Submitted by : cbuck1962
Date: Dec 27, 2009
I woke up early in May and after reading the news ( Mexico Drug Wars, Swine Flu ) and deciding that I wanted to live dangerously this vacation trip ( just kidding ), I booked a trip to Akumal, Mexico.
Akumal is about 65 miles south of Cancun. The highway bewteen the Cancun airport and Akumal is nicely maintained and the trip takes about 1.5 hours. I stayed for 9 days at The Grand Oasis Riviera Maya resort and booked diving through their on-site shop Blue Caribe. The resort was very nice for us although I have read reviews of others that were less than happy, but again we had no problems at all. The resort is an all-inclusive so all food and drinks are included. I suggest tipping occasionally although it is not required. If you do, it seems you get quicker service at the bars. The resort is for the most part a solid 3 star resort with it's location being more like a 4 star. The food and drinks were quite good, snorkelling in front of resort good, rooms clean and comfortable and grounds nicely maintained. I did not ever get really hot "hot water " in our room, but it was warm enough to shower in without issue. That was the only resort issue for us.
The reefs are in very healthy condition and the diving is generally slow drift diviing. There is not a lot of wall diving here like in Cozumel to the north, but again the reefs have lots of fish and the coral seems to be in better shape than Cozumel ( less dive traffic?? ). I saw lots of squid, several Nurse sharks, a Manta ray, Sting Rays, Barracuda, Spotted Moray ( although no Greens ), Octopus and more turtles than you can shake a regulator hose at.
I rented gear from the dive shop and this is the one area that was very disappointing about my experience. The gear was in very bad shape and needs to be replaced. Practically every dive something was broken on someone's gear. I am not going to go on and on about it but this would cause me to not use this operator again. There are several other dive shops that one can use, I used this one without actually looking into it becasue it was at the resort.
Other than diving and the activities included at the resort, we went to the Mayan Ruins at Tulum, ( Magnificent, but go early to avoid HUGE crowds ), snorkelling at Yal Ku ( a marine park reserve, very nice ) and spent a day at Hidden Worlds Adventure Park ( very very fun ).
I also did two cavern dives in Dos Ojos and Bat Cave. That was VERY scary for me at first but VERY cool after I got used to it. It was like spelunking but being able to fly, very nice.
I started off planning this trip to Akumal for two reasons, the cost ( very low and we are going to Fiji in April so we needed to conserve on this trip ) and the snorkelling for my non-diving wife. That being said, Akumal means home of the turtle in the Mayan language and they are very prolific in Half Moon bay. We went twice there, saw 5 in 15 minutes the first time and 6 in about the same time the second time. We were in 5 feet of water and had 3 eating grass right below us. The snorkeling here was rumored to be great and I can attest, it is absolutely fantastic. Good reefs close to shore with lots of fish and shallow water, turtles gallore, and the Yal Ku reef sanctuary combine to make it my wife's favorite ocean experience ever. The cost of this trip wound up coming in under 3K for both of us for everything( air, resort, diving, spa treatments, souvenirs ,tips, etc ). I was skeptical because of the location and the time ( Drug wars, Swine Flu, ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! ) but not only do I not regret it at all, I plan to do a Cozumel/Akumal Combo trip in 2011.
PS I do not know if the deals on this location are going to continue to be great in 2010, but they actually were lower in cost when I looked for a friend to go in December,
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