"The Yucatan" Akumal by LadyXoc

Akumal Travel Guide: 80 reviews and 201 photos

Akumal

In the middle of the Riviera Maya in the Mexican state of Quintana-Roo. I stayed at the Hacienda de las Tortugas. Akumal itself is much quieter and calmer than Cancun or Playa del Carmen. While there I snorkeled in the Caribbean and in the lagoon Yal-ku. I visited the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza. And dined at La Buena Vida and La Lunita. Akumal was hit by a hurricane last year but I hear from a friend whose sister owns the condo in which I stayed that the area is recovering nicely.
Note about Yal-ku. It was only about $5 to swim/snorkel. They are pretty strict about no sunscreen in the lagoon. Bad for fishies. I respected that and got a burnt hiney but it was a small price to pay to swim with parrot fish, schools of angel fish, and other things that looked suspiciously like they might have sharp teeth. Still the best snorkeling I have had so far.

Chichen Itza

The Mayan City of Chichen Itza inhabited around 700 to 900 AD. Most of the structures in the southwest are built by the Maya but there is a heavy Toltec influence present in the ball courtand the Pyramid of Kukulkan. Also apparently called "El Castillo."The pyramid is 79 feet high with 91 steps on each of it's four side with one additional step at the top. That's 365 steps. The Maya were very much into astronomy.
I had been told that this would be the last year tourists could climb to the top of the pyramid. I also heard that has been said before. My friend just went recently and it was closed because an elderly woman fell to her death.
While I was in Akumal I booked myself on a day trip to Chichen Itza from a travel agency in the heart of the village. My high school Spanish is rusty but all I had to do was point in a book to the tour I wanted and it was no problem. I think I paid about $80 for the two hour bus ride (one way) breakfast, a stop in a real Mayan Village, lunch at a cantena with a dancing show, a stop at a souveniers store, and beer after the tour of the ruins of Chichen Itza. And they carried water into the ruins so we could have a cold drink. I bartered for a Mayan Hamock and paid only $20. Remeber they think you are a stupid-head if you don't haggle. The hamock is much used for an afternoon read in my back yard.
I considered the $80 worthwhile. In the Mayan village the matriarch cooked us each a tortilla. And on the bus a real anthropologist gave a lecture on the way there. I suppose I could have borrowed a car and driven myself but that whole "left turn signal means 1. pass me. 2. I want to pass you 3. I am passing you" method of driving customary to that area made me decide I was in the mood for being chauffered. And I met a nice lady. also traveling alone, from New Jersy. We had a nice time.
a link http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/meso_america/chichenitza.html

Snorkeling

In Akumal I snorked in both Yal-Ku lagoon and the Caribbean Sea.
This is brain coral. I took this using a disposable underwater camera. Works fine for me. I saw a lot of neat stuff in the sea.
Do not wear silver jewelry while snorkeling. Unless you would like to see a baracuda up close. They eat silver fish I am told. I forgot and left my belly chain on. I can now say that I have heard someone scream underwater. I don't blame her. They do have a big mouthfull of teeth.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:less cheesy and crowded than Cancun or Playa Del Carmen
  • Cons:nightlife for a single might be slow
  • Last visit to Akumal: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 16, 2006
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LadyXoc

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.~ St Augustine”

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