Akumal – Saying Good-bye…For Now

So ends another fantastic Mexican vacation.  All the concerns we had about returning to the same resort twice were for naught.  I would say that returning requires that you choose the right resort in the right location, which we were fortunate enough to have done.

We have been to several places, but only three have really hit that ‘I want to return there’ cord with us. One was in Jamaica where we stayed in a rustic cabin at the DeCameron and the other the Catalonia in Puerto Adventuras.

Vacations, regardless of where they are, are what you make of them.  We do have an adventurous spirit and as we get older are more open to trying things that once might have been off limits.  You know, you only live once! Gotta make the best of today, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

One of my favourite things about going to the Quintana Roo/Yucatan area is the ability to roam about safely without a guide or a tour.  Seeing how real people live is important when visiting new places.  Resorts definitely don’t offer you a real-life view of anything.

Here are a few random shots from our drive to Chichen Itza.  This is a store we stopped at that grew it’s own agave.

We drove through 8 different town/villages.

We met people from all over the world while exploring both Chichen Itza and Akumal.  We saw lots and learned about new places.  Really can’t ask for more than that.

To close off this group of blog posts, here are a few random shots from around Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort.

If you have ever been to Cancun airport you know it is big and busy.  I love that there is such a great view.

That’s it for our 2018 southern destination vacation.  Not sure what were doing next year.  We met a travel agent on our trip who gave us all kinds of great ideas to explore with our agent.  We could return here too.  We will have to see what we can find in the upcoming months.

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Next up is Moncton, New Brunswick in May!  I will be turning the big 5-0 and since we can’t do Vegas right now, we are off to Casino New Brunswick to celebrate.  I can’t wait!

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Enjoying Akumal

We’ve been to Akumal several times and have always managed to find something new.  It’s not that it is a big spot, it’s not, but I think we just get tunnel vision because we are familiar with the area.

On our first day of this 2018 visit we discovered a whole new walking path we didn’t even know existed.  It was excellent! So on our last day we decided we would rent a golf cart and drive around to see what else we were missing.

Before I get to that, I have to tell you about Lucy’s Ice Cream and the Turtle Bay Cafe.  I have seen people mention these places online many times.  We had never even seen them let alone tried them.  On our last full day we were out picking up some souvenirs and stuff from the local shops when I noticed a sign.  We decided to follow the sign.  Low and behold here was a Taverna, the Cafe, Lucy’s and a few other spots.  How on earth we missed these on all our other visits is beyond me!  We gave Lucy’s a try and it was awesome!

Definitely have to stop and look around more often.

After that we headed off to Akumal Caribe to rent our golf cart. This was such a great way to check out the area.

Lot’s of beautiful spots to stay.

We even made it to La Buena Vida and Half Moon Bay.  Amazing spots!

Once we were done there we popped into the Lol Ha beach grill.  This is a great spot right on Akumal Beach. Originally we were just going to have a beer, but the menu looked so good we got some taco’s and onion rings to share.  The bartender here, Raphael, was fantastic.  We loved listening to him!  Meeting new people, and we met lots this trip, is one of the best things about traveling.

Then we headed back to the resort to do some snorkeling…well hubby snorkeled, I tanned.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome way to spend our last full day!

Next up, saying Good-Bye…for now.

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Our Chichen Itza Visit

I love history, specifically ancient history.  I read, follow and watch everything I can on the topic.  I dream that someday the world will be safe enough for us to visit Egypt and all it’s ancient wonders. I hope in the next 10 years we will get to see Machu Picchu and Tikal among other places.  The world is such an amazing place.

When we first started talking about visiting Mexico in 2009 my first thought was ‘oh boy, we can see Chichen Itza!’ But the more I looked all they had was bus tours. We don’t do bus tours. So I got myself a Fodor’s book and starting looking at other ruins, that was when I found Coba.

We hired a van company to put together a tour for us and it was fabulous.  Absolutely awesome.

Since then we have also visited the Tulum ruins in 2010 (taking a taxi).

And the stunning ruins of Ek Balam last year (again via a taxi).

This year we decided to bite the bullet and do Chichen Itza.  The resort we stayed at offered a VIP tour with a maximum of 12 people.  Including us our group was actually 6 people, which was great.

Chichen Itza was stunning.  It is one of the new 7 wonders of the world and it is easy to see why.  The amazing thing is that what we see today is only a very small part of the site.    The site is actually built on top of another site.  We had a fantastic guide who gave us lots of history and detail about the people who lived here and the building they created.

This was our first view of El Castillo.  You literally have to catch your breath as you round the corner.  It is amazing.

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During the spring equinox a ‘snake’ appears to descend the stairs and during the fall it ascends.  When you get close the acoustics are incredible.  The pyramid has exactly 365 stairs, 91 on each side and one at the top.

Inside the pyramid is another one with jaguar throne, still preserved with all it’s colours.  Unfortunately visitors can no longer see it but there is another similar one on the site.

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The ball court of Chichen Itza is different than any others we have seen to date and is the largest known in Mesoamerica.

The Skull Platform was so remarkable.  All the skull images carved are unique, no two match.  According to our guide, these images represent the skulls of the captain of the losing team on the ball court.  The actual heads would have been impaled on the platform above.

The Temple of Warriors was a site to behold.  Impossible to get it all in one picture.

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I would have loved to have seen the observatory from the top!

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These are just a few other shots from the site.  I could go on and on about the site but I am sure many others already have.

Pictures really don’t do the site justice.  It is pretty incredible. It is something I think that visitors to the Yucatan should do, at least once.

Overall though I preferred Ek Balam.  By the time we were leaving Chichen Itza it was ridiculously busy.  Vendors were out in full force, within the ruins site itself, you couldn’t avoid them. The weren’t aggressive or anything it just seemed weird to have them inside the site, versus outside. It took away from the aura of the place.

Ek Balam was a much more relaxed and interactive experience. You could touch or climb many of the ruins and it just felt more engaging I guess is the word.  There were vendors, but not inside the site.  It may not be as visually spectacular but it is equally as amazing.

There is a new part of Chichen Itza being restored.  I would love to go back in a few years to see it that’s for sure.   I would have loved to see them working on it!

Also as part of our ruins tour was lunch and a cenote visit to Xcajum, just a short distance away.

And a stop in Valladolid.

It was a pretty amazing day.  By the time we got back to the resort we were zonked.  We checked in with our favourite bartender for a little bit and then headed off for room service, rooms drinks and hot tub under the stars.

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Next up, our last full day!  We rented a golf cart!

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Akumal – The Big Walk

I love to walk.  At home, when the weather is suitable, I try to get a least 3km in on week days and 5 to 10 at least once on the weekend.  My husband on the other hand wants nothing to do with it.  The one time he will humour me is when we are on vacation.

Last year we tried to walk to the far point of South Akumal Beach but never made it.  This year on the first try, he had burnt feet so we had to turn back.  The next try he wore sneakers and we packed water.  It was fantastic!

You may have heard there is sargassum washing ashore along the coasts of Riviera Maya and Cancun.  You will see in it many of my beach pictures.  From what we were told, it comes from South America and happens every few years.  It is similar to seaweed but not as slimey and more fine.  The resort we are at did a spectacular job at cleaning it up but in places where it is not cleaned it piles up quickly.

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It is all along the beach, but most places are attempting to keep control of it in some manner.  It’s a natural process so there really is only so much they can do.

The beach is very picturesque with lots of condo’s, small hotels and homes.

We walked right out to the point, which turned out to be 2.65km.  We debated continuing but due to our water being low we turned back. Some spots were a little difficult but for the most part it was good.  Nice to see different the areas where people are staying or living.  Akumal is such a beautiful area.

The way back.

Maybe next time we will make it around the point.  I was happy to do the 5.3km we did.  Hubby was a good sport about it too.  Light sneakers made all the difference to him.

This walk turned out to be a good warm up for Chichen Itza the next day.  Stay tuned!

 

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Excursions from Akumal

Our next day in Akumal we just enjoyed a short walk to town and kicking back at the beach talking about what we wanted to do.

It was Mexican night at the resort so we ate at the Mexican restaurant that night.  So good!

Normally we just make up our own excursions as we go, we very much dislike being tied to a schedule, bus or a big group.  This year however the excursion desk at the resort posted a couple things on Facebook over the last few months that looked interesting so we thought we would investigate.

The first was Catamaya.  This is a Catamaran sailing trip that included a lobster, steak, burger or chicken kebab dinner.  It also included snorkeling, fishing and just general fun.  Something light to get out onto the water.  The trip left from Puerto Adventuras.  We have stayed in this area before so we knew the marina was something else.  Didn’t disappoint this year either.

We were also moved to our penthouse while we were away on the Catamaran.  That was pretty spectacular.

The next day we went for a short walk, but someone had burnt feet from the boat so we didn’t go far.  He did some snorkeling and we relaxed.

We tried the Gourmet restaurant that night.  We weren’t really sure what to expect and I am a fussy eater so I was worried.  All I can say is WOW!  While, for me some of it was sketchy, the beef tenderloin and lava cake were the best I have ever had.   My husband loved it all.

The second excursion we did was a VIP Chichen Itza day.  That truly deserves it’s own post, but here is a quick preview.  It was fantastic.

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That’s it for now.  Next up the ‘big walk’, Chichen Itza and the golf cart day.  Stay tuned!

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Akumal 2018

This year’s Winter escape saw us return to Akumal and the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. This was the first time we have ever returned to a resort. We have always lived by the rule that part of the adventure was exploring new places, however this year was a special one. We recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and decided we wanted to do something special for it. I searched and researched and honestly, after last years experience, I knew this place would provide us with the ‘specialness’ we were looking for. I wasn’t as confident with any other place I looked at.

I will break my post up, as we did lots on this trip. Hope you enjoy!

The day before we left was calling for a storm, typical Nova Scotia, so we stayed at the airport to make sure we didn’t miss our flight. Watching the airport in action was awesome!

We arrived in Akumal, Mexico on March 14. On checkin we were advised we would be moved to a penthouse room in a few days. That was awesome! Meanwhile we had a 2nd floor room.

Before we left I had met other guests on the resorts FB page. We arranged to have drinks with them when we arrived. So after getting settled we did just that.

After a fun first night we woke up to a beautful sunrise and ready to explore!

That’s all for now. Stayed tuned for more very soon!

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Fall 2017 into Winter 2018

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Been a while since I have posted, but that doesn’t mean our adventures stopped. No Nova Scotia fall is complete without a trip to the Annapolis Valley. From apple and pumpkin picking to the simple beauty of the fall colours, … Continue reading

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