"Tankah Bay" Tancah by swfeken

Tancah Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 8 photos

Introduction to Tankah Bay

Tankah Bay, May 15-18 2003

We headed back towards the coast on the highway, this time taking the 180, the non-toll road. This made for an interesting experience, and gave us a chance to see some of the towns, the “real Yucatan” along the way. We took a few pictures in Valladolid, but did not stop (worried about the road in general and how long it would take us to reach the coast, as we set out from Chichen Itza around 2 pm). We did stop in one of the other small towns for a drink and to check out a few of the shops on the side of the road.

We received a wonderful greeting at our hotel from Marianna, the manager at Blue Sky in Tankah Bay—definitely that personal touch that you can only receive from such a small place. We can only say wonderful things about her—very friendly. The hotel is beautiful and the rooms have eclectic, gorgeous decorations—it feels like you are staying in someone’s guest room, not a hotel. Not to mention the incredible view of the amazing water directly from our room! We quickly settled in and checked out the beach just a step away from our porch. Max wasn’t feeling all that great at this point and opted for a rest in the lounge chair. I went to explore the beach—a mix of rocky limestone and strewn with many types of coral! Very cool. The two dogs from the hotel joined me, so that was fun. There seemed to be mostly private houses/lodges on this portion of the bay, ans we had seen only a few other hotels further south towards the entrance of the road leading from Hwy 307.

We went to Casa Cenote for dinner that night, we found the food to be good. We drove into Tulum city (neat place, wish we had more time to check it out…looked pretty busy, lots of restaurants, shops, etc.) to get some refreshments. Marianna had told us about the lunar eclipse taking palce that night so we rushed back to our primo spot for viewing at the hotel! It was really cool to see and we figured it was some sort of good omen. Or perhaps not…Montezuma paid a visit by next morning and I now felt sympathetic towards Max’s earlier pains. It was funny though the rest of the trip, we seemed to alternate between who felt bad and didn’t!

Around Tankah Bay

We headed out to Akumal and went snorkeling at Yal-ku lagoon. This was really cool and we really enjoyed it. Despite having read all of the posts about eco-safe sunscreen, I neglected to buy any and they asked that you not use any at the lagoon. We donned t-shirts and ended up snorkeling for around 3 hours straight--so our legs were pretty fried when we were finished. The lagoon can be a bit blurry at times due to the fresh and salt water mixing, you just have to be patient or swim somewhere else and it clears up. The lagoon has really neat limestone formations, and we saw tons of fish, nice diversity—tons of parrot fish, tangs, wrasses, some butterfly fish, blennies and gobies (my favorites—they have such wonderful little personalities), mangrove snapper, even a juvenile filefish. Very cool. No turtles though . At the end…I was snorkeling around the perimeter of a mangrove stand in the center of the lagoon, and saw reptilian feet…sure enough, I looked up, and there was a small (4-5 ft?) alligator/crocodile/cayman, whatever you might expect to find in that area, hanging out around the roots just minding his own business. I’ve been around alligators doing field work, so it didn’t freak me out, but I certainly didn’t want to get too close. After that, it was time to call it a day anyway. We had wanted to snorkel in Akumal Bay itself, but I didn’t feel well again so we headed back to the hotel. I camped out in the lounge chair and Max went for a kayak trip out in the bay. Felt better later and we walked over to snorkel in Manatee Cenote. Very neat—and cool and refreshing. Thousands of small fish everywhere (Gambusia (mosquitofish) or flagfish?), the occasional snapper among the mangroves, and some interesting critters on the bottom but I don’t free dive well so didn’t check them out closely. Quite a contrast from our more marine experience that morning but still very cool. We headed out to Oscar y Lalo’s that night. Excellent, tranquil, beautiful undisturbed beach location (where a Corona commercial was filmed) but we were a bit shocked at some of the prices. Their specials, which sounded delicious, were nowhere near our price range so I just had broiled fish and I think Max had taquitos or something. I wish I had tried the ceviche, they had several versions on the menu. Again, went back and enjoyed the view from the hotel.

Snorkeling in front of the hotel!

After visiting Tulum and a nearby beach, we went back to our hotel that afternoon and kayaked (at Marianna’s suggestion) out to the reefs protecting the bay. Max told me he had seen sea fans when he’d gone out the day before, I didn’t pay attention b/c we had so much else going on. I had gotten in directly in front of the hotel to check it out the first day, but only briefly. Saw a few fish, but didn’t explore much. Well, this was awesome! I’ve been diving in the Florida Keys and Hawaii and this was as nice as I’d seen if not nicer, just snorkeling! There are several buoys set up near the reef and we tied the kayak to them. There is a distinct halocline (fresh water layer on top of salt), presumably due to Manatee Cenote emptying out just right nearby. We saw tons of fish—parrot fish, Grey Angelfish, juvenile angelfish, coral beauty, schools of blue tang--the list goes on and on (that I recognized anyway); and a nice diversity of live coral—elkhorn, brain coral, gorgonians (soft coral), among others--it was wonderful! Now which buoy had the best snorkeling is a secret…will only tell if you plan to stay there (he he he). This alone would be worth staying at Blue Sky! We ate at the hotel’s Italian restaurant that night—excellent. I hadn’t really been in the mood for Italian (wanted to eat the local fare for every meal). but after such a long day it just made sense to stay there.

Next stop--Coba then on to Playa del Carmen!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Perfect spot--our new special favorite place to stay!
  • Cons:Small selection of restaurants in the area...but this is also a pro, not as touristy!
  • In a nutshell:Perfect perfect perfect!
  • Last visit to Tancah: May 2003
  • Intro Updated Aug 5, 2006
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