by Lydia Linton Pontius
Each time I visit Hotel Akumal Caribe I get this warm, fuzzy feeling of being home. From check-in to check-out it is full of warmth without being at all pretentious. As one friend described it years ago, "It is like visiting the Mexico we thought was long lost." She was referring to the quaintness of the place and its authentic feel, and to the respect you receive from the staff, who display their amiability by mixing humor and love.
I noticed a few changes on my recent visit. At check-in, along with the usual friendly welcome, there was also fresh limonada to quench your thirst. Starting in January there will be free Internet in all rooms. For many who want to get away from it all, that may not be a plus, but for those of us working or addicted to the Internet, it is great news. Another new and delicious addition is Head Chef Carlos. You will be hearing more about him in the future.
I would be remiss not to mention the recently added Loquito's. It's a good thing I don't have an addictive personality or I would be in big trouble now. I was literally becoming very attached to this food; in fact I'm feeling a bit of a twitch as I write this. Loquito's has the best tacos and empanadas and at very reasonable prices! Where else can you sit right on the beach and have lunch for under $5 US, or a snack for under $2 US? The food is prepared in a very authentic, typical way. You will smile when you see some of the familiar faces who show up to get their fix.
Step next door and enjoy some of the best coffees and gelatos. I splurged and tried the tropical gelato at GynnAK's, which came from Cafe Te Latte. Later in my stay I tried an amazing coconut with cocoa gelato at Cafe Te Latte, which might have been the best I have ever eaten. I should mention that my one weakness in the sweets department is gelato or ice cream, so I know wherof I speak. Jason, the owner, explained that all the gelatos are made fresh in Tulúm, in the true Italian way by real Italians.
All this, and the Lol-Ha Restaurant with its new chef, and the Beach Bar with its happy hour and consistently good food, make for some great eating options. I should add that on this trip, for the first time, I tried the breakfast tacos. You get your choice of 3 corn or 2 flour tortillas, 3 fresh ingredients, and choices of cheese and sauce. I recommend the poblano sauce–that, and the view of the bay, made mornings start just right.
Akumal Bay, where Hotel Akumal Caribe is situated, is one of the best playgrounds around, with long, white, sandy beaches to walk on, a calm bay to snorkel, swim or kayak on and a pool with an awesome view. There is also a children's play area next to the Lol-Ha Beach Bar and a spa next door to the pool area for some personal pampering. I prefer my massage in the quiet of my room; if that is your choice, be sure to ask for more information on the availability.
It is always good to come back to my home away from home, but also good to see the additional touches that have been added. This trip I stayed in a first-floor hotel room, which is great because of the easy access, and the front and back entrances. For friends or families, you may want to choose the adjoining rooms, which have one room with a king bed and kitchenette, and the second room with two double beds. If you are looking for a little extra, try one of the three vista rooms located on the beach side of the hotel with two balconies, king size beds and a few extra amenities. I spent two nights in room 408 and thought this is where my home office should be every day!
As Paul, from CEA, explained to us, one of the best ways you can help the environment when choosing your hotel for a vacation is to choose a smaller, boutique hotel. Why? Because they cause much less impact on the environment and they usually are more sustainable. Hotel Akumal Caribe is one of the oldest on the coast, still family owned and operated, and they are continually doing new and better things to help preserve the fragile ecosystem that they love and call home.
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