Ten Days in Akumal

by Lydia Linton Pontius (Jan. 2015)

I bid Jamie farewell and she left early in the morning to return the rented car and fly home. I had a wonderful breakfast with Cat at Casa Caribe and learned so much about this amazing seaside town, Puerto Morelos. It really is amazing—what a group of people from all over with such different backgrounds can do, when they share a love for a special place.

I wish I had more time to spend in PM and I vow to return soon and often, but now it was time to get back to Akumal! I decided to take the bus and Cat dropped me off at the bus stop in PM. There are two bus lines that go up and down the highway, ADO and Mayab. ADO is the nicer of the two but would require changing buses in Playa. I chose to take Mayab, which stops briefly at the Playa bus station but continues south and stops at the entrance to Akumal.  Buses and colectivos are safe and very reasonable ways to travel up and down the coast.

I arrived at Akumal and dragged my suitcase down the sidewalk, heading once again … home. I was spending 10 more days in Akumal working on Sac-Be and other projects. I immediately got settled in at my bungalow at Hotel Akumal Caribe. They are simple, spacious, clean and have the best location. I could easily choose to work on my computer in the quiet and privacy of my room, or drag it over to the Lol-Ha Beach Bar and have a magnificent view of Akumal Bay.

No matter how many days I plan to be in Akumal, there is never enough to do everything I want and to spend enough time with everyone I want. But I love that I can do it in a place I can easily walk from one end to the other. If you measure it by square foot, Akumal is packed with more friends per square foot than any place else I know!

There is so much to write about that is happening in Akumal that it really is perfect that this is my January, New Year's article! Bart at Turtle Bay Café told me all about his new endeavor—making vodka!!! You'll be learning more about that as we get the details.  Guillermo filled me in on a new group focusing on working and education to help protect the environment, as well as a lot about his work with EZ Snorkel, helping people with disabilities or inexperience enjoy snorkeling. I spent a lot of time with the local lionfish hunters and learned about the efforts to rebuild the coral reef. Walking up and down the beach, I saw the effects of progress and development. I also found time to just enjoy the great friends, food and drinks that are in Akumal.

Laura and I took one day and headed to Playa and spent the night at Club Yebo Hotel, just off 5th Avenue. It was fun to get away and play tourist. We walked on the beach, stopped at a beach bar for a drink, stopped and listened to some salsa, did a little shopping on 5th Avenue, and had the most amazing dinner at the new hot restaurant, Plank!

If you are looking for a really unique dining experience I highly recommend this restaurant. Almost the entire menu is prepared on either a wood or salt plank. We took our time and savored every course—from dips with fire-roasted flatbreads, to an amazing seafood platter of shrimp, crab cake, tuna and oysters Rockefeller, to the main course of Beef Wellington with fresh-grilled asparagus. And, of course, we had to end it all with some deep dark chocolate homemade ice cream. Even the cocktails are unique, with a smoky twist.

Full, we decided it was wise to walk off this amazing meal by heading north on 5th Avenue. This is where all the new, hip restaurants and bars are located and you are more apt to find the locals here. It is more a nighttime place than where the tourist shops are to the south. We wandered and looked at menus and new hotels and found a great Cuban bar with wonderful music.

Back to our hotel, Club Yebo. If you are looking for a very reasonable place to stay that has everything you need, including a kitchenette, beach chairs and cooler, this is perfect for you. The rooms are clean, the staff is helpful, and there is even a small pool on the property.

The next morning we decided since we had such a great meal at Plank, we had to try breakfast at the Chef's other restaurant. Just around the corner from Club Yebo was Imprevist. It is a wonderful spot to people-watch and start your day. The food was incredible and we were able to have a leisurely breakfast. The presentation was fabulous and we loved that there were lots of options that came in small portions, so you could really try several things. Again, we were in need of walking from another great meal—a stroll down the beach sounded just right, then back to our rooms to get ready to go back to Akumal and work!

The rest of my trip flew by with lots of projects to work on. I must be one of the luckiest people to get to travel enough that I see and learn new places, but can return to my favorites which allows me to cultivate lifelong friends and colleagues.

Half Moon Bay Lydia 2014