The Bahia Principe Resort, a two hour ride from the Cancun airport, and into the heart of the Riviera Maya, is a huge complex of three resort properties – the Bahia Principe Coba, the Bahia Principe Akumal, and the Bahia Principe Tulum. As a guest at any one of these 5 Star resorts, you may use the facilities (restaurants, pools, beaches, etc.) of all.

Rooms are spacious with a separate living area. Bathrooms are marble and tile with jacuzzi. The towel art is delightful, and the mini fridge is topped-up daily with water, beer, soft-drinks, Snickers, and chips. You may choose to take the in-room-safe, at $5 per day, to keep your passports, extra money, laptops, etc.

bahia principe cobaExperience and enjoy a very international crowd. You will meet people speaking German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Catalan, etc. Relax and make new friends in the Bahia Coba lobby in the evenings over specialty, flaming coffees – Spanish, cappuccino, expresso, with or without liquor. The Bahia Spa with its expert massage therapists is a great way to unwind from the trip. Beautiful!

With the beautifully manicured grounds, interesting architecture, landscaping, and pools, many guests enjoy taking the trams for a evening ride, and feel the warm tropical breeze as they explore the huge complex. You can adopt an iguana (baby dragon to the kids) living around your building. Each night, the dancing starts in the main court yard, under the stars.

There are 10 speciality restaurants and buffets. You’re allowed 3 a la carte reservations per week. There are kids sections at the buffets with hot dogs, pogos, chicken nuggets, fries, nachos, etc. Personal favorites include the mimosas, and Champagne and orange juice at the breakfast buffets. The “tequila buffet”, an assortment of flavored tequilas such as strawberry, cinnamon, mint, and lime, is set out in the evenings. At last count there were 21 bars within crawling distance.

cancun bahia principeThere are two pools. The larger activity pool has daily entertainment and music, a huge fountain in the middle, and a swim-up-bar. There’s a kids’ pool area, and many grass-thatched palapas for shade. There is a snack buffet by the pools serving kid-friendly food, fresh fruit, pretty desserts as well as coffee and tea. The staff here is always animated and ensure that the beer-drinking contests and pool games stay within the boundaries of “family fun.”

Although many guests never venture out of the resorts, and are content with just hanging around the pools and beaches, Akumal Bay (10 mins. $10Usd) has an outstanding art gallery (Lamanai Gallery), nice restaurants, and good snorkling from the beautiful beach. Xel-Ha is a water park just 15min south of the Coba resort. Cost is $75 US for a full day. This includes food, booze, snorkel mask, fins, and towel.

There is an Internet cafe at the small shopping plaza (Hacienda Dona Isabel), which is central to the resort. If you discover that the clock used to time your usage is inaccurate and you are overcharged, complain to the cafe operator and he will adjust your charge (just another “Gringo Tax”).

Artsy and bohemian chic Playa del Carmen is about 20 minutes up the highway. Take the local transport at the entrance to the resort for $2.00. There is a meeting area in Playa for your return trip. Fifth Avenue is a well-known shopping district in Playa, but everything’s over-priced. You can swim with dolphins for $150USD. Do the same thing for the Tulum tour. The entrance fee $5. Get a tour guide if you want, but I personally hate getting led around. Use your guidebook to fill in the history yourself.

Taxis offer an all-day rate. If you arrange for the day, you can leave your stuff in the trunk (if snorkeling for example). Split it four ways and use the money you save to splurge on a night out for dinner on the beach in Playa del Carmen.

Upon arrival at the Cancun airport, you’ll be greeted by many men and women with official looking “Information” badges (Sharks) who’ll be trying to sell you everything from time shares to tours – don’t even pause, just walk directly to exit where you’ll find buses to your resort. You will have to fight your way past the porters trying to grab the bags out of your hands, and the guys in blue shirts offering to find you arranged transportation. Head for the exit. Your transport is right outside, and you’ll soon be on your two hour ride to the Gran Bahia Principe Mexico Resort, and away from the mad Cancun nightclubs.

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