Definitely purchase the airline tickets first... it's probably going to be the more expensive between the two (airfare and hotel) and subject to fluctuation much more than the hotel rates. Also, as a rule of thumb airfare tends to be cheaper the earlier you buy.
Since you need both why don't you buy them from agency?
They been dealing with all these for years & you can get better deal.
Agency get better deal because they been partner for years :)
Or you should book the flight 1st coz flight is more expensive compare to hotel.
Maybe the flight discount few hundred dollars but hotel only few ten dollars less .
If you are booking now, so far ahead it doesn't really make much of a difference since you should be able to find a flight which isn't booked that will suit you and the hotel should not be fully booked at this time for April.
If I had to choose however, I would book the hotel around the flights. As you wouldn't want to be stranded in a "strange" place with no where to stay.
Edit: In regards to these "package deals" and "agencies" - I have found through personal experience you will find it cheaper booking them individually through their own websites. Granted this is not always the case but you will find more often than not if you book with companies like Expedia you can often find cheaper flights through the airlines own website.
Just look around and the same goes for hotels.
Start off by looking for airfare specials online. Secure the airfare first. Some websites include Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline,Travelation, ect. If you are flexible with the dates that you can travel, Priceline may be a good option. You can name a price, and see if an airline,or hotel if you are looking for a place to stay, will accept your offer. A friend uses this frequently and can travel for cheap.
About the travel sites; if you can find a good deal on your airfare on on of these sites, check the airline's website. Often times, you can save a little money. For example, if you find a good deal on an American Airlines flight on Expedia, go to American's site (AA.com) and see if you can find the same flight for less. Shop around, you still have plenty of time!
You can combine your flight, rental car, hotel, ect on most of not all of the travel sites, and you can save money. If you are planning on going to multiple cities or destinations, this may not be for you.
It is a good idea to have the airfare secured before you reserve hotels. You are being smart by planning in advance. You will have more options available, and you can also save alot of money by purchasing airfare in advance.
cheaper to buy a package from a travel agency.
Hey I would suggest you try to do both at the same time that way you can get a package and it could end up saving you money. I am a Certified Travel Agent if you want an idea of some prices check out this site: dpaschall.traverustravelnetwork.com
I would do it at the same time. You can use any of the bigger sites to do it but booking your airline ticket and hotel on the same site at the same time is best.
Check out the travel websites, like expedia, travelocity, etc. You may be able to reserve your hotel room & book your flight all in the same internet session. It is easier to get the hotel room 1st, then get the flight, since there are many flight options, but few hotel rooms. If Tulum was in Dean's path, call ahead a couple of weeks before hand to make sure they are accepting guests. Enjoy!!
Do them both in a package deal -- you will save so much money that way it's not even funny. I know a guy who needed just a flight, so he checked the price. Then he checked the price of flight + hotel -- it was cheaper than just the flight, so he booked the package and never even used the hotel.
I say buy the tickets first, or you can even do it all at once through one of those websites... now a days everything is possible..good thing you're going in April, it's not an expensive month to travel.