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Bahia Principe Coba Beach Getaway: Fun, Food & Family R&R

Bahia Principe Coba Beach Getaway: Fun, Food & Family R&R

The Mayan Riviera in Mexico has everything my family likes in a winter beach vacation: sun, kid-friendly surf, culture, direct flights from New York and good value for our money. We’d gone there a few times before trying an all-inclusive resort, Bahia Principe Grand Coba. It was a good fit for the laid back, relaxing vacation we wanted.

Bahia Principe has four resorts that form one seamless, sprawling complex about an hour from the Cancun airport. Here is all you need to know if you are thinking about staying here for winter break or spring break with kids. 

Grand Bahia Principe Coba planning cheat sheet
Find the best rates on Trip Advisor or book a package on Expedia.
• Buy 1 GB of local Mexican cellular data for less than $10/week on Airalo.
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Review: Grand Bahia Grand Coba’s All-Inclusive Beach Getaway With Kids

How are the rooms at Bahia Principe Coba?

No matter where you stay you will be near some things and far from others. It’s worth looking at a map and thinking about what you want to be close to before you book.

We were near the biggest pool, which is aimed at families with a graduated entry and a water park for kittle kids. This also put us close to the main buffet, where we always ate breakfast.

the main pool at grand bahia principe coba

For the beach we usually hopped on the resort trolley. Had we not been with small kids we could have easily strolled to the beach. But with the kids and all their beach stuff, the trolley was handy.

I’m very much a beach person, but the kids got more out of the pool. I think with kids young enough that you have to keep a close eye on them, it was better to have the family pools nearby and travel to the beach when we wanted to than the other way around.

In terms of decor, the rooms are probably due for some refurbishment; our room felt a little dark. But the pale Mexican color scheme was soothing and we had plenty of room.

kids water playground at grand bahia principe coba

All the rooms are “junior suites.” We had a king-size bed and kid’s bed for Tiny Traveler. It was nice for her to have a bed instead of the usual sleeper sofa. The bathroom could have used more counter space, but that’s almost always the case.

Most of the building are two or three stories. We were on the ground floor, which I normally don’t like. But we were always popping back to the room for sunscreen, hats, pool toys or cold water, so it turned out to be handy.

If an ocean view is important to you, look into rooms at Grand Tulum and Luxury Akumal, though be aware the latter has an adults-only section and the closest pool is the one for adults. These two resorts have more room options including real suites with a separate living and sleeping area.

Are There Good Dining Options At Bahia Principe, Mexico?

The dining, a mix of buffets and sit-down restaurants, was better and more varied than other all-inclusives we’ve been to. Our package included just about any buffet or restaurant at any of the resorts. And it was possible to get the reservations we wanted without a hassle.

Some resorts make access to the restaurants somewhat limited and you need to be at the reservation desk at 8:00 to snag a table.

The best meal we had, not surprisingly, was at Tequila, a Mexican restaurant at Tulum. Make sure to order the Mexican coffee, mostly for the fun of watching them make it. They’ve since added Cozumel, which offers more seafood and regional dishes.

There is also Mashua Nikkei, a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant that I dined in during my subsequent visit. It sounds odd, but it’s not. If you’re a real protein-junky you’ll like La Tortuga, which is a traditional Brazilian Rodizio (festival of meat).

They aren’t super formal but do want you to change our of your pool clothes for the sit-down restaurants. Men should pack Dress shorts or slacks. Women are fine with most casual dresses, skirts, Capris or slacks.

All the buffets are similar, but some are bigger and more varied and others are smaller and easier for grabbing a quick bite. We usually chose one close to the beach for lunch and then hit the sand afterward.

The sit-down restaurants and all but the smallest buffets had a kids’ menu or section. At the buffets it was mostly sandwiches. Tiny Traveler and her friend preferred the burgers, hot dogs, roasted corn and other veggies, chicken dishes, pizza and choose-your-own pasta at the regular buffet. The ice cream, which change flavors every day, was excellent.

The drinks were real drinks and well mixed and you never have to walk far to reach a bar . We alternated throughout the day between tropical cocktails or beer and thirst-quenching fresh limeade, which the kids liked, too.

Read More:
• My kid-free vacation at the resort’s adults-only luxury hotels.
• About the Best Things To on the Mayan Riviera With kids.
• And Fun day trips to Costa Maya & Cozumel

How Is the Kids’ Club at Bahia Principe Grand Coba?

Luckily we never count on the Kids’ Club for more than a chance to get our kid out of the sun for a bit and to gain a kid-free hour for ourselves. Because the kids’ club was weaker than i would have liked it to be.

Tiny Traveler enjoyed a nighttime pirate party and happily joined in on art projects here and there. But she wasn’t clamoring to go as much as she was the last time we took a cruise.

playground and kids club at grand bahia principe on the riviera maya.

A few of the staffers were friendly and energetic, but others seemed like they would prefer to be elsewhere. None of them spoke English well and activities rarely started on time. A little more staff training would definitely improve things.

Note: The evening sessions last one hour but they give you a grace period at the end. If you make a reservation at one of the sit-down restaurants near the kids club you can manage a dinner for two and just about make it back for pick-up.

What Else Is There To Do?

As is always the case at all-inclusives, you can quite easily do nothing or seek out as many shows, sports, classes and excursions as you’re interested in. We didn’t do many activities, but the ones we did were fun and a little unusual for a resort.

a mexican cenote on the grounds of grand bahia principe in the yucatan

Nature Walks: A fair amount of the property is undeveloped jungle and they run free nature tours daily, which I recommend.

We took a short bike ride and followed by a guided walk through the jungle, passed a cenote (fresh water pools) and up to the top of a fire tower, which gave us a view of the surrounding canopy.

We learned about the birds, animals, plants we had seen around the property and about Mayan culture. Our trained guide was a local and had genuine enthusiasm for his subject matter.

biking on no-speed bikes with food breaks is a fun way to tour the ground of the bahia principe resorts in tulum.

You can also borrow bikes to ride around the property on your own.

I would recommend this for kids who can bike about mile with no problem, including one short, steep hill to cross a highway overpass. Before you consider putting a smaller child in a bike seat, which they have, be aware the bikes are all one speed and foot breaks.

Snorkeling: We considered a snorkel excursion, but discovered we could bring our masks and see quite a few fish around the rocks that mark off the swimming area.

On some parts of the shore fish gathered around us as soon as we walked into the water because too many guests ignore the resort’s request that you don’t feed the ample wild life on the property. It made for easy fish viewing, but I definitely don’t encourage it.

Note: There are times of the year when parts of the Yucatan Coast, like so many other parts of the Caribbean, are inundated with Sargassum seaweed. On a recent trip they had put up nets to keep it off the beach. Unfortunately the nets keep out the fish, too. You can check for updates on the sargassum levels.

the parrot show at bahia principe coba

Pool Activities: There is an assortment of activities around the main Coba pool all day long aimed at various age groups. Tiny Traveler enjoyed a Mexican-style kids party, complete with a piñata and ice cream. We all enjoyed an impressive parrot show.

The Spa: I tried the spa on my subsequent visit. The treatments are good and an excellent value, especially for a resort spa. After my massage there were loungers where I could relax in the quiet with a glass of champagne. Coba’s spa has some treatments for kids and teens, too.

Special Events: Our stay coincided with Carnevale (Mardi Gras) so we got a special treat: A very loud and colorful parade staged by the employees, who clearly do it for their own fun as much as for the guests. It tends to coincide with winter break; if you catch it, I recommend it.

Off the Resort: You can find plenty of sightseeing and Mayan culture and history within an easy day-trip distance, particularly the ruins at Tulum or Coba or some of the eco parks. There is a long barrier reef along the Yucatan Peninsula that provides good snorkeling. The desk can help you rent a car or book a tour.

If you book a snorkel tour they’ll probably pick you up in a panga right on the beach. The last time I snorkeled here I found the water pretty rough out by the reef, especially on the far side from shore. Take teens and kids who are strong swimmers and keep an eye on them.

Would We Go Again?

Grand Bahia Principe didn’t blow our minds, but we didn’t expect it to. We’d had an exhausting few weeks before we left and had been to the Yucatan and Mayan Riviera before. We planned to make this a strictly R&R week without sightseeing, which is unusual for us. And we did relax and have plenty of fun around the property.

2 girls playing at the beach at bahia principe coba

While everything wasn’t perfect, there was far more that we liked than that we didn’t. Moreover, I think it provided good value and an easy beach getaway with kids. We’d absolutely go back. And, in fact, I did.

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grand bahia principe coba is one of 4 connected all-inclusive resorts on mexico's mayan riviera. i review the pools, beach, dining and activities for a winter getaway with kids.