Sandos Playacar All Inclusive Review: Family Friendly Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Sandos sign on the beach at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
The stunning beach at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

The writer was hosted.

Sandos Playacar All Inclusive is a family-friendly Riviera Maya resort that has it all: white sand, turquoise water, tropical flowers, water slides, shows and spider monkeys. Whether you want to relax by the pool or kayak on the Caribbean Sea, Sandos Playacar offers a fun and easy all-inclusive experience the whole family will enjoy.

At Sandos Playacar, guests stay an average of seven days and many consider the resort to be their home away from home. A Utah couple I met during a recent stay said they loved the resort so much, they became Royal Elite Vacation Members on their first visit. They returned a few months later and were delighted to find that staff members remembered their names. They were already planning a third visit to introduce their children and grandchildren to Playacar.

Dock leading to the beach at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Walking to the beach at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

Sandos Playacar Overview

Sandos Playacar is a paradise of towering palms and beautifully landscaped walkways. You’re bound to get lost exploring the sprawling property, but wandering through the jungle maze is rewarding as you pass an enclosure with a donkey and a cow, an outdoor playground for cats (which can be adopted) and colorful blooms around every corner.  

Outdoor pool at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Making friends at the pool. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

Here are some highlights of the resort:

  • 10 pools, including two water parks with five water slides and two swim-up bars.
  • A large stretch of private beach with complimentary lounge chairs.
  • Activities every hour, from dodgeball to Zumba.
  • Bikes you can borrow to explore the resort, and beyond.
  • Kayaks and catamarans.
  • Burrito bar with a crêpe station.
  • Cupcake and coffee shop.
  • Kids club for ages 4 to 12 and teen game room for ages 13 to 17.
  • Mini golf and tennis courts, with equipment provided.
  • Shows each evening, including a Shakira tribute and 80s night.
  • Spa with a private pool and treatments, for an additional fee.
  • Vendors who sell handmade goods, so you can support locals without leaving the resort.
  • Sandos Foundation donation bins, where you can donate clothing, shoes, toys and school supplies to support the local community. Pack with plans to leave gifts behind.
Kayaking at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Kayaking at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

Sandos Playacar All-Inclusive Plan

An all-inclusive resort is a lot like a cruise, minus the crowds. You can spread out, relax poolside and eat all the treats you like. Or you can stay active, with enough options to keep you busy day and night.  

Here’s what is included in the “All Playa Experience” at Sandos Playacar:

  • Air-conditioned hotel room or suite with free wifi.
  • Unlimited food and drink from six à la carte restaurants, a Mexican grill, a main buffet and three snack bars.
  • 24-hour room service.
  • Alcoholic beverages for 18+.
  • Activities, including beach and pool games.
  • Bike, kayak and snorkel rental.
  • Kids Club and Lite Teen Club, both open 12 hours daily.
  • Fitness center and sauna for ages 18+.
  • Outdoor evening shows for all ages.
  • Tram that goes around the complex.
Sandos Playacar All Inclusive Riviera Family King Jr Suite
Sandos Playacar Riviera Family King Jr Suite. Photo credit: Sandos

Rooms and Suites at Sandos Playacar

Sandos Playacar has 819 guestrooms and suites, each with a stocked mini bar, coffee maker and in-room water dispenser for refilling water bottles.

You can choose to stay in one of these three sections.  

Haciendas: Designed to recreate the ambiance of a Mexican village, haciendas are a great choice if you’re looking for a quiet stay with lots of room to spread out. My Royal Elite one-bedroom suite was spacious and could accommodate up to five guests with its large dining and living rooms and separate bedroom. It also had two bathrooms, one with a jacuzzi tub. My balconies overlooked a private pool and hot tub that I shared only with the neighboring units. Hacienda junior suites are also available.

Riviera Family: Choose from a junior suite with one king size bed and a bunk bed that sleeps three or a a junior suite with two queen beds and a sofa bed. You won’t have a private pool in this section, but you’ll be closer to the action.

Select Club Adults Only: For an elevated experience, guests in this adults only section of the resort are welcomed with a bottle of sparkling wine and a fruit plate. They also gain access to an adults-only pool with a bar, a dedicated section of the beach with hammocks and a bar, an adults-only breakfast buffet and two exclusive clubs with concierge services. Ocean view rooms are available.

Lush vegetation and flowers at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Lush vegetation and flowers add to the appeal of Sandos Playacar All Inclusive resort. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub
Tableside guacamole service at Gourmex at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Tableside guacamole service at Gourmex. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

Dining at Sandos Playacar

You won’t have to walk far to find a snack or drink. In addition to the resort’s 10 bars, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to food.

Breakfast and lunch

  • Festival Grand Buffet: This is the main buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Oceanfront Breakfast: This breakfast buffet is for Select Club 18+ guests only.

Light bites

  • Cupcake Cafe: Open all day, you can grab a coffee, tea, smoothie or juice and start your cupcake eating at 8 a.m. Come back for a late-night snack before the café closes at 11 p.m.
  • Oceanfront Snack Bar: Grab snacks and light lunch bites by the main pool.
  • Chayita Mexican Grill: This is a casual spot to grab an evening burrito, tacos or salad, starting at 5 p.m. It also has a crêperie.
  • Blue Moon Snacks: This beachfront snack bar is for Select Club 18+ guests only. 


  • Asiana Restaurant: Asian fare includes spring rolls, ramen and rice noodles with chicken and shrimp. For dessert, try fried ice cream, rice cake or mandarin and sake mousse with wasabi crumble.
  • El Gaucho Restaurant: At this steakhouse, order Argentinian empanadas followed by pasta, pizza or beef dishes.
  • Fogo de Janeiro Restaurant: Here you can enjoy Brazilian-style roast meat on skewers.  
  • Le Gourmet: Serving French cuisine, Le Gourmet dishes up onion soup, French-style chicken and crème brûlée.
  • Gourmex Mexican Cuisine: For a sit-down Mexican meal, Gourmex delivers with tableside guac service and delicious tacos.
  • Il Piemonte: This Italian restaurant is for Royal Elite Vacation Club members only. 
Coati on a balcony at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Coati on my balcony at Sandos Caracol. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

Day Trip to Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

One of the coolest things about staying at Sandos Playacar is that you can get a free day pass to visit Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, a sister property in Playa del Carmen, about 25 minutes away. If you pay for transportation, which you can arrange through Seek & Go in the Sandos Playacar lobby, you can experience two resorts on your vacation for the price of one.

Sandos Caracol is an incredible place for nature lovers. On the resort property, you can swim in a cenote, visit Mayan ruins and see iguanas, spider monkeys and coatis. It’s well worth a visit. Get there early and you can sign up for activities. Day passes last until 6 p.m., so you can be back at Sandos Playacar in time for dinner.

Things to Do Near Sandos Playacar All Inclusive

Playa del Carmen is such a beautiful destination in Riviera Maya, you may want to leave the resort to see more of the area and learn about the history of the Mayan people. Visit the Seek & Go desk in the lobby to book excursions, or make arrangements are your own.

Here are some popular excursions:

Palm tree-covered relaxing area on the beach at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive
Relax in the shade of palm trees at Sandos Playacar All Inclusive. Photo credit: Heidi Gollub

The Bottom Line

Sandos Playacar Beach Resort is a great choice for families looking for a fun-filled white sand beach getaway. There are plenty of options when it comes to food, water sports and entertainment. The resort is spread out which makes you feel surrounded by nature, and there is a tram if you tire of exploring on foot.

Download the Sandos Stay app to check in online up to seven days before arrival and for easy access to a resort map, schedules for swimming pools, onsite restaurant information and an activity schedule. You can also find check in information and details about babysitting, ironing and laundry services, drycleaning, room service and tours and transfers. To ask questions of current and past Sandos Playacar guests, join one of the Facebook groups for avid fans of the resort.

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