Honeymoon Riviera, Part 2

by Lisa Ann Pontius (Sept. 2013)

The second part of our three-part Mexican honeymoon was in our beloved Akumal. I say beloved because we had spent some time there the last time we were in Mexico and found it to be our favorite town in the Riviera Maya. Akumal is that rare beach town where it seems time stands still, the bar is always open and people who visit tend not to leave. All of that culminates in a happy-go-lucky band of locals consisting of expats and Maya alike, who seem to have figured out this little piece of paradise.

Matt Pontius with Iguana

We had the great fortune of making the acquaintance of such an expat local the last time we were here and were floored when they offered us their condo as a wedding present. Sherwood and Bob Anders are good friends of my in-laws, and they live part time on Half Moon Bay, one of the three bays that make up Akumal. Their condo at La Iguana has the most stunning panoramic views of the water, and we loved having a home base for the week that wasn’t a hotel room. When we got settled into the condo, we walked down to the town center and received our second wedding gift from Akumal—bicycles! Nayeli, another friend of the family, who runs one of the local shops, MexicArte, also runs a bike rental service and gave us two bikes for the week free of charge. It was a fabulous gift, seeing as the condo was a fair walk from the town center. I don’t know if we would ever have made it to as many fun outings in Akumal had we not gotten the bikes; they were worth their weight in gold for sure.

Akumal is such a bustling town that there was always something to do during the five days we spent there. One of our favorite days was the day we spent at Yal-Ku Lagoon, a crystal-clear inlet teeming with sea life. For 20 dollars you can rent a private palapa on the edge of the lagoon and spend the day swimming, snorkeling, lying in a hammock, and enjoying the weather. We spent hours there, enjoying the privacy and the great snorkeling. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

As foodies however, our favorite part of Akumal was the food! We believe we found the gem of Half Moon Bay with a little restaurant called La Lunita. We hadn’t heard anything about it but decided to stumble in there when we were tempted by their sidewalk chalkboard one day, and we were pleasantly surprised. The first thing I loved was that you were on the beach, toes in the sand, with a cocktail list … always a good start. However, when we ordered our light lunch (ceviche and coconut shrimp), we were floored by the elegant presentation. This was after all a restaurant in a hotel in a touristy beach town. We loved it so much we came back that night for dinner and shared five plates of some of the most creative Mexican food I have ever had (Duck Enchiladas, anyone?). I highly recommend this place if you are in town and want something a little on the adventurous side.

For those looking for a great margarita and a unique experience, La Buena Vida is the hotspot on Half Moon Bay. Always full of people having a great time, this quickly became our favorite spot for a leisurely afternoon cocktail. The seats at the bar are swings which was one of my favorite attributes. There are even tall palm trees with crow's nests fitted with chairs and a drink pulley system for customers to partake in at their own risk. La Buena Vida is a fun and quirky beach bar that everyone seems to love.

The grand finale to our time in Akumal was a moonlight dinner on the beach at Lol-Ha, courtesy of my in-laws, Mike and Lydia Pontius. The set-up was incredible; they constructed a gorgeous, draped tent on the beach complete with a romantic table-for-two lit by candlelight. Our meal was incredible; we shared every course so we had a little bit of everything. For our main courses we shared the prime rib and a sea bass over creamy fettuccine. We felt so special being waited on in our little cabańa; the staff made it so wonderful for us and the view of the moon rising over the water was just enchanting. We loved every minute of our time in Akumal, but that final dinner was our favorite moment.

Akumal will always be a special place for our family, filled with friendly faces and lots of great memories. My husband and I were so lucky to have spent part of our honeymoon there and we definitely plan to go back again in the future.


Matt and Lisa at Lolha