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Maya Tulum Resort
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Reviewed 30 March 2009

My wife and I stayed at Maya Tulum the third week of March 2009. I have to admit that I had some reservations -- I was informed at the last minute that my room was not a true cabana but actually a two-story buidling and was a bit afraid that the hippy-yoga vibe would overwhelm, as that is emphatically not my scene. My fears were unfounded. We had an amazingly peaceful and relaxing vacation; though our room was a more traditional building and not really a cabana, we could not hear our neighbors and it really was right on the beach -- the sound of waves lulled us to sleep every night and there were plenty of ocean breezes that made the lack of electricity after 11pm a non-issue. The room was really nicely decorated and spotless. It's true that there's kind of a granola/yoga-yuppie vibe at this place, but everyone minds their own business and no one is in your face about it (no kumbayas, no pressure to do yoga). One major advantage to this type of clientele is that everyone is very quiet, so there were no people yelling, keeping you up at night, playing boom boxes on the beach, etc. which apparently does happen at some of the more Euro-oriented joints on the beach (e.g. Ana y Jose). The ocean there was a bit murky our first day but then cleared up into picture-perfect sparkling green waters. My only real complaints about Maya Tulum are 1) it is overpriced -- our room was $195 per night, and probably should have been half that and 2) the restaurant is totally mediocre and also overpriced. Luckily there are many, many other places to eat nearby so the food wasn't a problem. If you've got the money to burn and want to chill out to the maximum, Maya Tulum is the place.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank DSANYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2009

OK-this place is nice to look at. over the years they have made a lot of changes. Here are the problems-starting to look like a resort rather than an escape to TULUM-over priced-same rooms they have had for years-now triple the price-what am I paying for? Terrible food-just terrible-with a wait staff that is trying to hard. The space for the restaurant is the same structure-with the same terrible buffet now served in silver warming trays-big deal! OH- if you're rich or not and smoke-don't stay here you can't enjoy a dinner in an OPEN AIR RESTAURANT with a smoke-go figure. That was it for me-I left. Yes the Yoga rooms a nice and they have massage. This place was so much fun years ago and just beautiful-now it's just another over priced resort with no pool at resort prices-enjoy your stay.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled solo
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4  Thank tbfairfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2009

This was my second trip to Maya Tulum and it is bigger and busier than before but the beach is still magnificent.

In general, the hotel seems to be catering more to yoga retreat groups - there were lots of people with name tags walking around and there was a constant buffet set up in the dining room which was a huge turn-off.

The beach is magnificent and I still feel Maya Tulum is decent value.

The pros:
The beach is still among the most beautiful in the world and you can walk along for miles and see only handfulls of people.
The rooms are nice and now have electricity past 10pm.
The spa is really nice although a little expensive.
Nice gift shop.
The people who work at the resort are very, very nice.

The cons:
Charged an ocean view while I really had a deck view of the yoga studio. The prices in general are much higher than my last visit (2005).
Couldn't use the yoga stuido because I wasn't part of the large yoga retreat that stayed there at the same time.
There are more rooms and less with an outdoor seating area that actually faces the ocean. If this is important to you rooms D, E, F seem to still have this feature.
The buffet and unrelaxing atmosphere in the restaurant (which used to be a pleasant place to eat and watch the waves).
The throngs of people in yoga gear and name tags...just seems more like a group / all inclusive type resort than a relaxing, peaceful holiday place.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank SWTTRAVELS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2009

Overall:
Maya Tulum is the perfect destination for couples who want a quiet Caribbean vacation. Unlike many resorts we have been to, Maya Tulum is truly a place where you are left alone to relax. This is NOT a place to go if you want to party, drink many margaritas and dance the night away. The beach is one of the nicest I have seen. Powdery sand, very clean, and not a single hawker of trinkets. You can stroll from the hotel to….forever.
We had marginal weather during most of our stay, but, that left more time to enjoy the hotel’s yoga, meditation and massage offerings.
This hotel caters to those who want quiet. It wasn’t quite library quiet, but I fully expected to get “shhhshhh-ed” a couple of times when I sneezed. There are no TV’s or radios in the rooms. I was blissfully out-of-touch with the world. The only music to be heard was quietly playing throughout the hotel’s yoga and massage area or in the background in the open-air restaurant.
Transfers:
We opted out of renting a car at the airport. From all the research we did, the airport rentals were vastly cheaper; however, we were also leery of the local constabulary and their reputation for perfecting the “tourista shakedown.”. (In fairness, we have no idea if that reputation is deserved or not.) We chose USA Transfers and it was a great choice. Our drivers were on-time and courteous. A private van for just the two of us was $145.00US r/t. It’s not a short ride from the airport to Tulum and our driver graciously stopped at a store to get beverages.
Check-in
Check-in at Maya Tulum was seamless. From the time we got out of the van to the time we walked into our room was no more than 10 minutes.
The Room:
We were taking a last minute trip and many of the nicer rooms in Tulum were booked. We ended up staying in a Garden Room at Maya Tulum. This is the least of their room choices but it was not bad at all. Each room is a small cabana. Ours had two double beds, two sitting chairs with a small table, plenty of closet space, a two-sink wash area, separate bathroom facility, and separate shower. We did wish that there was a small sofa or couch. While we didn’t spend an unusual amount of time in the room, during the quiet nights it would have been nice to sit on a couch together.
The safe was adequate and we were never concerned about security.
There is a good reason for the mosquito netting around the beds. Use them! When properly utilized they can make your vacation significantly more enjoyable. I can’t speak with any authority on the rooms closer to the cooling ocean breezes, but our room had mosquitoes and no-see-ums each night. After one night of careless bug prep, we took the appropriate precautions and only came home with a couple of souvenir bites.
Our room was only a few moments stroll down a path to get right to the beach. (The pathways were always raked and yes, sculpted, each morning. I actually felt a little guilty walking down the freshly raked paths in the morning. )
An issue worth noting: Maya Tulum does not provide beach towels. They sell some expensive ones. Wee bought two towels down the road. Still not cheap, but better than the hotel prices.

The Restaurant
Tulum beach is no bargain. In Sayulita, for instance, you feel like you are getting a little bit of a deal on most things. In Tulum, there aren’t a lot of deals and US prices are the norm. The restaurant at Maya Tulum was nice enough but count on paying 10-20 US dollars per meal (without alcohol). In comparison, the meals in the town of Tulum itself were a slightly better bargain.
I’m a meat eater. Now, before you get all Vegan on my head, I deeply apologize to all animals… everywhere… for wanting to grill them. But there is no meat to be found on the menu at Maya Tulum. The menu is heavy on fish and has few pasta dishes and some Mexican offerings. Most of the patrons of Maya Tulum are there to do yoga, so the restaurant is definitely catering to their base, but, would a piece of chicken really kill the spirit of the place? My wife loved almost all items on the menu, so it’s really just your own preferences.
I found the service and quality of food to be inconsistent. I had one of their Mexican dishes twice and it was two completely different eating experiences. The first time was tasty and delicious. The second time it was barely cooked and tasted like it was put together on an assembly line of auto workers. Our order got messed up only once, and the staff, while incredibly friendly and efficient, most did not know English well enough to answer our questions. Pathetically, our Spanish is limited to, “Can we have more salsa?” Of course, since we were visitors in THEIR Spanish-speaking country, this is not really a complaint, just a reality.
Tours
We didn’t take any of the hotel tours. They looked a little pricey. The walk to the beach zone from the hotel was only 10 minutes. We tended to stroll and it took 15. We rented bicycles for 8 US dollars apiece and rode the 20-30 minutes to the Tulum Ruins.
[A note of caution: Iguanas play chicken. When riding a rented bicycle in Tulum, be aware that iguanas have tendency to cross the road wherever and whenever they feel like it. I was riding along nicely when a fairly large iguana stopped directly in front of me. Unfortunately for me, the brakes on my rental bike actually worked. I slammed on both brakes and promptly flew over the handlebars and crashed onto the pavement. I got banged up pretty nicely and the iguana, I have come to believe, had a good laugh with his lizard buddies. “Did you see that gringo flying through the air?”]
The Tulum Ruins were extraordinary. They are not tall and expansive. You do not get a sense of wonder at their size. It is their location on the blue/green waters of the Caribbean that makes them worth the effort. We did some reading on Mayan history before we went but still did not know precisely what we were looking at. There were many guides available and there were groups of various sizes getting tours. We just ambled around the many paths and took in the sights. We spent some time on the small beach right below the ruins. Swimming under the gaze of Mayan history was memorable.
Yoga – Meditation – Massages – Tezmascal
Maya Tulum is a yoga destination. While we were there, two organized groups of yoga practitioners from the US were visiting. The hotel has two very nice yoga studios and offers a variety of different kinds of a la carte yoga classes for all skill levels. My wife took several classes and had very positive experiences at all of them. I took a meditation class and Tai Chi class and was pleased with both. The classes cost about 12 US dollars apiece which was a fair price.
We both got massages and were very happy with them. The spa treatments are not cheap at Maya Tulum. But, of all the things Maya Tulum provides, their spa services are probably their strongest asset. I had the best massage I have ever experienced from a woman named Nayra.
Tezmescal
We received a notice in our room that the hotel was offering a traditional Tezmescal ritual for 50 US dollars. The Tezmascal is essentially a Mexican sauna. We decided to try it.
I had visions that the ceremony was going to resemble a scene out of the film “Altered States” complete with hallucinations and life changing self-revelation. I was disappointed. The “priest” who took us through the ceremony seemed more like a Disney version of an Indian Shaman. (We, in fact, were doing an Aztec version of the Tezmescal and not an indigenous Mayan version.)
There were 13 participants. We sat in a circle for quite a while outside the sauna (it seemed like an eternity to my aching knees and butt) listening to an all too detailed explanation of the process. To be fair to some of the other participants, some of them took their Aztec version of the Mayan version of a Mexican sauna very seriously. I found the pre-sauna patter to be a bit patronizing.
We finally entered the sauna which was a small brick dome. (It looked a little too much like an oven for my tastes.) People were in varying states of undress, with some in shorts and tee shirts, some in bathing suits and two brave women in the raw. It can be a bit crowded if not claustrophobic. I would have liked a little more personal space, perhaps limiting the number of people to 9 or ten maximum.
There was some chanting and percussive maraca shaking. Mostly, there was a lot of sweating. There was a reason that building looked like an oven. We went through four rounds of heating the room up with red hot cinder blocks with water dropped on them. By the fourth one, I was wondering: 1. when will this end? And 2. I could really use a cold beer.
No hallucinations, no life-changing revelation and I didn’t turn into a caveman or a lizard or anything!! It was just a really hot sauna.
I was a little dismayed that the notice they gave to guests announcing the treatment specifically said the price was 50 dollars per person but they ended up charging 62. It wasn’t a big deal because the whole “ceremony” lasted almost 3-and-a-half hours.
Mostly I felt like I had been taken to a “show” rather than an experience. I found our Shaman’s presentation to be more theater than belief. I also found his emphasis on issues relating to women to be patronizing and not reverent.
But it was a really hot sauna.
Tulum Town
Take the time to go to the town of Tulum. It’s bustling with tourists and locals alike. It’s where the best food is. There are far more choices for dining and sampling in town. There are bakeries that serve the best Mexican pastries at bargain prices. There are quite a few jewelry, trinket and tee shirt shops if you are looking to do some shopping. (Don’t forget to bargain. The first price you get from a vendor will be ridiculously high. We countered with ridiculously low and usually ended up paying just over half the original quoted price.)
The cost of a cab from the hotel to the town was around 5 dollars each way. (The town is also easily gotten to by bicycle, however, I now felt sure that the iguanas were out to screw me so we took a cab.) You could also walk from the beach area if you are reasonably fit.
While in town, we ate at a popular restaurant and ordered a bowl of Chiles Caribe. A succulent bowl of all kinds of hot and not-so-hot chilies, garlic, carrots and onions all soaking in a delicious pickle brine. It was the finest thing I have ever eaten in Mexico; Simple, colorful and a new adventure in oral thermal tolerance with each bite.
Conclusion
Tulum is still a relatively quiet and unspoiled slice of the Mexican Caribbean, but its tourist industry is growing quickly. There are still many beaches where you can be totally secluded and the beaches remain pristine. The locals are friendly and helpful. Thankfully, the area seems to take its quietness seriously. There are no high rise mega resorts going up that we could tell. And, the fact that Tulum’s electric power is erratic should not be looked at as an inconvenience but rather a quaint and rustic quality that keeps the Tulum more of a serene getaway than spring break yahoo destination.
Relax, stroll, do a few downward facing dogs (that’s a yoga thing), swim, snorkel, hike…and then go to bed at 9:30. If that sounds like your vacation then go to Cozumel because I want Tulum to myself.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank IguanaPreserver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 December 2008

The electricity wasnt always on, but everything else was. The day trips were great (small vans) the food awesome, and the never-wear-shoes-anywhere the best. Learned some great yoga too, and our 7 yr old daughter was very happy.

  • Stayed: December 2005, travelled with family
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1  Thank rockclimberfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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