We went to Akumal Dec. 21-28 with our kids ages 11 and 12. We booked through locogringo and stayed at Playa Caribe, room 12. Happy with all those arrangements. The condo was kept very pretty and clean and was very nicely appointed with good dishes, coffee maker, microwave, etc. They even had a little welcome basket with coffee (yay! We got in so late we didn't stop and stock up on anything) and snacks. The people who worked there were terrific. A night watchman was on duty when we pulled in and grabbed two suitcases and practically ran up the four flights to show us in. The manager was always pleasant and helpful as were the ladies who cleaned. We were on the top floor, which was lots of stairs but that didn't bother us. One very windy night, we had a bizarre howling sound where the wind whistled through the doors. The condo had two rooms, each with a queen bed and then there was a nice futon in one of the rooms. Two full bathrooms.
Arriving was a little hectic. I hope it was an unusual situation but when we got there, our flight apparently arrived at the same time as a lot of other international flights. We sat on the tarmac for about a half an hour. When we got to passport control, it was a zoo. It was hard to even find the back of the lines. We probably waited for more than hour. Then, when we got to baggage claim, another zoo. There were bags piled everywhere and none of the indications of which flights were in which area were correct. About another hour to find bags (one under a big pile, the other jamming one of the turnstiles). Luckily all bags found and no damage. Then through the hard sales pitch of the guys who line the exit. They seem official and you almost feel like you are required to stop and speak with them. We finally politely extricated ourselves. We got outside and found the rental car guy holding a sign with our name. There was about a 10 minute drive to the rental car place. It took a surprising amount of time to get a car and another hard sell there as they tried to get you to go to the resorts that they had a relationship with. This was American Car Rental. The car was fine. A full size automatic for about $700 US for a week. The guy at the counter talked me into paying about $10 extra per day for the complete coverage. I thought their website had said the price was all inclusive so I was disappointed but buyer beware, I guess.
By this time the kids were very tired. We knew there was a Wal Mart in Playa and tried to stop there but couldn't find it. I hadn't realized the names of the other big stores that were right along the highway. Now I know. Basically, if it looks like a big box store, it probably is.
The drive is really different than when we last visited twenty years ago, partly because of the intense police presence. It seemed as though every few kilometers we passed through a police "filter" - which would be "topes" (speed bumps) and a slow down on the max speed and passing by a bunch of police in a little building in the middle of the highway. No problem from it, just have to stay pretty aware of speeds as they change a lot. They have a great system of "retornos," so that if your destination is on the other side of the highway, you pass it and then take a left u-turn to get onto that side. We had no problem finding the way to Akumal. The highway is very well marked. The road in Akumal itself is very narrow and bumpy but no problem.
More later on Christmas week with kids about our kids doing their referral dives and various places we visited. This report may not sound like it but we had a fantastic time - just a tiring arrival!