First, thank you to the forum members who responded to all of my questions last week. Without you and without all of the information found on this forum I don’t think it would have been possible to put together such an amazing vacation at literally the very last minute. Akumal was exactly what we were looking for. It is a perfect location for a non AI vacation.
Day 1: Arrived at the Cancun airport where we were met by our driver. Stopped at the grocery store near Puerto Aventuras (can’t remember store’s name but kind of like a Mexican WalMart). Checked into Vista Del Mar. We were exhausted so headed next door to La Buena Vida for dinner. What a nice welcome to Mexico, we were seated on the beach near the water. Decided to turn in early.
Day 2: Watched the sun rise from the hammocks on our very large balcony (did this every morning) then headed out for a run. Ran all through Akumal, along the beach at Akumal Bay and into Akumal Pueblo. Was a nice way to look around and get a feel for where everything is. While in the Pueblo looked for the Catholic church. Asked some locals who were stopped at a little breakfast stand about mass time and found out only one mass a week – 8 pm on Saturday. Ran back to VDM for breakfast at our condo. Rented fins for the week next door at Akumal Dive Adventures. Snorkeled in Half Moon Bay. Water was calm, and only a couple of other people were out. We walked up the beach to the north side of the bay, swam out to the reef and then just floated along the reef back down to near our condo. Saw a lot of fish, but no turtles. Others said they saw turtles in HMB. Later in the afternoon went to Akumal Bay for snorkeling, and it was every bit as crowded as we were anticipating (but still enjoyable).
For dinner went to La Lunita. This was by far the most expensive meal of our trip and our least favorite. The setting and the service were amazing; the food was just okay. Not bad, not great. For the high price we were expecting not only good service but also great food.
Day 3: Walked to the highway and caught a collectivo to Tulum ruins. Decided to hire a guide and glad we did. He was really fun and added so much more to our visit than we otherwise would have gotten from our guide book. We arrived at the ruins about 8:30, and the guide stayed with us for just over an hour. DH and I went down to the beach, and when we came up the stairs back to the ruins around 10:30 we were amazed at the huge crowds that had arrived. Walking back to the highway against the tour crowds that were arriving was really a sight. Wish now I had taken a picture of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people headed toward the entrance. Moral of the story, unless you enjoy enormous crowds arrive at Tulum ruins very early. As for the ruins, they were just okay compared to the others we’ve visited. The beautiful beach location and the close proximity to Akumal is why we chose to visit.
Back on a collective to Tulum Pueblo. Our ruins guide had directed us past the Catholic church, past the market to some streets that have little restaurants for lunch. Found a little place with a few tables outside. DH and I were the only gringos. Lots of locals were stopping by from work and grabbing a bite. It was quite busy, and the empanadas were out of this world. It cost only about $3 for a couple of empanadas and a drink. The most authentic Mexican food of our trip.
Collectivo back to Akumal and more snorkeling in HMB. Saw a HUGE ray. Dinner at Turtle Bay Bakery and Café. Was probably our favorite restaurant (ate there 2 dinners and one breakfast). The fresh grouper was delicious, and we appreciated the fresh vegetables. The bread they serve with dinner is worth the visit just for it alone…yum!