Old Reviews – Gran Bahia Principe Akumal

   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   Rebecca

April 2009

I had my wedding at Gran Bahia Principe in the Akumal section, 3/28/2009.

I have mixed feelings about this resort. My wedding was actually our third trip to the resort. The first time I was there was with a friend. The second time we went back at the last minute and didn’t have time to shop around for the resorts. We decided to have the wedding there because it was a "known" quantity.

So the goods: Many hotels in the region have gazebos for the wedding. We were very attached to marrying in the sand beach. Gran Bahia’s "hammocks" area is on the beach and would let us be barefoot for the wedding. Yuritizia, the wedding planner was amazing and everything about the wedding flowed very smoothly. Though we were told by our Spanish speaking cousin that her translation of the wedding wasn’t quite as precise as it could be, it was still lovely. Also, the service is amazing – at the front desk, in the resteraunts, by the pool, everywhere. We also noticed several weddings having pretty receptions poolside, this was not offered to us, but that looked very pretty way to have a post-wedding reception. Oh, and the mariachis! We loved having a wedding with a mariachi band!

The bads: First of all, we booked our trip through BP USA. Do not do this. They are incompetent and limited by what their computers allow! We had thirty guests coming and wanted them to be able to call and book individually. We had several children coming, and children under twelve (per two adults) were supposed to be free. BP USA said they would spread the children out (since some adults were bringing two children and some adults were bringing none) to all the other guests that were coming so they’d all be free. However, they didn’t do this. It took two weeks of adjusting our reservations to get the children free nights (and though they never got all their nights free), and it was only grudgingly. Then we had a last minute addition to the trip — she was a single woman and wanted to stay in the room of two adults that already booked the trip. BP USA blatantly refused to add her to the reservation, forcing her to pay the ridiculous "walk up" rate at the hotel ($50 per night more than booking through a travel agent) and also refusing to book her airport transfer requiring her to rent a car. When she arrived at the hotel she was told they did not accept credit cards (untrue, since we paid for our wedding fee at the front desk with the credit card) and had to use the hotel ATM to pay for the room in cash. Also, the food is pretty average to poor. You really have to leave the resort to find good Mexican food – they are so busy trying to cater to international guests, that they forget people might want to experience a little Mexican cuisine. The all-inclusive alcohol was nice, the previous two years we’ve been to the resort we’ve had to try very hard to stay sober while drinking, however, this year, it seemed watered down, you could drink and drink, and not feel a thing.

Advice: Reserve your boats and kayaks first thing in the morning before they book up for the day (and know that one single wave shuts down their operations because its "too rough"). Don’t pay to snorkel – its a 5 minute drive to Akumal or a $10 cab ride, and you can swim to the sea turtle reserve from the beach. Get "off" the resort… go to Tulum or Coba or Playa and eat a local (yummy) meal and see the sights. Get a rental car, its most likely cheaper than paying two airport transfers from the hotel – the road is well lit and completely safe from the Cancun airport to the resort.

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   Jean ~ Crete, Ne.

January 2009

Arrival: January 11 to 16
Friendly desk clerks welcomed us at arrival with a glass of mimosa and had booked us with great accomodations.

Rooms:
Our rooms were directly across from the snack shack, across the sidewalk and we were on the beach and close to the Gran Tortuga where we enjoyed breakfast each day. The waiters there were helpful and fun. One man helped us learn some spanish.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food and drinks were great everywhere. The specialty restaurants were good as was the buffet.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Everything at this resort was exceptionally clean. There was never so much as a piece of paper laying aroujnd on the grounds

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We enjoyed a tour to chechen Itza, a scenic ride with a lobster lunch on a catamaran, and a half day trip to Playa Da Carmen. Everything was arranged by Carol at Apple vacations and was first class.

Other Comments: Carol at Apple Vacations did everything to make our stay perfect. We thank her so much.

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   Megan ~ Canada

January 2009

Arrival: April 2008
Check in was fairly easy and did not take too long. I was there with a bunch of family, and me and two of my cousins (we were all 19 at the time) were given a pretty hard time about getting an adult bracelet, which we found really odd. At first they gave us all child bracelets and then we showed them our IDs, but they still wouldn’t believe us. We then had to give our passports and they finally gave us our adult bracelets. Kind of annoying considering we met 16 year olds with adult bracelets.

Rooms:
The rooms were really nice and big. We were on the bottom floor and heard that we would find lots of bugs, but that was not the case at all. We found a cockroach once, but other than that there were no other bugs. The beds were pretty hard, but by the time we went to bed we usually had quite a few drinks in us so we didn’t seem to mind.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was actually pretty good. There were different themes every night so there was quite a variety, which was nice. The staff at the buffet were wonderful. They are constantly checking on you to see if you need something (mainly tequila shots, haha).

The A-la-Carte restaurants were alright. The Mikado was by far the best, you must eat there. Most of them had a very small menu though so there wasn’t much to choose from. One of my cousins is a vegetarian and she had a hard time finding food to eat, especially at the A-la-Cartes. There were a couple that had no vegetarian options whatsoever. The chefs were kind enough to make her a special meal though, which was fantastic.

The bars were all good. The pool bar at the Akumal activity pool had great bartenders. They were hilarious. Tip them well! If you tip a bartender at the beginning of the week $10 it will go such a long way. They make such little money, so if you do it they will always have your drinks ready before others that are in line and you will be treated so well. The 24 hour snack bar was great too. The food was good when it was fresh. The staff was absolutely amazing there too…especially at night. Those bartenders and chefs needed a ton of patience to put up with a huge group of drunk, rowdy 18-23 year olds every night until 5 or 6 am. They were always so funny and kind.

The sports bar at the Hacienda was good too. We always watched the show at 10 until the disco opened. There were waiters walking around that would get you drinks but they were super busy and some people would wait a long time. We all tipped one of them $20 one night and our waitress was constantly bringing us drinks and special shots.

The disco bar was fun. It is where we met all of our new friends. It opens at midnight and we would dance until it closed at 2. They gave us a REALLY hard time about our bracelets again though. They didn’t believe us that we were over 18 and so they wouldn’t even let us in. We had to show ID every night, which was super annoying because when you were dresses you don’t have any pockets and your ID is not something you exactly want to lose. This bar was definitely the worst service though. The bartenders favoured those who tipped over those who didn’t. If you didn’t tip after a couple drinks, you would have a very tough time getting another.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The Akumal activity pool was by far the best pool in the whole resort. We tried out all of the pools at Akumal, Tulum, & Coba and we really enjoyed it the most. If you just want to relax than this is not the pool for you. Go to the main Akumal or one of the other ones. The activity pool had something going on constantly. We were always entertained. There was water aerobics, water volleyball, beach volleyball, bingo, dance lessons, spanish lessons…and pretty much anything else you can think of. The entertainers were amazing. So fun. They really made the trip special.

We only spent a couple of days on the beach. It was pretty rocky in places. The ocean was really rough in some spots, you couldn’t swim in the Akumal area. We liked being in all the activity though, so that is why we spent most of our time by the pool.

The grounds were spotless. It was so clean and looked beautiful. Everywhere you looked there was workers fixing up the grounds. It never looked bad.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t book any tours through the hotel because we have done so with other hotels before and found them to be overpriced. We prefer going to the places ourselves. We went to the Tulum ruins which was really cool. The beach was beautiful. If you want a nice beach, go there! Cozumel is beautiful and you should definitely go there if you can. You just take the ferry from Playa Del Carmen. The beaches were gorgeous. The water was like glass you could see right to the bottom. We went snorkeling and it was amazing. It is usually cheaper to go to places yourself instead of taking tours, and you can go on your own time and schedule. You don’t have to wait for anyone else.

Other Comments: Tip, tip, tip, tip, tip! These people make such little money and tipping them goes such a long way. Also, when going to places like Playa del Carmen or Tulum or anything else, take the white vans at the front of the hotel (I can’t remember what they are called), not cabs. It costs $2 per person instead of about $30 for a cab. The only thing is you have to wait for them to fill up so you can wait for a while, but it is cheap so it’s nice.

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   Marian and Gordon ~ Vancouver, Canada

May 2008

Arrival and Flight: Arrival was fine, got side-tracked by a time share salesperson but realized this quickly. The flight on the way there was better than on the way back to Canada.

Rooms: The rooms were clean and tidy at the Golden Club,Akumel. The beds were a little firm but we actually got used to this in a couple of days. The public relations guys were awesome to deal with. Thank you Gustavo and Adil. Mucho gracias.

Restaurants: The restaurants we went to were the Mikado, Mediterraneo, Fruitos del Mar, Riviera, and (not the Arlequin ) portion very small and I did not care for this food. All the buffets were excellent and the service was great. Our favorite server was Carlos. Gracias.

Bars: There are plenty of bars at every turn inside and outdoors and in the pools. All the drinks I tried were excellent and all the bartenders very friendly.

Beach and Pools: The beaches are white sand and beautiful turquoise waters that are so warm. The pools are kept immaculately and there are many with lots of activities. Aerobics and games.

Grounds: The grounds are kept soooo clean. You always see gardeners and people working to keep it so clean. They are very hard working and always pleasant.

Activities and Entertainment: There is always something to do. You can swim, relax under a pilapa,snorkel,walk, go on tours, and every night there are shows in the Akumel, Coba,and Tulum. Tours ATV tour with Jungle Jim, Mayan Snorkeling Adventure, and Coba Mayan village. I highly recommend these three. We booked through Maria at Apple Tours in the Coba lobby.They were fabulous and the tour guides were a wealth of information.

Departure and Check Out: The people at the hotel were so helpful. They picked up the luggage from our room and we were able to enjoy the last few hours at the beach.

Conclusion: I would highly recommend the Golden Club at Bahia Principe Akumel to anyone planning a trip to the Mayan Riviera. Have a wonderful trip, I know we did. Adios.

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal    Jim

April 2008

We returned for the fourth time to the Akumal side for a wedding that included 47 people. As it was our fourth time we got gold VIP bracelets and could book ala cartes each night. The manager of guest services Patricia was actually our wedding coordinator 2 ½ years ago and she made sure we were happy.

Since our return from 2005 they have filled in a lot of the rock areas near the activity pool and made the beach more user friendly with lots of palapas. The wedding area the couple selected was almost across from the 24 hour bar which gave the guests a nice area to wait, as we hid under the roof in the blazing sun. The location was nice and almost secluded so you didn’t get those too curious onlookers in their speedos screwing up photo’s.

The rooms were the same, spotless and roomy…….I may be getting older cuz dammm those mattresses are hard…we got a topper and it made a big difference.

For the first time, I bypassed golfing at Playacar and went to Puerto Adventuras……great nine holes and tough….it cost $86 including cart and was a bargain……we only golfed 18 holes each time….it was too hot to do anymore….I will be returning as I can play 36 holes for less than the price of one round at Playacar…….I’m a 4 handicap and was challenged by this little gem………I think it was a $10 cab ride to the course from Akumal….

Went back to XeHal……..the price is now $75 for all day……you can’t just pay the entry fee anymore…….we cabbed it for $10……so our cost was $85……I think the resort charged $88………..but we wanted to leave on our schedule because Chrisitne is pregnant and we didn’t know how long she could last…………the food was great at the Mexican restaurant…….better than the buffet at the Akumal……..

We had a wedding breakfast at a little place Gord found in Akumal called, I think Don De Vido…..or something close…..it’s a $10 cab ride and worth it……..you can snorkel from the beach and shower off……the food, especially the beef faita’s are great…….great value and nice to get off the resort……..

The resort is still fantastic but I think we are all inclusived out……………..the buffet’s were getting stale after two weeks……..the ala cartes are good………Arlequin and Japanese by far the best…..skip the Mediterranean……wow bad spelling…..food and service sucked………

We will return to a Bahia property…..probably Cuba in the future

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal    Suzie ~ Michigan

April 2008

We arrived on 3/26/08 and left on 3/31/08. The weather was fabulous. We just enjoyed the ocean front beach. The rooms were exceptionally clean. The staff was excellent. I would recommend this motel to anyone who wants to be treated like royalty. Can’t wait to go back next year. Daughter was married there on the ocean. Beautiful wedding ceremony.
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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   David

March 2008

Time: tavelled from toronto to resort feb. 5-12 with wife, 3 grand children and daughter

Flight: air transat, good meal enroute poor meal on returning. tour guide lecutre on day afer arrival was poor, guide was arrogant, and did not want to answer questions from customers, seemed more concerned with telling people tips were appreciated by hotel staff despite all inclusive, ws she getting a kick back, seemed like it.

Arrival: great check in, very courteous front desk

Room: adjoining rooms, great accommodation, hair dryer, ir0n, usual in room bar, room staff did a great job of cleaning room and stockin bar with extra water as we had more childrlen with us. they deserved a tip

Food: good buffet, suggest y ou try the tulum buffet it was bestk poor service in the buffets never once got asked for a coffee refil, if you went hungry it was your fault, good snack bar by the pools

Bars: plenty and well serviced

Beach, Pool: beach great, rocky water but we knew that before we went, good snorkling big time shortage of lounges , good pool activities

Tansportation: within the resort excellent shuttle service, outside use the local white taxi vans, go to tulum to see ruins, and akumel beach to have tremeandous snorkling, (turtles) also visit shel ha for a full day

Summary: other than front desk and room cleaners, staff seemed indifferent to the guests, average to poor entertainment in the evenings, good shopping in local town, had a really good time but probably would not return, too many other really good places to go to. for information call davidmortimer@rogers. com.

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   Gran Bahia Principe Akumal   Sherry

January 2008

An early Christmas vacation/family reunion brought 25 family members to the resort December 16-23. We had not one complaint about the resort. The staff were very friendly, the food excellent. For everyone it was their first time at the resort, but not Mexico for most. We figured out next time, we would book all of our a la carte restaurants right away as we did have problems trying to eat together but the buffet always worked well. Many to choose from as well.

We plan on going again as my niece got engaged while she was there and they met with a wedding planner. So we shall be back there again.

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   Bahia Principe Akumal   Shelia ~ Calgary

December 2007

Arrival – When we checked in, they tried to get us to stay at the Coba instead of the Akumal. They offered us free use of the room safe and a bigger room to get us to switch. We didn’t want to be that far from the beach,etc so we declined.

Rooms – The rooms are kept very clean for daily housekeeping. Housekeeping does a great job. However, the rooms need a little spring cleaning and some maintenance. There were dust bunnies on a ledge that went around the bathroom. The tile on the floor was worn and cracking in places.

Restaurants – The restaurants were very good. We enjoyed the buffet and the a la carte restaurants. We particularly enjoyed the Mediterranean restaurant at the Coba resort.

Beach and Pools – If you are a beach person, and we really like to spend time on the beach, this was the worst beach we had ever been on. The sand on the beach contained coral and small rocks – not like the usual powdery Caribbean sand. The sand in the ocean was much worse than that. There were large rocks (some of them boulders) and coral that hurt your feet to walk in the water and provided obstacles you needed to avoid. If you are a swimming pool person, this is a great resort because the pools are great. However, IF YOU ARE A BEACH PERSON, DO NOT CHOOSE THIS RESORT.

Grounds – The resort is very spread out but the trams run quite frequently. The trams do not run between the Tulum and the Akumal and Coba resorts. If you go between the Tulum and the other two resorts, you will have to take at least two different trams.

Tours – We tried the excursion to Chichen Itza (Mayan ruins) and it was great. Very interesting and a lot of fun.

We also tried the shopping trip to Playa del Carmen, which was a lot of fun. The representative from the resort had told us we would be on a small bus and would be transported right to Playa del Carmen. However, the tour company actually sent a full size bus and we wound up stopping at 7 or 8 more resorts. We spent over 3 hours on the bus to and from Playa del Carmen (which is only about a 25 minute drive from the resort) and less than 3 hours shopping. In other words, we spent more time on the bus than we did shopping. The resort representative didn’t seem too concerned when I mentioned this to her so I don’t think anything is going to change. I would recommend taking a taxi from the resort to go shopping instead of taking the tour. If you can get four people to share the cost of the cab it is the same price (excursion – $12US, taxi – $25 to $30 US one way). It is worth it!

Conclusion – The resort was very beautiful and the grounds were extremely well cared for. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Randy ~ Mississauga Ontario Canada

November 2007

Just got back from one week at the Bahia Principe Akumal. Overall it’s a large resort and the people are fairly nice and cooperative. The grounds are well maintained and fairly easy to get around if you prefer getting on a shuttle for most trips around the resort. The beach is ok but with a coral reef you need water shoes to protect your feet plus there is a strong current. We decided to book at this resort based on many positive reports from web sites. However, I now question their accuracy and suspect they might have been written by the hotel pr department. From our experience it is not a five star resort, maybe three and that is generous. Don’t believe them about the water being filtered, we all got sick near the end of the trip. I could not face another day of eating at the buffet and the only restaurant that was good was the Oriental, featuring both good food and service. The other two we experienced were very very poor. In one, the portions were so small it was a joke and the Japanese restaurant with the show was like amateur hour. The cook and her performance was so bad it was funny. The rooms were almost clean except for the broken light and the vents were so dirty it was disgusting. The maid forgot to put sheets on the bed one night and their five minutes took 2 hours and a few calls. The beds were hard as rock even after we asked for a mattress pad. The pillows were also terrible. Could not wait to come home for a rest.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Darlene

June 2007

This is a review of a group of 10 adults (the “Griswolds”) that went back to the beautiful Bahia Principe for our third visit in April 2007. We have stayed twice on the Tulum side, so this time we decided to stay on the Akumal side. I apologize for the delay in having this posted, but it took some time to get it together.

DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL: We arrived at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto on April 14, 2007 at 3:30 a.m. for our Air Transat flight, check-in was fine (although we were overweight and had to pay, which to this day I still think that people going for two weeks should be allowed a higher weight allowance, either that or expand their Club Class section, so more than 19 people can sit there). The only problem flying out of Toronto, except for the fact that we were extremely tired with only a few hours of sleep, was that there was a backup of flights leaving, so our 6:25 a.m. flight left at approximately 6:45 a.m., woooo hoooo on our way back to the Bahia and much to our surprise, the flight landed on time in Cancun.

We had some sort of egg concoction (sandwich) on the way down, couldn’t quite figure out what type of egg, I did not eat it all, but as they say, when you are hungry you will eat anything. The flight attendants were amazing round trip, another “Best Crew” award to Air Transat. Now having said that, you can be sure we are definitely going to book Club Class seats for next year. We were not able to book them this time because we booked our trip too late and Club Class was sold out, this year will be a different story, and we will book earlier and get the seats we want.

ARRIVAL IN CANCUN AND CHECK-IN AT RESORT: Arrival at Cancun International Airport in Cancun was perfect, we were the only flight arriving at the time and immigration was quick and efficient. Stepping off the flight and into that first rush of heat is the most amazing feeling and then as you walk towards immigration you hit that glorious sunshine, how much better can life get than that! We got through immigration with no problems and picked up the luggage. Well actually, that is not exactly how it plays out I must say, it takes absolutely forever to get your luggage, but what the heck, don’t sweat the small stuff, you are on you holiday. You would think we would have remembered that this as it was our fourth time through the Cancun Airport and not get frustrated. Once through the red light/green light gate, off we go to find our private transportation.

TRANSPORTATION TO RESORT: We booked our private transportation through Cancun Valet and our driver was waiting for us with a sign with our name on it as we came though the red light/green light gate. Pack the luggage into the van (of course travelling with the Griswolds, the luggage pile was incredible) and off to the beautiful Bahia we go. Stopped once for refreshments and we were at the resort in about 1 hour 10 minutes…thought that the timing was perfect. We were at the resort over one hour before the Air Transat coach got there. Driver from Cancun Valet was most courteous and did not drive too fast (much to the liking of my sister-in-law).

CHECK-IN: Once at the BPA (approximately 12:00 noon), we were greeted with champagne and orange juice, certainly the most civilized way to start the day! The check-in was extremely quick and efficient, but, of course, rooms were not quite ready so we left our luggage at the front desk and off to the buffet we go for something to eat. Once we were finished our lunch, most of the rooms were ready. Thank goodness, let’s get changed into those bathing suits and hit the beach. Well it had started to rain (just misty rain) and we sat under the palapas by the White Sands beach bar. After a couple of hours, the sun came out and stayed that way for our 14-day stay.

ROOMS: Our rooms were pre-selected for us through a very dear friend and all we were told was, “we will be pleased” and she was right, we were absolutely delighted with them. We were in Villa 48 (Rooms 4823, 4824, 4825 and 4826, third floor), the most perfect location to the main bar, beach and pool. My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and mother-in law were in Villa 50, again a perfect location (except at night when the band is playing as it can get quite loud, they were in rooms 5022 and 5023). The rooms were large with a very nice sitting area (we all had booked Junior Suites). We all had king size beds and the most beautiful view of the Caribbean…have wonderful photos to keep the Bahia memory alive until the next time we go. Alright folks, the beds are a little hard on the Akumal side, well actually kind of like sleeping on cement, (we have previously stayed twice on the Tulum side and they were definitely not that hard), but in any event, I ordered a mattress pad hoping it would help, but it didn’t, back still has not recovered from that bed (next time I am going to Wal-Mart to buy a very thick mattress pad for my 14 night stay). That, my fellow travellers, would be my only complaint.

GETTING AROUND THE RESORT: They have trams everywhere, beware of various lobbies though, some of them look pretty much the same and don’t follow the crowd, been there done that, Griswolds get off tram and then right back on as brother-in-law said “where’s the man”, opps wrong lobby, was at Coba lobby, not Akumal. The trams are wonderful and are always stopping along the way to drop off/pick up guests. Never had a problem with the trams. If we had to wait, it was like a 2 minute wait and that was it. I cannot believe people complain about the tram system at the Bahia…obviously a 2 minute wait is too long for them.

CLEANING OF ROOMS: During our stay the chambermaid did a fabulous job. We had different towel art every day and she was extremely efficient. As for our other family members, they reported that the maids were doing a very good job as well. We left US $2.00 per day, plus little gifts I had brought from home (i.e. clothes that we did not wear anymore) and I had also picked up some hair clips, etc. and left them as well.

BARS AND SERVICE: Well what can we say, the bars were great, and service was very good as always. They have a form of Motts Clamato juice at the Akumal lobby bar, was quite surprised to hear someone order a Bloody Caesar instead of a Bloody Mary. So I had to ask and to taste some and proceeded to take some in a cup to our room so that all our fellow travelers could taste it and they all agreed that it wasn’t too bad. Of course, it wasn’t the Canadian Motts that we bring down every trip, but pretty good nonetheless. Again, of course, it all depends on who made the drink as well. The best was at the 24 hour bar.

WEATHER: The weather was absolutely perfect! Fourteen days of solid sunshine. Most days it was windy though, but a welcome relief from the heat. If it wasn’t for the wind, it no doubt would have been extremely hot.

BEACH/WATER: The beach was absolutely gorgeous…the color of the water always amazes me. There is some coral at the shore so I would suggest bringing water shoes, unless you want to walk over to where the two piers are located at Akumal as it is clear there. The water was an excellent temperature down between the two piers and the fish were delightful. We brought down marine fish food and they absolutely loved it. There were some Europeans in the water with us and I couldn’t believe how fast they got out of the water when we fed the fish…they were in a feeding frenzy. I did, however, not like the fact that people were feeding them bread and told them so and explained that the marine fish food is much better for them as they can digest that. They didn’t care at all. Looked at me like I had two heads. Oh well can’t teach some tourons new tricks! :o) The water was lovely all over, but in some spots a little chilly getting in, but once you were in, it was very rejuvenating! Love those hot and cool currents. We also found this little fish pond down by the hammocks and they had the most amazing coloured fish there. It didn’t take them long to get used to the fish food, that’s for sure. As soon as they saw someone, they were coming to the top; it was pretty cool to see the blues, yellows, etc. But they were tiny fish, so good thing they were in that little pond; otherwise they would probably be a snack for a larger fish.

DAY TRIPS: We went into Akumal twice and Playa del Carmen once for some shopping. It was extremely hot the times we went, but loved it anyway. We took a cab going to and from Akumal and PDC. It worked out to be US $5.00 each to go to Akumal the first time, until we found out it was US $10.00 for the cab (seats 4). At first we thought that our new found friend was ripping us off, but it turns out that it is more money for a van than a regular car. There is not a lot of shopping, but they have some really funky shops if you are in the market to purchase souvenirs/hats/t-shirts, etc. The second time we went into Akumal, we took our towels, snorkel gear, etc. and sat on the beach. It is an absolutely beautiful beach, waved at the webcam and went to the supermarket to buy a few beers. There are a couple of restaurants there as well if you want to buy some food or a beer. Excellent area.

POOLS: The pools were wonderful and very well kept. No problems whatsoever. But beware…the towel game is in full swing and some people were down at the beach and the pool around 6:30 a.m. We are beach people, so there were an abundance of areas to choose from, but we too joined in as I always say “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Breakfast opened at 7:00 a.m. and we were generally back at the beach by 8:00 a.m. and didn’t leave until 4:00 p.m. It’s bad enough that they put down the towels, but thought it very rude that people would put down rocks, branches, a shoe on each chair (absolutely ridiculous) and then watched as the chairs and palapas stayed empty for the day or at least most of it. The rocks and branches were removed without delay by other tourists and when the rock/branch people decided to come to the chairs by the beach (which obviously they were at the pool for hours); the people who had taken the chairs with the rocks and branches were given dirty looks. Imagine that, the mentality of people never ceases to amaze me. We had our chairs and palapas all day, as I am very fair and that sun is very unforgiving on my skin.

RESERVATION SYSTEM FOR BOOKING ALA CARTES: Wonderful, no problems at all, very accommodating at Public Relations.

FOOD

Riviera Buffet: Wonderful as always, always fresh and always something for everyone. The jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese were to die for. Could have eaten 10 of them. Salads always fresh. The OJ in the morning wasn’t as good as our last visit, but still good nonetheless. A little watered down we thought. Eggs, bacon, everything was wonderful. At lunch we would either go to the 24 hour beach bar for a burger/pizza/chicken or to the Riviera or actually to the Dolce Vita. Word of warning, the Dolce was extremely hot sometimes, so just ask them to open the windows on each side a bit to get a cross breeze. Most days we were at the 24 hour beach bar.

Arlequin: In a word, awesome! We had been there a couple of times before this visit and the service and food was great. The first week we went, it was absolutely freezing as it has air conditioning and the food was cold when it was served. The second time we went; we gave our opinions to the Sub Director and Public Relations and found that the restaurant was comfortable (obviously they changed the temperature) and the food was excellent. Desserts were out of this world.

Mediterranean: Not my favourite restaurant, but having said that, the food was o.k. Was nice to be on the Coba side and see what it was like. Service was excellent.

Oriental: Absolutely fabulous, cannot complain about anything. Have the spring rolls for an appetizer and the curry chicken, the best I have had. The service and food, awesome!!! Our favourite restaurant, hands down.

Dolce Vita: We ate at Italian and enjoyed it thoroughly, although a few in our party had to wait a very long time for their dinner and when it got to them it was cold, but I really enjoyed my dinner. Service was a bit slow, but the server was new and you have to give the newbies some slack, after all, you are on holiday.

Fruitos del Mar: Always one of my favourites when it comes to seafood. The shrimp dish I had was sumptuous, could have eaten more. Excellent service.

DEPARTURE
Always makes me very sad when leaving the beautiful Bahia, but there is always next year. Check out was very organized, but there were only 10 of us checking out as the tour bus left long before we did. The next thing you know, we were on our way back to Cancun International. Word of advice: if you are taking private transportation, be sure you leave the same time as the tour bus, because when we arrived there had to be 200 people in front of us, hence taking 1.5 hours to check in, so disorganized at the airport, lines here, lines cutting through lines, they really should get it together. People butting in, tempers flaring, not a good scene. I told hubby to relax, we will get through and be on our way home before you know it. We will definitely be booking Club Class through Air Transat next time we travel!

NEGATIVES Absolutely none! Top of Page

Bahia Principe Akumal John

June 2007

Now lets see –when we head there next Sep the 2nd it will be our FIFTH TWO WEEK visit there in the last two and a half years . ( oh we are heading there for another two week stay in April 2008 )

Now if the above information dosn’t tell you what we think of this resort nothing will .

I could rave on and on about what we think of this resort but I would only be repeating what many people before me have written . One can read many reviews BUT still may have a small question that has not been answered in the reviews , Now I am retired so have lots of time to sit down and answer any questions you wish to ask me about this resort ( or maybe any of the other 26 we have visited in the last five years )

Basically (a) this resort is very good value for the money (b) allthough it is BIG one never feels lost in it (c) Children ? 4 to 14 –no problem –a very good mini club and good staff there (d ) while the beach is NOT caribbean many people spend all their time on it Top of Page

Bahia Principe Akumal Alana ~ Halifax, Nova Scotia

May 2007

Royal Golden Gran Bahia Principe Akuma l- Mayan Riviera, Mexico

My fellow travellers were Robert , Charmaine and Wilf

We are from (one couple) and Mississauga, Ontario (other couple), and we stayed at the Bahia Principe Akumal from May 12th- May 19th, 2007.

The Airport: I have to admit, that my initial introductions to my mexico getaway was a strange one. We arrived at the airport and immediately felt the heat of Mexico on our bodies. While waiting in line, my boyfriend pointed to a HUGE dead cockroach next to my feet. It had me thinking I was going to see a lot of bugs…but I never did. Hang on to your luggage and take it to the buses yourself, or else a stranger will grab it (not to steal, but to take to the bus for you) and you will be expected to pay him. Make sure you have your ticket for the hotel/resort in your hand when you get to the bus. There is a specific piece of paper that your travel agent should point out to you as being your ticket. Without it, you can’t get on the bus. We had all our info except couldn’t find the ticket (we hadn’t been informed that it was needed or even what it was), and they wouldn’t let us on the bus until we found it. On the bus, they offer ice cold coronas (which are amassing after a hot long airplane ride), but they are 5 american dollars each. Well worth the money, I’d say…because the rest of your trip is all-inclusive.

The Food: The Buffet was amazing. There are a few different spots you can go to for buffets, but the one in the main lobby is by far the largest and has several assortments. It’s funny when you think about the logistics…you go on a diet to lose weight for your tropical vacation, and then you end up gaining 5 pounds there because the food is so good! But hey, what are vacations for?

The Buffet was different everyday…some foods appearing daily and others popping up once or twice in the week. The pastas were delicious, and there is even a cook that will make you whatever pasta you want with the ingredients you point out to them. The same with breakfast…there was an egg chef that cooked your eggs however you wanted. I read from the reviews on this site that the omelets were good…and I agree! Absolutely delicious (and I never eat them back home, don’t normally like them).

The deserts are okay too, but taste different from your typical chocolate cake or new york cheesecake back home. I didn’t care too much for them, but my fellow travelers seemed to be going back for seconds.

The A la carte Restaurants: We attended 4 different a la carte restaurants and loved them all. The best by far was the oriental restaurant at the Hacienda. The Scenery and atmosphere was gorgeous, and the food was outstanding. If you go as a group, be sure to order a couple of platters (I’m unsure what they were called, but they were a sampler platter with a little bit of every appetizer they offered). We still talk now about how amazing our meal there was!

The next best restaurant was the gourmet dinner place, which was located right on our resort. They had an incredible avocado soup and delicious steaks! For desert, we had an amaretto and white chocolate desert that was simply mouth-watering!

We also attended the Fruitos del mar restaurant and the grille (located at Tulum). The Fruitos del mar restaurant put on a show of sorts for us at the end. They made flaming kahlua-based coffee drinks that were very fun to watch being made. They come right to your table and do it for you on a tray.

The Grill was our least favorite of the restaurants, but it was actually very good as well (just hard to compare to the others!). The best feature there was the appetizers buffet that you went and got for yourself. They had Squid, Camembert Cheese, Onion Rings, etc.

The neat thing about these restaurants is the exceptional service (you feel very important to say the least), and they all come with a “house” drink which is poured for you when you arrive. It is a creative drink (each restaurant offers a different one), and they were always really fun to try.

The Drinks: There was a huge selection of drinks, and if you can’t decide, the bartenders usually would mix together a few things for you and let you try it. This happened with us with a bartender on the beach. With breakfast every morning, there is a stand at the front of the buffets that has champagne and orange juice (which you serve for yourself). I am still having trouble adjusting to waking up every morning back home here without my champagne and orange juice! At suppertime, there are bloody mary ingredients out on the table at the front and a line of tequilas with shot glasses next to them. It was fun to try a different flavored tequila every night. As for the drinks during the day…they are perfect for a hot day under the sun! There are plenty of ice slushie drinks (bahama mamas, daquaris). But if you are looking for something that won’t have you feeling so full afterwards, try a lighter drink like a tequila sunrise. Delicious!

One important tip: They DON’T have corona beer. If you ask for a corona, they may smile and nod…but they will actually bring you a Don Aquis Beer (same as mini-bar beer) with tequila in it. Tastes really good, but don’t be fooled!

The Beaches/Pools: Beautiful! The activities in the coba pool were really fun for somewhat active people. They have water polo everyday which is absolutely a ball to play. They also have water volleyball, bingo, and funny games. The aqua-robics was fun too..but took up a lot of time. They have stretching, Tai Chi and Yoga that they offer right next to the pool. They do this around 10:00 a.m and it is a beautiful way to start your day.

The Beach was wonderful…lots of topless women for my boyfriend to gaze at through his tinted sunglasses (though he denies this hahah) and beautiful sparkling water. The water is warm, and sometimes if you go out further, these beautiful yellow fish with black stripes with surround you (just a few of them and they are sooo cute and harmless).

The Gift Shops/ Shopping Opportunities: The Gift Shops are neat, but they are the same on all three resorts. So making the trip over to another resort for shopping is useless unless you go to the Hacienda at night. The Hacienda (at least on the night we went, which was during the Mexican Fiesta Night) has a bunch of kiosks set up with unique things they are selling. But be sure to look around at each one before buying, because some have the same products, but different prices. We found a wind chime for 10$, then looked around inside Hacienda (as opposed to out front) and found the same ones for just 5$. The next day, we went into a shop in Hacienda after our dinner and we saw the same wind chimes for 2$!

The Rooms: Immaculate. If my bathroom was that clean at home, I wouldn’t have needed a vacation as badly! The rooms are a great size and are kept at a cool temperature so you are instantly refreshed after a hot day in the sun. The mini-bars were stocked every day but they seem to differentiate on what we got. One day we’d get chips, then we wouldn’t get them for another 3 days (but our neighbors who were traveling with us would get them everyday). The beer in the mini-fridge is delicious. We also enjoyed seeing the newest towel characters that the maid would create for us everyday.

The Staff: The Staff was unbelievable. Extremely friendly, and made you feel very welcome. Everyone you passed would smile and say “Hola!”, even if they were just a maid. My boyfriend is diabetic and the staff was great with helping him keep his insulin in their front desk fridges on the day we were leaving. They were very understanding. Every staff member is pleased when they get a tip, and will grow a huge smile on their face when you pass it to them! I recommend bringing about 30 american 1 dollar bills with you when you come (each…so 60 per couple). Tipping does not take much out of us, and it benefits them a great deal.

Overall: We have been on a few trips down south and this was by the far the most incredible. Everything was clean, and superior quality. I agree strongly with it’s five star rating…it is worth every penny.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Wendy and Jamie ~ Ontario Canada

February 2007

This resort is absolutely wonderful. If you picture what paradise would be like this is it.

The flight
We flew Westjet from Toronto to Cancun. The plane was very small and cramped. I felt a bit claustorphobic. Dinner was a turkey and cheese sandwich on a bun with Hellmans mayonnaise. Mustard was available if you asked for it. Wine and beer or liquor were 5 bux each. The plane had screens at each seat to watch tv. There were several satellite tv channels and pay per view movies were also available for 5 bux. You have to use a credit card to pay for the movies.

Private transfer
We pre-arranged to have a private van drive us from the airport to the resort. This was a little confusing because, at first we couldn’t find our driver but after about half an hour we located him and we were on our way. The drive there was hassle free. Took us about an hour vs nearly 2 hours on the bus.

As we drove down the highway, we passed many entrances to various resorts..some looked REALLY nice and some looked just ok. When we finally came upon our resort we were stunned! It was 10X better looking than any of the resorts we had passed.

Check in
Check in was a BREEZE. We entered the Akumal lobby and it was even more beautiful than in the pictures we had seen. We were greeted with mimosa’s (champagne and orange juice). This was a really nice touch. The system they have for delivering luggage to your room seems pretty straight forward and hassle free. We had requested to all have rooms in the same building but unfortunately they didnt have any available so we were all in separate buildings. This turned out to not be a problem as its very easy to use the phone to call each other from the rooms to plan things.

The grounds
Immaculate. We actually saw one guy who worked there picking up individual blades of grass off the white stones on either side of the path so as to keep it perfect looking.

The Rooms
Our room was 5616 which is on the second floor of building 56. It is quite close to the akumal lobby. In fact its really close to everything. I recommend this building for its central location.

The room was spotless! Marble floors, gorgeous bathroom with jacuzzi tub, a separate sitting area and a couch. The tv was mostly spanish(obviously) but we found some shows in english too. The view from our room was of a large grassy area with palm trees. Beyond that was the 24 hour snack bar which always had nice music playing. Beyond that we could see the ocean. Just barely but we *could* see it.

The Beach
It is true that there is a large rocky section of the beach on the one side..but don’t let this deter you. Straight out from the Akumal lobby and to the left of that all the way over to the tulum side there is a HUGE stretch of awesome white sand beach. Swimming in the Ocean was wonderful and the snorkelling right there in the resort was amazing!!! I honestly couldnt tell much of a difference between the red flag days and the green flag days..it was never too rough to swim. If you want beach chairs and a palappa you should be out there by about 7-7:30 to reserve them with your towels. We each took turns being the early risers to go out to the beach first and get a spot. I was expecting to see a lot of topless women at the beach but i think i only saw 3. LOTS of speedos on men though…eeek.

The pools
BEAUTIFUL!!! I had so much fun in the pools. There are so many different sections to swim in. My fave spot was the pool with the swim up bar. Francisco is the main bartender there and he is soo nice. I wish the different pools were all connected so that you didnt have to get out and get back in to journey to other sections of the pool.

The drinks
Out of this world!!! I have never tried so many new fancy drinks iny life. Our favourites were the "miami vice" and the "bahama mamas" but the cerveza and tequila shots were awesome too. Next time i would bring a large, insulated mug since the drinks are pretty small and by the time you get back to your spot at the beach, the drink is half gone or melted and you have to go back again. An insulated mug would solve this prob. The house wine is not very good but it is drinkable and better than homemade wine you would make at a wine kit store.

The buffet
The food was soo good! As i had previously read, i didnt really see too much of a difference between the different theme nights they had but there was always different things to choose from. The guacamole is great. The fruit is magnificent. The omellettes at breakfast are to die for. One problem we had most mornings is that bacon was always in a different location and sometimes there were long periods of time with no bacon. If you inquire to the egg guy about the bacon, he will look at you blankly and say "no bacon" thats if he answers you at all. Also, watch out for food thieves! There is a toast machine where you put your bread in and wait for it to go up and through the machine and it drops out at the bottom. Some people like to steal other peoples toast instead of making their own. Also, at the made-to-order egg station you ask for your eggs and then wait for them. One time a woman came up and held out her plate and took one of my eggs while i just stood there dumbfounded. When i asked egg guy to make me another egg i just got the blank look again and he went on to the next person. It was actually pretty funny. I highly recommend the flaming coffees at dinner. It’s amazing to watch them make them. There are different kinds to choose from. The bahia principe one is VERY good. Im sure they are all good though.

The A la carte restaurants
We booked at Tequila (mexican), Alequin (gourmet), and The oriental. Unfortunately my husband and i somehow got too drunk at the pool bar in the afternoon to make it to our 6pm reservation at the mexican restaurant. The rest of our group said it was AWESOME and we really missed out.

The Arlequin was the best. Amazing food and fabulous presentation. The atmosphere and service were amazing. I cant imagine anything on the menu being less than wonderful. Our group REALLY loved the mushroom soup with scallops.

The oriental restaurant was smaller. I was really tired on this night so that might affect how i felt about the restaurant. The food was really good. I got the tempura shrimp and veggies. I dont know if i would pick this restaurant again when we go back-probably not.

Xel-Ha
This was the only excursion we went on and it was SOOO GREAT! Definitely go there if you like snorkelling and seeing lots of fish. The water there is absolutely beautiful. There are a lot of little private lagoon areas you can swim in and swimming in the underground cave was really cool. I thought i might feel clausterphobic in the cave but its not like that at all. It’s beautiful.

The food at xel-ha was ok. We ate at the international restaurant which was PACKED. The buffet was nowhere close to the buffet at our resort but they had prawns and a nice shrimp dish that i filled up on. Beer was corona.mmmmmmm Corona is so good after drinking Dos equis every day.

Summary
I would recommend this resort to anyone who was looking to go to Mexico. I can’t wait to go back next year.

To see pictures and video, visit my website
http://jumpygurl.is.theshyt.com/mexico/
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Bahia Principe Akumal Frank ~ Toronto

August 2006

Just came back from the Gran Bahia Principe Akumal Resort in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. Went with my wife, three kids and brother. We flew with Air Transat. We all had a fabulous time, I highly recommend this Resort Complex.

Here is my review:
Arrival: We arrived on a Friday evening around 6:30 p.m. It took almost two hours to reach the resort from the Cancun airport. The bus was air-conditioned and comfortable (It had a washroom on board). Check-in was a breeze. They greeted us with a champagne & fruit juice drink. There was also champagne available thru-out our stay at various entrances to restaurants and lobbies.

Accommodations: We were given two rooms in the "52" Villas which is a very short walk to the beach. Both rooms were great. The rooms were clean, modern, spacious and very comfortable. The room service was excellent. The room keeper would make towel characters and surround them with flowers petals. ( My wife and children liked this). There was a mini fridge, which was stocked every other day with, beer, pop, water, chips and candy bars at no extra charge.

Resort: The resort is part of a huge complex which includes the Tulum and Coba Villas. There are trams or shuttle services that run between the various sections. They say the Coba is the newest section, but I couldn’t tell the difference. I think that the Akumal is the best place to book. The Coba is the furthest from the better section of beaches and Akumal looks just as good. There is also a shopping/disco/entertainment area called the "La Hacienda".

As far as staying in the club golden section or the Akumal Premier, I say it’s a waist of money. It is furthest from the nicer part of the beach and when we were there, it seemed a little too quiet.

The resort is kept immaculate, staff keep this place clean,clean clean! There are palm trees thru-out the resort. I didn’t really see any remnants of the hurricane they suffered some years back (except for a large section of rocky beach with little sand).

Pool: The pool at the Akumal looked much nicer and more well thought out than that of the Tulum and the Coba. It was also the only pool with a swim up bar.

Service: . Although there was a lot of staff to assist, we used the self service alot. The bars at the pool had frozen strawberry daiquiri, pina colada and lime slushy drinks that you could dispense yourself. They also had pop,rum, tequila, and beer you could dispense yourself. You could also ask the bar tender to fix you different drinks. The kids just loved dispensing their own strawberry slushies and I liked not having to ask every time I wanted a drink. We were also very pleased with the service thru-out the resort as snacks and other food was always available in the bar or lobby areas of the hotels.

Beach: If you walk directly to the beach from a number of the villas, you’ll probably end up in the rocky part of shoreline. If you walk through the main Akumal lobby to get to the beach, you’ll find this is where the beach really begins. There is a long stretch of beach between the Akumal and Tulum with palapas/huts. This is where we stayed on the beach. You’ll have to go early to get the best spots and reserve them with your towels. The water is warm and there is a lot of fish you can see up close. There is a protected/roped off area where you can swim, even when the water is rough and there is a red flag. You’re not suppose to go outside the roped off area, although most people do because there is some good snorkeling there. I ventured out a number of times. I don’t recommend it on a red flag day, because I ventured too far out and the currents/waves kept pulling me away from shore. The water is very shallow for a good distance and this gives you a false sense of security. In the future, I would stay within the ropes at least on a red flag day.

Food: The food was very good. The buffet had a variety of items to choose from. My son is a picky eater and let me tell you he was in heaven with all the choices available to him. The desserts were excellent. There was also self service ice cream dispensers that the kids just love. The 24 hr snack bar had some excellent chicken and fries, if you missed lunch or dinner or got up too late for breakfast.

Entertainment: We only went to three shows, the first show was high school grade material, the second was good and the third was like the first. They could use some work in this area. We also went to the Mexican fiesta. We didn’t think that it was worth the $16.00 U.S/person extra it cost to participate in this event. Luckily we followed a previous reviewers advice and booked the Oriental Restaurant just before the show. The restaurant is in the closed off area where the fiesta takes place. When you finish your dinner, you can take in the rest of the show. (P.S Thanks to the previous reviewer, you saved us $96.00 U.S)

Overall: I have to give this hotel a 4+ rating..

P.S See my review of Barcelo Beach Resort in Punta Cana, January 2006. Bahia Akumal was nicer and had more things to do and see outside the resort (such as the Tulum Ruins, Xelha park and so on).
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Bahia Principe Akumal Kathryn ~ Erin, Ontario

August 2006

We just came back from a week’s stay at the Bahia Principe Akumal in the Mayan Riviera. Here are a few things to know: – wear comfortable shoes/sandals as there is a lot of walking to do if you wish to see everything in this 3 hotel complex – golf cart led trams take you everywhere you need to go but you have to wait for them and hope that they aren’t full – the Hacienda is a good place to shop but no bartering – the Mexican Fiesta isn’t worth the $16 unless you are hungry (at 9:30 pm.) – the Michael Jackson impersonator is the best show to see – the Coba hotel has an air-conditioned buffet but lots of long lines (it’s only 7 months old and newer and nicer) – there are many a la carte restaurants, we like the French one the best – the rooms are very musty (they say it’s due to the rainy season); we even went to check another building – there are hair-dryers in the bathroom – the beach is best between the Akumal and Tullum where the snorkelling equipment and boats are – the snack bar food is great, try the roasted chicken and ribs, pizza – all are good – take $2 collectivos (white vans, air-conditioned) to go to places, don’t pay $30 for taxis or much more for guided tours – Playa del Carmen has great shopping but you don’t need to do the whole market (it gets repetitive), great bartering, go to Wal-Mart at the far end for good prices on liquor – the Cancun airport is great when you arrive but hell when you try to leave (long line-ups, few employees who speak enough English) We enjoyed the week very much and would encourage people to stay at the Akumal or Tullum but not the Coba unless you want to have to ride the tram to the beach. Top of Page

Bahia Principe Akumal Mike

May 2006

We stayed (April-May 2006) in the Akumal section of this three hotel complex. Overall there are 2300 rooms spread over an area of perhaps 3 sq miles. Each hotel is connected to each other by shuttle busses or land trains, including connection to the Hacienda where shops and bars are. The rooms are in villas with 18 rooms to each block and separated by reasonable space so there is no feeling of crowding despite the number of rooms and people about.

Pools – there are 6 main large pools and a further 3 smaller ones with just Jacuzzi’s. Each one has a bar and the bigger ones a swim up bar. There are activity pools for the more energetic. There are a lot of Palapas and sun beds. The first week we were there you had to get a towel on a sun bed by 0730 to be by a pool and under a Palapa but the second week was quieter and beds were still free at 0900, though shade had gone by 0830. There was 2 miles of beach covered in Palapas and sun beds as well. I feel that the Tulum hotel was quieter than the Coba or Akumal.

Food – first class with three outstanding buffet’s and we visited 7 a la Carte restaurants over the 2 weeks. You are allowed 6 (3 per week) but an extra was offered during the second week. I suspect because things were a bit quieter and as a marketing ploy. A nice touch though. Not all restaurants were as good as each other. We were disappointed with the Mediterraneo; cool food and indifferent service. The others were all good.

Rooms – excellent, good size, clean, Jacuzzi bath in the junior suites. Very friendly staff and the animal shapes they made with the bathroom towels had to be seen to be believed. The mini bar was filled up every day and we had a pool bar just outside our block.

Guests – well, obviously lots of them. Italian, French, German (a few) Spanish, British, Portugese and of course Canadian and American. All very friendly people having a good holiday and not abusing the free alcohol. There were some people of prodigious size. Indeed, I was convinced some of them must have driven down by Humvee as they could surely not have fitted into an aircraft seat.

Entertainment – each site has a theatre with good general entertainment on 5 or 6 nights a week. On a Thursday at the Hacienda there is a Mexican Fiesta. Well worth the visit but it costs 160 Pesos per person. Try to book the Oriental restaurant for that evening and you won’t have to pay! It is however, the only thing the hotel charges for on site.

There is a daily bus laid on to Play Del Carmen for a cost of 95 Peso and Taxis are readily available to Tulum as well. We did trips to Chichen Itza, Coba and a snorkelling tour. All were very worthwhile but not good value for money. The guides were excellent but at £45 per person per day you had to wonder who was taking all the profit when you realise how much people are (not) paid in Mexico and how cheap coach hire is. Someone somewhere was making a big fat wedge I suspect and I doubt it was going to the local population.

Overall en excellent time though and would definitely go again. The size of the hotel had us concerned before we arrived but in reality it was not an issue at all.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Steve & Teresa ~ Ontario, Canada

April 2006

Our travel experience, between my husband and myself, include the Dominican Republic, Bermuda (twice) and Mexico.

My husband and myself along with our two children (ages 8 yrs & 23 mths) went to the Riviera Maya, Mexico during the week of February 14-21, 2006. We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Akumal. We upgraded to the Club Golden, and it was worth every penny spent.

We traveled with Air Transat Holidays. The airline was good, they were on time and organized, the meals were typical airline food, but acceptable. Travelling with two young children was hectic and the staff were very accommodating. The bus trip to the resort went well. The bus was clean and in very good condition, the resort representatives were very nice and could not do enough to help us. But, you really have to watch out for the sharks in the airport, these are the timeshare salesmen that want to take up your vacation time trying to sell you a time share. Watch out for these guys, they offer free trips… for of course your time. Not worth wasting your precious vacation time.

Once at the resort, we were impressed. The resort is comprised of three separate resorts, Akumal, Coba and Tulum. It is huge. But, despite the size, it never felt packed or overwhelming. They have shuttles/buses that drive throughout the resort and take you to all the different areas, restaurants, etc. But we walked everywhere, except to the Hacienda (too far). The lobby was something to see, it has a huge statue in the middle and it is beautiful. Our reps at the hotel were very nice and helpful, if you go to this resort, say hi to Simon and Jose!

I will break it down in separate categories so it is easier to read:

Resort:
Extremely well maintained and very clean. Many different activities for the whole family. As we booked the Club Golden, we had private check in. No line ups. Staff members were helpful and always friendly. They really made the extra effort to ensure our trip was a successful one! Our sons loved the fact that there were iguanas running freely through the whole resort. They were quite a sight, and not very afraid of the people, although we did not try to pet them!

Room:
We had the Junior suite and it was a nice sized room. It had a king bed, and a couch that doubled as a bed. The housekeeping staff were great, the rooms were cleaned daily and the mini bar was refilled every other day. They do "towel art" at this resort, very fun to see what they can make with simple towels. We were provided with beach towels and could exchange them at any time for clean ones. Our room had a coffee maker, iron, hair dryer and an ample supply of bath towels. The mini bar had beer, pop, water, chips and chocolate bars.

Food:
The buffet at Akumal was huge. We ate here everyday and the food was great. Hats off the chefs! They had different themes every night for dinner. No one went hungry, that’s for sure. They also had a 24hr snack bar where you could get hamburgers, nachos, etc. We were not afraid to eat any of the food here and not one of us was sick or had the "Montezuma’s revenge". We also ate at three a la carte restaurants (Oriental, Italian and Gourmet) These restaurants were incredible, you couldn’t ask for better tasting food and superior service!

Pools:
Many pools at this resort and they were all clean and well kept. The chlorine levels were good/did not burn the eyes after a day of fun. They had different levels of depth as well, my 8 yr old swam in one section, my 23 mth old in the kids wading pool. We basically lived by the pool for the week!

Beach:
This was a little disappointing, but not the fault of the resort. The area in which the resort sits, is very rocky and the ocean was very rough. They had red flags every day, meaning the beach was unsafe to swim. But, we had the pools! They did have a huge checkerboard setup for playing, and hammocks on the beachfront. The kids could still play in the sand, just not swim.

Drinks:
Free and yummy!

Day Trips:
Tulum Ruins: We took a cab to see the newly built fire department in Tulum (my husband is a firefighter and we stop at the local department wherever we go), then off to the ruins. If you have small children, these are the ruins for you. It is a small sight so its not an all day walkathon. It is quite a thing to see. We timed it so that we ate before we left and then again once we got back. We did not want to eat off the resort. The taxi driver was very nice and stayed at the ruin’s site until we had done our sightseeing and then drove us back to the resort. He was more than happy to take us wherever we wished. He also spoke English quite well, so this was helpful.

Xcaret: If you want a great trip then definitely do the Xcaret park. We took a cab here as well, we found this to be the best way with small children, this way we could come and go as we pleased. This park was alot of fun. We saw many different animals and cultural scenes. They had a beach within the park that you could swim at. They provide inner tubes (free) for those who wished to use them. This beach was beautiful, the sand was so white and the water so blue. It was a perfect way to cool down half way through the park. They have a restaurant where they serve drinks and regular food. Our tour rep at the hotel assured us the food at Xcaret is fine to eat, but again we ate before we left and again when we returned to the resort. We did pack snacks and alot of bottled water. This park is a must see!

Tips:
I was always told you don’t have to tip at all-inclusive resorts, but this is not the case. We did tip and we tipped well. The people who work here really work hard and are always very pleasant. They go above and beyond to make sure your visit is the best. They deserve to be tipped for all the work they do.

We had one small incident in the room that I will mention. This is really the only bad thing that happened to us the whole trip. I was getting something out of the closet (which had a large air vent) and a movement on the ground caught my attention. Well, there was a spider on the floor. Not a common everyday house spider either. This thing was the size of man’s hand. It was large and furry. The kind that should only be seen in a cage. I screamed and my husband came to take a peak, and even he was taken aback by this creature. Well, a few shoe whacks and the spider was no more, but I was creeped out after this, and needless to say my husband became "closet guy" after this.

We would definitely go back to this resort. In fact, I wanted to stay another week or more!! The Mayan Riviera is such a beautiful area to visit. We and the kids had a great trip!! If you are looking for a wonderful place to vacation, this is place to go. Definitely the 5 star it is said to be.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Hannah ~ Southern Alberta

February 2006

OLA, I’m 14 years old and recently stayed with my family (five all together) at the Bahia Principe Akumal in the Mayan Riviera.

The resort itself was overwhelming and as soon as we got there someone was there offering us mimosas (this was to be my first but not my last accidental alcoholic drink in mexico, but hey, what happens down in mexico stays in mexico! ha ha). Checkout seemed like forever just because we wnted to see the rest of the resort, but it really didn’t take that long.

The rooms were very clean and the cleaning staff kept it that way (quite a feat considering what a pig my older brother can be) for the whole week. The towel animals were quite a hit with my younger sister.

The buffet was HUGE! One bit of advice though, as is with any buffet, you’re going to want to have a little of everything and eat as much as you possibly can in typical redneck fashion. Don’t. I found that, while the food was excellent, by the end of the week all the food tasted exactly the same and really wasn’t all that appetizing. pace yourself. you WILL have time to try everything. The restaurants were o.k. but they took a while. While waiting for our food us kids were sooo hungry from swimming that we just filled up on appetizers and bread so by the time the main course came we really weren’t all that hungry (which was o.k. with my dad since that meant he ended up with most of it).

The beach (my favorite part) was pretty nice, but very rocky. i regret not having water shoes, my feet and legs were lookin’ pretty beat up by the end of the trip. i could’ve cared less about my cuts and bruises though, just because of the fact that i was in MEXICO! Snorkelling gear, kayaks, boogey boards, catamarans, lifejackets etc. were all readily accesible right on the beach. Beach volleyball was really fun too whether it was just my jock brother and I against the Animacion team, or a whole bunch of other people (oh, and by the way, Graham and i always ended up kicking their skinny little Mexican butts). The pool was awesome too, and a nice break from the salt water.

The whole resort was pretty spread out, so if you’re feelin’ a little out of shape get on that treadmill because there was a lot of walking involved. There are however little golf cart/trains thingy dings that take you around some areas of the resort. When you are walking though, take tare not to kick the little white decorative rocks in to the grass, because some poor, underpaid, maintenance worker will end up spending hours picking them out. But speaking of the staff, they were all friendlier than heck, so when you’re down there say hola and smile to everyone (because they might talk to their brother, whos sister’s cousin, Paco might know somebody who works at the bar who might get you a free drink…oh, right it’s an all-inclusive, but still…)

Anyways, it really was a great holiday and we would definately go back to the Bahia Principe Akumal whenever there might be a seat sale. Keep on truckin’ over and out.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Christine ~ Canada

November 2005

We went to the BPA as a result of last minute scrambling for our wedding that will be addressed later in the wedding portions. This was our third time at the resort in the last 4 years, usually we travel twice a year south. We had 10 of us the first week and another 22 the second week for our wedding.

We arrived hoping that the effects of Wilma would be minimal, what with the resort being south of the centre of the storm. Flying into Cancun was interesting as the landscape has changed so dramatically with the usual jungle being brown from the salt water. We were kind of nervous driving south as we could see twisted huge signs strewn along the highway and downed/flattened jungle everywhere.

The old airport was damaged so we used the new one that helped fly through customs, I hit the green button as usual as the future other half insisted due to us never having been stopped in the past. The usual long hour drive to the airport again made more difficult due to a few beers at the airport and no bano on the bus. Good thing we know the route and when I espied the radio/TV tower just near the Palladium I knew I could make it.

The resort showed some minor damage with missing palapa roofs and the roof to the west end of the new buffet missing. There were over 200 workers doing everything from replacing roofs, painting walls, picking rocks out of the beach in the sand. They did not interfere with the trip and were mostly unobtrusive. Their efforts were astonishing as in days you couldn’t see any difference to other trips. Rest assured if you have booked here you are going to get their best effort and the resort others have written about. This is one of the reasons we changed to the resort.

Upon our arrival the Tulum side of the resort was not open for the first week however the bars and ala cartes were, which made it really easy to get a seating anytime. The pools and swimup bar was open with staff excited to see real people again. The main difficulty I was told that all the locks had to be replaced as the sea/salt driven into them ruined all the locks. We had all of ours replaced on the Akumal side throughout the two weeks.

The entire group of us were bumped to the Golden Club as a result of the scrambling for our wedding (more to follow). Prior to leaving we tried to figure out where these rooms were, they are buildings 61-71, with 65, 66 and 67 having direct ocean views. We were in 6621 which is on the third floor, farthest room to the north and a totally front facing view…..amazing. We have previously stayed in buildings 47 and 49, closer to the main pools and theatre bar.

Many have asked if the Golden Club is worth it and I still am not sure. It is further from the lobby and that means more walking unless you are going to wait for a trolley, sometimes we did if it was handy. The private check in is nice but as a return guest I get to go to the express one at the main lobby. The robe is nice if you want to stand on the balcony to have a morning coffee and look at the waves, never tried on the slippers, but did see one guy in Playa shopping wearing them, so he must have thought they were comfortable. The extra ala carte could be nice and we never did use the room service. Having said all that it is really close to the 24 hour bar and when going home we almost always met up with someone we knew late at night and had a nite cap. That may be the biggest plus I could see. Oh and I did check my e-mails every couple of days at the free internet room, two computers and little waiting. Most were considerate and were in and out in 3-5 minutes.

POST HURRICANE – Don’t hesitate if this was in your plans the place is 100 %, in talking to taxi drivers and others in town they all related how they thought the BP had handled the storm better than most others. The food is great at all the restaurants and for some reason in the past we had never tried the Mexico/Tequila one. It is great, after dinner one night we actually changed our wedding dinner to the Tequila. The chicken medallions are to die for.

The Asian restaurant is small and they won’t let you move tables together as we tried to have 4 couples sit together but were told no. The food was awesome, but I am allergic to perfumes and with the burning incense I thought I had a nail in my head. Well worth it if that won’t be an issue.

The beaches were literally being picked clean by about 40 guys and they had others in the water pumping sand towards the beach to make it bigger. If you have been there in the past they have added 20-30 more beach palapa’s and a palapa swing bar down from the Akumal main pool.

Anyways, any questions post them in the forum section and I will try and answer………..Adios
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Bahia Principe Akumal Liz ~ UK

October 2005

We are a fit and healthy couple in our late 50’s and hail from England. I thought it would be helpful to provide feedback on our two week stay at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Mexico – Hotel Akumal. We read the feedback from our friends in North America before travelling and, hopefully our feedback may assist others – particularly Europeans.

The hotel and grounds were lovely – lots of staff to maintain standards as labour costs are low. The rooms were clean and my only criticism relates to tobacco smoke that infiltrates the bathroom and bedroom through common bathroom vents. No such thing as extractor fans! We were also surrounded by noise. We had to change rooms as the first room had a leak from heavy rain which fell for two days. We suffered noise (3.30am) each night and in our next room further noise from weekend Mexican visitors and Spanish guests above us. I mean real noise – screaming, furniture being moved around in the middle of the night etc. I have to admit that noise was a problem for us throughout the complex. Music was extraordinarily loud – there were no quiet areas in the hotel at all. This left me wth the feeling that the hotels’ policies catered only for the younger age group. One of the pools was devoted to activities – good idea. However, the music and talk (activity staff love their own voices) was not curtailed to those involved but interfered with others. We were disturbed on the beach some 200 meters away!!!

We used the gym each day – the one treadmill was unfortunately out of use during our two week stay. Equipment is limited and rather dated – not as advertised.

Food is an important part of being away from home and as someone who enjoys cooking and uses fresh ingredients the food was not to my liking. The soups were poor. On two occasions I had a soup that was seasoned and had a proper stock. Vegetable soups were pueried using left over vegetables – ok but no decent stock or herbs to provide taste. Pizzas would have benefited from basil – they were utterly boring and very stodgy. Pasta in the evening was ok as you could add chilli etc to meet your own taste. I am not a great meat eater (mostly vegetarian) – the little I had was much tougher and poorer quality than I am accustomed to. The bread on offer was all white (I do not include the brown sliced available at breakfast) – not a whole grain in sight. On one evening each week – salmon and prawns were available. They were superb. We were also treated once a week to a decent cheese – the rest of time we had processed cheese which was tasteless. Vegetables were available daily but they were not cooked and smothered in butter and/or cheese. We went to the gourmet restaurant which was good but the service was extremely slow. We did not like the Italian restaurant – soup was tasteless and sauces with the main meals were stodgy. In all, there is plenty of food available and most needs are catered for. The food was not to my liking although I acknowledge that as most of the clientele are young food such as hamburgers, hotdogs and fried chicken are popular.

We did not go on any organised trip as to be honest we thought the prices were extortionate. We did listen to other guests experiences who had gone on trips and it all seemed a "rip off". We used local transport from the main road and went to a few places ourselves. Should you do this – be sure to have local currency (20 peso) which is the standard fare to visit local towns. If you speak English it is automatically assumed that you are American and will pay over the odds. Like other poor countries everyone tries to get money from you – even the taxi/bus driver will argue that you have not paid.

The airport is a nightmare. Having gone through tight security checks in England it took an hour to get through customs/security in Cancun – bags were alls searched. It was much worse returning -all suitcases searched – queues unbelievable. Laughable really as the search was peremptory. We also had to pay a departure tax of 500 pesos each – we were unaware of this.

Many of the other European guests behaviour was appalling. As a regular traveller to ****** to play golf, I have never experienced so many rude and noisy *********. They bumped into you in the restaurant, pushed past you to get to the toilets etc. They dominated the beach bar and indeed got prioriy from staff because of this and of course they share the same language. Many of the *******were also noisy as too were the *******. We had twelve ************* men in the pool one day – all drunk and making a racket. The staff at the hotel do not like to confront guests so we all had to put up with the behaviour.

The cost of the holiday from the UK was cheap – £1700 for the two of us. Therefore, the package was good value even if it was not to our liking. I would not make a return trip to Mexico.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Matt ~ Toronto

July 2005

We are a couple in our early forties with no kids. We have been to the RIU Palace on two previous occasions, the Reef Coco Beach once, so I will try to make comparisons where I can.

This trip was a last-second affair. The Bahia Principe Akumal was the least expensive resort still available, so after a few minutes doing research on the web, we booked it and flew out 2 days later.

Flight For the first time in several years, we flew with Air Transat instead of Skyservice. I had read some stinging reviews of Air Transat, but in the end I found them to be quite good. The seats were leather and had slightly more leg-room than the Skyservice planes. We were served a quesadilla and some Doritos nachos, which were good enough for me.

My only complaint is that we were an hour late in leaving, which ate into our vacation time.

Airport arrival
Whizzed through, got the green light, got on the bus, and took off for the resort in short order.

Hotel arrival
We had a long trip in the dark down to the BPA. I was kind of stunned when I got off the bus and found myself surrounded by hoards of people. There were at least 20 bellhops and all kinds of guests milling around right at the hotel entrance. These people were waiting for the hotel trams; it was a strange thing to experience for the first time.

At the check in desk they didn’t seem to want to know us. We were given a packet that included two room keys, two towel cards, and a map of the resort. Then we were shooed on our way.

Our villa was Villa 57, which is close to the Akumal lobby and the 24 hour snack bar – I liked that location. Then it dawned on me as we entered the room that I had forgotten to ask about a room safe, but on the other hand, I was never offered one either. We decided to forgo the safe and just lock everything up in our suitcases, as we did on our previous trip.

We had been told that our luggage would be delivered to our room. We kept checking outside to see if it had arrived, and eventually gave up and went to dinner. When we returned, there it was, sitting on the doorstep.

The night was extremely hot and muggy, so I grabbed a beer from the mini fridge and jumped in the shower.

Room I would rate our room at the BPA to be slightly better than the rooms we’ve had at the RIU Palace and superior to the one we had at the Reef Coco Beach. The bathroom is brightly-lit. The bed is king-sized, and like the RIU Palace, there’s a separate seating area, although not sunken. Our balcony didn’t look out onto much other than some trees, but that was OK. A fan over the bed can be used in conjunction/in place of the available air conditioning. Our maid’s name was Lina, and she was extremely friendly. I talked to her on a few occasions and she was exceedingly nice. She left us towel art every day and did a very good job of keeping the room neat and clean. The television was pretty bad. I tried to keep the volume down as far as possible in order to not disturb others, but the stupid thing made loud noises as the channels were changed, even with the volume completely cut. Lots of good footy on the tube, though. I saw Chivas of Guadalajara thump Boca Juniors 4-0 in the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores.

We only heard other guests on one occasion; the people staying next to us were having such a knock-down, drag-out fight that their argument entered the dream I was having.

Orientation Not very good. Oh the Air Transat lady is a very nice person, but I’d hate to be a newbie to the area and/or to the all-inclusive game. A lot of precious vacation time would be wasted queuing up to get some basic information. I had a hard time understanding her presentation; French was her native tongue, and the sound system was not very good. Amazingly, she did not provide a price list for tours. Yes, you read that right. Want to know what trips were available? Go line up to talk to her. Want to know how much they cost? Go line up to talk to her. Want to know what days they depart? Go line up and talk to her. When I asked her for a list, she gave me some lame excuse about head office discouraging them. So imagine my amazement when her Air Transat cohort, the one who looked after European guests, supplied me with one, albeit priced in euros.

Anyway, an hour of the orientation was reserved for an Alltournative Tour representative to make a presentation, so maybe the Air Transat rep wanted all tours to be done through that company. I never stuck around to find out, because the last thing I want to do while on vacation is sit around inside.

The hotel grounds
I’ll come out right away and say that I find the place to be too big. The trams are a good idea, but there’s a lot of walking to do. This is quite a contrast to the Reef Coco Beach, where you walk down a flight of stairs and you’re at the pool, and a few feet further on you’re at the beach.

The facilities themselves are first-class. The Akumal lobby is very pretty, as are the pool areas. The villas are set up in a tidy, orderly fashion, and roads/paths wind their way through lush vegetation to connect them. I don’t think we went a day without seeing an iguana.

The Akumal side of the resort is some distance from the Hacienda Doña Isabel, the large shopping and entertainment complex. The sign markers indicate it’s a kilometer away, but anyone trying to make that trip on foot in the heat we experienced would have ended up a bleached set of white bones by the side of the road.

Weather Freakin’ hot! Humid beyond all belief, the best thing to do was either stay in the pool water or hang out at the beach where the breeze would keep you cool. One day mid-afternoon some extremely black clouds rolled in to the north of the hotel and then sneakily curled back around from the west. Soon after we were treated to the fascinating and powerful forces of a tropical storm.

The power went out several times throughout the week, but each event was short-lived and no big deal.

The beach Better than I expected after reading some comments, but clearly not in the same league as those at the RIU Palace and the Reef Coco Beach. The beach directly to the east of the Akumal side is coral and rock, and should be a nice sandy beach in about 10,000 years or so. But some people may find it interesting to poke around amongst the rocks. The beach is sandy from the point east of the Akumal lobby all the way to Los Olas beach bar on the Tulum side. But, and this is a big but, there are many rocks scattered in the water, which I found to be annoying. You’d walk into the water, stepping on soft sand with every step, until all of a sudden, clunk! you’d step on a rock. We found it to be pretty much rock-free in the middle near where the water sports hut is situated. The ocean floor gently slopes out for a long distance. You can walk out a fair way with the water only up to your waist. The wave action is quite vigorous; a lot of people enjoyed getting bashed about by it. I only remember one yellow-flag day – the rest were red. There are a number of palapas along the beach, but in order to get one, you have to play the Towel Game. Yes, the good old towel game! I was up at 7:30 am every morning to secure a good spot. My observation was that by 9 – 9:30 am all palapas were gone. While I don’t mind getting up early, I don’t like having to leave things on a chair to ensure I have a place to sit after I go to breakfast or lunch, nor do I like preventing others from using those same chairs. But what are you going to do when that’s the way the game is played? I never had this problem at the RIU Palace nor the Reef Coco Beach, so I rate them much higher in that respect. In fact, I think it is sheer madness that the Bahia Principe is building another complex on-site; this can only put more pressure on an already under-serviced beach.

We took and used some insulated mugs. This cut down on the trips to the bar, which is essential at this resort given its sprawling nature.

Pools
We spent some time at the pool outside the Akumal lobby as well as the pool between the Akumal and the Tulum sides. The former strangely doesn’t have easy access – neither ladder nor steps on the side we frequented – so those of you with mobility problems may want to try another end or another pool.

The towel game is of course played and played hard here. By the end of the week, the water was taking on the look of having had a few drinks spilled in it.

We would end most days at the beach by going for a refreshing dip at the pool between the two resorts. On one day the chefs made paella pool-side in a massive paella pan.

The guests Lots of boisterous Spanish and Portuguese people, Italians, a few Brits with some very nice families, Americans, and Canadians.

The Europeans, Brits excepted, were acting as they usually do. North Americans will know what I’m talking about.

Animacion team
Never really saw these people, except for around the pool between the Akumal and the Tulum. They did the usual crazy game stuff, dance lessons, etc. They struck a good balance between getting people to participate and not making too much noise in their activities.

Mexican Fiesta
The hotel hosts a Mexican Fiesta every Thursday night at the Hacienda Doña Isabel for 160 pesos per person. The standard Mexican fiesta fare is offered: folkloric dances, traditional music, watered-down tequila, and a lariat master demonstrating his skills while standing on the back of a horse.

It had been years since I’d been to one, so I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll be going to another for a long time.

Restaurants Here I give the BPA a thumbs-up over even the RIU Palace. The buffets are good, especially on Mexican fiesta night. Let’s see, they had tacos al pastor, pollos asados, tamales, churros, and a whole host of other things I forget.

You are allowed three meals in the reservation-only restaurants. Here’s how we fared.

Frutos Del Mar
This is a seafood restaurant on the Akumal side. I had the seafood grill, which included grilled mussels, scallops, shrimp, a sliver of lobster, and salmon. I enjoyed it immensely.

Gran Tortuga
This restaurant was clearly understaffed. A sweating and agitated Maitre D’ met us at the door. Our waiter took a long time to take our order and was constantly muttering about not being paid enough for what he had to endure.

I don’t mind slow service in Mexico, in fact I rather prefer it to be drawn out, but on the other hand I feel uncomfortable when staff project ill-will and treat me as if I’m a bother.
Anyway, I stupidly ordered steak. I learned a long time ago that it’s a mistake to order steak in Mexico. But the description on the menu – grilled rib eye! – got the better of me. I didn’t really expect rib eye, and it wasn’t; it was a thin but nice looking sirloin strip, all in all not a bad substitution. But I ordered it medium-rare. That was the stupid part. It was seared for a millimeter or two, and then raw and cold inside. The thing had obviously been near-frozen when tossed on the grill. So it wasn’t a successful dinner, but it was a bad night for the staff and I ordered stupidly.

Arlequin We enjoyed this restaurant immensely. We started off with a amuse bouche of sorbet and then moved on to our appetizers. I had a Yucatecan salad, while my wife had cold avocado soup. For mains, I had lamb chops while my wife had salmon. I finished with a fantastic chocolate cake with Grand Marnier sauce.

If I had to do it all over again, I’d see if I could reserve all three times in this restaurant. It’s a bit on the fancy side, but the service and food were very good.

Beer
Canned Dos Equis in the mini fridge in your room, Dos Equis on draught in most areas (Los Olas had a Corona draught tower – not sure if what was coming out was actually Corona), and Negra Modelo secretly on tap at the 24-hour snack bar on the Akumal side. It may exist elsewhere, but I could never find it.

Shows
We saw only one show, and I remain amazed at the talent of the performers. But the shows are not for me.

The hotel had mariachis playing in the lobby on some nights and in the main buffet restaurant on Mexican night. I know it’s a cliché, but I like mariachis. It’s like going to Canada and getting your picture taken with a Mountie. It’s corny, but your trip isn’t really complete until you get that picture (I bet the Mounties who get gussied up in red serge and go out to have their pictures taken with the tourists are either rookies or guys being punished).

Banking
The ubiquitous Scotiabank supplies what I believe to be the only ATM on site, that being at the Hacienda Doña Isabel. But seeing as the thing had an external card reader, and I had read a lot about external card readers and ATM fraud in the area, I did my banking at one of the Scotiabanks in Playa del Carmen.

A couple of days before the trip, the exchange rates were these: 1 CAD = 8.88566 MXN

1 MXN = 0.112541 CAD

The hotel front desk charged a usurious exchange rate. Avoid.

Going to Playa del Carmen

The hotel offers a shuttle service to PDC. I forget the details … something like twice a week, U.S. $7 per person per trip. Skip this and just get to the highway. A colectivo will take you to and from PDC with a minimum of fuss and cost (20 pesos per person on this trip).

I bought two Mexican soccer shirts. I was wearing one from the previous trip that was purchased from a no-haggle vendor on Juarez at a price that was fair to both him and me. The current seller asked how much I paid, and agreed to the same price, thereby foregoing all that silliness of having to walk away and having him chase me with a new offer.

Naturally we ate lunch at El Oasis. I have to have those shrimp tacos at least once per trip, and that salsa verde is dynamite.

We bought one of those cool gourd lamps. We could have got a better price, but eh, they could use the money. I may get another one next trip.

My wife bought a lot of ceramic items in a shop that had firm prices, one of the ones with those neat Mexican sinks. While in there, it rained briefly, which to our relief cooled down the air temperature.

Internet
There’s a bar at the Hacienda Doña Isabel that offers Internet access. The price is more than what you’d pay in PDC, but what are you going to do when it’s the only option on the premises?

Nits that need picking OK, these are small complaints, but they need to be expressed. The hotel ran out of beach towels one afternoon. Lots of guests beefing when this happened. I guess it’s not surprising given the size of the resort, but I know this would never happen at the RIU Palace.

There were too many instances when there was no attendant to hand out towels or to accept them back.

Conclusion I like to be near Playa del Carmen. I like wandering the streets and seeing how the locals live. That makes it hard for me to enjoy a self-contained all-inclusive, and for that reason, I wouldn’t go back to the BPA in the near future. But I recognize that Playa del Carmen will some day be like Cancun, and when that day comes I’ll be moving on. And perhaps I’ll give the BPA another try at that time. Top of Page

Bahia Principe Akumal Beverly

April 2005

spent two weeks at Bahia Principe Akumal with my ten year old daughter and we both had the best time, I can’t say enough about this resort. It is spotless, there are always people working to maintain it’s immaculate appearance. The rooms are beautiful, and although the beds are firm we kept so busy during the day that we just dropped off to sleep in seconds at night, and I actually found the beds to be quite comfortable. The minibar was restocked daily, and most days we had towel animals left for us. The staff is very friendly and saying Hola becomes as natural as saying hello back home!! We had a negative experience with two front desk people, after something went missing from our room. But then we met Manuel (also front desk) who was so incredibly nice he totally made up for their rudeness. He was extremely helpful and caring and best of all – he got results!! The missing item was returned within four days!!

The beach is great – the rocky parts make it interesting as you find a lot of little "animals" left behind when the tide goes out. The less rocky part of the beach is in the middle, where Tulum and Akumal meet. Bring water shoes and you won’t have any problems. Play in the waves when the flag is red – what a workout!! When the flag is green – go snorkling. Tons of fish, all different colours. You can feed them too, bread or bananas, you’ll have schools of fish surrounding you and the kids love it.

The animation staff is great. They work really hard and are very enthusiastic, and the night shows are even more enjoyable once you get to know the people. My daughter loved the dance lessons every afternoon.

The food at the buffet – incredible!!! There is an insane amount of food to choose from each night, I actually had a full plate of desert after every meal. (worked off the calories jumping in the waves!!) I loved the carvings in the food, from birds to flowers to pyramids, and everything was arranged in such a beautiful way.

We did a lot of tours and loved them all. Xelha and Xcaret both need full days. I wish we had skipped the lazy river at Xelha as it is very slow and there were so many other things we wanted to do. We did the Swim with Dolphins at Xcaret – deffinately worth the added expense. Coba is a grat experience, we did the zip line, repelling, cenote tour and loved every minute. We went to Aktun Chen as my daughter loves monkeys and was able to pet and hold them. We also did the Bahia Divers tour directly off the resort – they take you out to snorkle with turtles and it was amazing, my underwater camera provided us with spectacular pictures. We even saw a barracuda!!

I’m not sure that I can find anything wrong with this resort at all. My daughter did get very sick one night, but it couldnt’ have been from the food as she only ate a fraction of what I had and nothing that could make anyone sick (buns and croutons??!! Very pick child!!). Too much salt water, or chlorine or sun or a mixture of all of them. She spent a day in bed and then everything was fine.

Our time at Bahia Principe Akumal was deffinately a five star experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to vacation in the Riviera Maya.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Dave and Tammy ~ Nova Scotia, Canada

April 2005

We stayed at the Bahia Principe Akumal, Mayan Riviera, Mexico April 10-17, 2005.

This HUGE resort is immaculately maintained from the lucious tropical vegetation, to the sparkling clean marble floors!! The pools were clean and there was always someone going around picking up empty drink glasses. Our room was so clean and I looked forward to Georgina’s towel animals every day. Our mini bar person kept it well stocked even though we never ate the snacks in it and I think I only had a couple sodas during the whole week from it. My husband did enjoy having a cold cervasa while getting ready for supper each night and another when in the evening when sitting on our balcony before bed. Our room however did over look the construction of the new Bahia Principe resort (I think we heard it was going to be called the Coba or Copa??). We had originally asked to be moved, but the resort was full and we wouldn’t be able to move until the Wednesday. We are reasonable people and this was o.k. we would just make the best of it, heck we were in the Riviera…who wants to stay in their room anyway!!!! In the end we ended up not moving because we enjoyed being near the la Iguana bar and jacuzzi pool. This was the only water/pool type area that was open in the evening as the rest closed around supper time. The construction was very interesting to watch and during the week we were there they put up almost 2 full stories on the soon to be new villas!! The manual labor that those men do is astounding…especially getting the cement blocks all up to the different levels all by hand and not lifted in by crane!!

The staff were very friendly and I must have heard "HOLA" and said "HOLA" a million times during our week long stay. Jose who is one of the trolly drivers truly made our trip a memorable one…His HUGE smile just made your heart melt. He called us the "crazy Canadians". Jose would pull up and say "Akumal Rooms!" and we would hop on right behind his seat with our drinks in hand! He would look in his rear view mirror with his big smile, reach up and turn on the mexican music for us. We would bop up and down all the way back to our "jungle section" which is what we came to call the new section of the resort! We just loved him..tipped him well and gave him gifts.

If someone is a picky eater there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to find food at this resort!! Between all the ala cartes to the HUGE buffets both on the Akumal and Tulum sides there was plenty to choose from 24 hours a day!! You must try the made to order omlets…YUMMY!! Actually, almost everything I ate was YUMMY…I don’t think there was too much that I left on my plate!!

Spa services are definately worth mentioning as I personally had a pedicure and thouroughly enjoyed Marisol’s handiwork on my feet! She did a great job, very friendly and the prices were very reaonable!!

Having the Hacienda dona Isabella to do some shopping at right in the resort was also great as they had just about everything you would want. Therefore, if you didn’t want to leave this beautiful place you didn’t have to. Although…..the Riviera has plenty to offer from Playa del Carmen, to Playa Akumal, to Xel Ha, Tulum and so much more!!!! I hightly recommend this resort!!! It is a very large resort spread out over a large area, but so beautiful to walk around and plenty of trolly’s to pick you up if you are too tired or full from eating too much!! We hope someday that we are able to return to the Bahia Principe akumal, HECK…I would go and live there if I could!!!!

If you would like to ask me any specific questions please don’t hesitate to e.mail me.

tammi.wood@ns.sympatico.ca Adios Amigos!!!!
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Bahia Principe Akumal Jill ~ USA

March 2005

David and I decided to have our wedding at the Bahia Principe Akumal due to multiple recommendations from travel agents and friends. My travel agent said that Mexico is equally as beautiful as any of the Caribbean Islands, but much more affordable. I wanted to be sensitive to the finances of the other 23 guests that joined us for the week.

I began emailing the wedding coordinators at least 8 months before the wedding. They were all very helpful and answered questions within 48 hours. There was a little bit of a language barrier, but for the most part, we overcame this. I am a planner, so was a little surprised when the coordinators said that we would not pick the flowers, location, and some other details until we arrived, but I tried not to worry. And I didn’t need to! It is much easier to do these things after arrival.

Make sure to read the requirements carefully for paperwork, passports, etc. The wedding coordinators will tell you everything you will need to know.

I was extremely nervous that the airline (US Airways) would not allow me to carry my dress on board. It was a very puffy dress, and I refused to check it as luggage, so I was fully prepared to wear it on the plane if they were not going to let me put it in the overhead compartment! Luckily, there were no problems, and we even had another bride on my flight with her dress. I think the airlines are used to brides carrying their dresses onboard. David’s brother even told the flight attendant that we were getting married, and he told the story of how we met over the loudspeaker. It was really sweet.

David and I arrived on Tuesday 3/8, as our wedding was on Friday, March 11. The resort is absolutely stunning. It is meticulously maintained- the grounds are just beautiful. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the surroundings. We had to wait about an hour for our room to be ready. We received a slight upgrade for being the bride and groom, and were promised that the rest of the week, we would be upgraded to an Ocean View room in the Golden Club area, which we did! We received a letter from Antonella (wedding coordinator) in our room, asking us to meet her the following morning with our passports, and bring our 4 witnesses with their passports. The following morning, Antonella met us right on time to take our information and pick the flowers and the location. I gave Antonella a picture of some flowers that I wanted to special order, and also ordered extra flowers for my father, the best man, maid of honor, and our mothers. The extra flowers were very inexpensive. We decided to have the ceremony at the hammock stands, which is relatively private and right on the water. Spectacular.

Antonella had made an appointment for us that day at 1 pm to have our blood drawn on-site at the medical center at the Hacienda. The doctor could not find a good vein in David’s arm, so he took the blood from his hand, which he said was a little painful. He did fine with my arm, though. We paid him $140 USD, and were on our way. No bruises, no harm done.

We had an incredible week with our friends and family. We spent actually more time on the Tulum side, which we preferred. It is more open and airy, and there was a better vibe by the activities pool. Both sides are great though. The food is to die for. Delicious. Five-star.

Rehearsal Dinner –
We made some arrangements with Lomas Travel to take all 25 of us on a catamaran and a candlelight dinner on the beach. At the last minute, Lomas told us they had overbooked, and we couldn’t get the dinner on the beach. But it all worked out eventually, as they refunded part of our money, and arranged for all 25 of us to have dinner at Tequila at the resort after returning from the boat ride. The boat ride was great – there was an open bar, and everyone got the chance to get to know each other. The scenery was beautiful and very romantic. We had a great time at Tequila as well. Make sure to do “Tequila Boom-Boom” at the restaurant! It’s a lot of fun.

The Wedding-
David got ready in the best man’s room, while I got ready in our Ocean view room. My maid of honor did my hair and makeup, so I can’t give any recommendations about the spa services. We hired photographer Claudia Rodriguez and her husband for pictures and videography. She was very sweet – I haven’t seen the pictures yet, but I felt pretty confident in her abilities based on prior reviews from this site! She came to the room an hour before the ceremony to take pictures of me getting ready. The flowers came on time and were beautiful – and very much like the picture I had provided. One of the boutonnières was missing, but we called Antonella, and she sent it right over.

The ceremony started about 10 minutes late because the judge was a little late, and then Antonella forgot to come up to tell us that the judge had arrived. But then we walked down the sandy aisle, and everything was absolutely perfect. I mean, it was better than I ever could have even dreamed it would be. The sun, the blue skies, the palm trees, the sand….I wore a very formal gown with bare feet and it felt great. We hired the Mexican guitar trio, which was just perfect. Very romantic and appropriate. There were white covered chairs set up in the sand and some tulle around the hammock pillars. Two tables were set up with white tablecloths, one for signing papers (it had a flower centerpiece on it that matched my bouquet) and one for champagne after the ceremony. We actually did all of our paperwork and fingerprinting during the ceremony, which was different. It was a very casual, laid back ceremony, so we felt comfortable. We were actually dancing and talking during the paperwork, it was just great not to be nervous or formal. The judge spoke in Spanish, and Antonella translated into English. My dear friend Heidi read a beautiful poem on the microphone, and David and I had the chance to say our own vows that we had practiced on the microphone as well. It was a great personal touch. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, and the trio played again at the end. It was really the most special ceremony, everyone was crying. The sound of the ocean and the view just took your breath away.

Champagne was served while we had more pictures taken. Everyone had a chance to go back to their rooms before our 6:30 dinner at Frutos del Mar. I kind of wish we had started the wedding at 3:30 instead of 4:00 because we had to hurry the pictures before we ran out of sunlight. But Claudia went as fast as she could, and we got plenty of shots.

All of our guests were seated at the restaurant, and they asked us to make a grand entrance so they could announce us. It was so nice; all of the other restaurant patrons were clapping and congratulating us. We had drinks, and then we had our first dance. They dimmed the lights, and Claudia had brought in CD with a romantic song since we had not thought to bring a special wedding song. Everyone watched us dance, and we felt like royalty! We had a really nice dinner, and after our soups, we cut the cake. It was a “Tre Leche” cake, which is 3 milks. It seemed like it had vanilla pudding in it – whatever it was, it was the best wedding cake I’ve ever tasted. The manager was very accommodating, and checked often to make sure we were happy. We all did “Tequila Boom-booms” and even a few funny games after dinner. It was really great!

After dessert and coffee, we headed over to the Pakal Bar, where Antonella had saved us a table right in the front for 25. It was set up perfectly for us. We felt like VIPs again! We had originally considered renting out the disco, but someone else rented it before we decided. It was just as well, because we all had a blast dancing at the Pakal Bar! When the band left the Pakal bar, we followed them to the Hacienda, and danced like crazy over there as well! The staff led us in some line dances which were a lot of fun. After the band left the Hacienda, we danced to the DJ at the disco until 2 am. It was a fantastic evening. All of the other resort guests were so friendly- complete strangers were hugging and congratulating me. It’s such a happy, friendly atmosphere. The tram even made a special trip for us to take us back to our rooms at the end of the night.

The next day, a staff member brought a bottle of champagne and a heart-shaped chocolate cake to our room and set up a romantic table for us. They also brought our wedding documents and a paper copy of the ceremony in English.

I really have to stretch to think of anything to complain about this resort, and I am a very particular person! If I think really hard, these are the only things I can come up with: 1- A few guests complained that they did not have towels, even after calling housekeeping several times 2- When we asked for directions or information about tours, we got several different answers from various staff 3- We took a taxi one day to do our own scuba diving (without a tour), and the taxi drivers and diving team tried to scam us, so I would recommend only going through the resort tours. 4- Also be careful of the resort tours, as seen above with confusion about my rehearsal dinner. They tried to cancel on me by saying that “the boat was missing a part” so I had a fit until they figured out an alternative.

5- One of my guests requested an egg white omelet – but the chef would not oblige. Not very good customer service on that one!

All in all, I would highly recommend having a wedding at this resort. Everyone had a great time. In fact, my parents were both very skeptical about a destination wedding up until the ceremony was actually complete. They both told me in confidence that they were surprised to find that it was the most beautiful and special wedding celebration they had ever seen. Plus, it was wonderful to have a whole week to celebrate with our loved ones. Told ya so!

Have questions or would like to see pictures? E-mail jzabinsk@rochester.rr.com, use BPA in subject line.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Visitors: Pauline & Simon, married couple, early 30’s ~ Toronto, Canada

February 2005

We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation at this 5-star resort. Please read on for the details…

Our arrival time in Cancun was 9pm which got us to our hotel by 10:30pm. A bit of a late start but what can you do, we were just happy to be out of the snow. Moses, our tour bus escort on the way to the resort was very helpful with information about what to see/not to see and local customs, etc. Of course the icy cold coronas were a nice touch as well. I was amazed at how many affluent 55+ people did not even leave a tip for him or the driver for their 1.5 hours of courteous service.

A night arrival at either Bahia Principe resorts is impressive, with huge, tastefully-lit lobby areas. A champagne and OJ with our brief and easy check-in confirmed that we were really on vacation and ready to be enveloped in luxury.

Our building number was 54, and we had a jr. suite on the middle floor. It was easy walking distance to the main buildings, although I wouldn’t want to be much further away. I wouldn’t recommend buildings nos. 47, 48 or 49, as they face the back of the bar/amphitheater which seems to be a bit noisy. Building 66 is literally right on the beach but it may be full of more deluxe rooms. Maid service was great, don’t forget to leave your maid a small tip, they really don’t make much money. Having heard about firm beds I brought an egg-carton style foamie for our bed which I just left down there. I think it helped out a lot.

When we were there it was not very busy at the resort. I estimate it to be less than half full. Therefore it was easy to get a palapa before 10am and chairs on the beach before 11am. The pool area never filled up. Water shoes were very helpful in the water, as there were a fair number of rock/coral outcrops. It is a bit of a hike to get to the waterfront activities office where you sign up for a catamaran around 9am. It’s too bad you couldn’t sign up the day or night before or even plan a few days ahead. Word of caution: it is tricky getting the catamaran out between the reef and some big rocks, so you should know how to sail. It is quite hilarious watching those who thought they could sail and could not.

The food was excellent. Top quality all the way. 6-7 fresh juices every morning, eggs made to order, freshly grilled meats and seafood at lunch and dinner, pasta made to order, and of course great Mexican food. There was a different country-theme each night for dinner which added to the choices. The a la carte restaurants were very good, with extra service and very filling meals. We ate at the Tequila mexican restaurant on the Tulum resort side and the Arlequin gourmet international one on the Akumal side. The drinks at the bars were always good, we drank cocktails both with and without alcohol as I was 5 months pregnant. We thought the ‘virgin’ drinks might be a problem, many North American bartenders seem reluctant to bother, but many kids ordered them as well so they were very used to it. There were quite a few toddlers with their parents but we did not see the other kids around much during the day, they are kept busy with a kids club.

We really liked the 2 pools at the resort, especially the ‘quiet’ pool with it’s lagoon-like layout where you didn’t feel every other sunbather was watching your every move. The ‘activity’ pool was accompanied by music from the animacion staff and full of things to do if that is what you prefer.

We spent a whole day at Xel-Ha, firstly walking around the whole grounds then snorkelling in the afternoon. The fish were very plentiful and truly amazing, especially in the lagoon by the bridge that is near the jungle discovery train and bicycle station. Among many others, we saw quite a few colourful parrot fish, a barracuda and a manta ray. The food there was delicious but my husband got a bit of montezuma’s revenge the next day. Not sure of where that came from as we ate almost the same things. One thing: Bring your own sunscreen bottle, you have to have one to trade in for the free bio-degradable sunscreen they insist on. I’m not sure if you get it back at the end of the day. Otherwise you have to buy some there but it is reasonably priced. We also visited the ruins of Tulum. I wouldn’t recommend bothering with an organized tour to go there, unless that is really your sort of thing. It is a small ruin area with many informative signs; and books are readily available in the hotel and ruins gift shop if you want to read them along the way. We went from 4-5pm which was nice and cool and the lighting was really good for photos. Also we sat on the back wall and waited to leave until almost 5:00 and our photos of the whole area have very few people in them. The beach there is very beautiful but much smaller than I imagined. We took a taxi from the hotel and the driver came back to pick us up an hour later. I think it was $8 USD each way and he dropped us off on a back road only a few hundred metres from the entrance.

We spent a day in Playa del Carmen, which has a really nice beach. I must say the real bargains are few and far between there. The mexican handicrafts seem to be the cheapest and silver was more expensive. You must barter a lot as prices can go from $85 USD for a silver/tiger’s eye pendant down to $15. However, I compare this to our recent trip to Ecuador where I got similar earrings for $5 USD. Pewter is much cheaper than in Canada and we found the serving platters in the hotel gift shop to be cheaper than anywhere else. There is a Mayan liqueur that tastes like licorice that is a nice souvenir, as well as vanilla extract for any baking enthusiasts.

The crowd at the disco on Saturday night was young and energetic. We had fun dancing but it did not open until about midnight. We didn’t meet any other couples at the resort, I think mostly because it is so big; although we were not barflys nor did we participate in the animacion activities much. If we return, it would be with another couple or family or two, I think that would be lots of fun.

All in all we felt relaxed and pampered by the end of our week. Our only complaint was that our flight back to Toronto left at 10am or so and we left the resort at 6am, thus missing out on a whole day. After arriving so late it seemed that we were cut a bit short on our whole week.

And remember, bringing down 50 one dollar bills for tips goes a long way to making the lives of these hard working Mexicans better. Most of them only make about $4 a day so I figure this is a small price to pay out of my pocket to make someone’s day. School supplies for kids are always a needed item as well.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Erica ~ Denver, CO USA

January 2005

I wanted to write a review of my wedding experience at the Bahia Principe Akumal Resort in Riviera Maya Mexico being that this website was such a huge help with planning my wedding. Dawn and Susan’s reviews were such a huge help in my decision and they were great with getting back to me when I emailed them with additional questions.

Now that the holidays are over and life has slowed down a bit I am finally able to sit down and write about my experience at the BPA resort in Riviera Maya Mexico.

My husband and I had never been to this part of Mexico but had heard so many great things about the Yucatan Peninsula with the white sand beaches and the Caribbean water that we knew that was the perfect place to exchange our vows. We had a pretty large wedding party, 60 total people, flew to Cancun Airport from all around the USA for our wedding on Friday November 12, 2004. The planning started shortly after we got engaged in Los Cabos Mexico in November 2003.

I did a great deal of research on beach weddings and narrowed it down to the Mayan Riviera. I had initially contacted a travel agent locally in Denver, CO, but quickly realized that standard travel agents are not accustomed to booking such large groups and don’t have a lot of the same access/rates that wholesale travel agencies would have. So I did a lot of research on the internet and located a wholesale travel agency: Vacations International (1-866-925-9408 toll free) /email vacationsintl@earthlink.net and Rudy Mees was the travel consultant that took care of everything. We had guests would be traveling from the east and west coasts and everywhere in between so we needed someone that could accommodate all of that.

Why we picked the BPA:

*It’s a mega resort and could therefore accommodate ‘late-bookers’ and people could spread out among the BPA or visit the BPT and use services on both sides

*All-inclusive (food/drink), and was affordable for all guests

*Nightly entertainment for hotel guests and for kids

*Kids club/activities for kids during the day (that was a must because we have many nieces and nephews)

*They will only have 1 wedding per day unless it has been authorized by the 1st bride/groom that it is ok to have another wedding that same day. (BPT and BPA are considered separate resorts).

After deciding on the resort, I emailed Rudy a list of all the guests we were inviting with their departing locations. In turn, he priced package deals with RT airfare, hotel cost, transportation to/from hotel/airport, and all taxes and fees from all departing locations nationwide. With that, I located an invitation company on-line (www.psaessentials.com) and ordered ‘save the date’ cards and magnets. In the envelope I included a card that I made pricing a total cost for a 7-day package from where the guest would be departing from. This allowed guests to plan several months in advance and to contact Rudy directly to book their trip.

Rudy has worked on many occasions with the staff at the BPA so he put me in direct contact with the wedding coordinators at the resort: Kathrin, Angeles, Martina, and Fernanda. The majority of the contact I had with the wedding coordinators was with Martina and Fernanda via email. They were extremely attentive and were understanding that this happens once in a lifetime and that every bride wants things to be as perfect as possible. I asked literally a million questions and they would always reply with in 24-48 hrs and would say, “Let me know if you have any other questions…” I had asked about set menus and they emailed me all of the menus that I was able to choose from to pick the menu. They confirmed everything over email and no deposits were needed. Everything was just charged to the bride and groom’s room bill upon checkout. I was even planning on ordering set menu place cards but Fernanda told me that they typically do that so I left that up to the resort and they were perfect. They were rolled up and placed on everyone’s place setting at the dinner.

Photography was another must that had to be booked early on. After reading all the reviews I knew that I wanted to have Claudia Rodriguez do the photography for our wedding. Her email is claudiaphoto@prodigy.net.mx. She was amazing! We opted for the largest still photography package and the pictures turned out amazing. Claudia met us at the honeymoon resort the following week and delivered all the photos (about 250 4×6 that she put in a photo album), as well as the enlargements and all the negatives. I cannot say enough about Claudia’s services—it was truly amazing.

One to two months prior to arrival Fernanda would again confirm the wedding date, number of guests, set menu, restaurant, if we wanted live music at the wedding ceremony, Rancherita Disco (for reception after the wedding), full names, etc… In addition to confirming all of that, I faxed all the documents to Fernanda in Mexico to be sure that we had everything necessary. (Our travel agent told us that a prior wedding took place there and the medical certification was not completed and so the wedding was not valid in the US). So needless to say, I made sure I had all the proper documents. For US bride and groom must have valid US passport, birth certificate (with parent’s names listed) with an apostille attached (and it must be translated into Spanish and typed and signed/dated by the translator), and the Mexican Tourist Card that you receive when you are on the plane to Mexico. For US residents, you can order a certified copy of your birth certificate from the Vital Statistics website. After receiving the birth certificates, you need to send them to the Secretary of States Office in the State you were born and they will attach an apostille (a document certifying that the notary who notarized the birth certificate is in fact a notary). I would allow AT LEAST THREE MONTHS so that you are not rushed with getting all of this done.

We arrived at the Cancun Airport on Saturday November 6, 2004, and the wedding was the following Friday November 12, 2004. Guests arrived during that week before on different days and we knew everyone’s flight schedules so we could meet and greet everyone upon their arrival and give them their welcome bags that we made. It is quite a long journey by bus to the resort because the BPA is pretty far down on the Mayan Riviera from Cancun. We were so pleased upon arrival because the lobby was just absolutely amazing (the pictures on the website don’t do it justice). The staff had mimosas lined up at one of the tables in the lobby and we were greeted with a very warm welcoming by the entire staff. We had not problems checking in at all at the hotel. There were some people in our group who had booked through different vendors (Apple Vacations vs. Fun Jet) based on the city in the US they were departing from. The guests who were Apple Vacations were “gold club members” and so they had to check-in at a different lobby at the resort and they were also allotted more ‘ala carte’ dinner tickets. That was the only discrepancy.

We made contact with Fernanda on Sunday and sat down with her and discussed the plans for the wedding. We were able to choose the wedding location, flowers, and book spa appointments. We also made a date later in the week with meet with her with the 4 witnesses and all of their documents. We went and did the blood work that day as well and it was $140 versus $100 because the blood work was done onsite as opposed to going into Playa del Carmen to get it done. My husband absolutely hates needles, but everything was sterile and there were no problems at all.

Thursday November 11, 2004

In lieu of doing a rehearsal dinner (that is not a tradition in Mexico) we chartered an 85-foot catamaran for a snorkeling sunset cruise for about six hours off the coast. We had planned this well in advance after reading Sue Dyson’s review. We booked this through Paradise Tours with Kim Gill (office@paradisetours.info). Kim was so responsive and took care of all the details. We had an open bar, which wasn’t opened until after the snorkeling portion, and we had sandwiches and snacks prepared for us by the company. Everyone had such an amazing time. I sent out invitations in advance with response cards so we would know an exact number of guests because they charge a base rate for chartering the boat and then a PP rate for the open bar and food.

Friday November 12, 2004—Wedding Day

Greg and I had treated our mother’s to Caribbean massages and I had treated my wedding party (3) to French manicures and I had my fingers and toes done. I opted not to have my hair done at the resort, instead I had practiced a simple up-do with my hairdresser in Denver and my mother was able to practice with me the day of the wedding and she did my hair for the wedding. My maid of honor did my makeup and the girls in the wedding had their hair down and just put a bobby pin in their hair with a flower attached. (Prior to heading to Mexico I went to an arts and crafts store and bought faux off-white colored flowers and then glue-gunned them to the end of bobby pins). We had 2 flower girls and 1 ring bearer and so we had ordered flower petals for the girls’ flower baskets. We were also able to get our dresses and Greg’s suit and the groomsmen outfits steamed for the wedding. They we supposed to pick it up on Thursday morning, but we arrived back from the catamaran trip and the clothes were still on the bed! We called Fernanda and she took care of everything.

The wedding was scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. so Fernanda had the flowers arrive at my room at 1:30 p.m. and sure enough they were all there. We had ordered extra flowers for the ceremony site and those were all delivered there and setup, but she had the boutonnieres, corsages, bouquets, and flower petals delivered to my room.

There was a delay with our arrival to the ceremony site because the little golf cart that is supposed to pick of the bride, father of the bride, bridesmaids, maid of honor, flower girls, and ring bearer did not arrive until 4:30 p.m. so we were late and we were rushing through pictures after the wedding because the sun was setting. I would recommend starting the wedding at like 3:45 p.m. because things are just done at a slower pace in Mexico.

We had a live mariachi band play as I walked done the isle, and from what people tell me, they were playing beforehand as well. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and then we had a toast of champagne on the beach and then we went onto the rocks for pictures. Our dinner was at the Dolce Vita and was scheduled at 6:30 p.m. It was just amazing. We cut the cake and did toasts at the dinner and then at 8:30 p.m. we left the restaurant, headed to the front lobby and waited for the trolley cart to pick us up for the Rancherita Disco. We had the first dance, bouquet and garter tosses at the Rancherita. Everyone had such a great time. At 11:45 p.m. they closed the bar for 15 min or so to clean before opening the club for the public at midnight. We all stayed there until they re-opened the bar and partied with resort guests.

When we arrived back to our room that night (early a.m.) our room was decorated with flowers, a chilled bottle of champagne and a chocolate cake.

This was truly a dream come true and we plan to go back to the BPA for years to come. Many people who have gone to all-inclusive resorts complain about the food and say that the drinks were ‘watered down’, but that was far from the experience we had. The food was amazing and there was such a variety to please everyone’s taste. The service was outstanding and the resort accommodations were exceptional.

Feel free to email me if you have any other questions, please write BPA in the subject line. elcarp3@hotmail.com

Best of luck! -Erica
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Bahia Principe Akumal Kate ~ USA

January 2005

All I can say is: BUYER BEWARE!!! What a horrible trip! My husband and I have been to the Mayan Riveria before and stayed at the Club Maeva resort. Club Maeva is a 3 star resort – beautiful private beach, quiet, romantic, wonderful food – all the things you would expect from an all-inclusive in the Mayan Riviera. But, the Bahia Principe was the total opposite experience. When planning our honeymoon (now referred to as our "horrormoon"), we decide to "treat" ourselves to a 5 star accommodation. 5 star? What a joke!!! Bahia Principe Akumal required us to bring our marriage certificate to prove that we were honeymooners in order to receive "special privileges." Another big joke! Let me sum this up: Bahia Principe was the worst trip we have ever booked. There was absolutely NO BEACH on our side of the resort (the entire Akumal side of the resort has a "beach" that looks like the side of a volcano – rough rocks, jagged coral/rock shore, and NO SAND AT ALL. This is NOT an exaggeration. There was literally NO sand on this "beach"). The food was terrible at best. It was like eating at a mall food court. Again, no exaggeration. Literally, they served hot dogs (yes, HOT DOGS! so much for a 5 star resort) one night at dinner and the very next morning it showed up in their breakfast buffet!!! Furthermore, our "special accommodations" consisted of being placed in a room among a dozen other high-rise buildings which served a total of 600+ people, all sharing a 20-person hot tub. The "special accommodation" was us being near the hot tub!!! The hotel promised us a "special honeymooners basket" with fresh fruit and a bottle of liquor for when we arrived – even that was a lie! There was no basket, no beach and no special honeymoon area or accommodations. We were completely mortified and tried switching hotels immediately. The hotel asked us to sign a form with the reasons why we wanted to leave. The form they gave us had a long list (at least 20 other guests in the week we were there) who had the same complaints we did and who wanted out of that "resort." Our U.S. Airways representative was very helpful in trying to get us to a different location to salvage our horrormoon and ended up moving us to the Club Maeva that we had visited previously. Unfortunately, the people at the Bahia Principe Resort were completely unaccommodating and totally useless in helping us in any way, shape or form. In fact, we wanted to be reimbursed for the "5-star" price for the seven nights we did not stay there. We wanted to be reimbursed the amount of the difference between the 3-star and 5-star rates. They are refusing to reimburse us any amounts – basically they robbed us – not only financially because they kept an amount that is not due them (we only stayed there 2 out of 9 nights) but they robbed us of what was supposed to be the best trip of our lives to date. That is why I opened this message with: BUYER BEWARE – because they’re marketing material completely misrepresented their true identity. And I have the photos and memories to prove it. Do yourselves a favor: GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! Good luck.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Stacey ~ Canada

January 2005

My husband (23) and I (24) stayed at the Bahia Principe Akumal from June 26th to July 3rd. We are from Alberta, Canada and this was our first time to Mexico, and our first All Inclusive.

This resort is wonderful. It has everything that you could possibly need or want, and is remarkably clean. We had a fabulous time and would definitely stay here again.

First Impressions:
We arrived at the Cancun airport around 2:00pm (after a 5 hour flight) and were at the hotel by 5pm. We had no problems getting to the Bahia Principe Akumal as transfers were included in our vacation package. Once we got to the resort our check in was extremely fast.

When we first arrived at the resort my husband and I both felt very overwhelmed. This resort is very big. It is an amazing resort, but it is very big. We only know a few words in Spanish and our lack of the Spanish language made us feel like we had gotten in over our heads. However, most people who work at the resort speak some English, and everyone was very helpful and nice to us when they realized we didn’t speak Spanish. The day after we arrived we had a seminar with an Air Transat rep, Jose (very helpful), and she gave us a rundown of the resort and the Mayan Rivera. After meeting with her, and familiarizing ourselves with the resort, we felt very relaxed and comfortable and the rest of our ! vacation was fantastic.

Rooms:
Our room was amazing. We were in villa 65 which I think is a great location. It is beach front and just far enough from all the action to be quiet, but close enough to walk everywhere. The room always looked so beautiful after it had been cleaned. The lady who cleaned our room did a wonderful job, and paid close attention to us. For example, she saw that the first night we had taken the comforter off of our bed (we found it too hot) so she kept the comforter off of our bed and used a few layers of sheets instead. Everyday we had a different animal made out of towels. And she even put our shoes in the closet when we had left them in the middle of the floor. We were very happy with her so we tipped her two US dollars a day. Our mini bar was restocked every other day. We were on the first floor and really had no problem with this. We had heard that sometimes you get a lot of bugs in your room on the first floor, but we had no trouble with bugs. I think we had two baby ! spiders in our shower one morning but that was it. Come to think of it, we hardly saw any bugs in the entire resort. I was bit by a couple of mosquito’s late at night when I forgot to apply bug spray, but that was my own fault.

FOOD:
The food here is really good. We found the buffet food to be surprisingly delicious. I loved the grilled salmon and the pasta. The buffet always had really good desserts too! We also ate at the Arlequin (International) which was fantastic. This restaurant serves flaming coffees. We were too full to try the coffees, but I really enjoyed watching how they make them. I had the duck here which was great, and my husband had the Prime Rib. My husband said that he was a little disappointed with the Prime Rib, but only because being born and raised on Alberta Beef you come to expect a certain cut for Prime Rib. However, he still thought it was good, he just probably wouldn’t order it again. We ate at the grill one night,! which was fantastic. We both had the t-bone steak and really enjoyed it. And on our last night we ate at the seafood restaurant, Fruitos Del Mar. This was my favourite by far. (I love seafood). The seafood soup was delicious! My husband had the shrimp plate, which he loved, and I had the seafood special, which was a mixture of fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and mussels. It was fantastic. We made all of our dinner reservations the day after we arrived and had no problem getting the days and times we wanted.

Service:
Everyone who works at this resort is incredibly nice. From the bellboys, to the shuttle drivers, to the waiters. The staff at the 24hr snack bar on the Akumal side deserves special recognition. They were always busy, but always fast and friendly. After a few dinners at the buffet the servers remembered who we were and started joking around with us. The staff is what really makes this resort great!

Beach/pools:
We really had a great time swimming in the ocean. We had a five minute walk from our villa to get to the part of the beach with the fewest rocks. We didn’t have water shoes, but found no need for them where we swam. There are a lot of rocky beaches at this resort, but it isn’t hard to find spots without rocks. My only complaint is that where we liked to swim (in between the Tulum and Akumal) there wasn’t much shade. So when we went to the ocean we usually only went for a couple of hours. We went snorkeling in the ocean one day and had a blast. You have to reserve snorkeling equipment at a booth near the beach, and it is best to reserve your time in the morning. We found it hard to get snorkeling time if you waited until the afternoon. There are two pools on the Akumal side, an activity pool, and a large winding pool. We didn’t use the activities pool but it looked like everyone there was having a great time. The winding p! ool was great and late in the afternoon it wasn’t very busy.

Playa Del Carmen:
Every Tuesday and Thursday you can take a bus from the resort to Playa Del Carmen for $6.00 US (return). We loved Playa Del Carmen. I would highly recommend visiting this town. There is one main street with a million shops that we walked up and down for hours. The further you walk from part where you catch the ferry to Cozumel the better the prices in the shops are. We found a really great cigar shop with great prices. We bought some Cuban cigars for $7.00 CAD each. ($25.00 each in Canada) We found that stores with prices in USD are usually more expensive than store that sell in Pesos. We were never bothered by store merchants either. If someone was "actively selling" a product we found a simple, "No Thank You" was all we needed to say and they would leave us alone. If there is anything you need or want to buy (sunscreen, souvenirs etc.) it is ! best to buy it in Playa Del Carmen as the gift shops at the hotel and the shops at the Hacienda (resort shopping centre) are expensive.

Aquatic Expedition by Emilio:
One day we went on the "Aquatic Expedition" by Emilio that our Air Transat rep was selling. We had such an amazing time! We payed $100.00 each Canadian, and it was well worth it. We went snorkeling in a salt water lagoon and a cenote (underwater lake), and had lunch on a private beach. Emilio and his crew were very helpful and friendly. I would highly recommend this tour if you like snorkeling.

Summary: My husband and I had a fantastic trip and would love to stay here again!! Top of Page

Bahia Principe Akumal Larry & Chris — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

December 2004

We just returned home from a one week stay at the Bahia Principe Akumal where we were from December 21 to 28, 2004.

Overall we rate this a weak four star hotel **** and here is why.

(We will not go through each day or detail but instead will highlight what future travellers need to know when deciding whether to stay at this hotel.)

Highlighted Review Items:
The hotel is on a beautiful long stretch of beach. To be clear, the beach has beautiful sand. The water was warm like bath water and very nice for swimming and especially easy for snorkling. Yes, there is occassionally some rock on the bottom (in the water) but you can easily see where they are and manouever around them. No need for any special foot wear.

The main buffet is the Riviera. Its variety of food selection is good.Breakfast:waffles, pancakes, eggs, fruits, pastries, bacon, potatoes, etc. Lunch & Dinner: Beef, pork, chicken, pasta, fish, salads, potatoes, rice, mexican, fruits, pastries. The main problem is that you will never walk away thinking that the food really taste great or that there was something different or memorable. Each night has a theme (Italian, International, Mexican, etc) but if you were not told and had to guess the theme you might have difficulty because it seems to always look about the same. The food is not even close to five star quality.

The side or ala carte restaurants (Seafood, Italian, French, Chineese) are nothing great and quite frankly we found the attraction of eating there misleading because on balance the main Riveria buffet was better. If you do book at Akumal stay clear of the Arlequin restaurant. They try to make this an exclusive French restaurant and really do miss. The service there was basically rude, the food was average and the Manager had many guests including ourselves complaining to only hear him repeatetdly say that if you are not satisfied go eat in the Riveria buffet restaurant. They will also try to get you to buy a bottle of wine. The ala carte restaurants offer a kids menu. Here again the food and service is not even close to five star quality

Do not miss the Paella that they make around the pool/beach area. We had two lunches like this and it was excellent. The only problem is that it is very messy to eat and the hotel gives out plastic forks but no knives so that you will be really working at it. Not a very classy way to serve.

The Akumal has an activities pool located away from the main pool. Be sure to go there especially each day at 4:30 when there are always games and fun to be had. The main pool is huge and very nice.

One night during the week the Akumal has no evening show and instead wants you to go to the facility that they have on the property called the Hacienda Dona Isabel. There they will put on a Mexican show BUT they want $16 US per head for this. We found this kinda of disappointing since we expected the all inclusive to have nighly entertainment as advertised each night and no extra charges. The nightly entertainment that was provided was a 7 out of 10.

Most service providers (wait staff, housekeeping, bar staff) want tips espcially the housekeeping staff who are not shy to ask. Be careful because if you start giving too early in your vacation their expectations only grow larger by the day.

The Kids Club is really quite good and the staff are great. Kids can also paint ceramic items and have a great time.

There is little in the way of land sports. No ping pong, archery, mini golf, etc etc. You can rent bikes, they have games that you can use etc. A five star would likely have better variety.

Surprisingly, most of the facility has windows. The lobby, lobby bar, theatre all is enclosed. We were not used to this and much prefer an open air concept except for some main eating areas where you might want some enclosure of sorts.

The hotel staff, like most in the Myan Riveria, was 99% excellent and really tried hard for us to have a good holiday.

Overall, having been to very many all inclusives and also having visited the Myan Riviera several times we would rank this Akumal property a weak four star. Nothing to write home about. Everything is kinda just okay. They want you to believe that they are a five star but they definitely are not at that level and not even close. There are better hotels on the Myan Riviera for the same amount of money. We had a great time but expected a higher standard of hotel.
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Bahia Principe Akumal Wayne

December 2004

Beautiful weather; beautiful beaches, and no mosquitoes (this must be a roll of the dice because many sites and reviews mention problems).

Family wife (35), 2 sons (3 & 6mths) myself (37). Two weeks Dec 3-17 2004.

Scale 1-5
Facilities- 4 Beautiful grounds, nice sandy beaches, good snorkeling, many pools, good evening entertainment. All inclusive is definitely the way to go with a young family. We book into Tulum for $1867/adult and were moved to Akumul. The rooms are larger, which was great with 4 in the room. Décor was very nice; exactly like the website photo.

One regret was that we were as far from the beach and lobby as possible. I don’t mind walking but it was tiring for my family. Oh well…the extra exercise allows you to drink more Coco Banana’s.

Food- 3 We tried two restaurants, and although the atmosphere was nice, the food was nothing special. We always found something we liked at the buffet. The resort seemed to be challenged by meat and sauces. (no great surprise here; you don’t go to Mexico for food)

Staff- 4 Very friendly, we tipped randomly and it was always appreciated.

Weather-4 First week 35 in the day 25 at night. Second week 30 in the day 18 at night.

PS I did notice a bad smell (septic?) on the Tulum side on the paths farthest from the beach. Quite strong…avoid having a room there at all cost!

We did 3 trips off the resort in the 2 week stay.

Playa Del Carmen twice for a look around; dinner and shopping. More beautiful beaches. Shopping like any other Mexican resort destination.

Tulum ruins Easy to get to (don’t pay for a tour; go to the highway, take a collectivo (safe,public transportation 12 passenger modern van with A/C; $2 US). The ruins is a must do and much easier to get to than some of the other ruins. Take a suit; the beach and ocean there is as nice as any place I have been. Another reason not to take a tour as you can stay as long as you want. Bring a picnic lunch and lots of water.

Xcaret; Again, take the collectivo. The tour package is nothing more than transportation, and there is a cool bus from the highway. Go early. This is a full day of activity with a 2hr, not to be missed show from 6-8pm. We did not allow enough time to see and do everything. Ocean snorkeling is not what this place is about so don’t even bother with that. Snorkel the river and underground caves.

Questions or more info: triwoodhockey@hotmail.com
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Bahia Principe Akumal Tyler and Julia — Canada

December 2004

Hello! We just returned from our two week holiday in Mexico where we were married at the Bahia Principe Akumal. Our wedding was on November 22, 2004. We booked our tour with Desta at Uniglobe Vacations in Saskatoon and our tour was with Air Transat Vacations. Both were excellent when it came to helping us plan the perfect holiday! Desta took care of everything which made our jobs so much easier because we had 48 people flying down to celebrate our wedding.

We decided to leave a week earlier to have this as our "honeymoon" week with our guests arriving a week later. This also gave us a chance to get the wedding details taken care of. Contrary to a previous review, the resort was absolutely wonderful. The wedding co-ordinators were very prompt and polite when replying to any emails that I sent prior to our trip. I always received a response to my questions within a day. There are many coordinators at the hotel, all of them capable of dealing with concerns. We were assigned to Fernanda when we arrived and she was helpful and accomodating. Before leaving to Mexico, all I had to plan was the menu as we had a large group and had to set a menu but could choose from any of the a la cart menus. I also booked Claudia Rodriquez for our photos and her husband for our video. This was a MUST do after reading rave reviews about them from other brides on this site. She was incredible. She was prompt and professional and helpful and sincerely cares about what she does for a living. We debated having a video or not, but eventually decided to have one done. It was fabulous. I can’t even describe how beautiful our pictures and video turned out. The best decision we could ever have made to preserve our wedding day memories. Absolutely priceless. We had blood taken right at the resort which was so convenient! The medical centre there is very clean and professional. The needles were sterile and came right out of the package so there is nothing to worry about. The technician was very skilled and took the blood with ease. You have to pay $70 US CASH each for this service. It is much more convenient than getting it done in your home country before going and very clean and safe.

The other thing we had time to plan was a catamaran cruise for our entire group. We arranged it through Air Transat tours and the boat was called "Blue Magic". We got a bit of a group discount and payed $59 per person. We ended up subsidising half of this cost and our guests payed $30 each. It was a huge 85 ft catamaran and the crew was so entertaining and fun. We sailed out to a national reserve where we went snorkeling. They provide all equipment, music, open bar after we got back from snorkelling and a light sandwich snack after swimming too. On the way to the reserve, we had a group of about 8 dolphins come right up beside us and swim for about 15 minutes with us! It was SO spectacular. You could lie out on the front of the boat and suntan or relax in the shade on seats. It was a perfect way for our guests to get to know each other before the wedding. Everyone had a blast. The tour went from noon till about 5:30 pm.

The only glitch we had upon arriving and meeting with Fernanda was that I didn’t really know that the witnesses also had to be there three business days prior to the wedding. This was quickly resolved when we asked another couple from BC who were getting married there that week to help us out. Shelby and Pat were terrific! We also got Nancy and Annie, our Air Transat reps to witness the wedding for us. They played a pretty important role in making our wedding happen! Thank you! We picked out flowers and cake (the vanilla was AWESOME) and gave Fernanda our ceremony music to play and the order to play it. I booked an appointment to have my hair done and my four bridesmaids hair done at the spa.

Our wedding was at 3 pm so our hair appointments were spread out at 11 am and 12 pm. Victor did my hair for me and did a fabulous job! I had a picture with me and he made it look better than the picture! The other girls had pictures too and their hair turned out great. My one and only suggestion to all brides is to NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! You are on vacation in a beautiful country with the ocean and sand and sun surrounding you. If you don’t have too many expectations, you will have a relatively stress free, dream weddding.

We then ate some lunch and returned to our room to get ready. My mom had ironed my dress and Tyler’s suit and it was ready to go (the hotel charges $12 to have it steamed) but it wasn’t too wrinkled as I carried it on the plane with me. Claudia arrived at 2:30 and met us in our room to take some pictures getting ready. My flowers arrived at 2:45. They weren’t exactly as I expected but they were just as beautiful. The weather was gorgeous and we waited out front for our golf cart to pick us up. It was a bit late ("mexican time") and we realized that it would have been quicker to walk (we were in Villa 47 as I requested, the best one at the resort!!), but it was nice to be shuttled around.

We chose the beach setting for the ceremony and it was decorated with white fabric and the chairs were all white with chair covers. It was beautiful. We arrived at the top of the hill by the beach and had kind of planned out the order we were going to walk in advance as there is no rehearsal so you kind of have to wing it. There were rose petals along the aisle and as soon as our music started (right on key) we started walking in. The ceremony was great, a nice ocean breeze to keep us cool. It lasted about 30 minutes with fingerprinting and with translating everything into english. The judge was so great. Even though we couldn’t understand what she was saying, you could tell that she meant every word of what she was saying and was very sincere. There was a microphone and speaker so everyone could hear what was being said. We had both prepared vows in advance, thanks to Claudia’s suggestion, and were prepared to say a little something after exchanging rings. This added a nice touch and personalized the ceremony. Afterwards, we had champagne waiting for us and was handed out to us by a waiter and Fernanda (we ordered two extra bottles of champagne for $21 so that everyone could have some). My brother gave a beautiful toast to the bride and groom. We then had Claudia take group pictures and Mike did the video throughout. Because the sun goes down so early, we had a few gorgeous pictures with the sun setting, but weren’t rushed to get the pictures in had we done the wedding any later. I could write pages and pages on how beautiful our pictures and video turned out ( we also got a 5 minute summary video set to our recessional song which is another MUST have). I would recommend Claudia and her team for every bride getting married in the Riviera Maya.. We had a lot of people in our group who didn’t think they were photogenic and ended up looking great in every shot!

Our dinner was at the Dolce Vita a la carte at 6:30…so everyone had time in between to have drinks, cool off in thier room or change into pants as required by the restaurant. The waiters were all lined up in a bridge when we entered with sparklers to welcome us in! We had two MC’s who also made the night flow smoothly. They had everything organized for us including games to make us kiss and the order of speakers as well as a short description of everyone who was to speak. Our menu was cesear salad, sweet lemon soup, chicken breast in a delicate sauce and tibio fondant for dessert (chocolate cake) followed by our vanilla wedding cake which was to die for. I always say you can never have too much dessert! The staff at the restaurant were very accomodating. Each course was brought out on time and still hot. We had a podium there where we had speaches throughout the dinner. The waiters were right there to serve the wedding cake for us after we cut it and had pictures. My dad tipped the Maitre d’ before and after the meal which I think goes a long way to get things done. They did such a good job and deserved every penny. We then had a dance set up at La Rancherita (the diso). We had a shuttle bus already waiting for us to take us there and we had the whole place to ourselves which was nice. We made a CD that the DJ played for us. We actually decided to teach a couple of dance steps to our guests – the waltz, polka, jive, two-step and tango – and then played a song after each one to practice what we learned. We have taken a few ballroom dance classes and thought it would be fun to have everyone learn instead of the typical dance where people are always shy and stay on the side. Everyone had a blast. We had the disco booked from 9 – 11 and this was perfect. We only used it for about 1.5 hours and this was enough. Everyone was exhausted after this and most people trickled off to bed afterwards. Some stayed out at the disco afterwards.

I would definitely recommend this resort (and the sister resort, Bahia Pricipe Tulum which was equally as nice) to anyone planning a wedding in the area. The nice thing about BPA is that they don’t charge an additional cost per person (usually $20 US) to have the wedding dinner. This helped me narrow down my choices to this resort. We loved every single minute of it. I also recommend staying for two weeks as one week is taken up with socializing and hanging out with family and friends who came to celebrate with us. We were so lucky to have such a large group come. It really does make the wedding that much more special. The week we had alone was also nice so that we could spend some quality "honeymoon" time together. My email address is juliack@shaw.ca if anyone has any questions at all or would like to see some pictures! We had a complete dream wedding in paradise and would recommend it to everyone! Cheers, Tyler and Julia
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