Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Akumal Beach Resort

When my parents told me they were coming to visit, we decided to take a little vacation with them and I started researching hotels down south. I hemmed and hawed about where to go, so many options and places I had never been, but finally settled on Akumal. I pulled up one of my favourite resources for the Riviera Maya, LocoGringo and checked out the specials and discounts they had for hotels in the area and finally decided on the Akumal Beach Resort. The deal just couldn't be beat, an all-inclusive resort on a great beach, close to snorkeling and at a reduced price, 40% off the regular rate (ended up being about $57 USD per person per day, Max was free). Living here we don't have a lot of experience actually staying at resorts, so anything was going to be a treat for us. I knew we weren't going to a 5 star luxury resort, and that was just fine by me, as long as someone else was cooking and cleaning everything was going to be A-OK.

We arrived at the hotel on July 1st and were greeted with a refreshing drink. Check in was a breeze, we got our bracelets (different colours depending on what language you spoke, I got the Spanish one so I guess I passed the oral quiz) and headed up to our rooms. The rooms were basic and clean, nothing fancy, but a good size, big beds that were only a little bit hard and fantastic views of the sea.

Our Building

View of the pool from our balcony

We quickly got into our bathing suits and headed to the bar. I mean, the beach. Ahem. Ok, ok, so we did hit the bar first (Carlos the bartender was great, been working there 30 years!) and then made our way to the beach for a peek at the sea. Glorious! A big stretch of sand, palapas and lounge chairs and very few rocks or coral. I had been concerned that being so close to the reef we would find the beach a bit rocky, but right in front of the hotel was a lovely spot for swimming and walking barefoot. One of the first things I noticed was the number of turtle nests dotting the shore, all marked with palm leaves and a sign noting the date the eggs were laid. There was not to be any beach volleyball this week as a couple of mama turtles had decided that the court was a great place to lay their eggs, but I'd rather have more turtles than sweat it up knocking a ball around anyway. There were very few guests at the hotel, bad for the economy but apparently good for turtles. One of the staff members told me that there were three times as many nests this year, mostly because only 1/3 of the hotel was being used, lights were shut off in the unoccupied wings, a big plus for attracting turtles who are repelled by bright lights.

Turtle Nest

The Beach on Akumal Bay

Beach closer to town of Akumal

We had a terrific stay at the hotel. Not fancy, but that is right up our alley, casual and relaxed fun with a great animation team. Normally I am turned off by the entertainers constantly nagging to play their silly games, but the staff at ABR were so kind and nice that we participated in a lot of activities without a whole lot of pressure. Dancing lessons, aqua aerobics, guessing games, bocce ball, archery, karaoke, sand castle contests, we got our fill of action and still managed to find a whole lot of time to relax or just play in the pool with Max the Fish. I was most delighted with the kids' club, it was small and wasn't filled with fancy toys or climbing equipment, but the "teacher" kept the kids busy and Max was begging to go every morning. Gave us some free grown up time which we greatly enjoyed.

Sand Turtle Competition, Part of The Winning Team!

Watermelon eating contest
(Part of the 4th of July celebrations)

Canucka practicing a bit of archery
(Boy did I hurt after that!)

The food was good, not gourmet but we ate plenty! We particularly liked the pizzas at the snack bar, real Italian style thin crust, I ate them by the plateful every day. There was one buffet restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and in the evenings you could make reservations for their special Italian and Mexican nights. The Italian fare was certainly a highlight. There is a huge Italian influence at the hotel, many guests from Italy. I spent our last night drinking with a whole group from Italy, it was great fun trying to communicate with a little Spanish, a lot of Italian, a little English and a whole lot of hand gestures. Max made close friends with a little Italian boy, they had a great time frolicking and trying to learn each other's languages.

So, overall, a good time was had by all. We would definitely return to the ABR, its laid-back atmosphere and fantastic location made it just right for our family. If you are looking to be pampered and fawned over, this is not your hotel but if you want a gorgeous beach, great snorkeling and a casual vibe, this would be the right place for you.

Max playing the harmonica blues for the turtles


Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Yay! I've checked out this resort many times, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'd like to stay in Akumal the next time we go in Mexico for any length of time (I'm going on a cruise to Progreso and Coz in November...can't seem to stay away) and this place sounds perfect. I'd love to be able to snorkel off the beach at the hotel - I recently went to the Iberostar Paraiso Maya and it was beautiful but no real snorkeling.

I'm happy that you were able to get away for awhile! Hope you're feeling refreshed and not slightly depressed like I do when I get home from a vacation : )

Sara said...

I applaud you for trying archery and being photographed while doing it. I can barely even pull that little string back and even then it usually snaps free and bruises my forearm. Who know? Maybe I am doing something wrong.

Your vacation looked lovely!

Gaelyn said...

This place looks great. Who needs a poshy room when you only sleep there. Looks like you were very busy. Love the fact the more turtles returned here, even if the place was low on business. Probably made a nicer stay.

Frankly Ronda said...

Sounds like a place we would really like!

Kathy said...

Sounds lovely! We're getting a decent amount of nidos here also but I'm not sure if it is as high as last year. Lots of nidos=less chance of a hit (we don't say the H-word in season) so that is good news that they're seeing more than usual.

Coby said...

Awesome information! I have a lot of family planning to visit this fall and I was looking for some place a little more laid back than the HZ in Cancun and Akumal looks great! Curiously, do you know when the turtles hatch? I'd love to be there to snap a few pictures of that.

CancunCanuck said...

Kelly- If you are looking to snorkel off the beach, this is one of the best places for it. Not many places where you can just walk into the water and have this kind of experience. Enjoy your cruise, hope you get to Akumal soon!

Sara- It had been years and years since I had done any archery, but I guess it's like riding a bike, my body just remembered where it should be. I will say that my elbow was SORE afterwards, had to get a bag of ice to heal my wounds (and the "Banana Mama" rum drink helped too). :)

Gaelyn- I am so with you, the room is for sleeping and that's about it! My parents hooked us up with camping equipment while they were here, so no hotels for us, we're just pitching the tent from now on. The low occupancy was nice from a guest perspective (and turtle perspective), but I felt bad for the staff.

American Mommy- I think your family would love this spot, so many great things to see in the area and a really laid back vibe. :)

Kathy- I hadn't heard about the nido/"hit" theory, I like it and I will stick to it. Going by the number of nests we saw, Akumal should be clear at any rate. :)

Coby- Nesting season is between June and September for some turtles, April and July for others. The eggs hatch in about 60 days so some of the April babies should be raring to head out to sea. You can contact the CEA in Akumal for details about their releases, here's their link..... http://ceakumal.org/index.html

Heather said...

Love the respect for the turtle nest. What a nice stay-cation they call them.

CancunCanuck said...

Heather- Is it still a "stay-cation" if we were a couple hours away? If so, all I need is "stay-cations", haha, we've got everything we could desire right here in QRoo. :)

Cancun Mexico said...

Hi. Nice picture, beautiful family and good way to enjoy Cancun resorts. Congratulation

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