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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 Caribe & Beach is located inside a sprawling oceanfront resort shared with two other Barcelo properties -- the Barcelo Maya Palace 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.
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