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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

Before sharing thoughts about Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, I went back and reviewed my review of Sandos Playacar from 2009.  You see, technically Scott and I began this blog last spring in 2013.  But since I’ve been working in the Travel Industry since 2008, I’d already made attempts at blog years ago using the free google platform ‘blogger’.  When we created this site, Scott was smart enough to import my older content.  I haven’t re-published all of it, but its been fun not only to revisit some of our trips from 3, 4, 5 years ago — but also to see how my writing has evolved.  I can’t say if its better or worse, but its a bit different.  So here are some thoughts and experiences about a second Sandos resort: Spring Break 2014 at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort.

Sandos Caracol is different than other All Inclusives we’ve visited.  It had all the fun amenities we love — beachfront, fab pool, fun activities, kids club, delicious dining, and comfy beds.  But in addition to the typical treats, it had a unique theme we fell in love with.  ‘Eco’ is not just part of the resort’s name; the idea of being Eco aware runs throughout.  Sandos incorporates the nature theme and a Mayan tribute into something they call the Xcalacoco experience  (shall-a-coco). Some notable aspects are an animal rescue program, a program supporting a local children’s school, using less water, electricity, and AC throughout, recycling and composting, and creating less waste.  It truly gave us a lot to think about, as well as enjoy.

Daily the resort offers 2 Eco Tours, one in English and one in Spanish.  Our guide Ramiro Munoz, also a local professor, escorted us around the grounds educating us about the wildlife including Coatis, deer, turtles, and bees.  We toured Cenotes, flourishing and collapsed, Mayan Ruins, and the Mangrove forest.

Our girls loved the experience, and I highly recommend it as a kid friendly resort.  They do have an entire section that is Adults only, with an upscale pool and comfier beach chairs.  But you can’t get away from the kids entirely.  Other adult amenities are weddings, during our stay there were at least 3, and from what I saw Sandos did an excellent job.  There were ceremonies by the Cenote, the beach, and the Vacation Club area.

The daily pool entertainment was typical — games, aerobics, zumba, etc.  Each night we enjoyed the shows with variety every 7 nights.  One night there was a Michael Jackson tribute (that all of us 80’s kids loved), another a Fantasy show with Disney stories.  Kids from the Kids Club were invited to participate and Bella and Pia loved it!  They were ‘Duetes’, or townspeople, in Aladdin and Jasmine’s theme.

Duetes

Duete

 

hamming it up

hamming it up

 

Alternately, there were shows telling the tale of a Mayan Shaman and his daughter, who fell in love with a shipwrecked Spainard.  These were outdoors in the ruins, on the beach, or at the main Cenote.  Elaborate costumes, fire, and dancing provided a glimpse into the Mayan past.

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Once again, Scott and I didn’t stay up late enough to hit the disco, but we did enjoy some nightcaps at el Mapache, our favorite bar at the resort.  Its tucked away behind the Mexican Buffet and across a bridge behind the Eco center/sports bar.

Speaking of buffets, the dining at Sandos Caracol was excellent.  For the ala cartes we made dinner reservations in advance by emailing guest services.  The Med and Argentinian are great for romantic date nights.  Kids joined us for the other 3, and our family fav was the Brazilian, divine dipping sauces for all of the grilled meat selections.  Since the Italian ala carte was open for buffet lunch, we didn’t do dinner there.  Which brings me back to the buffets!

For breakfast, we recommend opting for the Mexican.  Its much quieter, and still includes an omelette bar.  We also preferred this buffet at dinner, but advise eating early, because they’re ready to close up shop right at closing time :o)  At lunch we liked the Italian buffet.  For one thing, its got a make your own pasta bar.  Secondly, the AC was cooler since it isn’t open air like the main buffet La Laguna.   The main buffet was fine if you were able to dine in ‘off’ hours.  But at busy breakfast, lunch, or dinner hours its chaotic.  Good food and selection, but very crowded.

Specialty options like espresso can be found in the Eco club / sports bar el Manglar and in the hotel lobby.  Room service was adequate for a snack, but options were limited, and I was told they don’t deliver drinks.  The pool bar was busy, but lines weren’t too bad even though it was mostly walk up.  The snack bar, open 24/7, wasn’t bad for a quick fix if you miss buffet hours — my daughter consumed more cheesy fries in 9 days than in her lifetime to date.  And it has a self serve tap.

Cool Trip Tips:  besides the main Cenote near the lobby, there are several others hidden away on the Ruin and Jungle paths.  If you seek them out they are smaller, quiet, and picturesque!  Main pool too loud?  Seek out the Chill Out Pool near the Tortuga sign — as promised its very chill.  Its not far from the Kids Aquasplash park.

Any complaints?  The water temp in our shower fluctuated a lot, and the in room wifi was spotty.  Strong signal in common areas.

Don’t forget:  repellent — the resort’s stuff didn’t work for me, and I ended up with 6 nasty bites that swelled — Ugh.

But maybe it was worth it, check out this shot of the full moon at night!

Full moon over Caribbean

Full moon over Caribbean

 

Questions?  Need travel help?  I’d love to hear from you:  amy@plancooltrips.com

 

 

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