Malisa's Tulum Review Feb 2009
Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:39 PM
US Airways - B - Flies direct to Cancun for less than $350/guest including taxes. Great prices, terrible service. The check-in line in Cancun is atrocious. Always. You get what you pay for
Hertz rental car - B + Cancun. Good cars, 1 hour check out in Cancun. Check into the booth at the airport, they will call for a shuttle when they get enough people.
Budget Rental Car -F Cancun - terrible cars, terrible service. I rented a car from here on one of my planning trips. They gave me a car so banged up and dirty they wouldn't be able to tell the difference if I drove it off a cliff. Oh wait - I did run it off a cliff because they failed to tell me that you had to pull up on the gear shift in order to put the car in reverse, so I put it in first and drove the car into an irrigation ditch on the side of the road my first night out. My inlaws didn't heed my warning and also rented from Budget. Budget didn't have a car for them when they arrived but went and got them another one from another agency.
Hostels - I did a planning trip on my own. I could have stayed on the beach but I was too scared to stay there by myself. I enjoy staying at hostels when traveling alone. It gives me a chance to meet people and get to know the area better.
Mayan Hostel Tulum - C (stayed there on planning trip)- Great location on the road to Tulum, but got the heebie jeebies from the people.
Ranch Tranquilo - A - Hostel in Tulum I stayed at after checking out of Mayan Hostel. Tough location at the end of Pueblo - but great grounds. You can rent a private cabin for $300 pesos per night or stay in one of the group lodging for $80 pesos. People are nice, but mostly elderly. Very quiet and safe.
Zamas - B good food, pretty location. They have a nice location on one of the most open beaches in the middle of the hotel zone. Service was slow. Food was good.
Charlie's - A++ in Pueblo near the bus terminal. Food was good. They bring in live music every night, which was also very good. Charlie works with the local shaman and arranges the Mayan weddings in Tulum. He also helped me find the guitar player for my reception.
Dos Ceibas - A Good food, pretty restaurant area with lit dining. Portions are huge.
La Zebra - Good food, large restaurant and fun salsa lessons every Sunday night. This is where I found the salsa instructor for my reception. If you wanted to have your reception dinner here, you could just make a reservation, no need to pay for any fees here unless you wanted something private.
Hechizo A++ Yum yum yum! Did you ever see the episode of CSI where the restaurant served your dinner in complete darkness so that you could focus on your food? Well, they could do that here. This is the 5 star restaurant of Tulum. Stefan, the owner comes out and presents himself as the menu. We let him choose what we ordered and everything was wonderful. We split an appetizer and main dish, got separate deserts and a bottle of which for under $1,000 pesos. I would recommend this place for your rehearsal dinner or last night in town. The setting is relaxing, but not right for a reception. The prices are great as well.
Om A- I thought it was ok, my vegetarians friends thought it was the bomb. The decor is super cool in hard wood and dark red velvet curtains.
Tierra del Sol - never ate here, but had cocktails. Alexi, the manager is super helpful if you talk to him. They only serve a grilled dinner because their kitchen is small. Their dining area is super cute with hard wood, thatched room, great views of the ocean and lanterns.
Mil Amores - Wonderful fruit compotes for breakfast, and ceviche for lunch. They are not cheap, but you will always get more than your money is worth. They charged us $50/person for the reception dinner, but they served guacamole, ceviche, lobster tails, grilled mahi mahi, shrimp, and wonderful chocolate cake for desert. On our last night there they made us a special dinner for $50/person. It was supposed to be a 5 course dinner. They served us two types of guacamole, 2 types of ceviche, 3 types of soup, 3 types of grilled fish, and two separate deserts, per person, along with two bottles of wine.
Hotels & Rental Houses-
Si'an Kaan deluxe tents - So they looked cool on the website!!!! They were pretty cool and comfortable but the wind kicks up from sunset to sunrise and it sounded like we were in the middle of a hurricane. We didn't get much sleep. However, I do suggest you visit their rooftop restaurant for sunset. It's one of the only places in town you can see the sunset, and it is on the penninsula so you are surrounded by water.
Casa Corazon - rental in Soliman Bay - All of the homes in Soliman Bay are beautiful. We were in casita 3, a two story casita with a separate bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. All hard wood, private kitchen, fresh water. Pool, beautiful protected bay with rights to kayaks. Only downer was that they expected you to tip the housekeeper $150 US/per week. This was not mentioned before I got there.
- $350/night for 4 people, $200-$250/night for 2
Nah Uxibal - also in Soliman Bay. Another winner. If you can get the main house, I would suggest it. It is located on the second floor (the first is an outdoor living room available to all guests but super nice to hang out in). The main house has two rooms, a pull out couch in the living room, a pool table, telescope and kitchen. All of the casitas have private kitchens. If you rent here they offer 1 night free on any return rentals $200/night for small casita - $350/night for main house
In all houses in Si'an Kaan you can arrange for groceries to be delivered and the staff to cook for you. Daily housekeeping is included.
Casa Blanca - Tulum. A little stuffy in the main living room, but very spacious bedrooms with private locks on all rooms. Has a great rooftop terrace and beautiful gradens. Owners are very slow to respond - but it all works out. Great deal for 3 couples @ $450/night
Homes in Rancho San Eric - A very nice - all have great views of the ocean and reasonably priced. Very private at the end of hotel zone.
Casa Sortilegio - A Beautiful house. Last home before preserve. Bottom floor includes huge balcony/patio. Indoors is all one room including dining room, sofa and club chairs. Two huge king beds in the bed. Sounds crazy but very spacious - and sexy in a moroccan dark wood kind of way. They have three rooms you can rent separately on the top floor, all with private kitchens. Owner runs Cielo hotel/restuarant in Playa. He offered to cater reception at house. We didn't go with this option because he didn't have enough lighting for good evening pictures, which is when we wanted reception. Inlude backyard grill.
Blue Tulum - B. We spent our first two days of our honeymoon here. Rooms are gorgeous with marble floors and countertops. Great jacuzzi tub in the living room part of the suite. When we first got in we tried to take a shower - no hot water. So we called, an hour later there was no response so we called again. They sent someone over who just told us to run the water for a while. We came back that night, still no hot water, even after letting the water run for an hour. The next day they called us and told us they were having hot water issues and would we mind changing rooms (Really!)
Room service was great - food was ok. Couples massage blew my mind (could someone please teach my husband to whisper in my ear that way?) plus they gave us the room, including shower, private balcony, and fruit cheese plate for as long as we wanted. How sexy is that? Had considered having wedding here, but they wanted to charge $2K extra for private reception plus $100/person for food (yes, it's an all inclusive but they charge extra) plus set up fee from florist. To much for my pocket book - but cool venue. I would definitely go with private reception here instead of free one in the restaurants, which are cafeteria style.
Mil Amores A+++ I can't say enough good things about this place. It is absolutely beautiful. The architechture and decor are super romantic in colonial white wash and hard wood. The staff is absolutely accomadating. We mentioned one day that we wished there was bar service at the beach. The next day they set up a a full bar next to our lounge chairs with a waiter dedicated to making us happy. Our reception was held here and there were so many cool rooms we could have held the party. It was hard to decide. Their sound system was great, their lighting was beautiful - and once again - the service was perfect.
Wedding Coordinator - Fabiola - F. I ended up making my second planning trip here becase it was 5 weeks ago and I still had no reception location. She had given me a quote of $3K at Dos Ceibas and Dos Ceibas gave me a quote of $800. She is great at executing, but really bad at understanding your priorities and giving suggestions, and who knows what is going on with her price quotes.
Wedding Coordinator - Jen in Akumal- C. She was very easy going and I enjoyed working with her. She couldn't get me sound bytes for musicians or samples of ceremonies. She also refused to modify her contract to state that if a vendor did not perform, that portion of my bill would be returned to me. Her quote was exactly what I told her the top of my budget was.
Needless to say I coordinated the whole thing myself. This worked out pretty well, but I would really have liked someone to coordinate from the time my first guest arrived until the end of the reception. Someone who could pay all my vendors (they all wanted cash. Imagine my fun at the ATM), coordinate events, dinners, etc.
Uhhh - hubby just called and needs me home ASAP. Will write more later.
Posted 18 April 2009 - 01:30 AM
Photographer - Nathan Welton @ Dreamtime Images A+++++, Girls, I spent 70% of my wedding budget here and I am so glad that I did. Here is our slideshow. He was fun to hang out with, had great ideas, and entertained our guests when things got slow. We bought his largest package that included all digital pictures.
Dreamtime Images Blog Archive Tulum, Mexico Wedding Photography: Malisa and Todd
Flores by Julieta (in Cancun) A+, This woman had to hunt me down in Tulum because we were so busy and didn't end up arranging a solid meet up time. She ended up just leaving the flowers at our hotel room and then coming back after the wedding to be paid. It worked out great and she is really a lovely lady.
Local florist (I think there is only one). Very inexpensive. We ordered our leis from her. They were only $60 pesos a piece, but the flowers were crushed by the time we got them.
Salsa instructor - Romeo A+, They were so much fun! Their costumes were beautiful and they even brough props. I'm so glad we did this.
Guitar player - Jose A+ On time, very gentle man. Beautiful music.
Chitchen Itza - B, Hubby said it was great. The site is immaculate, but you can't climb on any of the ruins. The tour is informative, but it was like visiting a museum.
Ek Balam - A, I enjoyed these ruins more. You can climb some of the ruins, the tour guide was nice. Some of the ruins aren't even excavated yet, so it's fun to see a work in progress.
Coba - A, Large property with a pretty lake nearby. Grab a tourguide inside because the ruins aren't well marked and then rent a bicycle so that you can see the whole area before you get bored. Beautiful jungle setting, you can climb in and around anything.
Gran Cenote - We went midday and there were too many people. There is a very small area where you can snorkel, but this is really something to dive since most of the really cool coverns are too dark to snorkel. $400 pesos per person.
Tulum Ruins - This site is beautiful. We walked through without a tour guide. Everything is well marked. We didn't get a chance to do their night walk, which is well lit, and they give you an audio guide, but I would love to go back and do this.
Labna Ha cenote - Very pretty, electrically lit cenotes. Take the snorkel tour, but the caves are too dark to do a photo shoot in.
Hidden Worlds centotes - We went one day with 15 people and did the ultimate adventure. This included snorkeling, ziplining, and the sky cycle. Very very pretty cenotes and everyone enjoyed this very much. We went back the next day and did a photo shoot. I think they shut the cenote down for us and only charged us $10 USD per person for the shoot. $75/person USD for ultimate adventure.
Carnival parade in Cozumel A+, we went hoping to catch the parade, and thinking we would party in Playa that night. Next time I would plan on staying in Cozumel for the night since the parade didn't start until 7:30 and the last ferry leaves at 10:00 PM. There is plenty of partying to be done on Cozumel.
La Zebra salsa lessons, fun but not as fun as when we had Romeo to ourselves.
I've organized pictures of the different sites at
Collection: Tulum Wedding Prep
Posted 18 April 2009 - 08:33 AM
So, so unbelievably beautiful! Your pictures are stunning and I totally understand why you spent so much - they are freaking amazing!
The venue looked lovely and all of your guests look like they had a blast.
Congrats on being a Mrs
Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:40 PM
This is a very helpful, and informative review. Our wedding is 6.13.09, and we're having a Mayan ceremony at EcoTulum - Copal. I inquired about Maria and Charlie after learning that our original Shaman Daniel Poo Pech will not be able to perform our ceremony.
Do you have any suggesstions how I may get in contact with Charlie? I'm begining to flip out a bit, as this is very symbolic and spiritual, and we want the Shamans to be in-line with us spiritually - not a commercialized version.
I would welcome any suggesstions from you. Congratulations and thank you for sharing!
Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:50 PM
Do you have the contact information for both florists?
Do you have the contact information for the dancers?
Beautiful, Beautiful - my fiance also loves the photos!
Posted 21 May 2009 - 03:57 PM
Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:30 PM
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