We are somewhat settled into our home, we’ve started figuring out where to eat and what to do, so you know what that means? Time for our first guests here in Playa del Carmen!  There were so many places (and restaurants) we were excited to introduce them to, but a must do on the list was a trip to Akumal.

I tried really hard, but it's impossible to take a bad picture in Akumal.
I tried really hard, but it’s impossible to take a bad picture in Akumal.

Akumal holds a special place for all of us – years ago we had actually spent part of our friend’s honeymoon with them there. Raise your hand if you’ve gone on someone else’s honeymoon. No? No takers? I highly recommend it. They asked (they’re cool – or weird – like that) and so of course we said yes and had a fabulous time. So a return trip, at least for the day, was in order.

Akumal sits about 30 minutes South of Playa del Carmen about halfway to Tulum. It’s a town literally divided in two by the highway. Part of the town is the pueblo or town proper where many locals live and work, the other part of Akumal is directly on the beach, has loads of houses and restaurants, plus world class snorkeling and scuba diving and is more tourist-oriented.

Rumor is the town was founded to be a community for scuba divers but it has definitely evolved. We continue to see the growing development along the Riviera Maya and Akumal is no exception. The beach and restaurants were more crowded than we had ever seen them and the parking at the entrance is no longer free. There are new buildings and new businesses popping up and a quick search shows higher rental prices than I remember. All that said, it is definitely still worth a visit.

Akumal means “Place of the Turtles” in Mayan and is appropriately named. There are groups working to protect the sea turtles in the area and so snorkeling in Akumal Bay almost guarantees sightings of these magnificent creatures. We were lucky on the day we were there and had quite a few sightings. I was in the water for less than a minute before coming across these guys.

For the less adventurous laying (sleeping) on the beach is also a perfectly acceptable activity here.

There is no wrong way to spend the day here.
There is no wrong way to spend the day in Akumal.
Lunch at Lol Ha did not include turtle soup.
Lunch in Akumal did not include turtle soup.

We grabbed lunch at Lol Ha, but if you visit and have time I’d recommend heading a bit further down the road – there’s only one road so I guarantee you aren’t going to get lost – and stopping by La Buena Vida. Climb up to the Crow’s Nest  and enjoy a cerveza while checking out the can’t be beat view. And if you keep going (seriously – one road, just keep going) you’ll find Yal Ku Lagoon, another great snorkeling destination. Here freshwater meets salt water creating a halocline which means some diverse marine life.

Yal Ku Lagoon
Yal Ku Lagoon is much more crowded these days – but still worth the trip.

It was great showing off our new hometown to our friends, including the ‘suburbs.’ and we continue to explore new places so that we can introduce everyone to those as well. But more than anything, we loved the taste of home they brought with them, both in American provisions (well I guess champagne is technically French, but I sure did enjoy it all the time in the States) and the conversation and laughter.

Cheers to good friends (and good beer)!
Cheers to good friends (and good beer)!

So the question is, who’s next?