During the wintertime and especially after these past few years, it’s safe to say we could all use a sunshine getaway. So, where to? This year, our family booked a trip over the holidays with Air Canada Vacations to Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
The beaches of Mexico are legendary for a reason. From stunning coastlines tangling with turquoise water to ancient ruins from the Mayan Empire, a visit to one of these spots will show you the true meaning of travel.
After a lot of research, we booked Sandos Caracol Eco Resort as this was the first time we were going to Mexico with our son, and we wanted a safe, family friendly resort. The resort has everything you need for a memorable holiday, including all your meals, and activities. It has a kid’s pool with water slides, kids club with complimentary babysitting, and a petting zoo. Our room was in the jungle, and our son loved to wait for the resident monkeys in the morning before we had our breakfast. The food was delicious, and none of us caught a stomach bug. We didn't drink any water, or eat from the salad bar!
Our only complaint about Sandos Caracol Eco Resort was that it was a bit too busy as everyone was traveling for the holidays, and we had to wait in line for almost an hour for each meal. We were not VIP members, so we were not able to book reservations in advance. We previously stayed at the Grand Riviera Princess Resort, and I really liked that you were able to book all of your dinners and activities on your first day to maximize your time on vacation. Also as a planner (I do work in public relations!), I really didn't like not having an itinerary for my day. Hint, hint Sandos.
In this post, I'm sharing some suggestions to help you plan your trip to Playa Del Carmen, whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or both. I've also included links to my favorite outfits I bought from Amazon in my storefront here.
I didn't include bikini photos in this post, but I've included the bikini's that I bought from CUPSHE. They fit perfectly, and I'd definitely recommend the high waist style with ruffles.
Playa del Carmen spans across a range of beaches that can accommodate every type of vacationer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the titular beach itself, “Playa Del Carmen” is rather commercial and crowded. However, the close-by Parque Los Fundadores features similar waterfront fun without the overwhelming bustle. Plus, it boasts additional scenic attractions, like a signature 50-foot arched gateway leading to the beach.
For those who prefer a more private experience, Playa Punta Esmeralda will let you escape from the crowds to enjoy scenic oceanside walks and explore its natural cenote. At Sandos Caracol Eco resort, the beach was beautiful if you don’t want to swim in the ocean. It was very rough, and there were a lot of sharp rocks.
See here for a full list of beach options.
Ancient cities and structures from the Mayan civilization still litter the landscape near Playa Del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula, including Chichen Itza, Coba, and Tulum. A host of tour companies offer excursions to explore these sites, with options for general tours or more intimate, private showings.
In this case, it’s no exaggeration to say that you can’t see these sights anywhere else, so make sure to budget them in your travel plans! At Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, they have Mayan ruins on the property, so you can experience some adventure right on the property. They also hosted a fire show on the resort with Mayan dancers.
Described as a water park, theme park, amusement park, and eco-archaeological site, Xcaret brings you culture, nature, and adventure in one place.
Popular water activities at Xcaret include snorkeling with stingrays and other sea life, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, and high-speed boat rides. On the shore, you can dive into the jungles surrounding the Maya Riviera, take part in ancestral purification rituals, or attend theatrical dinners showcasing traditional dances and other arts.
I had a wonderful experience at this adventure park, and I would recommend it for adults and older children. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for young children that are not able to swim, as you won't be able to participate in all of the activities.
Cenotes and Underground Rivers
Playa Del Carmen will let you tap into your inner spelunker through its breathtaking underground rivers and cenotes, or watering holes.
Among the most popular of these locations are Cenote Chaak Tun, Rio Secreto, and Chikin Ha, where you can glimpse into a unique realm of the natural world.
At Sandos Eco Resort, there are quite a few cenotes to explore right on the property. We went snorkeling along the jade river, on a romantic river boat ride, and snorkeling in the cenote near the lobby. Our little guy even joined in on the fun, even though the water was a bit cold for him! Unfortunately, it took a bit of effort to book these activities at the resort. If you didn’t get in line before 8 a.m. you were not going to get a spot for the next day, and you would have to come back again the following day before 8 a.m. to try again. The jade river boat ride was the one activity you could make a reservation for at the resort, but again it was too busy to enjoy these activities that were included unless you were a VIP member.
When you need a break from the exploration and want a slice of civilization, head over to Quinta Avenida, or 5th Avenue. Here, you can enjoy shopping among hundreds of artisanal crafts and storefronts, dining among restaurants of diverse cuisine, and thrilling night life.
What’s a trip to Mexico without a few margaritas? At Sandos Eco Resort, they hosted their own night market to enjoy while you waited (in a very long line) for your dinner. This made the resort feel lively, and then after dinner, you could head to the theatre for a show to wrap-up your evening.
Play in Playa
When you think quintessential beach vacation, think Playa Del Carmen. Here you’ll find an intricate mix of natural beauty, rich culture, and old-fashioned fun just waiting for you to visit. Send us a postcard?
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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