Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A sprawling family-friendly resort that shares features with two other Barcelo properties
The Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach is the budget-friendly option within the Bracelo complex, which also includes the upscale Barcelo Maya Palace and the upper-middle-range Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical. It’s got all the all-inclusive staples -- gorgeous pools, a slew of amenities, and several dining options.
The hotel comprises two buildings -- the Caribe and the Beach, both equal is size and with the same room types and amenities. For extra luxury, the Club Premium level offers privileges such as private concierge services, free 24-hour room service, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
The Caribe & Beach shares most of its features with the Colonial & Tropical hotel, but guests staying here do not have access to the Colonial’s restaurants, so dining options are more limited than at the other properties. The Colonial & Tropical and the Caribe & Beach share the fitness center, the teens club, and all the sports facilities, including the 18-hole mini-golf course and the tennis and basketball courts. A shuttle running every 15 to 20 minutes from morning until late night in peak season takes guests from one hotel to the other, but waits can be longer in off-peak season and it's sometimes more convenient to walk. (It should be noted that none of the more expensive Palace's restaurants or features are available to guests of the other resorts.)
The hotel's "24/7 All-Inclusive Plan" is a plus, and means that snacks and drinks are available to all guests in the lobby bar throughout the night. Food usually consists of small sandwiches and slices of pizza, plus a few sweets.
There are activities at the pools through the day, but music stops no later than 7 p.m., so guests looking to spend some quiet time in their rooms won't be disturbed by loud house beats after the sun sets. Note that the Club Premium rooms are the ones closest to the pools and the beach, and so might experience more noise during the day when the windows are open.
On a white-sand beach 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen
The Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach is located inside the Barcelo complex, a self-contained resort area between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. There’s nothing within walking distance aside from a handful of resorts, but a 15-minute cab ride gets you to dining, shopping, and nightlife in Playa del Carmen. However, most guests don’t venture outside the resort at all, and spend the day lounging by the pool or on the lovely beach. Half day and full day trips to nearby Xel-Ha natural park, the Tulum Maya ruins, and other sights can be booked at the hotel.
It used to be the home of the ancient Mayans, and after that a small fishing village, but now Playa del Carmen -- or "Playa," as the locals call it -- is full of exciting nightclubs, popular restaurants, cute boutiques, and resort hotels that sit on lovely white-sand beaches. Because many of the businesses are European-run, the rest of the town retains a hint of European flair. The main tourist thoroughfare of Playa is the cobblestone-lined, pedestrian street Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), but there are plenty of fun outdoor activities for visitors, too, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing. The offshore reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Large rooms that can sleep up to five guests
With 1,031 rooms, the Caribe & Beach is certainly big, but the layout in two separate buildings shaped like a "T" makes it feel smaller. Unlike the more luxurious Palace, the property does offer standard rooms (called Superior Rooms), which lack the large living area other room types have but offer the same amenities.
Rooms are airy and bright, with large windows that open onto private balconies or terraces with garden or pool views. Note that rooms labeled oceanfront only have partial ocean views at best. The hotel offers four handicap-accessible Superior Rooms as well as a few connecting rooms for families. However, these rooms do not offer the standard day bed found in most of the other room types.
Club Premium rooms are located closest to the beach and the pools, and offer extra services and amenities, including free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel; pool towels in the room; access to the Club Premium Lounge; private concierge services; free 24-hour room service; unlimited access to a la carte restaurants, and 20 percent off at the spa and salon.
Two large pools with swim-up bars, a shared whirlpool, and daily activities
The two pools are the highlight of the property, and feature two swim-up bars and a huge whirlpool. They're bustling during the daytime, with activities such as aquaerobics classes.
Open-air fitness center with tons of equipment and an air-conditioned cardio room
The hotel’s fitness center is located between the hotel and its sister property, the Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical, and is shared with guests staying there. The strength training area is housed in a huge palapa with high ceilings and ceiling fans. The enclosed cardio room, equipped with ellipticals, recumbent bikes, cycling machines, and stair machines, has air-conditioning units as well as ceiling fans. The hotel provides towels and water, and there is steam bath in the locker room.
Relaxing spa with a long list of treatments, beach massage huts, salon services, and a "sweat lodge"-- plus a kids' spa
The U-Spa is located in the common area shared with the hotel’s sister properties, and is located between the Colonial and Caribe hotels.
A great pick for families with young kids and teens
The Caribe & Beach is popular with families for its great kid-friendly features, including an excellent kids’ club, teens club, rooms that can accommodate up to five guests, and a kiddy pool.
The six restaurants -- including two buffets and two beach snack bars -- are nothing special.
The resort has a total of six restaurants, including two buffets, Spanish and Mexican restaurants, and two grills by the beach. Unlike guests at the other two hotels inside the Barcelo complex, those staying in the Caribe & Beach do not have access to any other restaurants.
The two on-site a la carte restaurants are open for dinner only and require reservations. Club Premium guests have unlimited access to those restaurants, but some guests complain about the quality and variety of the items offered.
Seven bars, including two happening swim-up bars and a 24-hour lobby lounge with snacks
The Caribe & Beach has seven bars on-site, all serving national-brand beverages.
Almost everything is included here -- except for motorized water sports, spa services, Wi-Fi, and room service
The all-inclusive plan at Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach covers everything from non-motorized water sports to national drinks at all bars. Motorized water sports and services such as babysitting, room service and massages are not included, and Wi-Fi is only free for Club Premium guests.
Welcome drinks and free daily restocking of the minibars
Daily activities at the pool, and nightly shows
The Caribe & Beach offers a wide array of activities for all ages. Guests can take a salsa lessons, participate in aquaerobics at the pool, and play tennis. At night, guests with a little extra energy can catch the nightly show at the theater or head to the nightclub for late-night dancing.
Directly on a mile-long, white-sand beach with turquoise waters
The Caribe & Beach is located directly on a beautiful beach just south of Playa del Carmen. It is a private mile-long stretch of sand shared only with its neighboring sister properties, so guests are not bothered by outside vendors. The hotel does not provide umbrellas, but there are dozens of palm trees that create a large shaded area.
Seven tennis courts lit for night play, a mini-golf course and water sports.
One of Riviera Maya's largest convention centers on-site, and rooms for all types of events
The Caribe & Beach is a good pick for those planning a corporate event -- it's not only home to one of the largest convention centers in Riviera Maya, but also offers six flexible meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment and catering services.
Wedding planner on-site, plus two chapels and several wedding packages
The Barcelo complex is a popular wedding destination both for its beautiful setting on a white-sand beach and for the myriad wedding services it offers. The hotel can accommodate small to mid-sized civil, religious and even Maya-style weddings in different locations inside the resort. For civil ceremonies, the Colonial & Tropical provides couples with all necessary documentation.
Initiatives for reduced waste and water consumption
The Caribe & Beach has been awarded the Earth Check certificate, which is an environmental management and certification program that helps the travel and tourism industry "monitor, measure and manage its environmental, social and economic impacts." The program is geared towards the reduction of waste and water consumption.
The hotel has four handicap-accessible rooms.
Within a gated resort shared with two other Barcelo properties
While Riviera Maya is a safe tourist destination, most resorts have some sort of security at the entrance. The Barcelo Maya Palace is located inside a sprawling oceanfront resort shared with two other Barcelo properties -- the Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical and the Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical -- which has a gated entrance. The beach is exclusive for Barcelo guests, so no outside vendors can access it. There are lifeguards on duty seven days a week.
When arriving by taxi or shuttle from the airport, the staff take the driver's and guests' names before waving them in.
The 1,031-room Caribe & Beach is a mid-range all-inclusive resort located right on a white-sand beach just south of Playa del Carmen. It is the least luxurious of the three properties in the Barcelo complex, but offers two huge pools, six restaurants, and a long list of activities for all ages. The hotel caters mostly to families -- with great kid-friendly features such as a kids’ and teens' clubs and rooms that can accommodate up to five guests -- but it is also popular with couples and groups.