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“Beautiful location - accommodation not for me”
Review of Villas Ecotucan

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Villas Ecotucan
Ranked #17 of 44 Specialty Lodging in Bacalar
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Beautiful location - accommodation not for me”
Reviewed December 14, 2012

I stayed at Villas Ecotucan for 2 nights a few weeks ago. I wasn't expecting any fancy accommodation - the trip was part of a 10 days trek with Trek America so 2/3 star accommodation was in place - all I wanted was a clean room and bed and a working shower.

We arrived at the Villas and were greeted by Jacqueline, one of the home takers. I completely understand that this is an eco hotel and certain 'rules' apply, however, as soon as we stepped in we were bombarded with all 'the don'ts' we needed to be aware of so most of us felt it was somewhat of an awkward start to this vacation (where you do expect a friendly experience and a smile).

The location of the hotel is just beautiful. The garders are very well taken care of. And the cabanas look very pretty - from the outside. Inside, our sheets were smelly, the blankets had 'bee wax/or some other kind of bee nesting' stuck on them, the shower wasn't working properly (water was splashing out in all directions). There is net across the ceiling (as the roof is kind of open) to block any instects flying in, however, this was really dirty and it didn't exactly block anything from coming in. During the night we had a few gekko visitors, coackroaches. Fortunately I didn't see any scorpions or tarantullas (which also frequent the area and the gap under the door would welcome them in). The mosquito 'nets' above the beds were full of holes. I had my own net so I opened up during the night so luckily didn't get any bites but my friends woke up with their feet swollen because of the bites.

Food: For two nights, we had dinner that was prepared onsite. First night we had fajitas and second a coconut based chicken. This was delicious. Fresh ingredients, very well cooked. The breakfast was ok, cereals and eggs that prepared on the spot. The first day - we were told that breakfast is served from 6.30 am - so I arrived but apart from cereals nothing else was there. That's ok, obviously there was a process behind I had to find out about. So, I spent a few minutes looking around the place to see if I can find anyone and then I saw Gunnar - another of the takers. When I asked how breakfast works, he looked at me in a weird way telling me 'you go back and sit and I will make the eggs for you'. Ok so the second morning this is what I did. I sat there. For 30 minutes. He saw me, however, he did not bother to come and serve anything. Instead, another couple that came after me got served! Luckily, I saw Arturo (the owner) who was a pleasure to meet, really really lovely, and he prepared breakfast for me. On another occasion, I kindly asked if I could prepare some coffee and again I received a frosty look from Gunnar and Jacqueline who eventually helped me out. Maybe it is a cultural thing, I don't know, but as we were discussing this with a few of my group mates - we felt we owned a favour to the couple (Gunnar/Jacqueline) every time we asked even for an empty glass!

The location of the place is just beautiful. A trek down and you find yourself at the gorgeous lake, you can chill and enjoy sunrise and sunset or swim. Waters are so clean. This was the highlight. There is nothing to do at night at the hotel, electricity is on until a certain point so expect relaxed, calm nights.

So summing up. The location is beautiful. You can chill at the late, organise snorkelling trip. The hotel, I would not return but then again if you are bothered about those above can be the perfect relaxing place for you. I think for me personally what put me off more was the lack of hospitality - which is really a subjective point some people 'feel the love' some don't. I felt I was a guest at someone's house and I had to watch every single of my moves. And if I feel tensed on my holiday, it is never a good sign.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank UKbliss79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ecotucan, Manager at Villas Ecotucan, responded to this review, December 15, 2012
Hi UKbliss79,
thanks for taking the time to write your review. We are sorry that you did not feel comfortable here at Ecotucan.
The don'ts' is something that the guide of your group is explaining upon arrival, not us. The only thing that we always mention extra is the solar energy, since this is indeed very important to us.
Breakfast is served from 7:30 until 10:30 in the morning, not 6:30. The times are even written in the Restaurant.
If you go into a restaurant/bar and bring your own drinks, especially when traveling in a bigger group, you should not expect the restaurant to provide glasses, unless they are charging you corking fees.
I remember making a coffee for you and did not feel any frostiness, if this is what you felt, then I apologize, maybe because we were busy preparing the dinner for your group and the other guests of the hotel.
The netting across the ceiling is for blocking the natural dirt from a palm thatched roof falling into the cabana.
Here in the tropics, we won't comment the animals, especially not the geckos which are welcome visitors in each room.
If you would have given us a chance to do something about the poor running shower just by mentioning it, we would have appreciated that.
The relaxed calm nights you are mentioning are exactly what we want for all our guests. This is why I had to remind your group (and believe me, I don't like doing this) at night to be respectful towards the other guests, which were already sleeping.
Saludos from Bacalar
Jacqueline & Gunnar & Arturo
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
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English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

We stayed there for two nitghs in august 2012. Perfect if you want a quiet, relaxed, and very beautiful spot! The cabana was very clean, beds good, hot water available. We stayed during the hottest part of the year, but the breeze from the lake yielded agreeable temperatures in the cabana. Mosquito nets were fine, too. We went swimming a lot, and did the jungle trail, there are many interesting birds and insects. My daugther was especially delighted by the friendly dogs, the sheep and the rescued turtles they keep in a pool. The price is indeed very reasonable for Quintana Roo. The owner and the Active Nature people that also look after the guests are extremely friendly, and we liked the breakfast of egg, toast, cereals and fruit. Bacalar is the nicest little town we met in Quintana Roo, with a very good museum about pirates and Maya. We would very much like to go there again!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank kisler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marquette, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
190 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2012

Villas Ecotucan was a great place to stay. It was very quiet and serene. The access to the lake is wonderful. We used the kayaks and swam off the dock in the warm freshwater. The staff was very friendly and helpful (the dogs were great too!). The cabanas are very nice, traditional Mayan huts with straw roofs. The electricity was all solar and it even had hot water. Bring a headlamp or flashlight to walk around at night and read in your bugnet-covered bed. Don't expect this to be a resort. There was no air conditioning and there were lots of bugs! Breakfast was included. I would stay here again.

Room Tip: Keep your bug net closed on your bed and try and keep the lights on as little as possible, or you wi...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank auryan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
guelph
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2011

I found EcoTucan to be a charming little place - the villas were clean, the gardens were lovely and the caretaker (Jacqueline), was very friendly and helpful. The property has a nice little slice of forest on it and we were able to view a gray fox and some buterflies while we were there. The lake is clear and gorgeous - a must see if you are in this part of Mexico. For those on a tight budget, you can also bring (or rent) a tent, and camp out on the land (MX50).

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank leim24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, OR
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed November 27, 2011

There are so many flaws that I cannot recommend this property. The setting is lovely and the view of the lake from the pier is beautiful, but these pluses do not make up for the many problems with this place. If the price were 300 MX/night instead of 650, I would feel differently. The room consists of two beds and two shelves for your luggage. The mosquito nets covering the beds are full of holes. There are no glass windows, only screens on most, but not all of the windows resulting in a lot of insects in the room. A small table and a couple of chairs would have been nice. There was no hot water two of the three days that we were there. Because the windows are all open you can hear everything that goes on in the neighboring cabanas, including every time the neighbors flush their toilet! There is no fan in the room so it can get very hot and there is no opportunity for "white noise." Smoking is allowed in the common areas and there are numerous cigarette butts all over the paths and in front of the cabana where we stayed. Breakfast is OK, typical Mexican with eggs, Nescafe, cereal, white toast and a little fruit. There is no choice for dinner. One night was particularly bad with, I kid you not, canned Chinese food and minute rice. The caretaker, Jacqueline was friendly and did give us good service considering what she had to work with. We enjoyed the kayak trip with Active Nature.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Oaxacacat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ecotucan, Manager at Villas Ecotucan, responded to this review, November 30, 2011
Dear Oaxacacat,
We appreciate the critics of our guests on Trip Advisor, especially the negative ones as constructive ones. We will do in your case as well, regarding cigarette butts of other guests, or mosquito netting. We are sorry about the hot water, we do not remember you telling us, so we could have changed that.
Below is what we do not appreciate.
Our cabañas are built in style of a little Mayan Village. In these typical little houses with palm thatched roofs there are no glass windows, but wooden shutters that can be closed. All the windows are screened in, so that no insects can go through but of course there are always insects coming inside every time you open the door. Since you checked the cabañas so well, you might have noticed, all the roofs are above the cabaña walls for air circulation which makes soundproof windows senseless. The ceiling is covered with mosquito netting which eliminates dirt or insects falling into the cabaña.
There is no electricity here, we are off the grid and with solar energy only, and these lovely constructions are well ventilated even in the hot summer, so there is no need for air conditioning or fans.
We are really sorry that your neighboring cabaña had noisy guests, which could have happen in any other hotel. There are chairs outside of each cabaña, since people usually prefer sitting outside rather than inside the room.
The rates for our cabañas (for 2 adults and 2 kids, including breakfast, use of kayaks, jungle trails, observation tower) are more than reasonable, especially if you compare it to similar places in the area which are outside of town.
The breakfast we serve at Ecotucan is a rather Americanized one instead of typical Mexican which would consist in tortillas, beans and a meat dish like conchinita or carnitas here in this region and NO cereal and fruit. We serve normal portions of everything and if somebody wants more, there is always more available instead of cutting too much and having to waste fruit or any other food.
Yes, there are not many choices for dinner here at Ecotucan, since we are not a public restaurant. We offer this service exclusively for our guests, who if they choose to eat here and not go to any of the plenty restaurants in Bacalar, really appreciate our food.
Even if there is only one main dish, we always offer a vegetarian alternative or even vegan, and do family style dinner. It is the guest’s choice to have dinner here with us.
EVERYTHING we cook is fresh and homemade. We buy the ingredients here on the local market or use whatever grows in our garden. We NEVER use canned or processed food. We don’t know if there is any minute rice available in Southern Quintana Roo at all.
If you did not like the Caribbean Chicken Curry which is what you ate that specific night and we remember well that you finished your meal and had the Yoghurt with local honey for dessert, (or are you talking about the Orange-Ginger Ribs and homemade flan for dessert you had the first night, like the other 15 guests who loved this meal?), please do not offend people like that and write UNTRUE things about any place you stayed at, it can ruin a reputation and we proudly say that we NEVER received a critic like that on our food from any of the more than 5000 guests who ate here during the past 4 years.
Saludos from the entire Ecotucan and Active Nature Team.
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toronto, ontario
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2011

This place was great - a REAL eco hotel, not just a brand.
This means it's a challenge to charge your electronics, and you'll need a flashlight - but hey.. it's not the Ritz.

Cabins are spaced really far apart, and the grounds are beautiful. The laguna is a 3 minute walk down the hill and they have comfy fibreglass loungers to.. lounge on.

The rooms were very large, and very basic - I would have preferred a comfier bed, but for a reasonable price (~$50) in such a sweet spot, it's easy to overlook.

Breakfast (for Mexico) was great! Eggs, toast, cereal and best of all - make your own coffee.. as strong as you like it!

One poster commented on the challenge of ordering dinner ahead of time. When the owner goes out every day to purchase fresh food, it's not that big a deal to decide if you're going to eat dinner there (or not). (I believe) they make one dish for dinner, but they accommodated my food preference, and it was an totally enchanting, candlelit dinner.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank chezmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for 3 days and left very relaxed. The rooms were comfortable, the grounds are beautiful and the staff was very accomodating. We did not have a car, but the staff gave us a ride to town a few times when they were going to do errands. We really enjoyed the common space in the evenings for reading and playing games. They also have a jungle trail on sight, makes for a nice stroll.

I would recommend this place for anyone looking to unwind and do a lot of nothing or as a base to tour the surrounding areas.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank mel0909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villas Ecotucan

Property: Villas Ecotucan
Address: Carretera 307 Chetumal-Cancun km 27.3 | 5 Km Al Norte de Bacalar, Bacalar 77930, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Bacalar
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 44 Specialty Lodging in Bacalar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spend your days surrounded by nature at the shores of the beautiful Laguna Bacalar, Mexico’s second largest freshwater lake. Stay in one of ten comfortable and spacious stone cabins with thatch roofs, surrounded by tropical gardens and reminiscent of a Mayan settlement offering guests a tranquil base for relaxing with nature. Swim, kayak or sail the magnificent lagoon, explore the many nearby ruins, hike jungle trails, or just enjoy our scenic beauty, birds, and wildlife. At the end of the day, fall asleep to the comforting hum of the surrounding jungle. ... more   less 
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