Moving to Mexico:  USAdios.com

Chapter 35:  What it Costs to Stay at a Resort in Tulum vs. a Private House

We are doing the right thing by moving to Mexico. I have confirmation on our decision to move there. We just spent ten days there and it is still just as attractive to me now as it ever was. 96 days until June 17th, my birthday, and my target date for our departure from California. Honestly, they cannot go by fast enough. If it was not for my son and wife, I would sign up to be put into a state of suspended animation or even a coma for the next 96 days so I could just wake up in Mexico. Since this is not Alien or Star Trek, I will ride out these last three months knowing that we are heading to a wonderful place. And we still have a lot of work to do before we leave.

Ten days in Mexico is what my son calls “the sweet spot.”

“A week’s vacation is not enough, and two weeks is a little too long. Ten days is the sweet spot,” he said. And since then, most of our vacations are of that length.  With a day’s travel there and a day back, it’s actually eight full days with the arrival date being a bit blurry but fun and the last day being melancholy and not really knowing what to do with just half day before having to leave for the airport for the long flight home.

We took tons of photos and videos in Mexico and I’ll post a few soon.  For now, I just want to point out a couple of our favorite places and why we love them so much.  The first place I will talk about is Bahia Principe, the resort where we have our house.

What it Costs to Stay at a Resort in Tulum vs. a Private HouseOur private pool, looking out from the living room.

As you know, we live on Bahia Principe, an upscale golf/beach resort about 23 kilometers north of Downtown Tulum.  We are close to everything but set apart, so you don’t feel like you’re downtown with the crowds, the hipsters and sometimes…the crime.

Living on a resort is not for everyone.  It costs a little more and it’s certainly not an authentic Mexican experience, but I really do not care.  We love it. I lived in Chemuyil (see map above) a small Mexican village of about 1,000 residents, for a while before building our home in Bahia Principe.  Being able to walk everywhere in the village and having access to stores, restaurants, cantinas and even a great hardware store was wonderful and the residents there treated the one gringo in town (me) like family.  It was a friendly and safe place to live.

What I did not care for was the trash on the ground, the dog excrement that seemed to be on every sidewalk and road, the broken-down cars that lined the streets and the need for a gated entryway and bars on all of the windows at my rental house.  Don’t get me wrong. I am not a snob. I come from nothing and the town of Chemuyil is much nicer than many places I have lived. At this time in my life, I just prefer the niceties that Bahia Principe offers. I visit Chemuyil often. I shop and eat there all of the time.  I just don’t want to live there anymore.

Our resort has pools, beaches (with little to no Sargasso…it’s cleaned everyday), golf, tennis, restaurants, shopping, a small hospital, gyms, daily entertainment, a casino, two sports bars and some of the most beautiful flora in the area.  You don’t even have to drive because there are free trams that run all day and into the night. It’s Mexican Disneyland, but I don’t care. It’s clean, safe and everything works. I love it.

What it Costs to Stay at a Resort in Tulum vs. a Private HouseYes, that is beer and tequila, poolside at my house.
Glass by the pool?  Well, it’s mine and I’m careful.  

Here is what it costs to live on Bahia Principe:

You need a place to sleep so you can pay for a hotel room with costs from $120/night per person for their cheapest room at the most affordable property on the resort, “Tulum”.   *Bahia Principe has five separate properties on the resort to include Tulum, Coba, Akumal, Sian Ka’an and Premier. Sian Ka’an is adults only and tends to be the most expensive with rooms starting at $139/night.  These fees are straight from their website and do not include any extra hotel fees or charges.

https://www.bahia-principe.com/booking/booking/Busqueda?loading=no

This is an all-inclusive price so for a minimum of $240/night, a couple can enjoy all their cheapest hotel has to offer, which will limit you from certain restaurants and the usage of the premier properties like Sian Ka’an and Akumal.  For three nights, you will spend a minimum of $720.00.

Now, here is one of the reasons we built on Bahia Principe:  we get to use everything the hotel has to offer for free. If we want to eat and drink like the tourists (which we do about once a week), it costs us $60/day each to eat and drink at most of the properties, $70/day each to use 100% of the bars and restaurants.  

If we didn’t own our house, we could rent one of the units for just $432.00 for three nights (the minimum stay required).  Here are the Airbnb links and a sample of the costs:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/29243562?s=51

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/29244518?s=51

What it Costs to Stay at a Resort in Tulum vs. a Private HouseYour cost to stay at the hotel vs. a place like ours:

Two Adults at Tulum hotel:

$720.00

Two Adults at Our House with same eat/drink privileges as Tulum hotel:

$792.00

Some differences between the hotel and our house:

  1. Superior room at Tulum is 334 square feet.
    • Our units are each 750 square feet.
  2. Superior rooms at Tulum have very slow WIFI, higher speeds cost more.
    • Our units have free high-speed WIFI.
  3. Tulum hotel has many pools, beaches, restaurant and a gym.
    • Staying at our unit affords you access to all of the same, but you also have a private home, kitchen, pool, and parking.
  4. I found the Tulum hotel beds to be very uncomfortable.
    • Our home has king and queen-sized, superior quality beds.  (Serta mattresses.)
  5. Tulum Superior room allows up to three adults, or two adults and two children, but fees will go up for extra guests.
    • Our home has a sleeper couch in the living room so you can have up to four guests at no extra charge.

NOTE:  Another good thing about staying at our house vs. the hotel, if you choose to just shop for food and eat some or all of your meals at home, you will save on the resort food and drinks.  You have the flexibility of using the resort as you please, saving money when you decide to go off the property to shop, dine and explore. Food and drinks are MUCH cheaper in Mexico, believe me.  You can live there on much less than you think. I’ll be posting some of our shopping costs soon.

When we were there, we used the hotel restaurant/bar option two of the nine nights we were there, opting to eat at home or at off-resort restaurants most of the time.  I will be showing our grocery bills and our restaurant bills in coming articles so you can see how this is a really great option for people on a budget and/or for those who want to leave their dining options open.

It’s clear that staying at our house affords you more space and privacy.  The rooms at the hotel can be noisy due to the other guests who may be up very late, loud and sometimes intoxicated.  I love visiting the hotels and then going back to our private home to relax. Yes, we are somewhat near the highway and you will hear some traffic noise when you’re in the pool in the back yard.  But when you’re in the house with the TV or some music playing, you really don’t hear the traffic much at all. Even when I’m in the pool, after a few minutes, I don’t hear the traffic. It becomes white noise.  *Note: All of Bahia Principe is built around the highway so most of the property hears traffic at some level. This is true of almost all of the resorts that line the highway.

For me, I’ll take a little traffic noise over annoying drunk neighboring guests in a hotel anytime.  During one visit, there was a huge group of visitors, all there for a wedding. They were lovely people and the women were dressed so exquisitely, I wished we could have seen the wedding.  But damn, they were really loud and stayed up most of the night partying with shouting, singing and loud music. The noise echoed down the hallways and when we complained, it actually got louder.  

What it Costs to Stay at a Resort in Tulum vs. a Private HouseThe hotel pool bar at Akumal, Bahia Principe.
One of our favorites, but it’s loud and busy.

I love visiting the Mexican village but choose not to live there.  I love the hotels and all they offer but choose not to stay there. I take the best that each has to offer, spend my money, promote and support each.  After I am done with the crowds, I love my privacy. Having over twice as much room to spread out, a comfortable bed, a private pool, private parking, a kitchen, high-speed WIFI and still having access to all the hotel has to offer just makes more sense to me.