A friend and I took off to Gran Caribe Real in Cancun, Mexico for a girls getaway weekend. Here is a rundown of the good and bad and what has changed from my first visit last year. We purchased a Funjet Package from Houston and got a really incredible deal on it. We had been to this same hotel last year in July and enjoyed it so much we decided to return again this year. Once we got through customs at the airport, we boarded a large bus to take us to the resort. There were lots of other people staying at the same resort. This was the first time that I have ever been transported to the resort in a bus-usually it is a smaller van. It took about 30-45 minutes to get everyone loaded into the bus. Then the driver took us on a VERY long scenic route of Cancun while his partner told everyone about tours they were selling. Then, we had to stop at another hotel to let some people out and let others take bathroom breaks. In any event, it took over an hour to get to the resort and we were a little aggravated that they did not just take us straight to the resort as were other people on the bus. I am not sure if this is a new way Funjet does their transfers but next time I think I will just take a cab-to me it would have been worth the extra $15.
Upon arrival at Gran Caribe Real, we were told they were at 100% occupancy. We got a first level room with a terrible view of some A/C unit or something-This is very weird since practically all of the rooms are ocean view. We were not pleased and were told we could move to a new room in the morning. Also, they were out of locks for the safe deposit boxes for the night. We decided to take off and have some food before we encountered any more problems. We went to the outdoor café dining area (Gaviotas) and had shrimp pasta. This café is open all throughout the day but does close on some days at certain times. It is always open for lunch. The food is pretty decent there-mostly burgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc. and some seafood as well as desserts. Each night the resort does a different bar trip–$25 for transportation, admission and all you can drink. The night we arrived they were going to Senor Frogs on this big open air Frog bus thing. We decided to go and had a really good time-people of all ages came along. One warning–the margaritas there were really strong so watch out. I can handle my liquor very well but after 3 or 4 of these, I was a bit tipsy. We went on one other of these trips while we were there to a rock and roll place called Bulldog which was also a fun place.
All Inclusive: As an all inclusive guest at the hotel, you can order room service once a day and also may use club all inclusive (24 hours). We usually ate dinner late and would order the room service around 4 or 5 for some flautas, nachos or sandwiches. Club All inclusive has video games, pool tables, TVs, a bar with various liquors (make your own drinks) and self serve coolers with food to microwave-burgers, onion rings, sandwiches, etc. That changed a little from last year because there used to be buffet food in Club all inclusive. We only used it after going out in the evenings so it really did not matter.
The next morning we went to the front desk and they moved us to an oceanview room on the 3rd floor-much nicer with a great balcony right above the main pool and beach area. We also got a key to the safe so we were all set. The majority of the front desk workers were very nice, but you have to follow up with them. They are on Mexican time and sometimes forget certain guest requests. The remainder of the vacation was spent lounging by the pool and beach. As the resort was really crowded, almost all of the loungers were full. We found a spot on the beach and then eventually moved to the pool area. People reserved chairs really early in the morning which I really hate but we always seemed to be able to find a couple of stray chairs to get some sun.
Breakfast at the resort is served buffet style in Albatross Restaurant. They have very good omelettes made to order and various fresh juices. They are also open for lunch and dinner but I am not a big buffet person so we did not eat there except for breakfast and one evening meal. There is also an outdoor pizza hut-they have great personal pizzas and I would say this is some of the best food at the resort. The fancy restaurant is called Maria Margaritas. You can make reservations each morning between 7-11 for dinner that evening. Get there early or you will be eating after 9pm. The dinner there is served a la carte with a soup, salad and cheese buffet. The food there is the best at the resort; however, the menu changes daily. The night we went (Friday), there was not a great selection. I found the food definitely to be better the first time I visited.
Lobby and Pool Areas: The lobby at the resort is very beautiful and lush with open windows everywhere. There are tables and couches for relaxing, TV and some games. There is also a large bar in this area that is used a lot in the evening. There are shows-usually music and karaoke. Lots of people participate and just sit down in the lobby area and enjoy beverages. Right outside the lobby there is a shaded area with large wooden Adirondack chairs for just relaxing and watching the ocean.
The pool area is definitely the hub of the resort. There is music playing all day and activities galore. The main pool is huge with walkways over it in certain spots and there is also a kids pool. Lots of families visit this resort; however, there are also lots of younger couples and singles as well. The entertainment coordinators are great. They try to get everyone involved and really seem to enjoy their jobs. Most of them were the same ones that we met on our first trip. Also, in the evenings there is an outdoor theatre where the entertainment coordinators put on shows. The one on Saturday night is the best one. Most of them are singing and dancing, costumes and tricks, etc.
All in all, we had a great time. The only downsides were that the resort was less crowded during our first visit, the food was a little better and we did not have a problem with our room last time. Things that were better were more nightly activities, met really fun people staying at the resort and liked the places we went bar hopping better than the last time. I would definitely consider staying at this resort again; however, I will probably want to try something different next time I go to Cancun because I like to explore different places. My next trip to Mexico will probably be to Playa del Carmen since I want to do a little more relaxing and less partying 🙂