Last week we went to Mexico for an all-inclusive resort vacation – our first as a family of four. If you are following me on Instagram, then you probably saw Story clips from my trip while I was there (early April 2019). The weather was perfect (between 25-30C) and we loved this time off!
With our baby son sitting up now at 7 months and eating solids well, we felt it was a good time to get away from the daily routine of life for a bit. We had done an all-inclusive vacation in Cuba about four years ago, so the experience wasn’t brand new for us. But I have to say that our vacation in Mexico was much better on so many levels! From the food to the resort to the weather and the facilities, everything was great! Let’s get into all the details!
Where We Stayed – The Resort
We stayed at Grand Bahia Principe Coba in Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was a 7-day all-inclusive package through Expedia. You can see this resort has a 4.2/5 rating on Expedia and 4.5/5 rating on Trip Advisor. And we totally agree with that! It was absolutely beautiful and we had no complaints during our stay.
You will pay different rates depending on how long in advance you are booking and for when. The price is in the mid-range for Mexican resorts and I think it’s worth it!
Getting to the resort from the airport and back was easy and hassle-free, but it was quite far. We flew with West Jet and were picked up at the Cancun airport by their staff without any trouble. Depending on the airline you book with, you will most likely have the airport pick-up/drop-off included as part of an all-inclusive package as well.
It was a 1 hr 40 min bus ride from the airport to the Grand Bahia with a few stops at other resorts in between. While the ride was super comfortable, the long duration was unexpected for us and we felt very tired at the end of the night. But you just have to accept it as part of that one long travel day. Once you reach your destination, the relaxation starts! Just make sure you pack snacks, diapers etc for this additional part of the journey.
The resort felt like a town of its own! There was so much to explore just by walking around within the resort complex. The landscaping was done beautifully and there were animals all around. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how much you love them 😀 There were iguanas everywhere! I personally loved them because they seemed harmless and added a very unique touch to the experience.
The resort was pretty big but still walkable from one end to the other within 10 minutes. If you got tired of walking, you could easily hop on one of the many golf cars to take you anywhere around the resort – your room, main lobby, a restaurant, the market, kids’ pool, as well as to the beach! Being in Bahia Principe Coba, you also get access to two other resorts – Grand Bahia Akumal and Tulum and can use their facilities as well (buffet, pools etc). We didn’t really get a chance or felt the need to do it, but I can see how it would be worth trying for a change.
The rooms and washrooms were of decent sizes and very clean. We stayed in the junior suite which had two double beds. There was a locker provided, good closet space, a TV with a wide variety of channels (if you wanna stay in one night and watch a movie), and amazing room cleaning service.
We felt that the double beds were too small, but there was an extra “single bed” in the room which definitely helped. The fridge was stocked everyday with drinks and water bottles. You could also request a crib if you wanted. All “residence complexes” were within 3-minute walking distance to at least one of the pools, which was great.
The staff were friendly, helpful and professional – whether they were at the concierge, the check-in/check-out, cleaning, car drivers or bell men. We were quite happy with the service.
It was very kid- and family-friendly. Almost all tourists here came as families, which was perfect for us! It wasn’t a crazy “party” resort and that is exactly how we liked it. We had taken our full-size stroller instead of a travel-size stroller and had no trouble getting around. There were nice and wide ramps and walkways everywhere! Also, the transport cars at the resort were wide enough to place a stroller on them just like that – with the baby inside too if you like (however this may not be possible in busy season). In fact, we hardly ever had to collapse the stroller and go through the inconvenience of removing stuff from the bottom basket. We also got lucky in getting a room on the ground floor so we rolled our stroller right into our room.
There were free balloons for kids, a kids play area, a teens club, daily free dolphin shows and of course, an amazing kids’ water park. My daughter absolutely loved it! The kids’ buffet was really great too! It was presented on a lower counter with the cutest mini foods so the kids could help themselves. There was a mini kids’ ice-cream and dessert station too! Basically, your kids will be super happy here. The washrooms (both men’s and women’s) had spacious change rooms and baby change tables, which was perfect.
The food was amazing – fresh and tasty! The buffet was too good. We did not eat any meat as there were no halal options, but we didn’t feel limited at all because there were more vegetarian and seafood options than we could ask for! Everything tasted super fresh and delicious! You could even have the chefs prepare custom dishes right there and then, but we didn’t try that because of meat cross-contamination of the cookware.
There were two snack bars close to the pools as well. We basically just had our lunches at these snack bars because there was a huge variety of “snacks” – soups, tacos, pasta, risotto, fries, pizza, fish and veggie burgers, fresh fruits, drinks, icecream, cakes, desserts and much more.
As with most resorts, we also had the chance to choose a la carte dinners at 3 out of the 7 restaurants that this resort has (how many restaurants you get to dine at varies depending on the total number of days you stay). We chose Italian, Mediterranean and Mexican restaurants and loved the food!
This resort is not situated right on the beach and it’s not walking distance. But the golf cars go to and come back from Coba beach every 5-10 minutes and take about five minutes to get you there. Super convenient! I have to say that the beach is not the cleanest I have seen. There was no garbage but lots of seaweed washing up to the shore, even though workers were constantly busy cleaning it. Apparently the seaweed situation is better or worse at different times of the year.
The beach was small and super packed as it is shared between a couple of the Bahia resorts. We found that the best way to secure a spot under a hut was to go there very early in the morning or right before dinner. There were free dolphin shows by the beach everyday as well.
All in all, the beach was okay – clean and soft sand, clear water, with some seaweed at the shore. We mostly stayed in pools with the kids where washrooms and other facilities were close by, so it was good enough for our purposes.
There were many paid and unpaid activities happening at the resort at all times such as swimming with the dolphins, spa, zumba, biking and much more! The resort has it’s own app as well that you can download to keep track of all that’s happening.
Other Tips & Considerations
- Take US Dollars for tipping staff (lots of single $1 USD bills) / shopping / emergency/ a potential trip out of the resort. We didn’t end up spending much because we didn’t leave the resort. All we really spent on were tips and souvenirs that we got from the market within the resort.
- Consider taking a 5-day vacation instead of 7 days with kids. A lot of families who came with us left after 5 days and I thought it made sense. We did feel pretty tired by then and the routine felt too repetitive after that. Don’t get me wrong – there was lots of different things to do at the resort everyday and at the beach, but it was hard to do those activities easily with kids.
- If you have really small kids, take some help along if possible. You will notice that many families with younger kids come with at least one grandparent to help. That makes a lot of sense because that way you get to spend some time as a couple too in the evening after the kids sleep. Otherwise, your night ends at 7PM as well ha!
- Many tourists like to go on one-day excursions to places like Crystal Caves, Coba ruins, Pyramids and many more! Unfortunately we weren’t able to venture out of the resort but I have heard great things about these places so definitely look into it. If you are going with older kids, they might love activities like ziplining and snorkelling etc.
That’s all for today, folks! Hope you found this post helpful if you are looking to go to a family friendly resort. I tried to give you some pointers to consider when booking your resort. Personally, I would highly recommend Grand Bahia Principe Coba.
Until next time, ciao ciao!