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“Absolute Paradise”
Review of Reef House

Reef House
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Reef House
Reviewed May 10, 2009

My husband and I have stayed at Reef House three times in the last three years. We love the quiet, solitude and incredible view. The dining room, living room and kitchen are roomy, open and airy. The place is is quiet expect for the wind and the geckos. We like being out of the hub bub of busy resorts and happily make the trip from Cancun. We start planning our next trip before we even leave. The inn keepers from Casa Carolina, Caroline and Bob, act as the perfect hosts for this undiscovered gem. They have lots of great advice about what to do in the area, when the grocery trucks are coming, how to take a snorkeling trip or get a fishing guide.

This is the type of place you want to go to if you love scuba, fishing, or reading novel after novel. We don't miss the bars, nightlife, shopping or TV. This is a place for those who like quiet, untouched natural areas- with few places like this left in the world, we consider it a rare treasure and appreciate it for its incredible beauty and solitude. Through this place we feel in love with Mexico and with the advice and support of of Caroline and Bob we keep returning.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank shuttersal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 5, 2009

I had the privilage of staying at the Reef House in January for a week. Xcalak is a very small town and the Reef House is located just outside of town right on the beach. We made quite a few meals in the well appointed kitchen and made use of the the deck morning and night. There is no A/C, but there's usually a breeze a night plus there are ceiling fans to keep you cool. The beds were very comfortable and did NOT have bed bugs as another reviewer mentions. There are however, mosquitos. Which would make sense considering the proxmity to water/forest. The house was cleaned everyday and was spotless every afternoon when we returned from fishing.

The folks that manage the Reef House could not be nicer. Everyday at 5 we would venture over to Casa Carolina for fresh margaritas (never had a better one). Their bar/palapa also has WIFI, which came in handy to check in with work. Caroline was nice enough to arrange a boat trip to San Pedro, Belize for us- coordinating with the captain so that we could travel with others in order for us to get the best rate.

My favorite memory of the Reef House was sitting out on the deck at night reading a book. I can't imagine a more peaceful place.

we'll be back in 2010!

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kdahl5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2009

We've stayed a week at Reef House for the last 3 years in a row, and it won't be long before I make reservations for next winter. I go there to fish, birdwatch, relax, eat well, and fish. If you're looking for solitude, beauty, peace & quiet, and rejuvenation in a comfortable, well-kept setting, this is hard to beat. I fish for bonefish and permit while keeping my eyes open for snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, parrots and iguanas. Bob and Caroline, who manage Reef House and own Casa Carolina a couple doors away, are excellent hosts. Bob makes the best margaritas I've ever tasted, Caroline will give you insight and suggestions to make your stay as memorable as possible, and their dog Tootsie (see photos) is almost reason enough by herself to make the trip back. In fact, we've stayed at Casa Carolina in the past, and can highly recommend it as well. The beaches that front both Reef House and Casa Carolina are groomed early each morning, and always look beautiful. Reef House has a large, tiled kitchen with a gas range. The upper floor of the house, where we've stayed each time, is spacious and open--the front wall is all picture windows and a good-sized, covered balcony, all overlooking the ocean. You can fix breakfast and watch the sun come up over the water in the morning, and cook dinner watching it sink behind the jungle in the evening.

All of the people I've had the pleasure of meeting while staying with Bob and Caroline have been great, and stay there for pretty much the same reasons--to get away from crowds, noise, stress, and bustle. Here you will not find a phone or television--there is wireless internet service at Casa Carolina, but it can be a bit slow at times. It works plenty well enough to stay in touch if you need to. Grocery trucks come by 3 or 4 days a week with fresh local shrimp, chicken, vegetables, fruit, cheese, eggs, and other staples. If you ask her about it beforehand, Caroline can put in an order for incredible homemade banana leaf-wrapped tamales. There are places to eat in "town", ranging from the thoughtful, succulent creations available at The Leaky Palapa, which is owned and operated by a sweet couple of ex-pat Canadians, to the living room of one local's house, where you can get the most incredible ceviche around.

If, like me, you want to fish for bonefish, permit, baby tarpon and snook, Bob or Caroline can hook you up with any of several guides, of which my favorite is Victor Castro. He gets booked up, so you need to ask them about it when you book a room. You can also book trips to Bird Island or snorkel in crystal-clear water on the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Well be returning to Xcalak and Reef House for a long time to come.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank OregonPescadero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2009

We stayed at the Reef House which is managed by Bob & Caroline of Casa Carolina. After a long trip getting to Xcalak we could not of been greeted more coldly. It was obvious they don't care for kids.
They yelled (rudely, not informatively) for the kids (teenagers) not to run on the dock & not to use flash lights to look for hermit crabs. Caroline starts the visit with a grouchy commentary of what the "rules" are at the house. The kitchen was poorly stocked with 1 broken dull knife and pots and pans with no handles. There are no beach towels, and the beach chairs were beat up. The house had bed bugs and we were bit up every night in bed. I could go on, but after arriving we decided not contact them any more. We were terribly disappointed, mostly by the managers. The house was so~so.
Xcalak was beautiful & we did find most of the other people to be a delight and welcoming. Go, but don't stay there!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Groovy2s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VirginiaThorpe, owner at Reef House, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2009

Reef House, where these people stayed, is not a part of Casa Carolina. Reef House is a private home that is available for rent. It is near Casa Carolina, but it is a separate, distinct property. The kitchen is not gourmet but it is well stocked with basic utensils, pots, dishes, etc., many of which are less than two months old. No beach towels but some very nice beach chairs, hand carved from local hard woods; and hammocks. One of the six beach chairs was found to need repair, and has since been repaired. Looking for crabs at night with a flashlight is fun but it is not considerate to do it in front of the rooms of other guests who are sleeping, at a hotel where you are not even staying. And yes, running on a dock is not a good idea especially when medical care is hours away. Trying to prevent unsafe behavior from 50 yards away requires a raised voice.
There are no bed bugs at Reef House. The bugs mentioned are no-see-ems; sand flies that can get in your room from the beach, especially when the doors are left open. Yes, staying in a house “off the grid” does have some special “rules” that need to be explained if the guests are to have electricity and running water 24 hours/day. We pride ourselves on the service we provide for our guests. Please read the reviews that are actually about Casa Carolina and you will get an idea about how special it is.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Reef House

Address: Xcalak, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Costa Maya > Xcalak
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Xcalak
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
Reef House Xcalak, Mexico - Costa Maya

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