More about Sandos Playacar All-Inclusive Beach Resort
Taxi to Playacar from the airport and back
If you don't have too much luggage - take a taxi (car) from Cancun airport to Playacar. This costs USD$50 each way. To take a Private minibus it costs USD$62 each way. To book a private minibus before you arrive costs about USD$180. Take your pick !
Swimming with dolphins
I swam with dolphins at Puerto Aventuras, a 15-20 min bus ride from Playacar. The cost was $129 for 30 minutes in the water with them. It was an excellent experience! There were two dolphins between a group of 7 of us and afterwards you had the chance to purchase a dvd and photos of the experience. I especially enjoyed the foot push, where each dolphin pushes you along the water by it's nose!
We didn't stay at this upscale hotel but we did have breakfast there one morning.
People on the street were passing out passes for a free buffet breakfast. The one catch was you had to watch a short film and listen to a promotion on a time share package.
We decided we would go waste some of our time there.
It was a very nice buffet and the food was very good. We really enjoyed it. Then we had to listen to them as they tried to twist our arm to sign on the dotted line. No Thank You
Later, we visited the pool bar and swam in their pool.
Not the Honeymoon spot we were looking for...
After reading the reports, we were VERY excited about Gala in Playacar. Don't get me wrong, the staff was very nice and worked very hard. However, there were kids EVERYWHERE! It was not the romantic honeymoon spot my husband and I were thinking we were getting. The food was okay, nothing spectacular. But the rooms and the beach were beautiful! If you have children, I would recommend it, but for honeymooners, I would tell you to go somewhere else.
We (myself, husband, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew) stayed at the Gala Resor Playacar last spring (2002) and although, it was not the worst experience in resorts, it was definitely not the best. My husband and brother-in-law got deathly ill from one of the restaurants (the one that requires reservations) -- we think oysters did it. We had to get the house doctor to visit they were so ill (by the way we were charged). Beach was great! Food was just ok. Drinks were watered. We had an ocean front room, but my sister's family had to pay the upgrade and move because they were in a junior suite back in the woods and had to hike to everything or so it seemed. Pretty inconvenient.
2 weeks Great but not 5*
This was our first trip to anywhere in the Carribean. We researched every island and mexican resort area and finally chose Gala through Signature Vacations. We choose it primarily becuase it is only one of 2 resorts that offers kids clubs to children 2 and older and were bringing our 2 and 6 year old. Overall it was a good trip. Signature vacation's listed the hotel as a 5 star but I would rate it more like a 4 from looking around at the other resorts that were there and a few service issues and overall it was good food but not 5 star food. Gala's grounds are beautiful and Playacar, the community it is in, is a beautiful with a great plaza down the road. The beach is the best we've seen, the employee's are super friendly and they love kids. After talking to some of the people who work there, they put in 6 day work weeks and work pretty much the whole day with a few hours off in between shifts.. considering this they have phenominal attitudes! The kids club was great with fantastic activities, our 2 year old however decided to have seperation anxiety and they were very good at tolerating her crying while we tried to work through it. We stayed in the Hacienda section. It's removed from the hotel rooms, but a great place for peace and quiet. And I liked the walk to the main part of the hotel it's very pretty and if you look closely some of the banana trees have banana's in them and several areas along the way have Iguana's ..the kids loved it.The hotel rooms are around the pool and beach where they have speakers blaring music and hosting they many events through them daily. The hacienda rooms are bigger and they aren't that big.. we expected bigger from the photo's in the brochure but it was better than their regular rooms. They cleaned them well and always restocked the fridge and give you a 1 litre bottle of water daily as well, as a result we didn't need to buy much water. We did have a few days where they left us without towels or face cloths and had to call. They were also good to move us when we had issues with our first room. Try to avoid the xx01 hacienda rooms they are on the end bottom, next to the sewers and the bathrooms smell.. Ours had a clogging issue after coming to unclog it twice the smell got worse. When we complained they moved us in 15 minutes, complete with a their golf car and baggage guy. The beds are very hard.. I hated them, but my husband loved them so it all comes down to preference. The mini pools are cute but cold..same with the main pool. Don't get fooled with the "satalite" tv .. only about 3 channels are in english.. surf around not just the presets and you can find Cartoon Network in english the picture is fuzzier but at least the kids weren't in complete tv withdrawl. The kids club was handy as they always had disney movies on and it was a running joke with the parents picking up kids that 35 kids would all be fixated on the tv and hardly blinking. We never got to try any of the restaurants other than Oh la la (we refered to it as the grease pit), and the buffet. Oh La La is open earlier than the buffet for lunch and dinner and serves pizza, hot dogs, fries, drumstick, burgers...etc. The buffet is good. My husband is a vegetarian and he usually had a good selection except Friday's the Mexian night..everything has meat in it. The breakfasts and lunches are good and lots of variety and the quality was always good. And definatley try the coconut ice cream..it's very good. The ice cream guys got to know our kids very well.. as well if you sit on the patio expect vistors for dinner...cats.. Our kids loved it and they were friendly but some people were put off by the cats being there. Whatever you do, be adverturous and rent a jeep. The Avis in the plaza has convertible jeeps for $74 american a day including taxes and insurance. We took it for 5 days and drove to Tulum, Chichen itza (a 3 hour drive but you will see sights you won't see on a bus it was great fun getting lost in Coba), Xcaret and Cancun. Our last day we went beach hoping and by far ..even better than the hotel beach you have to go to Xpu-Ha..it's maybe 10 minutes down the highway from the hotel. It's a left turn at a dirt road it's says Xpu-Ha restaurant on sign and you drive down a dirt road with abandoned trucks to the side.. don't dispair the most goregeous beach and water is awaiting you. The have a cute bar where you park the seats are swings..lots of rv'rs from the U.S and Canada are there. I Love Playacar and we'd love to go back but I think we'd probably like to try Iberostar the hotel right beside Gala..it looked very beautiful from what we saw. Riu takes up 3 properties and think it may just be too busy they have over 1000 rooms. Enjoy!
Great, relaxing family vacation.
We have just returned from a six night/seven day stay at the Gala Resort. We have two daughters 6 and 10. Our goal was a " bum on the beach" vacation. The Gala was perfect for that goal.
There were few negatives. We were promised a non-smoking room in the Jr. Suite Section. When we got to the room it was obviously not non-smoking. The front desk offered us a room that was smaller but non-smoking. We chose to stay with the larger room. After the first day it had aired out fairly well. Also, as we don't typically drink alcohol, water was very important. We did have trouble getting extra large bottles of water that come with the room. You can get treated water at any of the restaurants and bars. The shower in our room was great. There was no bathtub. It was a large marble shower with a bench and sprayer in addition to the shower head. The bathroom does not have a fan. The cable TV was not American cable. The translation is that the two cartoon channels are in spanish and no Disney. We did have a good laugh out of Bugs Bunny in spanish. Lastly, the beds are very hard. This would be great if you like hard beds but be warned if you are thinking a soft mattress.
We did stay in the Hacienda Jr. Suites. They were a little more money but definitely worth the extra. The girls each had there own bed as the couch made into a bed. The maid service was wonderful. They came twice a day and were very prompt in responding to any needs. (Just ask for an iron if you need one.) There was a small pool for the eight rooms in our building. The water was chilly while we were there but a great spot to let the kids have one last swim. This pool area was a large patio with tables and chairs. We were able to play games each night with our children.
The restaurant staff was incredible. They were especially great with our girls. They encouraged their small attempts at spanish and joked and generally tried to amuse them. There is no caffiene-free diet drink and the diet is actually a light with 6 calories. This might be important if you are sensitive to sugar. The food was actually quite good. The two ala-cart restaurants are worth the visit. The Mayan crepes in the Mexican restaurant are what you will dream about for years to come.
Our girls did participate some in the childrens program. My six year-old didn't want to leave and the ten year old wanted to return. They split the children at 2-6 and 7-12. As our youngest was almost 7 they allowed her to be with the older group for all activities but beach. It was not a problem. They had a guest night show on Thursday evening in which the children got to perform. They also got them in the disco and gave them a turn on Wednesday night. The staffing of the children's program were very reponsive to our needs and any request.
The Gala is situated at the end of a strip of resorts that stretch from Playa del Carmen. This means there is empty beach right after the resort. We spent many pleasurable hours walking the beach and snorkeling around rocks. We also did some shelling. There were various non-motorized activities and a bar on the beach. We so enjoyed the ladies coming up and asking if we would like a drink while we were lounging by the shore. The towel service was great and the towels were large and soft.
Each night there was a show. We were told the comedy show was a little off color and didn't take the girls. The two we did attend were nice. They try and get the audience involved and have a "special" Gala dance.
We would definitely return and also be willing to try another Gala resort.
We just came back from 2 weeks at the Gala Resort. My husband and I have been to Playa Del Carmen before, but this was the first time with 2 teenage girls and 1 pre-teen boy. The kids thought that the Gala was first class! They enjoyed all activities, from the boogie board rentals, to the night club. I was a little worried about having teen age girls down there, and all the free access to alcohal, but the staff was very good about asking with or without booze.
We stayed in a Junior suite, which was ok. Each Hacienda has their own private pool and deck, but we felt very secluded from the rest of the resort. Its a good 5 minute walk from the jr. suites to the beach. The beds were very hard, and the rooms were kept clean. The mini-bar had pop/water and 2 beer, if you want more then that, the 24 hour room service comes in handy.
The staff was fantastic. Especially to our kids. We really got to know them, and if it wasnt for them, I dont think we would have had as much fun. Arturo/Johnny/Enrique/Brian/Leigh/Thomas....thank you for such a great 2 weeks.
Take advantage of the beach volleyball, the free sailing lessons, free scuba lessons, teen club (pool tables air hockey etc) and the nightly entertainment. These people work their butts off in the entertainment. They put on performances, but they always make sure to have the audience participate - Aya Aya--Oya Oya (you'll know what that means when you get there)
The food was great. Same buffet food every day for breakfast and lunch, but there is so much to choose from, that you dont need to eat the same thing 2 days in a row. Evening meals changed daily.....roast beef/turkey/fish/lamb, we had it all. The ala Carte restraunts were good. We especially enjoyed the Italian one, but you have to book them 2 days in advance.
All in all it was a great holiday. I dont know if I would rate this hotel a 5 star on the actual accommodations, because I have stayed in better in Playa del Carmen, but I would give it a 4.
Mexico Vacation 2008
"The Riveria Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico"
We stayed at an "all inclusive" resort called Sandos Playacar in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
For a vacation to Mexico, I recommend an "all inclusive" because you don't necessarily want to leave the resort property often. Vendors on the streets can be very pushy for business. This is understandable, considering the standard of living in the area. However, you don't really go on vacation to be hounded to buy stuff either.
Our resort was right on the ocean, it had four buffet restaurants and three a la carte restaurants, 4 or 5 bars, a kids club and great nightly entertainment.
Two quick tips. first, leave tips for your servers. The Minimum wage in Mexico is 5 US Dollars a day. Every server we encountered was polite and genuinely seemed happy to be there. In my opinion they derserved tips for great service and I saw very few people tipping because it was an "all inclusive" situation. a two dollar (or 20 pesos) tip is nothing for you on vacation, but it is great for them and ensures continued great service. Second tip is if you know any spanish at all, use it! They really appreciate when you make an attempt to speak the local language. It doesn't matter if you butcher some words if you are making an attempt, it shows respect for their culture. If you don't know any spanish, at least learn to say "Hello, How are you?", "I am very well!", "Please" and "Thank you."
"Excursion to the Mayan Ruins at Coba and a Village"
We visited the Mayan Ruins at Coba and climbed the tallest temple there. It was a wonderful historical and cultural experience. Afterwards we toured an actual Mayan Village and two Mayan Homes. This is an experience not to be missed. It really makes you appreciate what you have, but also helps you appreciate their culture and way of life. One family had a spider monkey for a pet. They live in one room, stick sided and thached roof huts... some have electricity while other do not. They live a subsistence and farming lifestyle.
Christmas in Playacar
Chris - my youngest son wanted to sit on Santa's knee. He'd just got out of the swimming pool - so would have left Santa with a wet patch !!!
We will be stating at the Sandos Playacar Resort and Spa...is the Blue Parrot within walking distance?
Re: Walking distance?
It is about a mile and a half.
May 29th Vacation
We are suppose to be coming down to Playa del Carmen May 29th if our travel company does not cancel our trip. We are staying at Sandos Playacar beach resort and spa. We were wondering if there are alot of people at the resorts and if the resorts are fully open as far as restaurants and bars. Also are the ferrys to Cozumel running and is Fifth Avenue Busy or dead. We do not want to come down if noone is there and our hotel is only half open or functional. Could someone please let us know?
Re: May 29th Vacation
That is along way off right now. I would wait till 2 weeks out to get better answers.
I hope they are favorable.
Re: May 29th Vacation
this week things should start being normal
Re: May 29th Vacation
I currently live in Playa.
This was al about prevention.
Everything is back to normal and lovely in Playa right now...
All Inclusive / Activities - Plays Del Carmen
Two women in their 30s considering Playa Del Carmen for a vacation in Early Feb for about 10 days (we have it narrowed down to Playa Del Carmen or Negril Jamaica). We are looking for recommendations on all inclusive, safe resorts with many activities to keep us amused. We'd like to be close enough to town to take a taxi in for a day of shopping and touring. Would also like to go snorkeling. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. We are not on a super tight budget, but won't be able to afford 5 star. Also wondering about "where the other singles hang out" so we're not stuck with all couples or families?
Thank you so much
The Canadian Women fleeing the cold of winter!
Re: All Inclusive / Activities - Plays Del Carmen
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort is pretty nice, $5 taxi from the town center.
Re: All Inclusive / Activities - Plays Del Carmen
We have never been to Jamiaca so I can not compare. PDC has much to offer for singles from dining, nightlife and a ton of activities all in a taxi or bus ride area for a half day or full day adventure. A quick look at Flight Centre for early Feb showed the Viva Wyndham Maya at a fair price and it is in an excellent location, all-inclusive, nice beach, yadda yadda. Lots of places to snorkel in the area, some are really nice, off the beach. You might want to research a bit but PDC is a pretty safe bet for a great getaway - so much to offer for varied interests - have a great time.