Akumal 2011 Trip Report
On May 16th, 2011 our good friends Michele & Ken Mellonbrook picked us up at 6:30 am and we drove to the Phoenix airport. We arrived in plenty of time to check all our bags and spend a life time in the security line.
None of us was picked to have a TSA physical. Lucky us!!
The plane loaded and then waited at the gate for 20 minutes. The captain never did tell us why we left late. But finally we departed and away we went.
The US Airways Boeing 757 was the noisiest of airplanes. As the pilot taxied to the end of the runway, many of us talked about how it sounded like a car starter that would not crank over. But, the captain didn’t hear it and took off anyway. Finally at 39 thousand feet, things were quiet.
4 hours later the captain told us we were getting ready to land into Cancun. Paradise at last! The landing was smooth, except for when the captain put the flaps down for landing it smelled like an electrical fire was in the cargo hold. It turned out to be nothing. I hope!!
Disembarking from the plane we went through immigrations (which took a lot longer then it should have) and then the dreaded green/red button. We all got a green button!
We went outside and found the Easyway Car Rental staff waiting for us. We then took a quick ride off the airport to the car rental place, completed the necessary paperwork for renting the car and then hit the road south to Akumal.
An hours drive later we pulled into the Vista Del Mar Condo/Hotel. We went to the main office. We completed all the paperwork and got two sets of keys to condo 1. Condo 1 is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, full kitchen with a full dining room, plus a large living room with a TV. Absolutely gorgeous!! See the pictures below.
Around 6 pm we walked just down the street to the La Buena Vida bar/grill. La Buena Vida means “the good life”. Happy hour is from 5 to 7 pm. We met up with our good friends Shaleh and Anni. We talked and hugged for several hours. It is so great to see them again. We ate dinner of Cheyenne tacos (not on the dinner menu, but they made them for us anyway). Very yummy!!
By 10 pm we all were tired, so we went to sleep.
We woke up at 6 AM to very gorgeous day. We drank coffee 50 feet from the ocean.
Doesn’t get much better than this! Around 8 AM we walked over to the dive shop, did the necessary paperwork to go diving and then put our gear together for a 9 AM dive.
Mario (the boat captain) and Jose (the dive master for the boat) were just as ready to go out as we were. We heard later that this was the first calm ocean day in weeks. I guess we brought it down with us.
On our first dive, which was a 75 foot deep dive, we saw Turtles, Groupers, Blue Chromies, a 5 foot Green Morey eel, and lots of coral and sponges. We also saw a school of Damsel fish. Michele had a 5 foot loggerhead turtle swim right in front of her. She was happy!!
At the 11 AM dive (which was a shallow dive of 45 feet) we saw several small turtles, a large Trumpet fish, and many, many small fish.
After the dive we headed back to the condo, took showers and went to lunch at the Lunchoria (near the arch). We had hamburgers and French fries.
Some of us laid down and took naps while others read a book or explored the area.
Around 5:30 PM we went over to the La Buena Vida for dinner. We had a couple of drinks and ordered some Cheyenne tacos to go. (I told you they were good) We spent the rest of the night sitting on the patio talking and drinking coffee.
We were up at 6 AM drinking coffee on the beach. What a life!!
At 8:30 AM we walked over to the dive shop, got our gear ready and went out on another deep dive at 9 AM. This time we saw more turtles, a large Puffer fish and several lobsters.
At 11 AM we did a shallow dive right in front of Half Moon Bay. We saw more turtles, spiny lobsters and a huge 6 foot logger head turtle eating the coral. He must have found something very good to eat, because he was chowing down on the coral! This all happened directly under us while we were doing our 3 minute safety stop at 20 feet. The turtle was 20 feet below us, so the view was fantastic.
We took showers, had lunch again at the Lunchoria, and then all took a nap.
At 6 PM we drove over the Akumal Pueblo to a new restaurant we heard about named Tequillaville. It is a TEX_MEX BBQ place which opened in October of 2010. It is owned by Mary & Ken Anderson. They are from Canada, but don’t hold that against them. Both are really friendly and super nice people. We sat and talked with them for quite awhile. They bought the old Lucy’s 2, back in October 2010. They put a lot of money into redecorating and refurnishing the place. It looks great and the food was fantastic.
After filling our bellies we went back to the condo and sat around talking and drinking coffee.
Again we woke up at 6 AM, but this time the ocean had gotten angry. It was very rough with lots of white caps in the bay. This is unusual because the bay is naturally protected by the reef.
At 8:30 AM we went over to the dive shop and learned the dive shop had called the diving for the day because of the rough seas. Getting in or out of the bay would have been very difficult. But beyond that, getting back into the boat in rough seas, could have been very dangerous. So, for the protection of the divers, the dive shop called the dive. It is very unusual for the dive shop to call the dives. That in itself tells you how rough the sea was.
So we went out to the Lunchoria for breakfast. The Mexican omelets are great! After breakfast we went back to the condo, sat around and listened to the ocean roar. It was very relaxing.
At around 1 PM we all decided to visit our friends (Gary & Karen) who live in Tulum. Nancy has known Karen for over 20 years. Karen has lived in Tulum Mexico for over 15 years. Gary has lived in Tulum for just under 10 years. We attended Karen & Gary’s wedding back in 2005.
We drove down to Tulum and spent most of the afternoon with them. They have an above ground pool in their back yard. So we all went for a dip to cool off. We all talked about anything and everything. Just had a great time!
At 5 PM we said our goodbyes and drove back to Akumal. We stopped in at the Lunchoria and ordered hamburgers and fries to go. David waited for the food while the others walked across the courtyard to the free standing shop venders. The venders sell all kinds of knick knacks, jewelry and some Mexican clothing. Most of the items are well within the tourist pricing you would expect. Fortunately, for the men, the women didn’t find anything they couldn’t live without. When the food was ready, we went back to the condo to eat. There was little conversation during dinner as we all were very hungry.
Again, after dinner we just sat out on the patio and watched the ocean and talked until bedtime.
Today we leave paradise. Bummer!!
At around 8 AM we walked over to the dive shop, gathered up all our gear (we had left our gear at the dive shop every night with no worries) and paid our bill. At 9 AM we went to the Lunchoria for breakfast.
We were back to the room by 10 AM for a quick shower and to pack our bags. We turned in our keys to the condo at 11 AM and drove north to Cancun to turn in the rental car. A little after 12 noon we arrived at the rental car place never getting stopped or hassled by the corrupt polica. The car had not been damaged so we were not charged anything extra. Easyway Car Rental gave us a ride to the airport and we arrived 3 hours early. Check in was a little stressful at the kiosk. The US Airways person was not the friendliest person. But we did get checked in, paid the ransom for the extra bags and received our boarding passes.
Now, the Cancun airport is one of the few airports where almost all the food stores are inside security. There are only a couple of restaurants or coffee shops outside security. What makes this weird is there is no place to smoke once you go past security and you can not get out. You have been “kidnapped” and held by the Mexican version of the TSA. There is no place outside where you can sit down. It is like they are forcing you into the airport to be kidnapped.
We did decide to eat at a restaurant outside security. It was very pricy but still good food. The waiter named Habaro (we think), waited on us and he was very entertaining and friendly. He must have been having a great day. He made waiting the next 2 hours very enjoyable. At around 3 PM we went through security. Everybody made it (with their shoes on) but some of us got picked out because of a confusing x-ray picture. We made it through and walked down to our gate. The Cancun airport is designed to make all passengers go through the duty free shop on their way to a gate. Of course we stopped and looked at everything.
We started boarding the plane at 3:30 PM and the plane pulled away from the gate “right on time”! The flight back to Phoenix was uneventful, except for the turbulences about halfway through the flight. Not real bad, but enough to make the captain order everybody into their seats with their seatbelts on.
We landed in Phoenix right on time. Disembarked the plane, walked (what seemed like a hundred miles) to the zigzag lines of Immigrations and Customs. After an hour (Yes, I said an hour) we had all our documents scanned, questions answered, baggage checked, and were allowed to leave the airport. We picked up an airport shuttle to the offsite, long term parking company we had left the car at 5 days ago. Everything was fine. Michele and Ken dropped off Nancy and David at their house around 8 PM.
I can not say enough times for Nancy and David, this quick and short vacation was great! Michele and Ken were an absolute blast - very easy going and fun to be around.
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