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Great snorkeling! Drive anywhere!
Some price-gouging, Crowded, Far from airport
In a nutshell
Don Pablo Bush Romero (1905 - 1998) was the head of the Mexican National Archaeology Department, a writer, photographer, big game hunter, lecturer, explorer, sportsman, Ford dealership owner, businessman, humanitarian, pioneer of Quintana Roo tourism, and the "Founder of Akumal". He created Mexico's CEDAM Club (Aquatic Exploration Archaeological Club of Mexico) with the ambition of "Serving their country and mankind in preserving those riches found in the coastal waters of Mexico". He wrote about the deeds of the club in his book, "Under the Waters of Mexico" (copies of this book are rumoured to be available in Akumal and it is supposed to be a great read). The club involved itself with identifying, raising, and preserving items from shipwrecks along the Mayan Coast--from Cancun to Tulum. Romero also wrote about the history of the explorers, the Spanish galleons, the native Mayans, and the pirates. The CEDAM Subaquatec Museum (locally called the "Shipwreck Museum") is located at the open mall in Puerto Aventuras.
The park itself is in the south rim of Half Moon Bay in north Akumal, beside Casa Luna. It is a small piece of land full of small (but growing) coconut palms.
Poor old Don Pablo, I don't know what exactly people are supposed to do in his memorial park--there aren't any benches, there's not enough clearing to play ball or frisbee, and you can't even access the beach because of a line of thick thorn bushes!
Updated Apr 12, 2011
Favorite thing: We decided last November to go and see the Ruins at Coba and Tulum. Akumal seemed like a great spot to locate and the preparations were on. We decided on the middle of May (19-26) to avoid the crowds and beat the rainy season. (It was 89 with the occasional fluffy cloud in the sky every single day we were there!). I bought Frommers, Rough Guide and Lonely Planet Yucatan versions and read them religiously until I had worn out the pages pertaining to the areas I hoped to visit. I took an 8 week survival Spanish course. I read “A Forest of Kings”. I bought mapchicks map and I spent hundreds of hours on the internet researching different areas and subjects. I spent another 100 hours reading everything I could find on the locogringo web site!
Driving in Mexico: Topes, La Policia and Pemex.
Topes are triangle shaped speed bumps. Go Slow! Even the crazies out there doing 150km in the 100km come to a stop at the Topes. We drove over 600 km and never banged a single Tope.
La Policia and la mordida? Saw very few policeman and the ones we did looked they were busy and going somewhere more important than hustling a tourist for 300 pesos. We always got the gas we paid for at the Pemex stations. No quick change / sleight of hand or short pumps experienced.
The Water, the food, la tourista.
We stayed at the Hotel Akumal Caribe. It was clean, neat, had cold air conditioning, a small refrigerator and a great view from the balcony. Our Maids had the sweetest “Holas” I’m certain I will ever hear. There was 5 gallons of fresh/drinkable water in your room and fresh flowers at all times. Everyone, everywhere drinks bottled water. It’s cheap, usually very cold, comes in about 7 different size bottles, no problemo.
I haven’t eaten Mexican since I’ve been back because I know I will be so disappointed. All of the food we ate was fantastic. Neither of us had any digestive distress at any time.
Fondest memory: Seeing the sights: Tulum, Coba and Muyil.
Anxious to get out into the jungle and see the Yucatan we set out for Coba. We were one of the first cars to arrive at Coba. Due to the large area and potentially confusing trails we got Mario at the gate ($45 US with a $10 US tip) to walk us around. When we got to Nohoch Mul there was nobody climbing the highest pyramid in the Yucatan. By the time I had climbed to the top there were probably 200 others going up, down or getting ready to make the ascent. The view from the top is worth the effort. I just wish there wasn’t so much trash left on top. Empty water bottles? Come on folks, show a little respect.
We left Coba by noon and headed to Tulum for some lunch. We shopped a little in Tulum for t-shirts and jewelry. My limited Spanish came in handy as I was good with the numbers and did a little bartering when we purchased several items from one store. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the Spanish, the shop keepers will put the number on a calculator for you to decide if they are charging too much.
Muyil is 25 kilometers past Tulum headed south on 307. Muyil is small but the Castillo there is a marvel of architecture. I think it cost maybe $15 US for us both to get in and wander around. We were the only people there the entire time.
Everyone says to go to Tulum early and beat the crowds. We were parking in the lot by 8:05 am. Being there that early allowed us to get the pictures we had gone to take. We did not employ a guide here as the park is easy to navigate. By the time we left an hour later there were probably a thousand people in the park.
Summary: The vacation was superb. The food and weather were fantastic and the people were so friendly and helpful. Our intention was to come and go quietly, enjoy the beauty and laid back pace of life while sampling the food and culture. We were very successful. We hope to go back one day and find Akumal completely unchanged.
Updated Jul 17, 2007