Spring break is a time when kids let loose and families go on vacation. We escaped from the wet and cold Vancouver weather to visit Cancun, Mexico. Situated along the Yucatán Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, we’ve heard from friends that it’s in Cancun that you’ll find some of the clearest water and finest sand in Mexico. As this was our first all-inclusive vacation, we really weren’t sure whether or not 5 days was going to be long enough of a trip.
After doing some research on Expedia and TripAdvisor, we decided to book our stay with Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort. It is 1 of 4 Sandos resort properties in Mexico, with 3 located along the Quintana Roo coast, and the other in Cabo San Lucas. Since Sandos doesn’t provide an airport shuttle service, we booked our airport transportation online with the reputable transfer company called USA Transfers. I would highly recommend that you book this ahead of time to avoid paying more and waiting longer once you arrive at the airport. It will save you a headache, especially once you encounter the crazy swarm of cab and bus vendors right outside the arrival terminal. While you wait for your transport, you might also see some vendors outside bottled drinks, cigars, and beer. If you can’t hold out until you get to your resort, you should be prepared to spend around $4 US for a can of beer.
Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort
The airport shuttle took 15 minutes from the airport to our hotel. We arrived just after noon, but were informed that our rooms would not be ready until 3pm, which is the earliest check-in time.
With a few hours to kill and with the gorgeous weather, we decided to have lunch at the beachside snack bar St. Trop. It’s a popular spot for guests to enjoy a small bite or drink, as it’s situated between the resort pools and the beach. Their snack bar is one of several daytime dining options at the resort. At night, you can sip the night away and enjoy live music and entertainment at Bar One and St. Trop.
To celebrate our arrival, we ordered salsa and guacamole, shrimp/squid/fish ceviche, grilled flank steak, and margaritas. The weather was warm, and the Caribbean water was gorgeous.
Next door to Sandos is a taller luxury resort called Secrets The Vine. In the afternoon, Secrets casts a shadow over the 3 infinity pools. With plenty of beach chairs, umbrellas, and hanging beach beds, you can enjoy swimming or napping in the shade, or tanning on the beach.
Zango is another resort restaurant that features a different international buffet each day. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet, and offer a wide variety of food, making it a great family-friendly dining option.
Seasons is a contemporary à la carte restaurant that likes to experiment with molecular gastronomy. We enjoyed a 3-course dinner which included seared scallops with blue fluid gel, smoked salmon and corn soup with cheese foam, roasted duck breast with passionfruit spheric, sea bass with pineapple foam emulsion, key lime pie, and tiramisu. This restaurant definitely appeals to more adventurous eaters.
We made reservations at Gaijin Tappanyaki for dinner on one of the nights. The concept is essentially the same as Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House in Vancouver. Our chef was funny and entertaining, and we had fun chatting with other guests at our table while we enjoyed our 5-course dinner.
If you’re requiring some extra pampering, the resort also boasts a large spa, complete with a full range of your typical spa services like mani/pedi, massage, and facials, as well as a steam room and sauna. Aside from tanning, swimming, tennis, and volleyball, the resort also offers water activities like parasailing for $57 US per person. We were escorted to the boat by jetski, and enjoyed a fairly lengthy boat ride up and down the beach while we awaited our turn. The view from the air was breathtaking, as you could see the beach strip from end to end. We packed our phones in Ziploc bags and made sure to snap a few pictures of the action.
One great perk is that Sandos allows their guests to visit any of their other resorts and use their amenities. So we stopped by to check out the other two Sandos resorts on the way to Playa del Carmen and the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Click here to read more about that adventure.
Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa
Compared to the other two Sandos resorts in the area, Sandos Cancun is the smallest, but it’s the closest to downtown Cancun. Sandos Caracol is located just outside Puerto Morales, and is the largest of the three resorts with around 1,000 guest rooms. We were impressed by their buffet lunch, which offered better variety and quality than the buffet at our resort. It also had a fajita station as well as a ceviche station that we both made several return visits to.
Although the resort had larger pools and more restaurants, the beach and pools felt crowded. The resort is definitely more family oriented as there is a dedicated building just for kids activities. As it is an eco-resort, you can also see wildlife like parrots, peacocks, and more all throughout the resort.
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
If you drive a little further south past Playa del Carmen towards Tulum, you will reach Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa. It is located within a large gated resort community called Playacar, where you will find resorts, timeshare apartments, houses, and even small marketplaces. We stopped there for dinner on the way back to our resort.
While it felt safe in this area, we got lost in the maze while trying to locate the resort. After several wrong turns and missteps, we finally found it and settled on El Gaucho Steakhouse, where we enjoyed a t-bone and a ribeye steak. Some restaurants within the resort require reservations, but the staff were very accommodating when we told them we were visiting from Sandos Cancun.
The 5 days felt like a blur. Though we had a fabulous vacation, we definitely didn’t get to do everything we wanted. If you’re looking to spend all your time at the resort, then 5 days is more than adequate. If you are wanting to explore the area a bit more, then you might want to consider staying for a full week. Despite missing an opportunity to take a short ferry over to Isla Mujeres, we still got a good taste of Cancun and its surrounding areas. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a great all-inclusive destination, Cancun should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Click here to see our other post which covers Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, and downtown Cancun.