Day 6 in Akumal

We had a lazy morning. Three out of the four of us didn’t sleep well, so everyone but me took some time getting going today. No problem for me, as I needed to catch up with the blog and pictures.

Eventually, we decided to go to Tulum to Paradise Beach. Only 20 minutes away, we passed on the ruins and headed for the beach. The town is a mecca for families, young people and lots of bicycles. We found the El Paraíso Club and were again pleasantly surprised at the beauty and charm. We rented four poster beds right on the beach and relaxed in luxury. Our drink and snack orders came on a raised bed tray, allowing us to lean back and enjoy the pampering.

Jim and I took a stroll down the beach, which had pure white talcum-like sand. The wind was never-ending, although not ferocious. Again, the best part was no vendors hawking jewelry, hair braiding or beach cover-ups. They are relentless in all the Pacific beach towns. 

Several hours of relaxation and we were ready for some bridge. We had a drink and played cards with minimal distraction. One of these days, I will have some good cards!

Our next destination was to see a house on the exchange site I found. It is very contemporary, designed by the couples’ architect son. With a wide expanse of ocean front, the views were amazing. No beach, but walkable to the nearby Akumal beach.

They were a lovely couple and we had lots in common with them. Nothing was decided, but her uncle used to live in Ajijic a while ago, so they were familiar with our little town. If possible, we may exchange next February.

Back to the condo to have a drink and get packed, as our lovely vacation is coming to an end tomorrow. It has been wonderful. Tonight, we will have a nice dinner and remember the fun here in Akumal.

Day 5 in Akumal

The sky was very overcast and it looked like rain, but none was predicted. A cup of tea for me and a coffee for Jim, and off we went to the Dolphin Adventure in Akumal. I bought four coupons to swim with the dolphins at half price on Groupon and thought it would be something different and unique. Well, it certainly was different… The first part was a sales pitch to upgrade us from a dolphin “encounter” to a dolphin “adventure,” for only $20 US more per person, rather than $30 per person. Then, we could purchase the photo package for only $59 US. As hard as it was to refuse, we said no!

The “encounter “ consisted of us donning vests, removing all jewelry (dolphins like to take anything sparkly) and walking along the side ledge of the large tank to meet up with the trainer and two very happy dolphins. They jumped, caught thrown rings, came to us for rubs on their backs and put their bottle noses up to our faces for kisses.  No actual swimming ensued, at least not for us. A British family paid the big bucks to ride a boogie board on top of a dolphin. Whoopie! The water was barely tepid, so the shortened version of the experience was just fine. Sorry, no pix. We didn’t buy the package.

We then went into Akumal for a late breakfast. The Turtle Bay Club was just the place. With a large menu, we found something to eat. And, across the street was the Akumal Dive Shop, which was a definite destination for Jim.

About 20 years ago, Jim went diving in the Akumal Bay. He checked it out and, amazingly, the price for two dives was only $99 US, the same as 20 years ago! While at breakfast, I checked one of the home exchange sites we use and there was a beautiful house right on the Akumal Bay with 60’ of beach front. We decided to walk around and find it, but were unsuccessful. We would love to return early next year for a week or two and a home exchange could be just the ticket! I sent the owners a message.

The clouds disappeared as we walked. The high temps are only around 80, a little cooler than our high temps in Ajijic, but certainly better than up north. The beach was filled with families and adorable bikini-clad young women, as well as people learning to snorkel and dive.

We decided to park ourselves at a restaurant table on the beach, order some beverages and play bridge. The staff was very welcoming and helpful. As a perfect end to the day, we ordered a pizza to go for dinner and returned to the condo for a quiet evening.

Tomorrow, our last full day here, The plan is to go to the Tulum ruins in the morning, followed by another visit to Xpu-Ha beach. Next week is the start of the Easter holiday season, with the expectation of huge crowds visiting the beaches. The schools are closed, so no doubt there will be many families all over the resorts. Sounds like a good time to be heading home before the hordes arrive!

During dinner in the condo, I got a call from the home exchange owners here in Akumal. They invited us to see the house and meet them tomorrow in the late PM. Off to bed now…

 

Day 4 in Akumal

Today turned out to be an amazing day. After a lazy morning and breakfast, we decided to check out one of the other beaches recommended by Ricardo, our “Concierge.” It was Xpu-Ha (shpoo-ha). The road to the water wasn’t great and there were camp sites and converted school buses that looked like leftovers from the 60’s. Jim walked to the beach to check it out while I stayed in the car. If it was awful, we wouldn’t pay the $80 peso per person charge to just get in.

Well, to everyone’s shock and delight, the beaqch was fantastic! It wasn’t crowded, the sand was white talcum powder, the large bay was turquoise with gentle waves and there were several restaurants ready to serve the requisite margaritas. There were boats to take you out snorkeling or for a scuba dive, plus kayaks or wave runners to hire. And best of all, for those of you who are familiar with the persistent hawkers selling shell or silver jewelry, temporary tatoos, bathing suit coverups or hair braiding at the Pacific resort beaches, there were almost none all day. It was a pleasure!

For a small fee, we rented two lounge chairs under a palapa, had drinks on the beach and swam in the Caribbean with total enjoyment. What a pleasure. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of fajitas and more drinks, followed by a long walk on the uncrowded beach and several hands of bridge. By the way, I look like a lobster! And, that happened while slathered with 50 SPF sunscreen.

We hated to leave, but a shower and change of clothes later, we were off to Akumal for dinner. There were three restaurants right next to each other, filled with a variety of diners. We opted for fish/seafood and enjoyed freshly caught grouper and red snapper. The music started up during our meal and the female singer, accompanied by three excellent musicians, performed beautifully. A quick stop at the restaurant’s bakery for a blueberry muffin for breakfast and then back to the condo for more bridge.

It was a most satisfying day albeit I think my burned exterior will keep reminding me that even 50 SPF isn’t enough! Tomorrow, we swim with the dolphins in the morning and then a return to Xpu-Ha for another dose of beach life. If we arrive early enough, Jim will hopefully get in a dive. He was looking forward to it, since it has been a few years. The dolphins just have to cooperate.

 

Day 3 in Akumal

Last night, as we were going to bed, we found an infestation of tiny ants on the bedroom floor, on the living room floor and on the wall in the bedroom. It was a horrific find. You can imagine how much we wanted to deal with this as we were ready to collapse! Jim got the broom and dust pan and proceeded to sweep them up (like herding cats) and toss them outside. I got a mop and floor cleaner and washed the floors and walls. Finally, they seemed to be gone.

The strange thing is that there was no food in either room, and definitely no food on the walls. What?? I immediately wrote our AirBnB host to let him know. Of course, this has never happened before. Lucky us! By the morning, they were gone, hopefully never to return.

So, come the morning, we were lazy and ate a leisurely breakfast in the condo. We were visited by the Concierge (a fancy name for property manager). Ricardo was very helpful and not only said he would take care of any issues, but also gave us some ideas of places to go for the rest of the day.

Off we went, to the Yal-Ku Lagoon to go snorkeling and play some more bridge. The lagoon was nearby and quite a surprise, as we found out. Several  groups were there when we arrived. I believe they were at the lagoon on a snorkeling adventure with one of the many companies who hawk their services as you come into Akumal. We rented equipment, the fins and masks and then rented a palapa for the day right on the edge of the water. It was well worth the $395 pesos ($20 US).

Walking from the entrance to the palapa, there were beautiful sculptures along the walkway. It was a serene reminder that we would be under the water soon, enjoying the fish we were about to see. This was my first snorkeling experience. Can you believe that? Seventy years old and never snorkeled. Other than navigating the fins and breathing tube, which took no time at all, I took to it easily.

While the ocean was very rough, due to the wind that is prevalent this time of the year, the lagoon was calm and we were fortunate to see schools of fish. Other than the Sargeant Major fish, which Jim identified by their beautiful blue and yellow stripes, we couldn’t identify the other fish we saw. There were grey striped ones, grey dotted ones and  ones with iridescent blue, yellow and orange bodies. The quiet under the water was amazing. I am officially hooked!

Returning to the palapa, we found a visitor. A small grey iguana was hanging around, no doubt looking for a bug lunch. It was disappointed, no bugs. We also were ready for lunch, without bugs, thank you. Just down the street was a charming restaurant where we had really tasty tacos and quesadillas and a couple of ice cold beers and lemonade. Couldn’t be better.

These pictures are not exactly what we saw, but close. I “borrowed” them from a nearby sign…

 

After lunch, we broke out the cards and played bridge until closing time. Off to the grocery store for some wine, cheese and chips (remember that we are on vacation) and a quiet evening of more bridge. What a wonderful day!

 

 

Akumal and the Beach

We relaxed this morning, had a little breakfast and decided it was time to find the beach. We left the TAO Residences, the location of the condo in Bahia Principe and headed to the TAO Beach across the highway. Along the water were lovely private homes, a development of apartments/condos that looked like rentals and then access to the beach and pool.

We walked through the restaurant that would actually take money and was not a part of the all-inclusive community. We strolled along the beach only to find a rocky, seaweed filled shore with waves that would scare even the most seasoned surfer. Off we went to find another beach, but kept the restaurant in mind for an early supper.

The town of Akumal was busy with many Mexicans enjoying the end of the Benito Juárez three day holiday weekend. So, off we went, again. This time, we went to the beach side of the Bahia Principe Resort. What a difference! There are several resorts next to each other, all along the private bay, each with beautiful amenities, pools and restaurants.

There were lots of guests, from the US, Canada and México. We were lucky to find someone leaving their pool lounge chairs and she offered them to us. And, it was close to the beach. The waves were still beyond white caps big, but the resort has breakers and a barrier so the swimming area is calm. Other than huge amounts of seaweed, which were captured and taken away by a small backhoe, it was manageable. However, the huge pool was very inviting.

The water aerobics classes were just ending, and the blaring techno music was almost over, so we took a dip and it was wonderful. I must admit that I am much more of a pool girl than a beach girl. After, as I was sitting on the lounge chair, I caught a moving object out of the corner of my eye. Lo and behold, it was a good sized iguana that wandered under my chair to get to the rocks nearby. With the tail, I will bet it was over two and a half feet long! Yikes!

Fortunately, I think it was just as scared of me as I was of it, so it moved on, with a baby iguana following not long after. They definitely freaked out the cute American girls sitting nearby. I sat in the sun for a few minutes and got fried! Normally, I am very diligent about applying sunscreen, but I didn’t think I would get so red so quickly.

Time to have a late lunch/early supper, so we headed back to the restaurant at the TAO beach. Today’s special was paella, which was what we ordered. Forty five minutes later, it came, shrimp heads and all. I must say that it tasted great, but I didn’t enjoy pulling off the heads and peeling the shrimp. We couldn’t even finish it, allowing us to have a little “para llevar” for tomorrow.

 

Cancun to Akumal

After a quick flight from Guadalajara to Cancun early in the morning, we picked up our rental car and headed south toward Playa del Carmen, as we couldn’t check into our AirBnB condo until 3:00 pm. By the way, “we” includes our good friends, who traveled with us.

Jim had been there many years ago, when it was a sleepy village on the Gulf of Mexico. We drove toward the beach, past many shoe and souvenir shops to find several beach volleyball games happening. There were lots of young people, but no hotel or other restaurants, which was our goal for an enjoyable beach lunch. We ended just up from the beach at a typical Mexican restaurant, enjoying tacos, Aztec soup and guacamole, followed by a visit to Walmart for some groceries.

We found our way to the Bahia Principe Golf Resort to the condo, but needed to make a stop at the golf club first. There, we found out that the restaurants in the resort were part of all-inclusive packages. Most likely, they cater to the visiting golfers who are drawn to the tournament quality courses here. But, you can buy a 24 hour package of four meals for $60 US. One day’s worth might be okay. We’ll decide after we do more exploring of the available food options in the nearby towns.

The condo serves our needs, with two bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom, nice patio, air conditioner in each bedroom, plus one in the living room. It even has a washer and dryer, which is a plus. And there is a huge pool almost outside our door. The real negative is the distance from the beach, which is on the other side of the highway.

Today, we will continue exploring and get a beach fix…

Off for a fun time at the beach!

After many years of going to the Pacific, mainly Manzanillo, Melaque, La Manzanilla, we are going to Akumal on the Yucatan Peninsula. Akumal is between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, a short drive from the airport in Cancun.

We found a wonderful AirBnB there, on the golf course, with lots of amenities, and right near the beach. Just down the road is snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins and maybe a little shopping, too. You never know!

The condo has two bedrooms and two baths, with a full kitchen, laundry and lots more. We are going with friends, so it will be a wonderful time together. I will post pictures once we are there.