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“Hotel Akumal Caribe/Villas Maya Bungalows”

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Hotel Akumal Caribe
Ranked #17 of 23 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Hotel Akumal Caribe/Villas Maya Bungalows”
Reviewed 7 March 2012

We stayed in the Villas Maya Bungalows which is run and operated by the same people at Hotel Akumal Caribe. We stayed in unit 102 and it was wonderful! Yeah the rooms are a little tired and some minor chips of tile and rust spots etc. but overall the property was great for our needs! It's the tropics so some times it was a little musty. We usually had a great breeze and left windows open. The maids do a wonderful job!

We found that we didn't really use the kitchenette as much as we had thought due to the fact there were so many options for cheap eats around the town it wasn't really worth having to buy all the items to cook meals. we did get some snacks, soda, juice, pastries, sandwich makings, etc. and did fine with those on some day trips.

Bring a phone cord to hook up for internet if you plan to surf. You get wi-fi at the Lol Ha and we also received complimentary continental breakfast for 2 every morning. We didn't use the pool, but did use the chairs and palapas daily.

It's a great place in the heart of the bay and we love it! We will be back! Thank you to all the staff at the Hotel Akumal Caribe for making our vacation wonderful :)

Teri and Craig Schlesser

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank Teri Ann S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Iowa City, Iowa, USA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2012

Review of Hotel Akumal Caribe

2/22/12

Your heart leads you south on the road to Akumal.

You see the signs “Casa del Glutton Máximo” … “no mosquitoes—guaranteed!” … “fat ninos eat for free!”. You swear you can hear the jaguars growling out, “Now we must hunt french poodles?”

If are not pulled in by their sirens' song, then you continue on and drive under the white arch to paradise. Layers of madness melt away.

You stop at the old office and register, and immediately Bart or Javier helps you with your luggage. Everyone is welcoming--none of the automatic corporate smiles with tired eyes. You go from the office into the grounds of a lovely old hotel-- the Hotel Akumal Caribe. It is nestled amongst coconut palms, flowers and tropical plants.

In the guest rooms, the doors, the woodwork—all was made from solid jungle hardwood. When you close your room door, it definitely isn't a hollow piece of junk from a discount lumber yard. It tones into place like a wooden bell. It's a 3 story old-style hotel with your patio facing the pool, beach and sun.

The hotel lies obliquely to the beach, so that when you're out on your patio, you can get direct sun without walking the 20 steps to the beach and grabbing a chaise. Yes, you're that close. And all you see is ocean through the green glory of the coconut palms as they demure near the water's edge.

The hotel was built by one of Mexico's most famous and enlightened citizens: Pablo Bush Romero. Back in the late 50's/early 60's, as a diver, he saw Mexico's reefs being plundered by looters. He felt compelled to found CEDAM to stop the looting and do the wreck-hunting properly. It's members included archeologists, scientists, divers, the Mexican Navy, and they explored not only the ancient wrecks, but they plumbed the unknown depths of ancient Mayan springs (cenotes) and tried to salvage what they could. All was cleaned, cataloged and saved in museums for the Mexican people. It was all started and continued through the Herculean efforts of Pablo Bush Romero. He was a man of vision, energy and blessed with a powerful dynamism that inspired others to join him. One might dare call him a dynamic of combination Jacques Cousteau and Indiana Jones! Read his book. It's very exciting.

As he explored the Yucatan, Don Pablo fell in love with this little bay, Akumal. It was guarded by a barrier reef. Her shores were white sand with coconut palms growing nearly to the water's edge. On the rocky point of the bay, surf surged and cascaded in lacy assaults. And inside the barrier reef the bay was God's aquarium—protected from the toothy vicissitudes that swam deep and dark outside her gates. He knew Akumal was special. After the major explorations were done in the area, he brought his family there to live in Akumal's extraordinary beauty.

You get ready for your first snorkel tour. Small groups of snorkelers assemble at the dive shop, and you go out into the beautiful bay. You continue snorkeling out (and it's never very deep), you begin to see the coral and the life that lives therein. Barracudas. Rays just below you in the sand. Parrot fish. Grunts. Too many to name. Black sea urchins nesting in squads under protective coral outcroppings. Huge brain coral. Fan and antler coral. And of course, the stars of nature's aquarium are the big turtles. You watch them grazing on only one kind of grass on the sandy bottom. They feed and gorge themselves, then with sea grass hanging from their mouths, they head up to the surface for air. And from a discreet distance, you can watch this miracle—something often only seen on the Discovery channel, and it's right in front of you!

Later the Momma turtles find their way back to Akumal and onto the sand to lay their clutches of eggs. Later in the year, the miracle begins as baby turtles struggle out from under the sand to a full moon, a beacon that lights their way as a velvet trail on a black quiet sea. They skitter, clumsily toward the moon and the gently lapping water's edge. In they go! Many guests time their vacations to see this miracle of nature. Just ask the hotel staff when to come. Guests are given special lights and are instructed how to watch (and help!). So, interested guests, scientists and helpers watch the tiny babies struggle to the surface of the sand follow the moonlight out into the night water. And someday, some will live to return to Akumal to lay their eggs.

Floating or diving in Akumal is a very great privilege. If one feels so moved, donate to the Pablo Bush Foundation to help educate the children of Akumal and to help with the effort to keep Akumal forever pristine and in balance with nature.

If you like a wild night-life thing or throbbing techno music, forget it. Go down the road. There are some small bars, restaurants where boogy-ing on a small scale can be found. But Hotel Akumal Caribe slowly winds down about between 9 and 10pm. A couple of times a week, they will have flamenco dancers or a trio of acoustic musicians to grace the upscale restaurant, Lol Ha. Akumal is for chill'n in the sun or sighing under stars. After the kitchens close down, the hotel and grounds sink into silence but for the lapping of the gentle waves. Nature pulls you into Akumal magic.

The hotel has two very relaxed lovely restaurants: the Snack Bar and Lol Ha. Both sit right on the beach with a glorious view of the bay, sunrise to past sunset. One of the nice ways to begin the day is breakfast at Lol Ha. Everything from Eggs Benedict to Mexican soul food can be found.

Lol Ha is an intimate venue for fine dining. The Chef does a superb job of making a Mayan/Mexican fusion that animates the taste buds and excites the eye. If you can, try the lobster. They are local, and they are cooked to perfection. Also, any of the fresh fish. Red fish and grouper are done either on the grill or in Vera Cruz style. But the fresh fillet pan sauteed in roasted garlic butter? Puh-leeze!!! Lol Ha is casual dress, but the food is haute cuisine.

The Snack bar is a great place for anything from lobster to burgers. I highly recommend the Lol Ha Burger: charred poblano pepper and cheese stuffed into superb ground beef. I swear it's sirloin, but I never asked. There's a happy hour at the Snack bar … bar where you get 2 for one drinks of any kind. If you want a nice buzz before dinner, drink'm up until the bell rings. During Happy Hour, I recommend a drink made from the essence of stewed Hibiscus flower petals, and it's superb. It's a deep lavender with rum and elixirs teasing your taste buds.

Staying at Hotel Akumal Caribe is like being part of a family. All the men who guard the place wave as they get to know you. The maids are lovely ladies, very dignified, and if you speak either Mayan or Spanish, you can converse. The waiters are quietly efficient young men who are as sweet as Akumal bay. What I admire about the people who work at Hotel Akumal Caribe is that they have NOT been instructed to avert their eyes from the guest's. No. They are diligent in their work, and they are very dignified and cheerful. Though they speak “waiter” English, with my rudimentary Spanish, I did my best to talk with them, and they obliged. You see, what I cherish most from our trips are the people we meet. Every person you meet can be instructive to the great patchwork of humanity we all carry around with us. So I keep talk'n and patch'n with passion.

The grounds of the hotel are kept immaculate. Every day, the head gardener and others make the rounds to rake the sand smooth, pick up detritus of the trees. They trims, tie and arrange vines and flowers so you have your own floral glory on your patio. It's wonderful be in nature with her damsel's dress always laid cleaned.

The pool is NEVER crowded. It faces the hotel. And by the way, kids are welcome—this is a family place, and one of the best things about the beach is... safety. No waves or strong currents to pull your child away. If our kids were little again, we would let them run on the sand and into the shallow water. We watched a few parents who had their “babies” or toddlers learning about the joys of the beach without the constant fear of them being swept away. Becky and I observed, isn't this beach perfect for families with young children.

The beach is never crowded. Ever. I swear, the spirit of Akumal keeps just enough sun-worshipers around to add ambiance. You don't see people fighting for loungers. And one can lounge either in the sun or just under the shade of the palm trees and a couple of palapas.

The hotel has a dive shop on premises, and tours are being arranged constantly. This is diver/snorkeler Heaven. Boats take divers out to places unseen by snorkelers. One of the grand daughters of Don Pablo, Gynna, is a Chef and diver and leads hunts for the deadly (but succulent) lionfish. You can find her at her restaurant: Gynn'ak on the road to Yal ku. Gynna is a very brave and strong person. She keeps going out and spearing these poisonous monsters.

To show you what kind of place Hotel Akumal Caribe is, go to their website: hotelakumalcaribe.com and you will find photos and bios of all the employees. I venture to guess that the all-you-can-gluton corporate AI's do NOT tell you much about their staff. The corporate consensus at these places is that the “help” should remain anonymous serving as human ambiance for gringo fantasies. After all, when you want a fake butler, you don't care to interact with him. He's there to serve you and take orders. Here the employees smile at you, and if you are a garrulous fool like me, you can get to know them.

The Hotel Akumal Caribe is special in so many ways. Most important is Don Pablo's family's dogged determination to keep this hotel small with plenty of land and beach per guest. There are forces that wish places like this would be absorbed by a giant corporation and shove huge high-rises into gentle Akumal. Of course, it would kill the very beauty people seek. And the citizens—the local folk would be ignored. The Bush family gives back to the community. Don Pablo left a foundation for the permanent residents of Akumal to encourage the children to stay in school. And the family funds a library and many other worthy endevours. They try and raise money for teachers. They are constantly looking for ecologically-sound ways of waste disposal to keep the fragile beauty, Akumal, alive.

I know I have not listed all that they do, for they are nothing if not modest. Senora Laura Bush Wolfe is the daughter of Don Pablo who runs the day to day operation for her family. I have had the privilege of meeting her and her husband, Senor Wolfe. They are very in tune with what Pablo wanted for Akumal. But it is hard to keep things as beautiful and wonderful as they are. Again, I urge guest to give a donation to one of many funds and special projects this family maintains to have a symbiotic relationship with all Akumal's people.

I urge you to come and see the one place the famous Don Pablo chose to be his home. He is gone now. But his spirit is mingled with that of his delicate Akumal. As Don Pablo knew all too well, we humans come and go, the moon above the bay, the silent turtles and their children emerging from moonlit sands, the birds chattering in happy oblivion—all are still here, and with the grace of God and the enlightened care, may it remain, forever, Akumal.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Big-Steve-Smith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary.
Level Contributor
41 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Adjectives can not describe this quaint hotel. Our visit at this location was Feb.26 - Mar 04 2012 When we entered the office area there was a sign posted with my name on it "welcoming us home" ( how enlightening was that ) Immediately we were overcome with the friendliness of the individual behind the desk. A staff member put our luggage in a "bicycle cart" and took us to the hotel, My wife always " over-packs" and one or our suitcases probably weighed more than the small staff member, but he denied my help and carried our luggage to room #417, ( a ocean view room with a kitchenette and king-size bed ). The room was very clean, bright, 100% stucco, alcoves in the walls etc. like a little Mexican Hacienda. At dusk, as we were figuring out the light switches ( part of a holiday ) the entire room lit up, we couldn't believe how much light the bulbs located in the four alcoves emitted, great for us as we do extensive reading at night. The fridge worked perfectly ( had to turn in down a notch as the pop had ice in it ) The air-con unit appeared new and was extremely effective, and there was a large fan above the bed. The shower was great, lots of hot water. A small table with accompanying chairs were located near the patio door, the balcony was full size with a cute concrete love seat built into one end, and included a table and two chairs, ( of course the view was fantastic). An aggravating part of traveling were the "gringos" who get up in the middle of the night and place their belongings on the large palapas to mark their territory. These people are on a ego trip so they can have the same palapa every day. No problem! There is AMPLE SHADE provided by the numerous trees located in the area, also an adequate supply of lounge chairs within the "extensive reserved beach area" which is roped off. We never utilized the pool. The snorkeling is great just off the beach in front of the hotel, and the Lol-ha restaurant ( which provides the continental breakfast offered by the hotel ) has an extensive menu and great food. We encountered numerous people who have been coming to this Hotel for years because of its tranquility, and we will certainly be returning ASAP

Room Tip: rooms located on the top floor have the best views and are quieter
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank pianoman88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
151 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 230 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2012

Fantastic staff - professional, kind, flexible and fast. The rooms were very nice, same for the pool, great beach with lots of palm trees and sun deck chairs, Oh, and we saw lots of sea turtles while snorkeling just off-shore.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank susanned
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
87 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We returned to this site several times because it really fits our needs nicely. Laid back but on a beautiful little bay with good snorkeling, dive shop, decent access (drive or bus) to groceries, Mayan ruins, nightclubs in Playa del Carmen. A few restaurants are walking distance, though very very close and the Lol Ha is the one we eat at for 90% of our meals. Speaking English will get you buy fine, though Spanish may open some doors or be more helpful.

Room Tip: Stick with the cabins if you want a more private experience, though they have a standard multi-story...
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellingham
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

Bungalows and hotel right on the most beautiful beach in Akumal. Wake up and swim with the sea turtles before the beach gets busy later in the day. Dive shop with a large selection of snorkeling and diving gear on site. Excellent food and margaritas on the beach under the large palapa as well as a nice restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the beach. Staff is always friendly and attentive. Rooms are clean and quiet. Once you get settled in, you won't want to leave. The lovely, sandy beach is protected by an offshore reef from the large waves which buffet the surrounding coastline of Akumal. Gentle surf and somewhat shallow - great for children!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank cindyinBham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Port Salerno, Florida
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2012

We have been coming to this hotel since 1991 and wouldn't stay anywhere else. We are always so happy to see Lazaro, the head waiter now. Rooms are adequate, clean, nicely furnished and comfortable. All the employees are very friendly and helpful.
The food is always delicious and I love the LoHa Salad...its the best. You can rent golf-carts and that a fun way to get around.
We plan on returning home again soon.

Room Tip: Love the hotel with the views....
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank goldilocks51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Akumal Caribe

Property: Hotel Akumal Caribe
Address: Hwy 307, Km 104, Carretera Cancun-Tulum, Akumal 77500, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#11 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Akumal Caribe 3*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The beach in front of Hotel Akumal Caribe. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Caribe Hotel Akumal
Akumal Caribe Hotel
Hotel Akumal Caribe Riviera Maya, Mexico

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