Viva Mexico Bahia Principe 2023

Our weeklong getaway to Mexico is over and done with but fond memories will live on for what a wonderful family vacation we had! It was all around a fantastic trip, one we would do again and again, and there was surprisingly little drama, disagreement, or much hassle of any kind. We were poor picture takers during this trip. Partly due to being in the water up to 10 hours every day and partly due to it being an all=inclusive resort so we rarely had the need to have our phones on us during the day.

So last Wednesday morning we woke the girls early to drive to the airport for our 8:30 am flight. We had two seats in first class but not sitting together so it ended up being me and Brooke taking the first class seat for the extra space and snacks and Reese and Bryan in the back. I was up and down the aisle a lot with Brooke on this nearly 6 hour flight but both girls really did extremely well. We landed on schedule, losing two hours in the flight, and were on the ground about 4 pm. We got bags, went through customs and found our airport shuttle which ended up being a private transfer for just our family. Just under 90 minutes drive we were just north of Tulum in Bahia Principe staying at the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum resort.

We checked into room 1401 which was on the ground floor with two large patios that stepped out into a grassy yard that was mere feet away from the kids spray park and water slides. By the time we checked in it was after 7 pm so the slides were closed for the night but we all changed to shorts and tees and made our way to the ocean before heading to our first night’s dinner at the Yucatan buffet. This night was probably the worst night of the trip in terms of food. The buffet put on a Spanish themed dinner and they didn’t pull it off too well. It also seemed ultra busy and we were seated at a very hot table. We all left sweating but stopped to watch a bit of the Lion King that they had set up outdoors for the kids with mini chairs and bean bags, popcorn and cookies, and then took another beach stroll in the dark before heading to our room for the night.

We had a spacious two bedroom suite so the girls had a separate room with their sofa and their own bathroom and we had our own king bed and large shower and toilet. The room worked out great, was always kept very clean and felt super safe. We all got a good nights sleep, eager to wake for the next days activities; testing out the pools. Fortunately, with us being two hours ahead, this meant the girls slept into a decent time. Most days they’d wake sometime between 8 am and 9 am. We’d get dressed pool-ready and then head out with stroller for our approximately 10 minute walk to the buffet. The breakfast buffet we got down to a science, Bryan and I really liking the chilaquiles and various Mexican accompaniments over the other foods, Brooke with her yogurt and pastry, and Reese with her donut and fruit. This was pretty much the same everyday. We also learned to order iced coffees and request a table under a fan.

After breakfast we would then set out for a pool. We spent the first day exclusively at our resorts pools by our room. Reese did the slides quite a bit or there was a shallow water park pool and a larger pool with a large shallow area that we would break out Reese’s new unicorn float. We would essentially be swimming from 10 in the morning until 6 or 7 pm when they closed the pools for the night. We got all of our lunches at the poolside restaurants/grills, would get lots of pina coladas, mojitos, beers, etc throughout the day, maybe a soft serve cone in the late afternoon, and one of us would put Brooke down for her 2ish hour nap in the room. But Reese would go, go, go throughout the whole day. At 7 pm we would come in for showers or baths and dress for dinner.

We were able to select three a la carte dinners to visit over the course of the week and we had to schedule and reserve these about a week before we came. On our second night we walked to the farside of the resort to the Mexican restaurant Tequila. Bryan and I got amazing spicy Mezcal margaritas to drink and we requested to wear their large sombrero hats for a bit which Brooke initially cried about (?!?!) but then really liked. This restaurant also operated like a buffet but at least stuck to one cuisine and their grilled meats, moles, ceviches and churros really won us over. We also got to pick up some Mexican candies for the girls later in the week. It was a beautiful walk back to our room under a full moon.

We had met another family with two kids from Asheville, NC that had told us that the neighboring and connected resort Coba had a better suited water park for small kids so we decided to head there on Friday right after breakfast. We were able to grab the little trolley car from our hotels lobby to take us there and spent the whole morning at their main pool and water park. The water slides were a hit with Reese and after a fair amount of time on those slides we took the girls to get our first drink at the pool bar, which they loved doing albeit it meant waiting significantly longer. We then heard some commotion on the loud speaker and soon we discovered a foam party getting started. The girls loved this and it was super fun. It was probably 50% kids but they still had some of the staff pouring liquor to those who wanted it in the pool. This was a riot and super fun. Shortly after this Bryan took Brooke to get lunch at this resort’s poolside restaurant before taking her back to the room for a nap. I got some solo time with Reese which meant a more leisurely lunch and then a walk back to our resorts main pool for the afternoon, getting another drink at the swim up bar.

We were back at the main buffet on this night but we all forgot it was Cinco de Mayo and the resort pulled out a lot of fun tricks for the night. They had a Mezcal station set up before entering the restaurant. The restaurant was well decorated and all of the food stations were Mexican. This meant that Reese got to enjoy more of those churros she discovered she loves. And we were able to get a table with the family we met who became our resort friends for the week. We had some delicious tacos and tostadas, a lot of churros and flan before heading to the main gardens where they had a DJ out and our four kids dancing their already-tired-selves to near exhaustion for about 30 minutes. It was super adorable and Brooke especially loves to dance. The girls crashed nearly every night without issue.

Saturday morning we got to spend some time at the beach finally. Unfortunately this coast is getting pretty hammered with large amounts of seaweed but we were able to find the beach club was already cleared of it and watching the process of them clearing it was really something else. Brooke loved the water and Reese played in the sand some. We then decided to head back to Coba. We swam there again for quite some time and met up with our resort friends again. This time I took Brooke to get some lunch when she was starting to get tired and then walked her back to our resort but I took a wrong turn that took me back to the beach and she fell asleep pretty immediately so I took the opportunity to read for the 45 minutes that she slept in the shade on a lounge chair overlooking the ocean. It was heaven! She then woke up and wasn’t going back down for a nap so her and I headed to the shallow spray pool to hang out before Bryan and Reese came back to join us, also having had a really good afternoon together solo. We closed out the pool again.

Saturday night we had dinner reservations at the Gran Tortuga which was a restaurant right near our room that was a rodizio (Brazilian style steakhouse). We all got a lot of food from the salad bar and then flipped our cards green and Bryan and I started enjoying a lot of different delicious grilled meats. This was a really delicious meal but super duper filling. We left absolutely stuffed but still got an ice cream cone for the short walk back. Brooke was ultra tired because of the poor nap I got her on this day so she was a little crabby at dinner but still managed to hang on until Reese fell asleep too.

Sunday ended up being our one excursion day and it was the best day! We got breakfast like normal and started at our pool to cool off. Once wet and cool, we set out on foot to cross the street and head the one mile plus to the Akten Chun park. It was hot, not shaded, and dusty so by the time we checked in with the gate agent we were a sorry looking bunch who also happened to forget to pack water. We waited for 20 minutes for the shuttle van to come get us but it came and started us off on a bumpy 15 minute ride into the jungle until we arrived at the reception desk. We bought their combo package ahead of time to zipline, do the cave tour, and then swim in the cenote (underground river). This park is nominated by National Geographic and it was a great park with so few visitors it was like we had it to ourselves.

Reese and I got to zipline first with another couple and the four of us did the 10 zipline runs super smoothly and streamlined and Reese did phenomenally, even going by herself on a few of them. I was so proud of her. Bryan would be going by himself next (we had to take turns because of Brooke) but we asked if Reese could go again with him and they let her so they went next and had a great time. We then were led by another guide through their extensive caves which were beautiful but we were so hot by the end of the tour and Brooke fell asleep in our arms and Reese required a piggy back ride so we were extremely hot and exhausted by the time we returned to the lobby. Our last event was the cenote which we got back into the shuttle van to drive another 10 minutes to. Brooke slept through this whole bumpy ride, through Bryan and Reese showering in the outdoor showers and down into the cave before waking up in another cave filled with water. She didn’t seem perplexed in the slightest at the arrangements. Reese was apprehensive to swim at first as the water was crystal clear and you could see the fish in the water but after I showered and we all got into the water she really enjoyed it. There was a swing in the middle of the cave that she could sit on and we swam the full length of the cave and circled it, certainly cooling off in the cool water, before we headed out. Both girls did great and we all felt so refreshed upon exiting the water. We dried off and waited in their colorful hammocks for the last shuttle ride of the day out of the park to leave at 5pm. The driver was so kind and dropped us almost all the way back off to our resort which was so nice not to have to walk back on the dusty hot road.

We swam until pool closing and got a bunch of snacks from the grill to serve as the girl’s dinner since we hadn’t gotten lunch but two bags of oreos and a couple of gatorades while we were out on our excursion and Bryan and I were going to have a date night on this night. We had set up one of the hotel’s Kids Club staff to sit for us and she arrived at 8 pm to take the girls to the weekly Sunday night Kids Club Party. I didn’t even realize this was happening at the same time but it worked out perfectly because the girls were able to get their faces painted, dance, get cotton candy, donuts and cupcakes, and do other fun things with the sitter while Bryan and I had dinner reservations at the one gourmet restaurant on site called Don Pablo.

This would not have been a restaurant we would want to take the girls to but withhout them we had a delicious non-buffet meal without children…in peace. We got to have an ahi tuna salad, truffle mushroom ravioli, mushroom soup with manchego cheese foam, tomato basil soup, steak with fois gras and tiger shrimp and lastly an almond ice cream and creme brulee. It was all so good but it especially great being able to sit and enjoy your meal instead of scarfing down your food before your children got too antsy. Karaoke was going on when we left but we walked to sit on some chairs at the beach to catch the rising moon before heading back to our room where both girls were asleep! Great day!

Monday was our last full day and we promised Reese we could do whatever she wanted for the day after having the sitter. Both girls woke up in moods from the start but after breakfast we routed to Coba for our last time at their slides and pool. We got lunch at their poolside restaurant again and then found another pool at this resort on our way back to get one last swim-up pool bar drink with the girls. We headed back to our resort and Brooke napped while Bryan first got a turn with Reese and then me. We all closed down the pool and set out for our last meal at the resort’s buffet. After dinner we caught the end of the kids dance party at the main garden that was super fun with the girls and then we walked down to the little shopping complex called the Hacienda as we promised Reese to shop and pick out one item. Both girls got matching pink leather purses that are super cute. We sat for a moment in the terrace here before heading back to our room for the night.

Tuesday was our last day and mainly a travel day. We thought with a 4:20 pm flight we would have more time to swim in the morning before starting our trip back but the transportation we had booked had other plans, requiring a pickup time of 10:20 am! We knew this the night before so we purposefully woke the girls up early to go get an earlier breakfast and be ready when the pools opened at 9 am to get one last hour of swim in. We also mostly packed our bags the night before. I swam with the girls one last time while Bryan finished up, we showered, dressed, and were ready in time. It took only about an hour to get to the airport so we arrived at 11:30 am and the Alaska agents wouldn’t even start ticketing until 1:20 pm. We had a long wait ahead of us in the airport!

We managed. We bought candy and paced. Finally we were able to check in and go through security. Got some food and chips and salsa at a restaurant in the International Terminal. Three hours later our flight to Seattle was off and this time Reese, Brooke and I were sitting up in first class. Brooke slept her usual 45 minutes to an hour right away before being awake and mobile the rest of the flight. Reese did great watching three movies and enjoying her kids snack pack. Finally we landed in Seattle at about 8:30 pm Seattle time. Customs was a mess but we lucked out getting in a shorter line that saved us about an hour and we were back in our car and back home around 10 pm with both girls falling asleep in the car.

Our trip was so magical and such good family time. Brooke has not been wanting to get back into her usual routine in the mornings but after a difficult handoff has had great days. Reese, on the other hand, said when we returned that she missed her friends and has been so excited for school. She even jumped right back into swim class with Lottie last night and Sarah and Lottie still came over for dinner. We also really left at a good time as the temperatures and rain in Seattle while we were gone left a lot to be desired but since being back it’s been a high of about 70 and feels absolutely perfect, so refreshing from the heat and humidity of Mexico, and the air just smells so much sweeter. Until our next vacation!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s