Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • On a mile-long, white-sand beach 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen
  • Spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs and minibars
  • 2 free-form pools with 2 swim-up bars and a large whirlpool
  • 6 restaurants and 7 bars
  • Upscale spa with salon services
  • Family-friendly: kids’ and teens clubs, family rooms, kids’ spa
  • Fitness center with sauna and steam room
  • Free non-motorized sports available daily

Cons

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (except for Club Premium guests); only one device can be connected at a time
  • Some restaurants have subpar food
  • Kiddy pool is at (next door) sister property

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

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.

 Location

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.

  • 42-minute drive to Cancun International Airport
  • 16-minute drive to Xcaret Eco Theme Park
  • 18-minute drive to Playa del Carmen
  • 20-minute drive to Playa del Carmen ferry terminal to Cozumel
  • 39-minute drive to Xel-Ha natural park
  • 45-minute drive to Tulum ruins
  • 46-minute drive to Puerto Morelos
  • 1-hour-10-minute drive to Cancun
  • 1-hour-30-minute drive to Coba ruins
  • 3-hour drive to Chichen Itza ruins

 Rooms

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.

  • All rooms have either a king bed or two double beds with an assortment of pillows.
  • Bathrooms feature shower/tub combos and hotel-brand toiletries in large containers.
  • Flat-screen TVs with cable channels
  • Minibars stocked with beer, water, sodas and snacks; restocked daily
  • Wi-Fi and wired Internet access for a fee (free for Club Premium guests)
  • Ceiling fans and individually controlled air-conditioning units
  • Coffeemakers with free regular and decaf coffee
  • Superior Club Premium Rooms and Junior Suites Club Premium have a day bed in the living area; Family Suites have two day beds and a twin bed in the living room.

 Pool

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.

  • Two pools, each with a swim-up bar
  • Daytime pool activities
  • Access to the pools (including the kiddy pool with water park) located at the Colonial & Tropical property next door
  • No poolside service, but there are two bars in the pool area

 Fitness Center

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.

 Spa

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.

  • Wellness area with 22 treatment rooms -- including a gorgeous one for couples -- as well as a flotation tank and Vichy and Swiss showers
  • The salon offers everything from manicures and waxing to packages for brides.
  • Couples Room with a round Jacuzzi, two massage beds, a starred dome, and dim mood lighting that can be adapted to the guests taste.
  • Temazcal sessions include a traditional ritual and a purification ceremony with medicinal plants in a circular "sweat lodge" similar to a steam room.
  • Kids’ Spa offers hairdressing, manicures, and even make-up sessions. The spa can arrange birthday parties with beauty sessions for kids.
  • Club Premium guests get 20 percent off all spa treatments.

 Family

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 hotel offers connecting Superior Rooms, but these do not feature a day bed.
  • Superior Club Premium Rooms and Junior Suites Club Premium can accommodate up to five guests, one of them in a day bed in the living area.
  • Family Suites have one room with a king bed, plus a separate area with two day beds and a twin bed.
  • Free cribs
  • Kids’ menu at all buffets
  • Kiddy pool with water park (at Barcelo Maya Colonial located next door)
  • Babysitting services for a fee
  • Kids’ Spa offering hair services and manicures
  • Barcy Kid’s Club offers supervised activities and movie nights for children four to 12.
  • Teens Center with videogames, books and sports
  • Mini-golf course, tennis and basketball courts, and soccer field

 Food

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.

  • Two buffets, both with a special sections for kids
  • Two a la carte restaurants: Don Quijote (Spanish) and El Agave (Mexican)
  • Two grills near the beach and the pools serving snacks, small bites, and drinks.
  • Lobby Bar is open 24 hours, and offers drinks and coffee, as well as small bites throughout the night.
  • Access to the Colonial & Tropical’s two snack bars by the pool

 Drinks

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.

  • Two lobby bars, one of which is open 24 hours and offers drinks and snacks through the night.
  • The bar at Kukulkan Theater opens during night entertainment.
  • Two swim-up bars with shaded outdoor seating under a palapa.
  • Capitan Morgan and Rancho Grande snack bars are close to the pools and the beach, and offer lunch and light bites until the dinner service begins at the restaurants.
  • Strikers Sports Bar opens before dinner and closes late at night.
  • Jaguar’s, the nightclub, has no cover and serves free unlimited Mexican-brand drinks until the wee hours.

 All-Inclusive

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 drink
  • All meals at the buffet restaurants, and dinner at a la carte restaurants (subject to availability)
  • Snacks and drinks 24 hours a day
  • In-room minibars restocked daily
  • Free entrance to nightclub and all domestic drinks until the wee hours
  • Access to all fitness and sports facilities in the resort
  • One hour free use of snorkeling equipment per day
  • One free diving lesson per week at the main pool
  • All tips included (but waiters and bartenders will appreciate extra tips)
  • Free guest shuttle between the three hotels at the Barcelo complex

 Services

Welcome drinks and free daily restocking of the minibars

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (except for Club Premium guests)
  • Welcome drink
  • Daily restocking of in-room minibars with bottled water, sodas, beer, and snacks
  • Free guest shuttle between Barcelo properties in the complex; runs from early in the morning to late at night.
  • Free non-motorized water sports; fee for motorized water sports
  • Fee for night lighting at tennis courts
  • Shopping mall selling traditional Mexican souvenirs and clothing (located at Colonial & Tropical)
  • Weekly Catholic service at the Chapel
  • Tours desk in the lobby
  • Wedding planner on-site
  • 24-hour room service (for a fee)

 Entertainment

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.

  • Daily activities by the pool
  • On-site theater with live music five nights a week, plus another theater at the Colonial & Tropical sister property
  • Jaguar’s nightclub is located between Colonial and Caribe buildings; no cover and unlimited free domestic drinks until the early morning

 Beach

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.

  • Free use of hotel loungers and beach towels
  • Several lifeguards on duty across the beach
  • No beach bar, but beach grills have drinks and light meals
  • Free non-motorized water sports available on the beach; motorized water sports available for a fee

 Physical Activities

Seven tennis courts lit for night play, a mini-golf course and water sports.

  • Seven tennis courts, all lit for night play; loaner equipment available at no extra charge, but fee for the use of night lighting
  • Non-motorized water sports included in all-inclusive rate; fee for motorized water sports
  • Basketball court and archery field
  • Mini-golf course located between the Colonial and Caribe buildings
  • Professional soccer field shared with the other two Barcelo properties
  • Pitch and Putt at Caribe property
  • Aquaerobics and Latin dance lessons, plus beach volley and pool basketball tournaments

 Business and Conventions

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.

  • Convention Center with theater-style layout and 1,300 seats
  • Two flexible meeting rooms with high-speed Internet access; audiovisual equipment available
  • Catering and secretarial services
  • Business center free for Club Premium members only
  • Messenger service available

 Weddings

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.

  • Wedding department on-site
  • Chapel housed in an open palapa for religious ceremonies
  • Small chapel on the beach, plus a small gazebo overlooking the ocean
  • Mayan or spiritual weddings are performed by a shaman.
  • Translation services can be arranged through the wedding coordinator
  • Some packages include live music; bands, mariachis, and DJs can be hired by the hour (for a fee)
  • Vow renewal ceremonies can also be arranged through the wedding planner

 Eco-Friendly

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.

 Handicap

The hotel has four handicap-accessible rooms.

  • All handicap-accessible rooms are Superior Rooms and are located in the Caribe building.
  • Wider doorways and lowered light switches in handicap-accessible rooms
  • Handicap bathrooms have lowered showerheads, rails, sinks, toilets and telephones.
  • Sliding bathroom and closet doors in handicap-accessible rooms
  • Ramps in all buildings and common areas

 Safety

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.

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach

Address

  • Ctra. Chetumal-Puerto Juárez Km. 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico

Room Types

  • Junior Suite
  • Master Suite
  • Superior
  • Superior Ocean View

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 1031
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Address: Ctra. Chetumal-Puerto Juárez Km. 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico
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