Tag Archives: Riviera Maya

Review: Secrets Capri

I recently spent 4 nights at the original Secrets Resort, Secrets Capri in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Secrets is part of the AMResorts family. Secrets is one of their adult-only products. This compact resort is a perfect choice for a first time all-inclusive visit or a short visit. It’s about 30 minutes from Cancun Airport and nice and small with everything within a few minutes walk. This is an all preferred club resort. Since it’s all preferred, there is no lounge.

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This was an anniversary trip with my husband and his first all-inclusive vacation and I chose it because I felt it fit our style.

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We had a jr suite ocean view and we had a partial view of the ocean to the side and were right in front of the pool.


Secrets Resorts are in the AmResorts family as well as AMStar, their tour and transfer division. They and many other companies are owned by VIP Unlimited. It’s a vacation club of sorts so they are constantly trying to get you to go to a presentation. It started at the airport while waiting for our transfer and then at check-in. We decided to go to one to check it out. They gave us $250 for going which we were able to use towards our room charges so…but I would not do it again and don’t recommend it. It’s a hard sell and wasted 3 hours of our day. They sold us on being able to see neighboring Secrets Maroma Beach, but in reality, we only saw 1 room there and the walk from the breakfast to the room. Not much of the resort. The easy way to get them to leave you alone is to simply tell them you are a travel agent. They won’t bother you again.

They love to upsell wine here. The house wine is included of course. Our second night was my husband’s birthday and Thanksgiving day so we bought 2 bottles to have a front-row table for the Thanksgiving show by the pool. We were able to keep one bottle for another night. At the Thanksgiving show, we won a raffle for a romantic dinner on the beach so we had that the next night.  The 2 bottles of wine were worth it in the end with winning the beach dinner.

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Romantic Dinner on the Beach!

The service here is incredible. The manager of the seaside restaurant, Rodrigo, we ate at the first night came to find us every day, even in the pool to check on us and make sure everything was okay and we were happy. Every staff member we encountered was wonderful, they get to know you and are always checking up.

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Blue Hawaian

We tipped well and were taken care of well. Occupancy was high, but it never felt crowded. The buffet and any other restaurants really never were full, we never waited to be seated anywhere. The food was good. The grilled shrimp on the beach was incredible. The Italian restaurant, everything was superb there. The shrimp fajita at the Seaside for lunch was really good too. Drinks were weak, which is typical at an all-inclusive. Stick to wine and beer. I never really felt the alcohol even drinking all day except when I was drinking the wine.

We didn’t participate, but they had a great entertainment team out by the pool every afternoon doing things. It was fun to watch. Thanksgiving Day they had a giant screen showing football out by the pool above a stage where they had a live rock band all afternoon. That night was a special dinner show by the pool.

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The beach is not as big as you’ll find further along in Playacar or even Cancun’s hotel zone beach. It’s not huge, but it was big enough and you could walk for quite a bit in one direction. There was almost no seaweed until the last day, this was at the end of November.

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They give you coupons when you arrive, but we didn’t even really need to use them. The spa had better deals at the counter. There was a spa concierge out by the pool to book spa treatments and also rent the Bali beds on the beach or by the pool. The beds are about $30 a day. The coupons are broken up by category so you get discounts on spa, Bali bed rental, specialty dining, excursions. You cannot use the full amount on one thing though, there is a limit on each category. The spa concierge gave us the coupon price without the coupon. The spa had better deals without the coupons.

We indulged in a couples massage, my husband’s first. He was terrified and really unsure we wanted to do it, but I insisted. He still talks about Isabelle every time he asks for a back rub. The spa started with the hydrotherapy, saunas, pools, some chlorofil water. Then onto our massage by Isabelle and Wendy. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

We enjoyed the swim up bar at the pool and the lobby bar for an after-dinner drink.

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The service, location, and compact size of this resort make it a great choice for a first time or short trip. I’m torn between wanting to try new resorts or going back here because we really loved it.

 

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Resort Review: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

A truly unique resort in the heart of the Mayan jungle!

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Sandos Caracol Eco Resort stands apart from the myriad of resorts lining the beautiful beaches of Riviera Maya. What sets it apart? They didn’t clear land to build this resort, they built around cenotes, mangroves, Mayan ruins. It is literally built in the jungle.

All about the experiences!

This family friendly resort in Playacar boasts 40+ activities that you won’t find anywhere else by simply walking out of your resort room. Eco tours across suspension bridges where you learn about the wildlife and trees of the jungle around you. Snorkling in a beautiful large  cenote, a river through a mangrove with various fun experiences, sensory experiences offered by the spa, exploring Mayan ruins, a waterpark,  a lovely beach with all the usual water sports, tennis courts and several pools of course. The main pool has a swim up bar and another pool in the family section has entertainment and music during the day and the adult only section has a large quiet pool.

A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.

Wildlife!

The mission of this resort and the entire hotel chain is about preserving nature and the culture of the locations their resorts sit in. They built this resort in the jungle and the animals that called the jungle home, still do. In addition to the animals native to the land, spider monkeys, iguanas, birds, coatis, turtles and more… the resort rescues animals that are in danger. They have donkeys, pigs and other rescues. Helping the caretakers feed the animals is one of the activities kids can partake in.

Nature!

My favorite experience at this resort was swimming in the cenote. We took and snorkel tour then were able to just lounge in the cool water. This water is refreshing! The resort boasts 7 cenotes, but only 4 are considered swimmable.  Honestly, you’ll want to stick with the main cenote off the lobby, it’s large and maintained to keep the water circulating. A sacred cenote is off towards the ruins and hidden away, the spa uses it, but we did find people in it one day. A cenote in the Select Club section by building 60 is also swimmable.

Culture!

The resort has entertainment nightly and is focused on the Mayan culture. You can watch fire shows and ceremonies and participate in a survival game too. It’s great for the whole family. For something romantic, couples can take a private boat ride in the Jade river or enjoy a couples massage surrounded by the jungle.

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Accommodations!

You’ll find the best of both worlds at this resort with a family section and their adult only section called Select Club. On my trip, my room was in the Select Club close to the adult only pool and restaurant. There is also a Select Club area on the beach with some special amenities.

Newly renovated Eco superior and family rooms feature bunk beds and are very nicely appointed.

Royal Elite is family friendly, but offering perks as well with their own beach area and private pool and restaurant.

Time to Eat!

There are plenty of options for food at Sandos Caracol. The usual buffets, an Italian restaurant, Teppanyaki, Brazilian, Mediterranean, and a Steak & Fish restaurant. Of course the usual snack bars and options. A favorite of mine was the restaurant catering to the Select Club, great breakfast here too, mix of buffet or a la carte.

A special feature of this resort that is unique is their vegan restaurant. I am not vegan, nor will I ever be and normally would never have chosen to eat here, but I have to say, it was really good. It’s a great choice for something different and of course, it’s all-inclusive so you have nothing to lose. Don’t feel full, go somewhere else and eat more! I will say, this was a meal I did feel full from, more so than any other. It was surprisingly delicious. Give it a try!

Kid Friendly!

There is plenty for the kids to keep them entertained. A massive waterpark, all the animals and fun eco activities, a kid’s club, pools, beach… By the center of the resort, you walk through another great spot for kids to get to the main pool and beach. Here you’ll find a bar and pool tables, ping pong, tv’s with sporting events, etc… and while the kids are having the time of their lives…you can hit the spa!

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort is a truly unique resort where you can swim in a cenote, explore Mayan ruins and culture, view wildlife in the wild and still enjoy the usual all-inclusive resort benefits of the pools and beach and kid’s club, etc…It’s the best of both worlds! I am looking forward to bringing my kids here as I know they will love it.