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“Tulum vs. Coba”

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Grand Bahia Principe Tulum
Ranked #10 of 22 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 April 2010

For those who are trying to figure out what the difference is between the two resorts; the Gran Bahia Tulum or Coba, I'll tell you since I've been to both. (they are both side by side - "stay at one, play at 3 (akumal too).

Coba - It is the newer addition out of the two. It is located further from the beach. The Akumal buffet restaurant is bigger there. I'd recommend eating there a few times during your trip. I found that the buffet on the Coba side, not only bigger with more seating but more variety in food. Excellent seafood. And fresh churros too!!

Tulum - Closer to the beach. Smaller area than Coba. Highly recommend the Don Pablo restuarant. Its fine dining!
Tulum is closer to the Hacienda which is located directly in front of Tulum. This means you don't have to ride the trolley to get there. You can just walk. The hacienda is a little square "strip mall". There you'll find shops, pharmacy, sports bar, live music, photoshop and the club.

I've stayed at both and loved every minute of it. Tulum, Akumal, and Coba are all side by side and you can "play" at either resort. I found that Tulum was much more convienient for us because we were situated within walking distance of everything (except for when we wanted to eat at Coba). Coba I found we were taking the trolley way too much. And if you ever forgot anything in your room while at the beach, it was a pain to travel all the way back.

Other tips - Go to Playa del Carmen. It is a MUST. Take the collectivo, not a cab. Its a public van that pics you up at the side of the highway right outside the resort. Its $3 US one way. It beats paying $20 for a cab. Bring a bathing suit because there is a public beach. Gorgeous! Lots of shopping to be done there.

Xel-Ha - for snorkling. It is so much fun.

Rent a car - drive to Coba and Tulum ruins. Much cheaper. Not at all scary. Bring a bathing suit to Tulum. A very beautiful place. One of my favorite spots of Mexico.

Hope this helps someone trying to figure out the difference :)

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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156  Thank Mariposa123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7,050 - 7,054 of 12,874 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2010

This is a multi facility complex with three hotels in one, there is also Coba and Akumal. Resources are shared as restaurants, pools, bars and entertainment.

First after a landing via Air Canada Vacations we were directed to the blue shirts for travel advice... ARGH... TIME SHARE REPRESENTITIVES... Run away. We got out side and were whisked into an extended van and sent along with 4 other couples going to the two other AI locations. 90 minutes and we were at our location and was it ever impressive. We had to leave our luggage, hard to get used to that. We checked in, we had a standard room but I wanted to upgrade. The English of our receptionist was not very good, I kept asking for upgrade she kept saying nice room very nice. I held out and after 45 minutes the manage came by and asked what was the problem and I stated we just wanted an upgrade to a suit, he gave it to me no charge... (SCORE)

While we could not see the ocean through the other buildings the room was fantastic.
Rooms and beds were nice not 5 star but comfortable.

Beds were always made up the next day but the refill on the mini bar was sporadic.

Bartenders were slow to get to you and drinks were slightly watered down to our usual 40% not necessarily a bad thing as in the heat of the hay you would pummel the drinks down. While very busy the servers were friendly and deserving a of a tip. We skipped all over the place so did not make associations with one particular bartender.

The pools was nice, I assume they were salt water as I did not notice chlorine. The activity staff, mostly young men, were there to get people going, more entertain the young ladies. After reading the reviews here I watched them very closely to see what they were up to and yes, just like young men here in Canada there were targeting the younger single ladies. They were not be rude or over pushy, but if they invited the attention, attention is what they got

The beach was fantastic. I watched the younger people play of the huge sand bags in the ocean, they are not a problem.

The food... well there is a lot of choice in the buffet, it was very bland. Here is the thing I am a competition chef and I have three bites to impress a judge, they were not doing this. To me this explains the other people stating the food was bad, it's not, it is just industrial. You must cook for the lowest common denominator among the masses, reduced salt, reduced spice. You can always spice up your meals or add salt. My spouse was in heaven with all of the exotic fruits

The entertainment was, well amateurish, though I enjoyed the 45 minute show as did most. If these people were Vegas stars that’s were they would be as for free entertainment, it was pure gold.

Speaking of Gold we had a free safe with our package and we stuffed it with tons of cash and silver, no problems.
The little mall or Hacienda has little shops and booths, a little on the pricy side but with local flavour. It also housed the sports bar and the disco, live music about 11ish to get things rolling for the night.

So evening was dinner show bar then Hacienda....

The entire resort is huge so take the little shuttle carts around and explore

Here is the best part, 1/2 way through our vacation I got a infection in my leg and had to see the resort physician, (at an extra cost) very professional and very good, so was the ambulance ride to the local hospital (private) as was the doctor’s care. Three days of intense IV antibiotics saved my leg from being amputated off. Got out with 12 hours left to my vacation and a difficult ride home...

Best regards to Air Canada Vacations, they went the extra step and got us refunds from our canceled day trips and help my spouse get things moving along with her for transportation to Playa. Hotel swapped rooms for us as was in a third floor room to a first floor room.

Great trip, loads of memories, would go back but we are trying out the Princess this spring.

Cheers from the Big Dog

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Iamarealbigdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2010

We spent a week at the Gran Bahia in Tulum with a group of friends/family and had a terrific vacation that included a wedding at the resort. The wedding details were well handled and we were impressed with all aspects of it. The gazebo location, flowers, dinner, cake and wedding coordinator were all up to or beyond our expectaions.

The remainder of the week at Tulum was also a pleasure. The beach and pools are pristine. The service is excellent. The buffet was above average and we also really enjoyed the a la carte restaurants ( Gran Tortuga and Mikado).

The big round bar near the lobby was our group's focal point in the evenings and the service and band were very good. We loved the Mexican coffees and really enjoyed watching their flaming preparation. We went to the Hacienda late at night and the music was good.

A significant liability is the entertainment in the main theatre. We found the shows to be poorly produced, under-rehearsed and sloppily presented. They lack the crispness and discipline one expects from professional entertainers. They are more akin to high school assemblies than cruise ship spectaculars.The humour is sophomoric at best, the dancing is loose and uninspired and the overall tone is far too casual. We have never seen worse in-house entertainment in our forays to resorts or when cruising. It's impossible to believe there is a choreographer and music director associated with this resort.

We had a great time overall but shake our heads for sometimes wasting an hour a night on what is purported to be entertainment.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ceilidh53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2010

Our review may be somewhat biased because we have visited twice each year for the last 5 years and have never been disappointed. Our 10 visits should be proof enough that this resort is worth visiting.

We won't repeat most of what hundreds of positive reviewers have said before. What keeps us coming back is the friendliness of the staff. Always smiling, they aim to please and if you have a problem (as can occur in a large resort), they will try to make it right.

Add a large variety of good places to eat, lovely pools, lovingly-tended grounds, a beautiful beach, free Wi-Fi and large, clean and comfortable rooms and you have a recipe for endless wonderful vacations. We will keep coming back.

Final Note: After having been disappointed by several tour operators who use SkyService and their crammed and often late flights (16 hours in one case!!), we started using Air Canada Vacations several years ago to get to GBP. We have found their ground transportation quick and well organized and flights (from both Toronto and Vancouver) comfortable and generally on time.


  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Dogswood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2010

My husband and I went on our honeymoon here in 2006 and loved it so much we brought family and friends back with us in 2008. We are going again this year and plan to make it our "every other year" trip.

PRICE: The price is great for what you are getting. We paid $2300 in 2006 for 7 days and $2900 in 2008 for 10 days. We love that it is all-inclusive for that price!

SERVICE: We are very laid back people...so if you are uptight and think you are entitled, you may not want to go here. With that said, the staff is SOOO nice. Although the language barrier is tough sometimes, they are always willing to help with anything. If you haven't been to Mexico, just know that when you ask for something, it may take a few minutes or even a friendly reminder. But being on a vacation should be relaxing...who minds waiting a few extra minutes, do you have somewhere else better to be? So overall very friendly staff which you should tip. I don't care that they say "tips are included" We spoke to someone that was fluent in english and he worked at the snack bar and made $20 USD for 10 hours of work. If you can afford to go here, you can afford to tip.

FOOD: I am a picky eater but could find something no matter where I was at. The rest of the group loved the food and the variety. You HAVE to go to Don Pablo for one of your reservations...it's the best. I suggest if you are going with picky eaters to pack some boxed snacks (granola bars, Cheez-its etc.) Because even if you get this stuff at the resort, it tastes a little different. P.S. Water is okay at the resort but DO NOT drink any bottled water off the resort. I had some in Playa Del Carmen from McDonalds and my stomach paid for it! Overall, great food and a huge variety!

ENTERTAINMENT: We loved the main bar at night! I don't even drink, but we sat there and listened to the cover band that plays which is pretty entertaining. Bring a deck of cards and sit and drink in the beautiful Mexican air! --I guess I should mention that the only closed in areas are your villas and a few of the many restaurants on all 3 resorts. Everything else is open under Palapas.

*Go to Akumals pool one day...it is layed out much different than Tulum's and is great.
*The buffet at Tulum is the largest so we eat all of our buffet meals there.
*Go to Playa Del Carmen one day to do some trinket shopping. Go to the entrance of GBP and take a collectivo (white van) for $2 to Playa Del Carmen which is about 45 minutes. Remember where they dropped you off as this is the place that will pick you up to return.
*The Hacienda is a fun place too. Some little shops and entertainment. They have a party once a week that we haven't been to yet, but plan to in June. We hear it is pretty fun.
* If you are going to be on the beach a lot, bring a large, insulated cup (40-50oz's). It is much easier to only have to fill it up 2 or 3 times a day rather then keep on walking back for more drinks.
*If your feet are not callused, bring some water shoes. If you don't mind about 5-10 feet of coral, then don't worry about it. There is a coral reef nearby and the snorkeling is great.
*Front desk people are very helpful, don't hesitate to ask for anything...nicely.
*All in all, a great place to go and great value for the money!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank wittlejos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Tulum

Address: Carretera Chetumal Benito Juarez, km 250, Local B, Akumal, Municipio Tulum, Quintana Roo. 77760 | Local B, Akumal 77776, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Casino Hotel in Akumal
#4 Family Hotel in Akumal
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#7 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#9 Spa Hotel in Akumal
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
#10 Luxury Hotel in Akumal
Price Range: $223 - $552 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Tulum 4.5*
Number of rooms: 978
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 3 pools (including 2 with Jacuzzi for relaxation) 1 Jacuzzi Large sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 5 tennis courts, bicycles Motorised sports (additional charge) Water activity and scuba diving centre Entertainment amphitheatres WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms additional charge) 1 buffet restaurant 3 a la carte restaurants 6 Bars Snack-Bar Wedding gazebo Dolphinarium (additional charge) Riviera Maya Golf Club: 18 long holes and 9 executive holes with lakes, natural wells and Mayan forest Hacienda Dona Isabel: karaoke bars, shows, live music and disco. Rooms 978 rooms including 4 types: Superior, Superior Junior Suite, Superior Club Hacienda and Club Hacienda Junior Suite. The Junior Suites are larger than the Superior rooms. Room facilities: King size bed (Superior Junior Suites) or 2 full size beds Sitting area (Superior Junior Suites) Fully-equipped bathroom: shower, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer Hydromassage bath tub (Superior Junior Suites) Bathroom amenities Balcony or terrace Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Radio alarm clock Flat screen satellite TV Mini-bar (included) Coffee-making facilities Safe (additional charge) Ironing set WiFi (additional charge) Club Hacienda rooms (See page 18, Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts Children can enjoy a range of specially-tailored facilities: Children's pool Mini Club with activities for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Bahia Scouts Water Park Other services On-site miniature railway providing access to all facilities 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Personalised diet option for celiacs and diabetics Cash point Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries Casino ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bahia Principe Tulum
Tulum Bahia Principe
Gran Bahia Tulum
Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Akumal
Gran Bahia Principe Hotel
Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya
Gran Principe Tulum
Gran Bahia Principe Mayan Riviera Resort
Gran Bahia Principe Mexico
Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico

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