Friday, May 24, 2013

Gran Bahia Principe Tulum - A Mexican Paradise in Akumal


I don't usually like to portray myself as a hypocrite, but sometimes I have to admit when I'm wrong. (Do you hear that, my loving husband? Ha ha!)

In a previous post about visiting the lovely country of Mexico, I berated people for never leaving their resorts and staying too attached to hotel life. However, after staying for a mere four days at the beautiful Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort (and getting to visit its sister resorts of Coba and Akumal), I can actually see how some travelers and tourists could enjoy just lounging around the resort grounds for an entire vacation. That's not what I did, once again, but at least now I can see the appeal.

The beautiful blue pools of the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort

My husband and I ventured down to Mexico two weeks ago to celebrate the wedding of Joey's brother, Charlie, and his beautiful fiancee, Kristin.  There was a bus-load of family members there, but somehow, Joey and I ended up staying in a different sister resort than everyone else.  This was, in some ways, a bit of a treat because we were able to view our stay as a 'romantic adventure getaway' with just the two of us for large chunks of time.  Of course, there were the family dinners, meet-ups, and the gorgeous wedding, but Joey and I were also able to do some couples' explorations too, which I will write about in later posts.

Enjoying a nice dinner at one of the a-la-carte restaurants.

I want to actually focus on the resort in this post, because it totally blew my mind.  The Gran Bahia Principe resort complex is located in Akumal, Mexico, about an hour's drive from the Cancun airport.  There are three resorts in one, along with a couple of sister resorts located across the highway.  The Tulum and Akumal resorts both have beach access, and the Coba resort is set more into the jungle.  Trolley cars cruise around the resort every 10 minutes, taking you to wherever your heart desires.  It is a well set-up, smooth-sailing mini-community that looks like paradise.  The staff was friendly and helpful (although watch out for the time-share dudes that hang out in the lobbies - they are pretty pushy).

An example of the 'condo-style' hotel units at the Gran Bahia Principe.

The rooms were neat and tidy, and the maid left lovely towel art for us every morning.  Beach towels were provided, and the all-inclusive band meant free drinks and food literally whenever you wanted it, and pretty much wherever you wanted it.  There was free entertainment every night, a hacienda shopping center, entertainment alongside the pools (like the fantastic parrot show we got to see), and a dolphin-swim aquarium (not part of the all-inclusive package).

Yay! A towel unicorn!

The layout of the resort was interesting too.  Last time I visited Mexico, I stayed in a hotel that was basically one huge complex.  The Gran Bahia Principe Tulum, however, is more like a community of condos, with cute winding paths, Mary Poppins-esque lamp posts, and about a million laid-back, sun-basking iguanas every fifth step.  I loved just strolling around the little streets, jumping out of a trolley's way every now and then.

I tried to sneak up on a big iguana, but he had his eye on me!

One of my favorite parts of the resort was the beach and ocean - although perhaps not my skin's favorite part, as I am still peeling nearly two weeks later.  (I look like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, with a constant cloud of fluttering skin flakes whirling around me.  Gross, I know.  I just wanted you to have that visual so you can understand what my students have been dealing with since I got back!)

Another example of the beautiful pools at the Gran Bahia Principe.

The kind folks at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort know their ocean tides and waves - they created large, black concrete 'rocks' which act as breakers to slow down the rushing waters of the sea, and create a calm and safe place for swimmers all day long.  Many people in the hotel reviews online hated the rocks, stating they were 'ugly', but I did not see it that way.  The rocks instead created a 'lagoon' type atmosphere between themselves and the shore, and we had the opportunity on our first day there to swim for hours with a fun, friendly school of fish (and I had the opportunity to test out my new GoPro Hero 3!!!)

Beach luxury at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort.

My husband and I did leave the resort two of the four days we were in Mexico, so don't think I've gone and turned into a leisure lounger - exploring every nook and cranny is still my style of travel.  But if I was forced to spend a week just relaxing in the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort, I doubt I'd mind!  If you need to be further convinced of just how great this place was, check out my video below!

What's your favorite Mexican resort getaway?



Explore the Gran Bahia Principe with Down the Wrabbit Hole!

13 comments:

  1. love the go pro footage! sure want to get me some of that mexican sun!

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    1. That GoPro was the best present I have ever received! I loved it! My parents also bought us some snorkel equipment, which was also an amazing present and will show up in my next post! :)

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  2. What a great camera Marti! You got some great footage. I love Mexico!

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    1. Love that GoPro! Just you wait until I post the Xel-Ha footage - that place was tropical-fish-filming heaven! :)

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  3. Been to GBP 4 times, absolutely love it, thanks for the pics , we head back from UK to Mexico this Saturday 1st June for two weeks !!!!

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    1. Lucky lucky lucky! My husband and I hope to go back there - and we don't usually do repeat trips. The resort was gorgeous, and there's so much to see and do in the local area too! What stuff have you guys done and seen in the area that you recommend? :)

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  4. Oh wow! what a beautiful place it is. Love to be there very soon.

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    1. I was so beautiful - I hope you get to visit! :)

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  5. Looks like Paradise on earth.. I can see some amazing pictures here..

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    1. Thank you! It is easy to take amazing pictures when you are surrounded by such beauty! :)

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  6. going in July 2013 ,can't wait

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    1. You will love it! Have a great time! :)

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  7. Oh wow! what a beautiful place it is. Love to be there very soon. Mexico is the perfect choice for all tastes and budgets. Family-friendly Resorts in Mexico can be less expensive than Caribbean resorts of similar size, shape and style. Thanks for sharing..

    gr caribe by solaris

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