For our honeymoon in December we selected something a little different from the norm. We decided to ditch the high-end resort and head to something that felt more authentic to the country we were visiting. This meant that we wanted somewhere that offered plenty of activities, but also an embracing quality of celebrating the regional offerings in a caring and thoughtful way.
We selected Sandos Caracol Eco Resort for these reasons. The resort, as the name indicates, is an Eco resort, meaning it has made a consorted effort to reduce its waste and impact on the environment without sacrificing the resort. Sandos Caracol is a fantastic example of what I hope to see in resorts in the coming years. Over water bottles they have replaced everything with massive jugs of water. Over straws they just serve everything in cups. Over just trash, they offer recycling everywhere in the resort. For food, everything but a few options was served on reusable plates and with reusable cutlery. The resort has instead of ripping out the natural mangrove and water ways, it has built up to work with the jungle.
In addition to respecting the natural environment, which it teaming with birds, coati, monkeys, lizards, and sterilized feral cats; the resort offers a glimpse into the life and times of those that lived in the region before colonialism. They do this in multiple ways, including the Dance performances held several times a week. Sandos Caracol has sprinkled elements of indigenous culture throughout with statues, placards explaining beliefs and rituals, morning rituals celebrating different elements, and by building in a way that respects the features of the area. For instance, the resort has its own cenote in the center of the resort, in which visitors can snorkel and enjoy, but also be reminded of how these almost majestic fresh water features really sustained the Maya for centuries. These same systems provide most of the drinking water to these communities even today! All of this combines into a thoroughly enjoyable experience for visitors to the resort. You would literally never have to leave the resort if you didn’t want to. As an all-inclusive all the food and alcohol is included so there is no need to worry about the basics. Rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Restaurants and rooms are air conditioned. The resort is so shaded with natural trees and vegetation that nowhere gets super hot or uncomfortable. Then the beach has plenty of trees and shaded areas to keep pasty me happy. We upgraded our stay to an adults only area. This gave us beach cabanas, a private clubhouse with snacks and a bar, and a more calm part of the beach. It also meant our room was in a more secluded area of the resort, an area that we could listen to animals, and truly just enjoy our time in peace and some seclusion.
Added bonuses to the resort:
- It’s wonderfully walkable, meaning you get some exercise to burn off the alcohol.
- It’s only a maximum of about 10 minutes to the beach from any place in the resort.
- You can snorkel in fresh or salt water.
- They have their own resort dogs, Mexican hairless dogs, that were revered and loved by the Maya. They’re very friendly and cute!
- There is plenty of outdoor and romantic dining, creating a truly memorable experience.
- They have a ceremonial area that’s hidden in the resort, one for sweat lodge experiences, and another for outdoor celebrations. Both are fascinating.
- Everyone that works at the resort is warm, welcoming, and a delight to speak with. Take a few minutes to get to know some of their story, where they are from, and why they work at the resort.
- Beyond traditional performances, they had more modern events such as a Michael Jackson night, superheroes night, and other events.
- After their nightly shows, the resort does karaoke events, brings in local bands, or simply offers an enjoyable vibe throughout.
- They have their own small water park, that is kid friendly, and then full of slides for the older kids….ahem…adults.
- The beach, while a little rocky, is also full of wildlife such as tropical fish.
- They have an odd assortment of rescue animals that hang out at the resort in friendly digs. This includes parrots, chickens, donkeys, pigs, rabbits, and probably some other friends I am forgetting.