Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Surrounded by small, commercialized beaches, other all-inclusive hotels, and random bits of undeveloped land
Not quite in the Hotel Zone, note quite in Cancun, the Barcelo Costa Cancun sits along the northern-most arm that extends toward the thin Hotel Zone strip. The immediate area lacks attractions, being that it's only surrounded by other hotels and random bits of undeveloped land. A bit of a drive to the airport, it's a decent place for visitors that don't care too much about large, pristine beaches, and instead want to be relatively close to shops and the tourist-centric Cancun nightlife. Still about a 15-minute drive to Ciudad Cancun, where locals live and play, it's actually much closer than other hotels in the Hotel Zone.
The Zona Hotelera (or Hotel Zone) is the mega-resort, mega-mall area in Isla Cancun that caters to mass tourism. The nightlife is one of its main draws, as are its shops and restaurants -- but there's little of Cancun's original flavor here. To get a hint of what that is, you'll have to take a cab to Ciudad Cancun, the real downtown, where smaller, better restaurants, local shops, and quieter bars are located.
In comparison with other Hotel Zone properties, the 357-room all-inclusive Barcelo Costa features an above-average beach, decent-size pool, and pretty grounds with some palms and tropical plants. Barcelo Costa is smaller than many other mammoth all-inclusive resorts just outside Cancun, and offers guests an entertainment-centered atmosphere that can feel tired and tacky at times. For instance, giant pirate ship attractions perch right beside the resort's tiny slice of beach, and loud music pumps throughout the pool area at night. On the upside, though, rooms are spacious, airy, and bright, many with flat-screen TVs and massive marble showers.