@mrsbacon: We stayed at Grand Bahia Coba (one of the three resorts that are all together with Tulum) for our honeymoon at the end of August/beginning of September in 2013!
We had a great time. I think I personally like PV better, but the beach at this resort is amazing. The weather was ok – super sunny and hot one minute (very humid), then down pouring the next (LITERALLY). It could be annoying sometimes – if you were on the beach and it’s sunny and beautiful, it might downpour the next moment. Overall, the weather was just okay. The showers would usually happen in short bursts! Sometimes they would happen at night too. The carts that drive all around the resort have little tarp/curtain things on them to stop the rain from coming in. Bring bug spray and some kind of afterbite spray! As you know, when it’s humid those bugs really come out.
Unlike other resorts, you have one towel each for the duration of your stay – you trade this in at little huts near the pool. You can trade them in all the time if you like – just don’t leave your towel in your room, as you can’t get a new one without trading in your old one. Bring snorkel gear if you can (mask and snorkel) as there is lots and lots of great snorkelling on the beach!
Be prepared for lots of smoking. We didn’t expect this as we don’t smoke and we didn’t have this issue in PV – we found it quite annoying, esp. on the beach, but that’s because we don’t smoke. Also, many women will be topless, which we weren’t used to. No big deal though.
There’s no servers on the beach that we saw – you have to get your own drinks. Try to find a seat sort of close to a beach bar if you can, but be aware that they aren’t always open (sort of open whenever and at random days/times). It can be faster to go into the hotel bar and get a drink than wait at the beach bar sometimes.
I agree about booking your restaurant nights early (when you get there). Try to book them for days that you aren’t doing excursions, so that you can make the dinner with enough time to spare. I think if you miss it you can’t reschedule it. The dinner bookings were kind of annoying, because it didn’t allow for flexibility in my opinion. But then again, this is only my second resort experience, so I’m not sure what the norm is for that.
We did some excursions and had an incredible time. I would recommend Chichen Itza – a full day tour. It takes about 3- 4 hours to get there I think and three- four hours back?
We also did a whale shark snorkelling experience. DO THIS!!!! It was by far the best excursion and we had a fantastic, memorable time. It’s expensive, but it’s basically a day tour and you can only swim w/whale sharks in a few parts of the world (Australia being one other place – maybe South Africa too). Whale sharks are harmless and such amazing creatures. We also saw manta rays. We used Cancun Adventures for this excursion. The first day they had to cancel due to bad weather, but the next day we were able to do it. Make sure you book this early in your trip if you want to do it, just in case of inclimate weather – so you can reschedule it if need be. It doesn’t cost extra – if the weather is bad, they just pick you up the next day. I can’t rave enough about this experience and the tour itself.
Nicole from Cancun Adventures is an amazing guide – she took us on our other Cancun Adventures tour, which was a snorkelling tour – also worth it.
I would also recommend the spa there if you are looking for a massage – we had a couples one. It was fabulous. They make you wear paper underwear though, so prepare your DH for that 😉 haha.
One other thing – the time share people are very aggressive at this resort. It can be annoying, as they are situated near the buffett entrance/exits. I would suggest a standard response of “not interested” or even “not married”. Becuase the front desk staff knew that we were newlyweds we got it a lot. The events coordinator asked us to come claim a ‘gift’ at her desk and it was some cheap key chains – then she tried to pitch us for the time shares after we’d already previously told her no. I had to repeatedly tell her that we were not interested, over and over. I guess it’s just something that’s part of the resort experience now.
There’s also some kind of dolphin swim thing at the resort too – we didn’t do it (re: animals in captivity, very sad in my opinion). There’s a dolphin swim at a centre (there are three main dolphin swim opportunities) that’s supposed to be ‘better’ in terms of treatment of the animals, etc. Cancun Adventures guides told us which one, but I can’t remember. I’m sure the activities coordinator could help you with that if you were interested – or research it online.
Our fav. restaurant was Arlequín. Delicious! Also, I was obsessed with the vanilla soft serve (me and all of the 8 year olds at the resort. LOL!). I found the bar drinks to be awesome too.
There are these really REALLY cute litle furry animals – a cross between a raccoon and a lemur? lol. They are freaking adorable and run around the resort. They are quite calm and not aggressive, but they love food. I saw people feeding them ice cream cones 🙁 I fed them fruit and they loved it. They are so, so cute.
I think overall you will have a wonderful time! Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer. We stayed for 12 nights, so we were there for ages. Sorry if I’m rambling! Have a great time OP!