My family of four got 2 rooms for alot less than we could have gotten a condo. We were on the first floor and we could hop out of bed and almost right into the water. The beds are hard, no denying. That and the rooms are somewhat small are the only negatives. The maid service was unbelievable. They would spend between 30 and 40 minutes in each room. They would fold our clothes from the floor and clean out every speck of sand. We would get alot of sand on the floor walking in the room from the beach. The location of this hotel is very convenient. We drove to Tulum in under 20 minutes and Coba in about an hour. I was surprised in how good the roads were. We also like Turtle Bay, especially Breakfast. The little lunch counter in town is cheaper, but the food is of a little less quality. I must give this one tip about a beach. ABout 9 km south of Akumel is X'Cacel beach. This is one of those picture perfect beaches with swaying palms and crystal clear blue water. We went there on a Thursday and there was only four other peaople on a mile long beach! After you pass the Bahia Principe Hotel going South you will see a medical building make the next left. The beach is not marked. The turnoff is a bit steep so take it slow. There is a man toward the beach who charges beween $1 nad $2 per person and then let down the rope and let you in. There are no services on the beach so bring plenty of water or Coronas with you and take all garbage out.
Appropriately priced and very nice
We were staying at Akumal Beach resort (see review) and were not happy with the standard room. We went out to see what other hotels in Akumal had available. The Vista Del Mar had a very nice suite with a large jucuzzi tub for 2 and was a nice size and very clean with a great view of the ocean. The room was $190/night. The standard room was very nice and clean. It is not a big room but does have a great view of the ocean and everything you need. This room was $89/night. If you are staying several nights they will bargain with you, (ex 80/night or no tax.) Rooms in the Yucatan are very overpriced and standard often does not often meet that mark. We also stayed at Avalon Barraca in Cancun (see review.) The staff was very nice and speaks good English. I would happily stay at the Vista Del Mar in Akumal.
Nice people, nice place....
Our family spent the week at the Vista del Mar in Akumal. The staff is great. Very nice people and helpful when needed. The office staff speak excellent english. We stayed in a two bedroom condo for six nights and moved to two rooms for the last night. The two bedroom was large - lots of space. The kitchen was well supplied and functional.
The individual rooms are pretty small, but for the price they are a good deal. Over all, I would highly recommend the Vista Del Mar to anyone looking for a reasonable price in a great location
Would stay here again
We hadn't planned to stay an extra night, but decided to after spending a full day at Xel Ha (the dolphin experience is worth it!) At Vista del Mar the very friendly staff showed us a great room for 3 ($112US)beautiful Mexican tile and interesting interior, purified water, refrigerator, tv, a/c - very comfortable but a bit small. All rooms are oceanfront with a small balcony, palapas and chaise on the small beach on Half Moon Bay just a short walk to a great bar/restaurant (La Buena Vida "The Good Life") where we had a nice meal (slow service tho). There is a dive shop nearby for renting snorkel equipment, however it was very windy and we didn't snorkel there. The better snorkeling that day was near the larger dive shop right in Akumal - saw a turtle and manta ray as well as various fish and nice coral reef. Many boats for hire to take you out to farther reefs. Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery is great for a delicious breakfast and yummy baked goods.
First of all, Heidi was a pleasure to work with. She helped us with everything we needed.
Second, the place was clean, beautiful and right on the water. There were families and things to do all around us, including sea turtles to swim with.
We were so happy there. We had plenty of room, good service, fine food with a kitchy atmosphere (crow's nest hidaways for the kids). At night, we listened to the surf.
I would go again, in a heartbeat. So much of the Yucatan was really expensive and not great for kids. This was perfect. Safe, clean, pretty and very comfortable. We had AC and a kitchen, and the beach out the front door.
Nice, but never again
We stayed for two weeks at the Vista del Mar in June. We were really excited as we had visited N. Akumal several years ago and remembered the property. The first week we stayed in a ground floor 2 BR condo (unit #2) with our two boys. It was spacious, very pretty, and of course right on the ocean. It was perfect except for the ants all over the kitchen. This was liveable as there was a good sized refrigerator to store everything out of bugs' reach. We then experienced some petty theft. Our son left his shoes outside to dry (of course this was our fault) and I had gel soap taken from the bathroom (not our fault). These factors were also liveable. Our kids flew home and my husband and I moved to the upstairs studio (unit #7). This is where things got worse. In the studio the ants were all over and there were other bugs in our bedding. I spoke to the office and they graciously obliged to changing the bedding daily, but to no avail. I ended up buying ant spray and sprayed daily, but they still appeared although to lesser extent. By the end of the week I was wearing DEET to bed and finding them in my stored clothes. I'm not sure what the deal is as I researched before we booked and found no mention of this in other reviews; however, the day we moved into the studio the people leaving it mentioned the ants were an issue. It is a shame because it is a beautiful property in a perfect location with a decent staff. They just need to invest in an exterminator.
Beautiful hotel, fantastic vacation!
My fiance and I spent 5 days at Vista del Mar in April 2006. Upon opening our door to the hotel room on the second floor, we knew we were in for a great vacation. The room was extremely clean (no bugs, I checked everywhere!), water was supplied for us, there was a coffee machine, towels, a balcony, and a beautifully tiled bathroom. Our air conditioner was brand new and was a great relief from the heat.
The staff at del Mar were extremely helpful, friendly and laidback. The entire atmosphere of the place was one of calm and relaxation. The beach was literally a few feet from our room and we fell asleep each night with the sound of waves crashing on the shore. The bed was a little hard but we honestly didn't notice it until we arrived back home to our pillow top mattress.
The food at Bueno Vista Restaurant was delicious and too much to finish! The staff at the bar were very friendly and we never felt that we were in a touristy area or being guilted into spending more money. We rented snorkling gear from the dive shop and snorkeled at Half Moon Bay and Akumal Bay where we saw a sting ray.
I have travelled to many different countries and to many different beaches and I have to say that our trip to Akumal was one of the best. We will definatly return!
Vista Del Mar, Akumal, Mexico
We just returned from a week in Akumal, Mexico and happily report a pleasant stay in a beautiful, relaxing, ocean-side setting.
Traveling out of LaGuardia, flights and connections went smoothly on both Continental and American. Off-airport parking at Dollar cost $128 for eight days (with internet coupon), and a waiting shuttle had us to the terminal less than ten minutes after pulling into the garage. Even at 5 AM, be sure to give yourself time to get through security (30 minutes).
We rented a full size car through Thrifty, based on internet pricing (base rate $240). As always, we declined the CDW, although apparently all rental agencies in Mexico require you to purchase liability coverage at $11/day. Although the car was fine, and we had no problems with claims of damage upon return, we were victims of an inflated exchange rate (11.6) which was a full 10% above the current rate. Without any options, other than paying in US dollars (cash), we were overcharged in Pesos.
Before getting to Akumal we stopped for groceries at Chedraui in Playa Del Carmen, which is right on the highway. Stocked as well as a typical medium-sized American store, prices seemed reasonable, certainly better than the smaller stores around Akumal.
In Akumal we stayed at the Vista Del Mar condos (north building). Our third floor, three bedroom three bath unit ($145/night) overlooked Half Moon Bay and met our every need. The building looked to be 10 – 15 years old, but was well kept, clean, and everything operated as necessary. The kitchen was equipped with the bare minimum that we needed, but may not have enough in terms of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils for a family planning to do a lot of cooking. We got a lot of use out the blender (dos mas margaritas!). Our unit was air conditioned, but apparently some are not. Air conditioning is a necessity in the summer.
The only negative about the building was a pretty bad smell in the first floor hallway by the basement door. Noticeable only in the evenings, it never bothered us in our room or out by the beach. We were also a little disappointed that the pool was up at La Buena Vita, rather than at our building.
The location of Vista Del Mar worked out perfect. It’s a five minute walk up the beach to La Buena Vita, where a cool breeze and view of the bay made for perfect happy hours every afternoon. It was about a fifteen minute walk into “town” where we enjoyed meals at Lol Ha ($120 dinner), Lol Ha bar ($60 dinner), Lucy’s (shrimp tacos $20 lunch), Imelda’s ($30 lunch) (all prices for four with drinks). We enjoyed all our meals, especially Flamenco night at Lol Ha. Service was always friendly. and an occasional gaff by an untrained waiter would quickly be corrected by one of the other three staff assigned to your table.
After dark, we were never concerned about our safety. There is a police guard shack, sometimes manned by a sometimes awake officer, on the road heading out of the town toward the condo. Akumal is a tourist town, and there appears to be a common interest in keeping it safe.
We loved the beach at Half Moon Bay, but it may not be for everyone. The beach itself was great, not especially wide, but not too narrow. There are three palapas in front of the condo, and there was always at least one available if we wanted it. Once in the water, the bottom is very rocky, and water shoes are necessary. The steady waves made it easy to get cooled off in the water, in spite of the shallow depth (rarely deeper than three feet). Snorkeling around the bay was excellent, with a lot of coral, many colorful fish, and (especially) turtles.
The night we arrived, we saw red flashlights on the beach, and were thrilled to find dozens of turtle hatchlings emerging from the sand and scrambling down to the water. The next two nights, there were a number of female turtles laying eggs, two right in front of our building. We were able to watch for about a half hour while a large (4 foot diameter) turtle laid her eggs, buried the nest and sand, and returned to the bay. During the day, we could see countless turtles popping there heads up above the water from our balcony. We also saw turtles in the water while snorkeling. The turtles were a highlight of our trip.
We especially enjoyed snorkeling at Yal Ku, which was just up the road. Akumal Bay was very nice (sandy bottom, fair snorkeling), but unless you are a guest at one of the resorts, you’re stuck without a beach chair, palapa, and the other accoutrements you enjoy at Half Moon Bay. We took a day trip for the Selvatura Canopy Zip Line Tour ($47) which was fantastic. We also visited Mayan ruins at Tulum (crowded but impressive) and the small sites at just south of Xel Ha (we were the only ones there).
Finally, we survived a Mexican standoff with one of Playa Del Carmen’s finest while passing through town. Driving along at exactly 80 KPH, we were pulled over by a marked police car. The officer shook my hand, and told me the speed limit was actually 70, and I could pay him $40 in cash, or take my ticket to the station where the fine would be $60. Like an idiot, I argued with him (the speed limit was absolutely 80), and was amazed when he shook my hand again and left without giving me a ticket. Driving away I had visions of the movie Midnight Express.
Please see photos at http://community.webshots.com/album/552798261ISAtqc and feel free to E mail with questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Place Different From The "Touristy" Resorts
Our family just returned from an 8-day vacation to Vista Del Mar (july 17 - 25). We stayed on the Norte side, in thier 3 bedroom, 3 bath unit, ground floor. If you want a real vacation, away from the touristy, crowd-filled public....this is a great place. Our unit was so close to the shore that you can hear the waves crashing at night. The staff kept it clean, although it is true that the beds are hard (not unbearable, though). There was a very slight problem with ants, not even enough to complain to the management. The pool didn't look too desireable, but who needs the pool when the ocean is right in front of you (excellent snorkeling all around by the way). There is no in-room phone, and no laundrymat nearby although there is a laundry drop-off service that was very quick and affordable. The main supermarket stores are about 30 minutes North in Playa de Carmen, although there is a couple of little stores within walking distance.
Vista Del Mar in Akumal is very centrally located from a lot of things to do and see (snorkeling, touring Mayan temples--some along the side of the main highway, cavern tours and much more). I would return again in a heartbeat.....It's not just for couples, but great for families also and so affordable!
Good, but not great
My husband and I stayed at the Vista del Mar for 4 nights of our honeymoon and we were not wowed by the place. Granted, we only paid $65 for our room, but we wish that we had spent a little more to get something a lot nicer. Our room was much smaller than we were expecting and the decor was pretty garish. We also never got our hammock for the balcony that we were promised. Not a big deal, but still.
The room was very clean and was cleaned every day. They changed the towels daily and changed the sheets for us when I left a note asking them to do so.
We did have a gorgeous view of the beach and we were able to enjoy the nice ocean breezes in the evening. We also loved having AC after coming from a hotel in Tulum that did not have AC.
There is not much to Akumal in the way of a town. There are a couple of shops and a few restaurants, but that is it. It's pretty much just a beach resort town for rich Americans. There are tons of gorgeous seaside villas, but it seems like no Mexicans actually live there. I think all the locals live across the highway in the little pueblo over there. We had lunch at a little place in the pueblo one day and it was great and the family who ran the place was so sweet.
I think the only bar in Akumal is La Buena Vida, which is right down the street from Vista del Mar. I'm not sure, but I think it's owned by the same people. We ate dinner and had drinks there a couple of times and it was a fun tourist hang out. The food was really good and they have cool decor too.
We also had breakfast a couple of times at Mango cafe, which I believe is owned by the same people. At least it's in the same building as La Buena Vida. The food there was really good and their fruit plate was delicious.
Besides swimming and snorkeling, there's not much to do in Akumal. We went snorkeling in the lagoon and in the ocean and that was really fun to try. We saw turtles on the ocean floor and there are lots of turtle nests on the beach.
We took a day trip to Playa del Carmen one day to do some sightseeing. It was fun, but it's too much of a big touristy city for our tastes. We really prefered Tulum out of all the Maya Riviera towns that we visited. If we ever go back, we will definitely stay in Tulum again.
We also went to Xcaret one day which was pretty fun, although I will never go back. It's basically just a glorified zoo with some cultural performances. Kind of like a Disneyfied version of nature.
Our favorite thing that we did while staying in Akumal is snorkeling in the cenotes at Dos Ojos. We had a guide who took us and showed us the best spots and we thought the caves were so amazing. Very cool.
In conclusion, you get what you pay for at the Vista del Mar. It was ok, but not great. The room was clean, but not beautiful. The beach was nice, but not spectacular. We had fun on our trip, but next time we will pay a bit more to stay some place nicer.