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Home > Destinations > Mexico > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Mexico - Trip Reports

Copacabana Resort, Xpu-Ha

The following contains our complete trip report to the Copacabana Resort, Xpu-Ha, Mx.; April 28- May 5, 2001. Please keep in mind while reading this commentary we have traveled the Mexican Suncoast (we call it Playa Del Carmen area) at least once if not more every year for the last five years. We also have stayed at 2 other all-inclusive properties, the Reef Club and the RIU Yucatan, as well as rented condos in Akumal. We will use those as benchmarks and make the occasional comparisons. I will try to review those areas of interest that are most requested! If you would like a report with more general information about the area from other trip, especially about the RIU Yucatan, please email me at Contract73@aol.com. We are in our later 30’s w/o kids (so far) and look for interesting destinations and relaxation as opposed to nightlife-orientated activities.

We found the resort through http://www.locogringo.com, who we have used before (Thanks Karla!). This hotel is also offered through Apple/Funjet and also has its own website at http://www.hotelcopacabana.com/). The advertisement they ran on the website was accurate, and honest. The rate they offered was excellent and we secured the dates through them. As always they shared as much info as they could, and were wonderful to work with; prompt, courteous, and fair.

Car Rental
We rent a car 90% of the time. Thrifty offered the best rate and accepted my MasterCard as the collision insurance. Saved $15 a day! Note that this resort is not located close to anything. It is a decent cab ride or if you have the time, bus from the front of the hotel. You can rent cars daily at the resort. Or take the tours offered, but we prefer to do it ourselves.

Like previous trips for which we did not take a full package, we found the best rate (R/T Chicago) using Funjet Travel on one of their ATA charter flights. We often base our dates of travel around the air availability/price. Flights were as expected, a little like a cattle call airline, but what do you expect? They were even 20 early on the return flight!!! And less that half the price of American.

After spending a quick night in Playa del Carmen, we arrived at the resort about 10am. We had no problem checking in immediately, except we only had the choice of a room in those numbered in 1000’s. It was farthest from the beach but closest to dinner and breakfast. To get the room we said fine, why waste good beach time? The lobby building holds the small shops, dinner and breakfast restaurants, as well as the theater/bar #2 facility.

The lobby was similar to other quality properties; waterfall, open, tall ceiling, marble floors, very clean (the resort was only 5 months old), beautiful and inviting. Upon the rather quick check-in they took us to our room by golf cart! The property was laid out with 3-4 large buildings (with nice decorations and wall paintings) on each side consisting of the guest rooms lining of the property (total 8). It was narrower and longer than many (similar to the Reef Club), with all activities at either end.

This was very surprising. The rooms (at least ours) were very large in comparison to other resorts. Marble floors, king bed, TV, small stocked fridge (beer, soda, water), electronic safe (nice touch), good a/c, ceiling fan, balcony (nice size), phone, towels, everything. The marble shower (no tub) had room for about six! We were lucky to get an end unit on the second floor. We could see over the trees/jungle-landscaping motif that ran through the entire center of the property. The only think I can report interesting is that the toilet seat was broken! I called the front desk from a pool phone that afternoon and when we returned to the room several hours later the seat was fixed. Room service cleaned the rooms once daily, pretty much by noon by occasionally as late as 2pm, but always left them immaculate.

This resort is located on Xpu-ha one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mex, Caribbean coast. If offers a nice walk about a mile or more either way to the new Xpu-Ha Palace resort to the North or the Robinson Club to the south. I cannot complete this review without saying I hope this is the end to the construction of resorts in this area. I would hate to see it disappear like other little hidden paradise beaches that are disappearing along the coast. Not to mention the destruction to the wildlife.

As I mentioned it has a jungle/mangrove motif running through the center. The walkways are all of landscaping stone with bridges and benches along the way. If you don’t like the walkway (?) you can get anywhere by using the paved utility roads that run behind the rooms, the entire length of the property. Various wildlife makes its residence here, fun for the kiddies. One night a frog choir serenaded us! Except near the lobby buildings area, it was a fairly quiet resort and never had a “crowded” or extensive “party” atmosphere.

Walking the entire length of the resort might be difficult for those with challenges, but I don’t want to make assumptions if they had other provisions. One had to decide which end (beach/pool/lunch vs. dinner/breakfast) they would want to be closer to. We didn’t care.

Beach/Activity Area/Services
This is where you find yourself spending most of the day. The pool is large, plenty of paplyas for shade, well laid out and, well, best if you look at the pictures on the Internet. We are beach folk so we only spend about 15% of the time by the pool. Surround the pool is the activities cabanas; workout room, pool bar (no swim-up L) aerobics room, kiddies pool, large buffet lunch hall, towel/water activity, small store, craft room, day-care/kids activities. Also are 3 rather long hot/whirlpool tubs/pools that have a nice view of the beach. All activities are rather close and convenient.

The condition of the beach was one of the best we have had. Large and open. Plenty of shallow water for kids, and for those who don’t like the deep water. It is groomed often and in great condition. The shade is limited so be ready to go out early and reserve your spot (this common for all you new folks). You can try to get on of the payplas or under the yet to grow trees. Even though we arrived later (11am), one of the employees offered us our own umbrella!! We choose this route every day. They did seem to run out by the end of the week (hint: Copa, buy more!). The chairs are standard plastic issue lounge chairs, but the pool chairs had that nice nylon webbing over them. Note that there is not drink service on the beach (common). And yes, it has the traditional topless sunbathing option.

The standard A-I activities are available, see list that can be found on the websites. Please note that private vendors down the beach (south) have Wave runners, diving and snorkeling trips if you do not choose those offered by the resort.

Also offered are messages and paint on tattoos. We had fun wearing what they claim will last 2 weeks but in essence they barely lasted a week. The message was very good but I did receive and great message from the little hotel Villas Del Caribe just north, lined up next to the property. They have a small restaurant/bar and you can ask there.

For the Kiddies
Available is a nanny/baby sitting service that other guest claimed was wonderful. It appeared to us she was a “trained” child attendant and was taking the kids around pool area doing various whatever. They also offered various activities for the young ones. The small shallow kids pool is a nice touch. See the website for more info.

This is always a dangerous subject to evaluate since I have seen so many differing views of what to expect at an A-I resort. I am a former musician happy with truck stop grub at 4am and my wife enjoys luxury cruise food, so you figure out where we are coming from. Nonetheless, we found the food B+ in quality and variety.

For the buffets: Breakfast offers a variety of choices, which are standard in A-I, omelets, eggs, doughy items, and sweets. (of course beer is always available). Lunch was the average grill fare, but the custom pasta bar was a plus. Dinner had a good variety. Desserts were better than most we found in Mexico, and the Cappuccino bar for breakfast and dinner was well received by all. By and large it was better that Reef Club but not the quality of the RIU. This should not be a surprise based on price range! One point we would like to make is they made every effort to keep the buffet areas clean and well stocked! I went to the lunch buffet with sand filled flip-flops and the cleaning person followed me around!

The reservations-only restaurant we found to be not very impressive. Don’t get me wrong; it was delightful, but not several notches up from the buffets. We have found this true of most A-I’s. If you have to be served or pampered, then this is for you. Worth one visit.

OK kids, here’s the important data. The bars were overall very good. The lobby bar was excellent, so was the theater bar. They both offered a huge drink variety. The theater bar at times got overwhelmed if many attended the evening festivities. The pool bar often was understaffed between 11am ­ 3pm. They did not have the drink variety of the other bars but keep most happy (plenty of shots). One disappointment is they had a frozen coffee and lemon drink machine that worked only the first day. I enjoyed putting a shot of Kailua in the coffee option. PS, try the Mexican Sombrero. My conclusion is if they could keep the number of Canadians that were there happy, they did all right!

I really don’t know what to expect, most of these A-I theater shows are weak, but these where so tongue and cheek, it was great!! A little more biting than any other I have seen. I think they are aware they utilize a little more of an adult slant, which was great, and maybe it’s why they had them start at 9pm. Since the makeup of the guest population is primarily non-American, I know this is not a problem. Ten times out of ten usually it’s the Americans (which we are if you didn’t get the drift) who get a little (over) uptight if their little “Buffy or Chad” hears something a little risqué. It was all in fun though. They play disco music after the show in lieu of the uncompleted disco room.

A wonderful mix of European, Latin American and this time, Canadian guests. About 10% US. The Canadians where some of the friendliest people we have met.

A general comment on the service, I do think they were making every effort to please the guests. The Currency exchange rate is not as high as those available in Playa Del Carmen or the airport.

The only difficulty we experienced is when we decided to stay an extra night, we asked, and were told; at the time of the reservation we could have the same rate. At checkout, it required a 25min discussion to not be charged $40 more. But eventually this was worked out.

A quick note since we have done most of the snorkel spots in the area. There is fairly good snorkeling just south of the resort about 800 ft out. But, it does not compare to the lagoons or the Akumal area.

Overall, this resort was a wonderful experience, idllyic, and comes highly recommend by us. There has never been even the most expensive resort that someone does not have some small complaint about. If you want perfection, stay in Toledo. (Sorry, very bad analogy) The resort for the price and location is going to be very successful, and will probably get better after a few of the growing pains are calmed.


Thanks to Don for this trip report ...
January 2002

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