hard while we were there anyway, to ensure the pools, decks and washrooms were kept clean and presentable.

Grounds – The entire resort was absolutely beautiful! The lighting, the trees, the flowers, the statues, rocks and fountains were well kept and really made the walks around the resort a pleasure. We could tell that the ground keepers worked really hard to keep the resort looking natural and beautiful. All the wildlife on the grounds was totally cool. Iguanas, geckos, raccoons, different types of birds and fish and turtles in the waters gave it a real natural feel.

Activities and Entertainment – We attended most of the evening entertainment. We enjoyed the entertainment very much. The performances were professionally done and you could tell that the performers really enjoy entertaining the guests. We didn’t partake in any other activates but they looked like fun.

Tours – We did the Underwater World tour, Xel-Ha and the Captain Hook night. I would highly recommend these to everyone. At the Underwater World we swam with the giant sea turtles, sting rays, tons of really colorful fish and sardines. Swimming within the coral was really neat. We then went and swam in an underground cave ( Cenotes) which was totally amazing. It was the clearest water and most quiet and calming place I have ever been in. At Xel-Ha, we swam with the dolphins – which was the most memorable thing from the trip. We also snorkeled there, rode tubes down the river and enjoyed more amazing food. The shopping in Playa Del Carmen was terrific. Wal-Mart in Playa is an excellent place to pick up the little things that you forgot or ran out of like sunscreen and stuff. Tons of deals there as well as on 5th Ave.

Departure and Check Out – Our check out and departure was quick, clean and handled professionally. Our flight was late leaving due to too many planes landing and leaving but the pilot was awesome at keeping us informed as to what was going on. The flight crew on the way home was great.

Conclusion – This was our first trip away from our children in over 20 years and it was our first trip out of the country. (My first time on a plane) We stayed at the Caracol for two weeks this past January. We didn’t go the Royal Elite route and I am glad. We went on the tour of the "VIP" area and we really didn’t like it. It felt cold and stale. We didn’t like was the staff trying to get us to sign up with the Royal Elite Club. We would still highly recommend the Sandos Caracol Beach Resort and Spa and we would rate it a 41/2 star resort! We were treated with respect the entire time we were there on and off the resort. It was an amazing holiday and we can’t wait to go back.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Betty

May 2008

Our stay at Sandos Carocol Beach Resort was from March 4th through the 10th. I wish there would have been review like the two just posted for March 2008 before we booked our trip!!! Our experience was not the best either. There were eight of us traveling together and all of us got sick. Two of the guys were so sick that for two days they were hardly able to leave the room. I was sick also and only hoped that my husband and I wouldn’t be running for the bathroom at the same time.

In addition to being sick, they put us out of our room for a day while they worked on our bathroom and only came back to clean up their mess when I went to the main lobby and complained to guest services. The treatment I received at Guest Services was like a little pat on the head – very poor. I guess, they had our money and that was the end of that.

I liked the lay-out of the resort and it was beautiful but… The first time we walked by the main pool by the beach we decided we didn’t care to swim there. Someone had gotten sick and the vomit was floating in the pool. Several hours later it was still there. Our rooms were closer to another pool and that is where we spent our pool time. I agree with another review that there aren’t enough chairs poolside. It is wrong that someone will come to the pool area early in the morning and claim their spot by leaving a towel or bag there and leave for hours on end. I really wanted to just remove the stuff and throw it in a pile nearby, but I restrained myself.

One of the things that attracted us to this resort was the number of restaurants on site but it was a disappointment when we found that the three restaurants that required reservations were extremely hard to get in to and the others served much of the same food day after day. The food wasn’t kept hot enough and I believe that was one reason for us getting sick.

I hope more people read and write reviews like these, what else do travelers have to go on when they are looking for an all-inclusive resort!

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   

March 2008

We were at the Sandos Select Club from Feb 24-Mar 2.

First, I was worried about paying the extra money for the Select Club. It is denfiantely not worth the money. You get an pool, that is equally as dirty as the rest of the pools in the resort. You get an extra "exclusive" snack buffet that is equally not as good as the rest of the buffets at the resort AND you get your own chairs on the beach, which are NEVER available.

The resort itself is huge, and I would expect that if you pay the extra $$ for an "exclusive" club, you would be situated somewhat near the beach. That is not the case. You are the furthest away from the beach. The Select club rooms were nice, and spacious (we had a suite), but I don’t believe or room was actually ever cleaned. My 3 children would walk around in barefeet, and within 5 minutes their feet were black. We had a jacuzzi on our patio which I thought was cool. But when we arrived the first day it was disgustingly dirty, and never cleaned once. After a few days, I decided I would try to clean it myself – but the tub didn’t actually work, so I couldn’t even clean it!

The food was probably the biggest dissappointment to me. There are too many bad experiences to remember, or list…. hair in the food, raw meat, bugs… etc. At one point, they had fish disguised as chicken nuggets, and my son was VERY excited…. until he chocked on a fish bone! The reservation restaurants were better than the buffet, but mostly Denny’s quality, I’d say. The best meal we had all week was in Playa…. it was MacDonalds.

The pools from a distance look very nice. But once you got in the pool, you would see that they are extemely dirty. Honestly, I’m not a picky person! We mostly spent our time at the main pool by the beach, because our kids thought the Select Club one was small and boring. It’s a very quiet pool if you have 3 rowdy kids like me! The main pool was fun for them, as there were activities all day long. However, on the first day when I was standing in the pool I noticed the tiles were falling off! I thought it was just a fluke thing. The second day, again… My son was playing water polo and fell and cut himself the third day. The fourth day, a young boy was coming out of the pool in a different spot, and cut his leg right open. Some medics came right to the beach and stitched him up. A family I spoke to later that day told me they had been there for 2 weeks and this was the fourth kid they had seen injured from the poor maintenance of the pool. Very disappointed, as swimming was a big part of my kids vacation.

The beach is nice and sandy, but don’t go in the ocean… it’s almost as dangerous as the pool!

The service at this resort was wonderful. For the most part the staff were friendly and helpful. However, I was not impressed with the amount of attention the staff offered my 15 year old daughter – males particularily! She’s a very attractive girl, and mostly I was scared to let her off on her own at all. Normally have a very tight rope on her anyhow, but I did not feel safe even letting her walk to the bathrooms on her own. I had several instances that the bartending/waitresses would give her alcohol – even after us asking for "no alcohol" or "virgin" drinks. Several times I showed them her wrist band and asked if they understood, and they did. However, as a test we sent her up to the bar requesting beers or shooters, and sure enough they gave it to her. AND they would give her MORE alcohol in her drink than they would give my husband! We travelled with another woman who was expecting a child, and she as well had a hard time getting a drink without alcohol.

I was very disappointed by this vacation. We have been to several all-inclusive resorts in this area and have never been disaapointed like this. I have never been to a 2-3 Star resort, but I believe this would qualify as one! I would not recommend this resort, and I would especially not recommend anyone to pay the extra money for the Select Club.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Denise

March 2008

First off thanks Debbie for your web site! Just came back from Sandos Caracol. I’ve been on 11 AI vacations in 12 yrs so I know what to expect. I normally pick 4 stars or better. This year the budget was tight because our son was also coming with us.(Feb school break) Airlines and resorts are always more money during school break. So we picked the Caracol as it fit our budget.

I give the Caracol *** stars at most! (out of 5)

Check in & out went very well. Had my room key and towel cards in 10 minutes.

Room- Was very small for three people. Asked for another room and none were available. I had requested a king bed and sleep sofa 2 wks before by email.(got 2 queen beds) Floor of my room had not been mopped in who knows how long. I went barefoot 10 minutes and my feet were black! We saw the maid daily but never a mop. We still tipped her $3 a day and the same for the frig stocker.

Food- You won’t go hungry but I think it has to be the worst food I had on vacation. No variety! Watch out for pasta salad with chicken in it…….chicken wasn’t cook……..I mean it didn’t even touch a pan!! To wait staff, he told the cook and the cook left it out anyway eeeks!

Staff- They were all nice and there English was not bad either(that’s always a plus!).

Pool- now there’s a problem! Sandos has 1000 rooms and 4 very small pools(for amount of rooms). My son cut his foot 3 times in the main pool! Every day people were coming out of the pool bleeding, 1 man even needed stitches! Chairs were a big problem too, never enough to go around. So if you go off for a morning tour(like we did) and hope to relax at the pool or beach in the afternoon forget about getting a chair!

Beach- is terrible but I knew that so no surprise there.

Timeshare- If you see Royal Elite on a name tag RUN!!!!!!!! They want to sell you timeshare and they’re a pain in the BUTT! Sandos Caracol will be renovated next year and will only be timeshare.

I feel I paid too much for this resort but still had a good vacation( cost too much to let it spoil the fun ). Guess I got spoiled at the other resorts that I’ve been to. If your on a tight budget and the Caracol is all you can afford I guess you should be ok. I would not go back unless it was dirt cheap and would not recommend it to my family.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Joyce & Donna ~ Ottawa

February 2008

A friend and I just returned from Sandos Caracol – Feb. 10 – 17th, 2008. Many positive things!!

Flight was with Skyservice … flights both ways were right on time. We did a have a 20 min wait on the tarmac when we came home because an Air Canada plane was in our parking spot … ”the nerve of them”!!! We were surprised to actually receive a breakfast sandwich on the way there and a sandwich on our return flight. We had no complaints with the comfort on the plane … plenty of leg room and I am a tall woman!!

The resort itself is huge!!! The people at the front desk, bell hops, etc. are most definitely there to please you!!! No shortage of pools … some more lively than others. We had a room in the 29 block which was a nice walk to both the beach and the front desk but not unbearable!! You soon learn the short cuts!! It would be difficult if you have problems walking comfortably!! Our room was suitable with a nice view ~ a little musty smelling but again no big surprise! We did find it would have been nicer to have non smoking buildings as the people upstairs from us smoked very early in the a.m. and the smoke vented into our room.

The buffet restaurants offered the usual breakfast fare … eggs any style, pancakes, French toast, dry cereal, yogurt, etc. You would have to be extremely fussy to not find something here that appealed to you!! We didn’t do the dinner buffets often so can’t really comment on them. We had dinner at the Oriental restaurant and were extremely happy with our dinner. Dinner at the Mediterranean restaurant was very nice ~ the shrimp cocktail & fillet of beef! We were a bit disappointed with the Steak House but no big deal … honestly we were anxious to get to the coffee lounge for the special Mayan Coffee … Julio at the coffee lounge is a sweet heart!! We also had fun watching the Mexican raccoons that prefer nachos to bread!!

The beach was disappointing but all we did was take a short walk towards Cancun and arrived at a very nice beach for swimming! If you want beach chairs you definitely have to get out there early.

We joined the “Select Club” and it is definitely a must do … you get your own beach house with clean bathrooms, free internet access, champagne every a.m. and great snacks through out the day.

We had a few trips into Playa del Carmen … always a fun time!!! The bartenders at the bar with the swings are great (quite away down 5th Ave.) especially Ivan!!

So … in short … a good holiday!!

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Walter & Joanne ~ Ottawa

February 2008

Let’s start with the positives:

– Our tour rep, Lisa Wright of GOTravelDirect, was great and provided us with an envelope containing the hotel info and the room key. This was simply great as we have always hated the check-in process at the reception fighting the crowds and wondering if there were any decent rooms left. I don’t understand why this is not normal procedure with everyone as it eliminates the first big negative process.

– Our room was great overlooking the pool in the Select portion of the hotel. Had 3 bottles of liquor, 1 welcome Champagne like bottle, beers and soft drinks (fridge and safe in room)

– The food at the buffet was good although more non-pork cold cuts would have been nice. I (Walter) have a bad habit of picking portions of everything such as meat, fish and pasta which resulted in getting bored of the same food. My wife suggested later in the week to stick to one food group only to avoid this issue. She’s right but it was later in the week when she made this suggestion. All 3 restaurants where reservations had to be made were good. Steak restaurant rated number 1, Mediterranean number 2 (seafood not that great), Chinese/Japanese number 3 (forget the sushi). Chinese restaurant inside decor very nice (bring camera). Note: Reserve them as soon as you arrive (You only get to go to each one of them once and not 3 times to the same one)

– Staff was very nice and courteous.

Negatives:

– Paid for a 5 star hotel (Select club portion). This definitely is not a 5 star and hard pressed for a 4 star. Caracol portion I rate as a 3+.

– Beach: If you just want to walk in the water and enjoy the ocean forget it. There really is no beach to speak of as it is covered with rocks and corral. Hotel blames it on the hurricanes although other tourists at other resorts stated that their beaches were great. (Must have only hit Sandos!)

– Construction. For 3 days every afternoon (1pm to 5:30pm) a compressor and concrete drills were running to secure our rooms’ balconies who were in danger of falling down. As there was no beach to enjoy we had to put up with the noise at the pool. Note: Many more rooms/balconies to go as of Feb.17th.

– Return airplane originally scheduled to get us back to Ottawa in the afternoon ended up leaving after 1am the next day arriving Ottawa at 6am. Our Travel agency kept telling us how great this was as we had an extra day. Comment: Not so great when you have to be out of your room by 1pm (12 hours before leaving) and plans back home for the next day.

Final comments:

– We will never travel again on a "wild card" as you cannot control which hotel you end up with. In our case a 5 star wild card ended up being a 4 star hotel with practically no beach. As a matter of fact this hotel was not even part of Go Travel Direct’s brochure offering as we had checked it out prior to booking be sure the potential hotels within the brochure had no negatives about them. This is what we based our decision upon.

– Lisa Wright, our rep, was available and simply excellent.

– Would not go back to Sandos and be more careful in choosing 5 star hotels.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Janis and Mark ~ Ontario

February 2008

We went to Santos from Dec 30- Jan 6th. We waited until the last minute to book this trip thinking we would get a deal. There are no deals over new years. We did however, pick this resort because the reviews were OK and the price was reasonable. $1500. CDN each from Ottawa airport.

This was our first time in Mexico. We loved the resort and the people and the food was to die for. We have been to Dominican and Cuba many times and the food at this resort does not compare. We are used to small resorts . This one had around 2000 people at Max capacity. It was spread out and accommodating. We didn’t care for the beach. It was crowed and rocky. If you are a swimmer, you just have to walk about 5 minutes down the beach to get a nice spot to swim. We hung out a the swim up bar pool and made friends there. We are in our mid forties, so the main pool with all the noise and activities didn’t turn our cranks. Everything was clean and the bars were well staffed. Our room was OK. We requested a quiet location. We ended up in the 7000 building which was very close to the select club pool. (It is very easy to sign up for this extra service) You do get perks. A nice building at the beach with its own bar, snacks, tv pool table and internet (if you can get the kids of face book long enough to send an email). We asked for a free upgrade but because they were fully booked, we didn’t get a Jacuzzi room. We did however, enjoy going to the Jacuzzi and sauna in the spa area. They also have a really good gym at this resort. Busy though!! There only negative thing I can say is about the way they wash their glasses at the bar.. They only seem to rinse them. Does Tequila kill all the germs?? We would go back to this resort. But not at Christmas. The weather was cool. I think the locals were very cold too. (there were 2 days that we had to wear sweat shirts. All it all a great time. Signature was great. The skyservice airplane sucked. Very cramped.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Bryan and Melissa ~ Yorkton, Saskatchewan

February 2008

We have just returned from Sandos Caracol Beach and Spa, Riviera Maya.

And had a great 2 week vacation in Mexico, other tourists I visited with during my stay had mentioned reading reviews about the resort and wondered about the good and the bad reviews and what to expect.

This was our first Husband/Wife vacation away from the children since their births 15+/16+ years ago. And the weather back home was -52 Celsius, what a perfect place to be away from it all.

We walked everywhere, you need to or else the drinks and food will add up quickly on you. Lots of cement paths, and bridges to cross spanning water which have turtles and fish in them to view.

There are lots of positives and negatives, and like everything else you get what you receive.

The beach has sand, it has rocks, bring your water shoes or your mask and snorkel to see the fish. They do clean the beach of weeds, and rake it every night. Most tourists are tanning all day long.

Beach and pool Lounge chairs is like playing a game, and you need to get up 7AM in the morning to lay your towel and or paperback book on a chair and reserve it for the day. Only once did we have a chair taken from us, and we seen it happen once to which we mentioned something to the lady from Italy and the next day she to was out early to book her chair by the pool with the rest of us.

The Food was absolutely great. Melissa has food allergies and was always able to fully eat at any of the ala’ cart or buffet restaurants at the resort. We really enjoyed Las Mascaras Restaurant, this is the Mexican Buffet restaurant. Very pleasant staff, Waiter Gilberto was our favorite, and we were sad to say good bye. We always tipped a buck or more for good service when we felt it was deserved, and it was more often then not.

We enjoyed our visits at the Steakhouse, and the Mediterranean, but the Oriental restaurant did not appeal to us. Las Mascaras was our quite place to enjoy our meals and our coffees and visit the Mexicoons (a racoon with very little fur compaired to our Canadian version). We visited this Las Mascaras many times for breakfast and supper, but did try the others as well.

The resort also has a Jewelry Store on site, which was visited every evening during our nightly walks (lucky me). Prices at the Jewelry Store are much better then in Playa Del Carmen. The attached general store had other tourist items, plus gum, and bathroom items, prices on Tequila is high compared to duty free at the airport.

Looking back at the map, I can safely say we visited every watering hole on the resort except for the private club area. The drinks where always there, always a smile, and yes for good service during the day we did leave tips. Ramano in the main pool side bar makes a mean coconut rum ice drink, and those mango margaritas are smooth.

I would tell any one to take at least $100 in $1 dollar bills. It seems everyone has them but no one wants to make change. So bring your own before you get there.

Entertainment was great, I enjoyed all the shows. I managed to get up on stage a couple times during our vacation and get picked for the stupid tourist games. My favorite was drinking cervesa with a straw which I won of course. The Mayan show has very good costumes, and you can take photos after the show with the performers.

During excursions with others from other resorts on the strip we would determine that we were at the resort with the excellent food, and a more jungle environment and relaxing type atmosphere then the others.

We both very much enjoyed our time at this resort, even with the minor problems that you will read that others have had.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Dale and Sheryl

February 2008

I traveled to the Sandos Caracol mid January. Normally I prefer the DR since our last 7 trips have been there, but thanks to a great price out of the Kitchener airport I made the leap to go back to Mexico. I’ll compare the resort to my findings in the Dominican.

The resort was big similar to the size of the Bahia Principe in San Juan however it was built back from the beach rather then along it, cut out of the jungle. Wasn’t really an issue though as walking is never a bad thing when you eat and drink all day long.

The resort itself was kept up very well, as normal someone was always around cleaning, sweeping, cutting, hedging, etc. Again similar to what I’m used to seeing in the DR, not that I’ll say they work really hard, but steady understandably so based on the climate.

Beach – now the sand portion of the beach was similar to the Punta Cana sand, however it has taken a beating from the hurricanes that have went thru as it is very rocky. That being said though it was great for snorkeling 40 feet from shore, there were thousands of fish.

Rooms – again nice, similar to a 4 star in the DR

Food – the main reason I didn’t like Mexico 10 years again was simply the food. Well that has definitely changed. I would even have to say it is better then anything I have got in the Dominican, keeping in mind we normally travel to 4 – 4.5 star resorts. The steak at the Steak House was amazing, as well as the side of ribs I had for desert.

Staff – the restaurant, bar, front desk staff were all very pleasant and very friendly. They were always your buddy, again what you’d find in the DR.

Overall the place was great. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this resort to a Dominican lover at all. Obviously my preference would be to go back to the DR but my opinion of Mexico has definitely changed.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Gary & Marla

February 2008

We stayed at this resort for two weeks – January 12 to January 26, 2008

Beach – I was very disappointed with the beach. The coral made it impossible to enter when it was windy. The waves made it dangerous when walking over the coral. On our third day there, and second time in the water, I injured my legs from the coral. We love swimming in the ocean, so this was not the resort for us. We did walk 45 minutes to the local beach; it was nice, all sand. It was just too long of a walk to do everyday. Since the beach at this resort was not made for swimming in, we had to resort to the pools. I have no complaints about the pools, the swim up bars were awesome!

Power – We did experience a few days where there were power outages. It was frustrating when we wanted to take a shower, or wanted a special drink that required the blender.

Rooms – We were in unit 35. The worst thing that annoyed me about the rooms is they have adjoining rooms. The doors that adjoin the rooms was paper thin, so we could hear our neighbors in the next room, talking, watching TV, and the worst for me was hearing them snore.

Food – Was great. I loved the Chinese restaurant the best.

Service – We had to phone for towels a couple of times, and they did not stock the fridge every second day.

Resort – It was kept clean, and maintained. They have plenty of places to eat, and drink throughout the resort. The store was awesome, and the people working there were so nice.

I would like to warn anyone using Signature travel. We used our credit card to pay for tours, and the total came to 754.00 USD. Since I used my credit card to pay for the tours, Signature charged us 11.55% so we had to pay 836.81 Canadian Dollars. Signature rep, told us to buy from them, because it was cheaper and safer, but I felt this was a big rip off.

If I could get a room that did not have an adjoining room to it, and they fixed the beach so we could swim in the ocean without being hurt by the coral, I would return.

P.S – I love your website. I love to read the reviews about the resorts.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Frank & Pat ~ Wisconsin

January 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Sandos Caracol in the Riviera Maya in January and we loved it! We were apprehensive after reading reviews about the resort but would definitely return! We had no complaints – the staff was wonderful, the resort was beautiful, food was great. The beach was rocky but great beach walking in both directions.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Bob

January 2008

We have just returned from Sandos Caracol (Sandos Select Club), Riviera Maya.

Overall it was a good vacation. It is not on a 5 star level, but they make lots of effort. The resort is hudge and unlike other resorts of this size it does not have a few identical sections. It looks like new areas were later added around an original, manageable area without much planning. The Select Club section is the furthest from the beach (around 5 minutes of energetic walk) and all restaurants. There is a quite efficient transportation system. You have to call the bellboy desk and they will send a cart to take you wherever you want. Usually the cart appeared after 3-5 minutes. But in most cases we just walked.

Check-in. There was a Select Club desk and we were invited to sit and checked in without any waiting.

Rooms. Select Club rooms were quite nice. We had two rooms, one with two beds and one with one bed. We requested two rooms with two beds each (4 adults, 2 kids, 1 baby). It was impossible to switch rooms that night, but they offered a cod to be put in one room. The cod was delivered after about 15 minutes. One room was quite dark. Unlike other rooms, it didn’t have lamps on a wall, only bedside lamps. This could not be fixed (as technically there was nothing wrong). After two nights they offered us two new rooms but we declined (too much hassle moving). There were four bottles of alcohol in the room. Minibar was stocked regularly with soft drinks and beer. Two bottles of water were placed on a desk each day. Additional bottles could be taken from the main bar. The room had no bathtub, only shower. Air conditioning was very quiet but perhaps not efficient enough for some people.

Beach. Beach was sandy and quite nice. The beach area was small for such a big resort. There were not enough beach lounges, so one had to "reserve" them by placing towels or some other objects. At 7 AM many of them were already taken. The same for pool areas. Select Club Beach area was a little better. But it is situated far from the "action" around the main swimming pool. The Beach Club had some snacks, pool tables and a free Internet. There were two other pools situated in the middle of the resort, one of them in the Select Club area. Unfortunately, all chairs over there were taken very early too. In the morning they were always running out of beach towels for about two hours. Ocean bottom is very rocky (as per many other reviews). There is a couple of spots you could reach relatively sandy bottom after wading though some rocks. The best one is in front of water sports. There is an artificial reef built about 150 yards from the shore and I think it was once filled with sand that was later washed out.

Water sports. We were using only catamarans. We didn’t have any problems with booking and taking them. You have to either take a lesson ($20) or convince them that you know how to sail. Somehow catamarans were not so popular, so no problems at all with booking them (usually there were still some vacant slots around 10 AM and they open water sports at 9 AM). For catamarans they sell additional insurance for $10 per stay. This is supposed to cover any damage but one has to read the small print to really know (which I didn’t). There were kayaks (and I always saw a one or two free), boogie boards (not sure where to do it – rocky bottom) and snorkeling equipment. Also, I saw some windsurfers and one Sunfish sailboat. Nobody used them during our stay. I would say that water sports were better (perhaps because of lack of interest) than in some other resorts. As far as I know all water sports in all resorts over there are managed by the same company (Scuba Libre) which also offers SCUBA diving, snorkeling trips etc (for $$$)

Food. Food was average compared with other resorts we have been in. Service was good. They quickly took dirty dishes and refilled drinks. Buffet selection was average. There are three buffet restaurants. One of them, Italian, offers a little bit different selection, more Italian stuff. Full service restaurants were quite good, except for the Steak House. The reservation had to be made in the first day and even then, the earliest time was on our 3rd day. Sandos Select Club is supposed to have "guaranteed" restaurants reservations but I’m not sure what it really means. Last minute they cancelled one booking (wedding in the restaurant) and offered us a different restaurant at the same time. He had this restaurant booked for another day, so first they tried to convince us to go to the buffet, later to come tomorrow and rebook (yeah, good luck!) but finally, after some arm twisting it became possible to call someone with access to the booking computer and rebook.

Bars. Bars were average, but they had some brand named drinks, better than in some other resorts. Service was average.

Entertainment. We watched two shows. One was based on Cirque de Soleil (very loosely). There were some acrobats, dancers etc. Quite good level. The other was some dancing and lip singing, average. Both were much better than in some other resorts.

Others. We went to Playa del Carmen. There is a free bus, but you have to line up at least 20 minutes before. The bus was leaving every two hours.

The resort is popular with Europeans and the behavior of some of them is different that what we are accustomed to here. No smile, no "hi". Some topless women.

I’ve read some reviews complaining about time share people. We were not bothered at all. In fact, we were never approached. If you don’t want to purchase the time share, don’t go to a presentation, I guess. On the beach there are no vendors trying to sell you some stuff (unlike in Puerto Vallarta).

Flight: Skyservice from Edmonton. Uneventful, standard charter flight. In Cancun, the check-in lady was staring at computer as she was seeing it for the first time in her life. She called for help a few times and then after about 7 minutes of hard work assigned us some sits scattered throught the plane. When we protested, she called for help again and they managed to assigned us in only two different places, which was much better. When we later mentioned this to the flight attendant she promised to place us together as soon as the plane is in a cruising altitude and she remembered and did as promised. This was very good service (especially compared to mexican inefficiency).

In the last 8 years we have been in a number of all-inclusive. Below I try to list them according to our overall impression. Some of them come very close to each other. I realize that, within this time frame, the quality of some of them could have changed: 1. Barceló Maya : 2. Grand Palladium: 3. Bahia Principe Tulum: 4. Sandos Select Club: 5. Bahia Principe Dominican Republic: 6. Brises Jibacoa Cuba: 7. Gand Marival Puerto Vallarta: 8. Decameron Los Cocos, Rincon de Guayabitos, Puerto Vallarta

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Marcel & Christine

January 2008

Just got back from this resort and quite honestly, we were both very impressed. The facilities, food, staff and accomodations were great and we would return without hesitation. The one draw back which is mentioned in most reviews would definitely be the beach for those that like to swim in the ocean. There are a lot of rocks in the water and this water shoes are a must. The beach itself is nice enough and there are a lot of chairs and activities to keep you entertained. There are three pools scattered around this very large resort and enough food options to give you a variety of meal options.

Everything is kept well cleaned and staff are always around sprucing up and making the grounds looking great. There is a spa on site (great massages) and a well equipped fitness room. Unfortunately there are some people that never seem to happy and nothing will please them so read into reviews what you must. I know that my partner and I have been to a number of resorts throughout the Carribean and both of us had a great trip which included freindly people, good food and a great atmosphere…..go and enjoy.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Kathy ~ Owen Sound, Ontario Canada

January 2008

Arrived home at 5 a.m. this morning. What a great vacation. The resort was amazing. Great room. (free upgrade with vip card) The staff were outstanding. The resort was very clean. The food was good. The pools were wonderful. Lots and lots of variety of food. Food available 24 hours a day. Enjoyed the evening shows. Our mini fridge was re-stocked every day. When we got to our room there were three large bottles of alcohol. (of course one was tequila) We had robes and slippers in our room plus the wonder and large jacuzzi. Small balcony but room for the two of us to sit. We were not bothered by the time-share people. Took the bus into Playa and had a great time. Went about 4 p.m. and came back around 8. Weather was nice got up to 30 degrees a couple of days. Always a pleasant breeze off the ocean. Lots of activities to do. All ages of people at the resort. A ton of Canadians but also people from Belgium, France, England etc. etc.. All in all a great resort. Would tell others to go there.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa    Ann ~ Vancouver Island, British Columbia

December 2007

Just got back from the Sandos Caracol on Dec.3 and I can’t say enough nice things about this resort. The staff were all great, especially in the restaurants. The food was all very good. My favourite was the steak house. The hotel grounds are lovely and continually maintained. We printed off a select club card from the hotel website before we left and were glad we did. It enabled us to use the select club pool and the clubhouse on the beach. The select club pool was a favourite with my husband and our 13 year old daughter. The time share people were present but they did not hassle us at all. We actually found them friendly and helpful. Bring your water shoes and snorkels and you can actually do some snorkelling right in front of the hotel. Sandos Caracol gets a 10 out of 10 from us.

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  Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa   Jobe ~ Toronto, Canada

December 2007

I spent a week at this resort from Nov. 19 to 26. Before I start let me say I would not take the review of the other person staying there a week before me too serious – if someone goes to Mexico and writes they have a problem with Mexicans staying at the same resort that says it all – stay at home in your home country!!! I would totally recommend this resort. Sign up to the Sandos VIP club before going there (www.sandoshotels.com) and you will receive a different coloured wrist band (Club Select) for access to special areas on the beach and pools plus if available they will give you a free upgrade to the next category room (i.e. if you book ocean view you should get a jacuzzi room).

The resort is quite large but tastefully arranged with lots of nature and wildlife areas withing the resort. Yes, there are time share people around there at the resort but they did not approach me even once during the whole week.

Beach The beach has nice sand and offers lots of shade and chairs. The Club Select section has a little snack bar right on the beach and nicer lounge chairs.

There are a lot of rocks and corals in the fairly shallow water. Most people wear shoes to walk in but one can do without. If you walk far enough out it is deep enough for swimming. Free catamaran sailing etc.

Food
The buffet restaurants change up the dinner theme every day but still there is a little bit of repetition. Book yourself on one f the a la carte restaurants for change (Mediterranean, Steak, Ialian or Oriental).

Staff
Very nice and helpful people. Always smiling and trying to please you.

Activities
Free bus to Play del Carmen. Lots of daytime activities by the beach and obviously the shows in the evening. The Spa area has a nice pool, hot tub area open to the public which is nice to use in the early evening after the sun sets. In this area they also have a fairly well equipped gym.

Overall this is a very nice place I would go back to. Lots of different areas to go to within the resort (i.e. 4 different pools) from totally quiet to lively. Very nice landscaping throughout the resort and friendly people.

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Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Stephania & Michael

November 2007

We are writing this letter to complain about the standard of accommodation during our last holiday through Flight Centre on behalf of a resort listed with Signature Vacations from November 12, 2007 through November 19, 2007. It did not measure up to our expectations and differed from the marketing offer of Signature Vacations Fall 2007 brochure, and online at signaturevacations.com. We arrived at the Resort on time. I noticed no sign indicating SANDOS CARACOL BEACH RESORT & SPA at the main gate of the property. Upon check in I commented on the Ocean View room I paid for. The SANDOS CARACOL BEACH RESORT & SPA representative indicated that these rooms are not available, and for other clients only. I indicated that we paid for an ocean view room, to which she replied ?sorry not available?. In the front lobby is the ?concierge? ? actually, they are Time Share representatives for Royal Elite. I noticed that everywhere around the resort it said SANDOS HOTEL & SPA. This included pens, paper, and binders in the room, as well as at the Front Desk. We enjoyed our first day by the pool. Our balcony faced the back of a restaurant with no Ocean View. The next morning we received a card in our door. It said ?Welcome, Sorry We Missed You, Please Come To The Concierge To Receive Your FREE Gift?. We went to the concierge, and realized that they are Time Share reps. They hound you for business, and finally after 3 days, I got mad, told them straight out I was not interested, I was on a family vacation and NO! They were so rude to us for the rest of the week. The morning we left, we were approached by another sales woman, who was all sweet to us ?Are you leaving today? Did you girls have fun? Did you enjoy Mexico? Would you come back? To which I replied ?I would not come back to this place as I had paid for a vacation at a resort and not at a hotel?. She replied back ?Then go to a resort?. She said this in the main lobby with people around upon departure, and I feel this was unprofessional.

We were not pleased. Also, because this was a hotel, they rented out rooms to local individuals. I found this out by talking to the representative at the front desk on Saturday. I don?t care if they do, since it is for business purposes, but if they do, it should have been stated upfront with the Resort description. Over 80% of the pool and the chairs were taken by local individuals on Saturday, and Sunday. They left garbage & food all over the grounds and in the pool (the one that wasn?t closed for renovations). They also brought all kinds of loud music (played until 3AM) and their own alcohol. Not to mention they were intoxicated in public by the pool which scared our children, and others. On one occasion we witnessed a SANDOS employee having a verbal argument with a group of young locals regarding music volumes. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the room next to ours held some of these individuals with the loud music. We heard the music until well past 3AM. Another couple complained to security, and Front Desk replied that there was nothing they could do since they rented the rooms, and had paid for them like everyone else. Then there is the ?Select Club? ? we registered on line prior to leaving, and we received gold bracelets instead of blue, this supposedly gives you privileges and room upgrades as well (as per the SANDOS web site ? and we did not receive any room upgrade). It included a pool that was too deep for the kids to swim in, and it included padded lounge chairs on the beach. It also included free internet service. We made the most of it for the girls, but we were very disappointed.

Beach
The sand itself is nice. The water is nice too but there is a lot of coral/rocks in

Food
The buffet restaurant was good, and the Steak Restaurant was very good.

Staff
The bar tenders, chef?s, and waiters were all friendly. The front desk was not helpful. The cleaning lady took a pair of my wife?s earrings.

Activities Cab ride to town was $10. The free bus only holds 30 people, and is every hour.

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Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Jeanne

October 2007

My husband and I just got back from the Sandos Carocol on October 13th 2007. I want everyone to know that this resort is awesome and I would recommend it to everyone. The people are sooooo friendly and helpful. The rooms are amazing and the resort has tried to keep it as ecologically friendly as possible with wild life and nature. The food was great and the desserts were even better. The water does have some rocks in it but they are flat and if you were water shoes you can get to beautiful sandy patches that are great and peaceful.. We never were bothered by anyone and the nights for sleeping were very quiet. We had VIP bands and had select club privileges such as our own pool and bar with snacks and hot foods all day long and our own area of the beach. It is free to become a VIP by going to sandos web site and printing out the sandos 4 you. You will get an automatic room upgrade with a Jacuzzi which is amazing and we used every single night. The resort is very large so wear comfortable shoes and lots to see and enjoy. So go and have a great time and don’t listen to the bad reviews they must be very picky people. You have to remember you are in the tropics and some things can go wrong but when they do they fix them immediately. Hope this helps.

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Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Jean ~ USA

June 2007

We stayed here 6-13 thru 6-20 07 in Riviera Maya. Hotel was large, but lovely the way it was layed out. Food was great, offering a large menu selection in the buffet alone. Nice white sand beach, (however, they need to rid the beach of all the seaweed.) but if you like to swim in the ocean, THAT was terrible. Loaded with rock, coral and way to shallow. Very disappointing. Pool was large but water was way too HOT. Yes it was hot in June and very humid, but there was nowhere except your room to cool off. Staff was friendly and curteous. Enjoyed everything except the reason I went, "THE BEACH" Would not go back to this hotel.

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Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Julie & Yvan ~ New Brunswick, Canada

April 2007

The resort is very nice and big. I would recommend it without a doubt to everyone even if it’s not rated 5 stars. We are a couple both around 25 years old and we felt more at home there than we would of in a 5 stars resort with high class people since we tough of going at Grand Esmeralda as well. We wanted a cool and fun atmosphere and that’s exactly what we got. The location of the resort itself is great since it’s not too far from the airport and very close to Playa Del Carmen, only 10$ in taxi and 10 minutes drive. There is only a few buildings (30%) that are close to the beach. It is very well worth it to upgrade your room to an ocean view room. Our room was # 612. You will not necessarly see only the ocean since the pools, a restaurant and huts on the beach are blocking most of the ocean view. You mainly get a great room location with easy/quick access to the beach & restaurants then other regular rooms. Downside = you don’t get a patio unless you get a suite on the third floor with the jaccuzi. A bonus = It helps you to be able to leave stuff in the room and use your own washroom. The only washroom underneath the restaurant close to the beach gets used really often and gets pretty discusting really early in the day. It also assures you that you will not get a room close to the maintenance site where there is a lot of noise coming from the generators and stuff. You will not regret this upgrade. I found the Select Club was at the other end of the resort far from everything but I guess the shuttles makes up for that. The rooms are nice, just not a big fan of that super bright yellow. There is only one outlet in the whole room and it’s in the bathroom. Ladies, bring yourself a hair dryer if you use one because the one in the room doesn’t blow hard. The pool bars are awesome one of the reason why we booked with Sandos Caracol ! Not all resorts has them.

One night, while we were eating our meal in the restaurant, we got a major power outrage for about 15 minutes on the entire resort. (It was kind of cool since we were in the restaurant at the time and it became pitch black.) The staff were really great since they used burners, cell phones, lighters to give a bit of light in the meantime but it seems like they didn’t really have a plan B for a situation like this. They seemed to have a lot of problems with the generators after that. This is simply to advise you not to only count on the alarm clock in the room to wake you up for your trip let’s say. Have yourself a back up, like a watch or a wake up call from the front desk.

The only thing that disappointed us in the facilities of this resort is the internet access. Only 6 computers are available and it cost like 5$ US for 30 minutes. The speed isn’t the best and it jams a lot too. We used them twice to drop pics on a USB key and on both occasions the computer jammed or it took longer for the computer to process our demands. But remember that you paid for your vacation and you aren’t suppose to spend that time on the computers! Disconnect from reality while you have a chance !!!

Beach
The sand itself is really nice. The water is nice too but there is a lot of coral/rocks in it and it hurst to walk in the water. You can walk along the beach and get to other beaches easily. Either bring water shoes or go for a day in Playa Del Carmen with the free shuttle (leaves from resort at 10h 12h 2h 4h & comes back from the hotel and enjoy the beach there. It was the best beach we have ever been and once you are cooked enough you can always go for a stroll on 5th avenue. If you want to have the ultimate beach for swimming this resort might not be suited for you. The way the resorts are located along the coast you don’t get to see sunsets but you should definitely get up one morning and enjoy a sunrise. A beautiful, amazing, relax experience(since most people are still sleeping).

Food
The only thing is that you have to be able to resist temptation. Since it’s a buffet, you want to get a little bit of everything or might go for round # 2. Please think about this because you will get tired of the food very quickly. Try to make yourself a meal within all the possibilities and change it the next time you go to that same restaurant. There is only 3 restaurant where you don’t need to make reservations. Same applies for breakfast. Per example, one morning could be bacon and eggs, next morning pancakes and fruits, next one toast and cereal…

VERY IMPORTANT!!! The very first day that you get at the resort, once you got your room, go into the lobby and LOOK AT THE 3 MENUS for the restaurants "a la carte". Make reservations then for the ones you like before 1 PM. We arrived on Saturday morning and we could only booked from Tuesday on. They were great and changed the routine from the regular restaurants. Again, make reservations in these restaurants because you get tired of the food quickly.

Don’t forget bread for the turtles, fishes and birds.

Staff
The staff is great. If a member of the animation team ask you to sit with you please let them do so. It is a great opportunitiy to ask all the questions you want and learn a lot about the resort, acitvities, culture, etc.

Activities

Our itinerary Saturday: Check In. Stayed at the resort. Got familiarized with our surroundings. Made reservations for trips and restaurants. Sunday: Stayed at the resort. Enjoyed the beach and worked on our tan. 🙂 Monday: Day trip to Xel-Ha (snorkeling) and Tulum (100$ US per person for both activities) Tuesday: Day at the resort Wednesday: Half day at Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen after lunch Thursday: Day at the resort Friday: Chichen Itza (available Mon, Wed & Fri) and Cenotes (caves with water which you can swim in, very different and refreshing after a hot day in Chichen Itza) (100$ US per person for both activities)

Saturday: Check out

We thought this would be too much and that we would be exhausted BUT it was perfect! Enough time to work on our tan and saw a lot of interesting major attractions. All the attractions we did are strongly recommended if this is your first visit in Mayan Riviera!!! *** If you plan to go to Xel-ha for snorkeling buy in advance a underwater camera and biodegradable sunscreen (only one you can use there).

We enjoyed our vacation! Strongly recommended this resort! We give them 8.5 on 10.

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Sandos Caracol Beach & Spa Canada

October 2006

We are a family of four, two children age 3 & 6. Had been to many places : Cuba, Cancun Mexico & Dominion Republic. This time we choose Mayan Riveria because we like the mayan culture. Departing from Toronto, Canada on Oct 9th — Oct 16th ** Signature Vacation package & fly with Skyservice.

Departure: leaving very early from Toronto Airport @ 6:20am, we arrived at the airport @ 3:30am. We used the SkyPark Self parking service and they were very efficient & dropped us back to the airport in no time. Staff at Skyservice was very friendly & check in was a breeze, there was no line up & they had many counters open. Only 20mins delay in departure due to lane problem.

Arrival @ Cancun airport: Take my advise if you have small children use the airport helpers & pay them a $1 USD they will bring all your luggage to the proper bus.

BE Careful !! Time Share Counters. They will lure you in with Free admission to Parks or local tours. Our family paid a deposit of USD $40 when we step out of the airport and was greeted by a very friendly local tour that provided us a map of Cancun. He sold us into the time share but he calls it " RESORT Promotion Tour" It was a beautiful Mayan resort and it was an eye opener but we spend almost 4 hours there and each time we say "no" to the package some other sales rep comes and talk to us. OF Course we did not buy anything, but their promotion plan sounds very very attractive. "YES" we did received two free T-shirts & a family pass to visit Xcaret for free.

The ride to Sandos is aprx 40mins, it was early in the morning and there were no traffic and the road was very smooth. We pass thru a big forest before we arrive at the lobby. Check in was quick & staff was friendly. Initially we were given keys to Room 1614, the buggy boy drove us to our room but as we enter the room someone was still inside taking a shower. So we have to bring all the luggage back onto the golf cart & return back to the lobby. It was Hot & with two young kids going back again was a lot of work. They were very booked up & took them about 5 mins to find us an other room and we were changed to Room 101 and it was RIGHT ON THE BEACH ! PERFECT …..

Food:

Oriental Restaurant was terrible, staff was not friendly it was terrible. We ate at the buffet later that evening again. Steak & Mediterran was okay, nothing too exicting but staff was very nice and the location of the Steak house was right on the beach front. BEAUTIFUL! We ate mostly at the buffet and it was excellent & had variety of food for the kids. Don’t forget to get some bread to feed the fish & turtles.

Kids Club: This is the best kids club I have encounter. All staff at the kids club are very dedicated & friendly. Before they take the kids outside to play in the pool they ensure all kids have proper sunscreen on & bring towel for them after swimming. Kids will not be bored because they have varies activities both indoor & outside for them to enjoy. My 6 year old was there for only two days but he enjoyed it very much. Don’t miss the kids Limbo Beach Party! Pool: Main pool was very busy & crowded, close to the beach & kids club. CAUTION !! many sharp tiles and edges, needs to be fix. A child had his foot cut and was bleedy badly. Needs maintenace. We tried to visit different pools each day & found we enjoy the nice quite pool on the left side of the lobby it has a very lovely snack area & kids pool.

Beach: ROCKS … ROCKS… ROCKS…. impossible to swim ! Bring your swin shoes. My husband swam out to the man made reef * made from Carpets * and saw a few interesting fish. Nothing too amazing !

Room Service: our room was cleaned & mini fridge was filled every other day. Excellent service by our housekeeper, he even hang our clothes up the shower rod for us. Be careful of little ants… Wrap your kids candies in a zipper lock bag.

SAFE:** WE Lost a couple of items in our room, a new T-shirt disappeared from our pile of clothes and I was missing my Contact Lense holder case*** Yes, we have a safe for our money & passport but do not balance our money daily **** But I know for a fact that some staff can just decode your safe without you knowing ***

Excursions: we visited Xcaret for free ** 5 hours trade off for our vacation at the Mayan Resort ** This is a very lovely park but alot of walking & we stayed for the night show. It was a long day for the kids but we enjoyed it very much! The underground cave was amazing but cold water and just to watch the swimming with the Dolphin was awesome. Don’t miss the Mayan village show. Be ready to spend money inside for food & drinks & lockers.

We also visited Xel-ha: All Day * All Inculsive **children 4 & under are free** You may find cheaper package with local tour inside the town of Playa-de-Carmen. BUT sometimes it may not be a good experience. We find a good deal for our family & booked with "JEEP TOUR", we paid All Inculsive $69usd per adults & 50usd for our 6 yr old **children 4 & under are free** they pick us up from our hotel 35mins late and we had to call them & the van picked us up after we called. It got us worried for 1/2 hour because we paid them a deposit of $40 USD. We paid for our son’s ticket but the guide dropped us off at the drop off location & taped me & my husband each a braclets and told us to just head to the gates. We initally thought the my son was paid for along with one of our ticket but when we get to the gate we were stopped & was asked about our son’s age & I knew right away we were tricked. The driver did not buy a ticket for him. So I lied and said he was 4 yrs old. She gave me a dirtly look and let us in. I was not going to pay AGAIN for him to get inside and of coz’ my driver already drove away. Xel-ha was amazing, You don’t have to buy Bio-degradable Sun lotion. If you left your bottle in the front gate they will give you a small pak for free. Don’t foreget to pick it back up on your way out ! All- inclusive was amazing because it was a hot day, we drink everywhere we stopped & had an amazing breakfast & buffet lunch. My daughter & I had an afternoon nap under the trees.
GREAT PLACE To visit.

Overall, our trip was excellent and we had a wonderful time!

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