This will be in depth, but a worthwhile read as I can highly recommend the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum for the following reasons
1. High level of cleanliness
2. Good choice and a high standard of international food in all the buffets
3. Good sized swimming pools
4. Little golf buggies that are every ten minutes and take you to all 3 resorts – very handy in the hot weather.
5. Tao – Go to see Rene for Zumba at Tao - 8am free class but so worth it, fun and Rene is lovely. ( get wee club carts to Siam Riep and another from Siam Riep to TAO)
6. Beaches are lovely to sit on and listen to the waves, Good number of deck chairs and umbrellas at the pool and around the beach ( if swimming in the sea walk down to Akumal beach or from Tulum beach walk north towards the pier)
7. Entertainment – Is OK, loads of classes on zumba, aqua, volley ball etc, just need to figure out where and what time. Bars are nice, but can be a bit loud when entertainment is on. Bar at Tulum is lovely and also there is a quiet bar in COBA down past the Pescador and Mediterrano and also has some shops nearby.
8. We had an upgrade to the Hacienda club and would recommend this as you get a bigger room, an extra breakfast/ lunch venue at the Tequila restaurant and an additional pool which is a bit quieter than the main pool area. Also Lourdes and Alfredo at the tequila restaurant were always very welcoming and extremely helpful.
9. FOOD: Use all buffets for variety and change of scenery
A la Cartes are well worth trying, but do not expect UK a la carte as there are only 3 of these that area full sit down dinner ( most are buffet deserts and starters, with a sit down meal). You can book in advance at least 3 weeks prior to arrival and would advise it as a lot of times left were 8:30pm onwards.
Top 3 (full service) were Arlequin, Mikado – show table – Japanese and Don Pablo, followed by Gran Tortuga – Brazillian and Mediterrano – Italian.
10. Trips Via Thomas Cook (others available but not much price difference)
• Chichen Itza & Cenote ( very hot, bring plenty of water, camera, good walking shoes as though it is flat you are walking around for a good two hours, swimwear and flip flops as quite a walk down wet steps into centote (open sink hole – do not miss this as it is amazing experience)
• Rio Secreto – Light caving – really enjoyable experience , few steps down into it but fairly accessible for most. Guides were good at helping those who needed it. Swim a bit as well, but not claustrophobic at all.
• Tulum & Coba – Coba was great, I advise hiring the bikes or a bike taxi - $35 each. It is a long walk to Coba ruin 1 ½ miles each way, but on the bikes the breeze was lovely and was fun as well. Gives you more time if you want to climb Coba temple. View is lovely from the top, but come down on your bottom as steps are slippy and small. Tulum ruins are lovely and the swim in the sea is worth it as you get a lovely view of the ruins from the sea and cool down after the biking and walking in the heat of the day.
• Xel-ha – Full day out. You can snorkel ( We did 2 1./2 hours from the top down to the floating bridge – saw grouper, parrot fish, rainbow fish and a crab) you canb float down on a tube , but I do not think you would see as much as the fish keep to the edges. Wear a life jacket for both options, I am a strong swimmer but even I was tired at the end. Zip bikes were fun $25 each for ½ an hour. You can see the manatees and the dolphins without actually doing the experience.
• Big FAT Dolphin (Primax and Fat Cat - $199PP) – This was the highlight for us and we highly recommend as the Dolphin Experience was held at the Delpinus Riveria Maya ( not to be confused with the Bahia’s own dolphin pool – I would not recommend this as it is very small and not so good value for money) and it was a large area, small groups we got to have a foot push, spend time stroking the dolphins, got a kiss, they jumped, sang and splashed us. We were in for a good hour and we had all been to previous experiences elsewhere and this was excellent value for money. Photos however, were very very expensive (approx $25 dollars each) and unfortunately our Photographer was lazy and in the end we did not buy any, however, my friend also went and she had some fantastic photos, so it just depends on the day. Fat cat was great good food, very relaxing and we snorkelled with a turtle, stingray and fish.
11. Akumal Town Beach ( the real one not the resort beach) –
We used a collective for this 10 pesos each ( liitle mini van has collective written on it and is air conditioned and has seat belts, run until 10am at night) and it was really easy. Just walk out to the main road ( stay on the same side of the road you are on no need to cross over) raise your hand to flag them down, it will flash at you to check you want them to stop and just raise your arm again. Tell them you are going Akumal Beach public and in about 10 mins they will drop you off on the main road beside a green bus shelter and with a Bridge ( no need to cross over until you want to go back to the resort) Walk down the side road right to the end approx 10 mins to the beach, flat paved.
Snorkelling gear can be hired at the beach $15 PP – they will take ID or room card to ensure you come back but this is normal practice. You can swim with the Turtles in May from just walking off the beach, so no need to book a trip.
Very clean and lovely beach, with dive shops, some gift shops and bars around Akumal.
Jewellery is cheaper in resort than at the factory’s
Gifts – shops on the resort/ Hacienda are cheaper and they will negotiate also Akumal beach had some different choice and would negotiate as well
Playa Del Carmen – Collectivo is cheaper than a taxi – but if shopping you will be approached outside and inside shops whilst there.
Bring Factor 30 sun screen, I was unable to use less and I tan well. You can buy Reef friendly sun cream over here, but it is mainly Hawaiian Tropic. We did not get checked at Xel-ha or anywhere else for what sun protection we were using.
Collectivos are much cheaper than the taxis and just as regular
Pay for a Hacienda upgrade as it is a b igger room and also gives an extra lunch area and extra pool
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.