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Nylalany's Reviews Part 4 - Group Outing to Hidden Worlds & Tulum (Riviera Maya)

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    Posted 30 May 2008 - 09:10 PM


    In lieu of a day-after-wedding brunch or something like that, we treated our guests to an outing the day after our wedding. We wanted everyone who wanted to come to be able to come, which is why we did it the day after, rather than on Tuesday, which would have been better for my hubby and me, as we could have used a relaxing day at the beach. We didn’t do it on Saturday, the day before the wedding, b/c I feared being too stressed, and many people were still arriving on Friday, so that would have been too early. 41 people (including myself, my hubby, etc.) opted to join the fun. Everyone appreciated the treat and had a good time.

    Our schedule was at follows:
    11 AM meet bus at Princess lobby
    12 PM arrive at Hidden Worlds
    2:45 PM board bus for Tulum
    3 PM arrive at Tulum
    3:30 PM enter Tulum
    5 PM exit Tulum, board bus
    6 PM return to Princess

    Transportadora Volare SA de CV: A

    The representative at Hidden Worlds hired a 49 person bus for us. We sent our credit card payment to the Hidden Worlds rep, and he reserved the bus. He promised air conditioning, seat-belts, and a bathroom, but it only had air conditioning. However, it was in good condition. The bus showed up early, which was great. The driver, who didn’t speak English, didn’t know where Hidden Worlds was. Luckily, I had my map from my welcome booklet, so I was able to use my basic Spanish to communicate our needs. He got a kick out of the fact that I was the “tour guide” for the day, and encouraged me to use the microphone to keep people in order. He was very sweet and patient, and waited after dropping us off at Hidden Worlds, then took us to Tulum, and then back to our hotel. We had the bus from 11 AM until about 6 PM, and the total cost was $380 (not including tip).

    Hidden Worlds Cenote Park: B-

    I negotiated a group price and tour with the representative at Hidden Worlds. The fee we paid was $20 per person, so about $840, for a snorkeling tour of the Tak-Be-Ha cenote. I asked in advance if it would be safe for babies and pregnant women, as we had both at our wedding, and the representative said yes. He described the trip as a jeep ride to the cenote, a snorkeling tour of the cenote, and a return jeep ride.

    We arrived at Hidden Worlds and it was a lot more rustic than the website implies. We found our way to the office, which looks like a shack, and paid for everyone. Then each person had to sign a waiver, get a wetsuit and snorkel (you get to keep the snorkel, which is great and sanitary!), and is told to throw one’s stuff back in our bus. When we’re all suited up, we are directed to the “Mexican Limos”, as one of the drivers jokingly described the cattle carts fronting as “Jeeps”. There was a wood one and a metal one, and the wood one I rode on was missing bolts in the joints so that there was nothing steady to hold on to while standing on a moving vehicle speeding down a dirt road into jungle brush for 15 minutes with 20 other people. The capacity of the vehicles, I learned later, was “6 personas”, yet we had 21 adults on one, and 20 on the other. The two mothers with one year olds were freaking, one silently, the other out loud. My pregnant just smiled graciously.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Snorkeling in the cenote pretty much made up for it for most folks. It was difficult to keep so many people organized and on track, but we got everyone in the water and swimming around the cenote eventually. I thought it was very cool, though not as amazing as I thought it would be. Maybe the cenote wasn’t as great as others I’d see online, or maybe my expectations were too high. Most everyone else loved it though, so that was good. And we all look back on the ride as a bonding experience.

    Tulum Ruins: B+

    Ok gals, all I can say is that I give props to tour guides, camp counselors, school teachers, and all the other people who have to move masses of people from one place to the next. Just getting everyone off the bus and down the 15 minute walk to the entrance was a feat. Some folks had to put on sunscreen. Others had to buy ice cream. Etc., etc. We finally made it to the entrance and bought 41 tickets at approximately $4.80 each (you have to pay in pesos), so around $197 total. I had thought about hiring a guide when we got there, but I’m glad I didn’t, as I had a feeling we’d all have different agendas. Basically ½ the group wandered around looking at ruins, and the other ½ headed straight for the stairwell to the beach, shed their clothing, and jumped in the water. My hubby just took a nap on the edge of the cliff overlooking the water, bridging the 2 groups. He was tired from our wedding; I was still on a high from our wedding.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    I’ve been to many ruins throughout South America, Europe, and the Middle East, and have seen numerous Maya ruins in Central America, and I have to say Tulum was not super impressive in that respect. HOWEVER, the setting was (is) gorgeous, and the water was perfect. It was so much fun swimming with everyone in paradise. You can guess pretty easily which group I was in!

    Although I was worn out and would have preferred to relax with everyone at the resort that day, it was neat to catch up with everyone about their experiences at the wedding while on the bus, and to have a sense of continuing our fun together during the day’s adventure, so it all felt worthwhile.



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      Posted 30 May 2008 - 10:26 PM

      Great review. I can't get over all the people in the back of the mexican limo. The craziest vehicle I've ridden on was on a natural reserve in texas. It was a trailer with picnic tables bolted to it & a canopy. it was pulled by a truck. The hidden worlds mobile has that beat.

      Sounds like you really treated your guests to a fun, memorable day. We are doing our group trip the day before the wedding because most of our guests are only staying 3 nights. I hope it doesn't wear us out.


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        Posted 30 May 2008 - 10:44 PM

        Thanks Morgan!

        I think you'll be so pumped from the excitement of your wedding weekend that it won't wear you out.

        Plus, you won't be up until 4 AM a few nights before your wedding finishing your programs and placecards like I was, because you are so super prepared. And you'l have time to relax the day before your outing, you won't be signing your welcome booklets and putting the OOT bags together all afternoon either, because (hopefully) you'll have more time to deal with that before your guests arrive than I did. I mean, you're taking a break already! I was still picking my 1st dance song the night before my wedding! Ha ha!

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