David and Nancy went on vacation to Akumal, Mexico on October 24th through November 2nd, 2007.
This is a brief pictorial and text review of their vacation.
Wednesday October 24th: We awoke at 1 AM and got ready for our vacation. Some friends (Roland & Sarah) gave us a ride to the airport for a 5 AM departure time. We quickly checked our bags via the Kiosk with no problems. A 2 1/2 hour layover in Houston and then our way to paradise. Upon arrival in Cancun, we went through customs and retrieved our bags. We were met out front of the airport by a representative of Easyway Car Rental. After completing the proper paperwork for the car rental we were starting our travels to the hotel. In Playa Del Carmen we viewed a taxi with a ladder being held outside the passenger door by the taxi's fare. (see the pictures below) We then stopped at Sam's Club for some necessary items and continued our trip South. The drive on Mexico highway 307 is much better then in the old days. It is now a 4 lane divided highway all the way to Akumal. While we were there, they had poured concrete for about 4 more kilometers South, but had not opened the road for traffic. It is obvious, they plan on making the road 4 lanes all the way to Tulum. We arrived at the hotel around 6 PM. We stayed in the Vista Del Mar hotel (VDM). http://www.akumalinfo.com/hotel.htm We were one of the first guests of the hotel since hurricane Dean. The hotel was staffed, ready for guests and well restored of any damages from Dean. The hotel rooms are clean and basic. They are equipped with a Satellite TV (which may or may not be working). The TV only had 6 movie channels and no news or sports channels. The room also had a mini refrigerator (ours had to be replaced several days into our stay). The room had a small clothes closet with hangers, a shelving unit and a night stand. The management staff spoke very good English and responded rather quickly to our problems. The maids did not speak English. Our room did not have a safe. Which I found odd. When I asked about it, management said I could put my valuables in a envelope in the office. The room did not have a hair dryer or an alarm clock. These items would be a nice feature, but not show stopper. The sink leaked onto the shelf under the sink. But David tightened up the plumbing washers under the sink and that resolved the leak. However, we did notice the water pressure was better then most places in Mexico. We did notice private security at night walking around the hotel. We never felt concerned for our safety while we were there. We even left our digital camera on the night stand while we were gone from the room every day. So I surmise the maid and maintenance staff are not thieves. The first room they assigned to us, the air conditioner did not work. The second room, the TV did not work. We decided to let it go until the handyman in the morning could take a look at it. Our room had a queen bed and no room for crib or sleeper bed. I would say our room is for two people only and no more. I never did get to view any of the condos. The third floor of the hotel was just getting repaired or restored from Dean. In fact, the plywood was still on the windows when we arrived. After being up for what seemed like two days straight, we were asleep by 8 PM.
Thursday October 25th: We awoke at 6 AM, had several pots of coffee (each room has a coffee pot) and were ready for our time in paradise. We ate a filling breakfast at the Lol Ha restaurant. After breakfast we stopped at the VDM office and exchanged several hundred dollars for pesos. The exchange rate at the VDM was 10.5 to 1. We arrived at the Akumal Dive Adventures dive shop http://akumaldiveadventures.com/ a little early. But we're not anxious. Well, not much! We went on two dives, ate lunch and took a nap. You would be surprised how hungry diving makes you. After the nap we went to visit our friend Shaleh at her apartment. Gabbed for what seemed like hours and then went back to the room.
Friday October 26th: We woke up early again and watched another beautiful sunrise. This is a habit I enjoy. We went to breakfast at Turtle Bay cafe. The breakfast was great. A bit expensive for breakfast. $16 total for two. We then went to the dive shop. Had another beautiful dive. (see the pictures below) Ate lunch at a great (cheap) restaurant outside the Super Chomax (the local quick shop store). Back to the room for a two hour nap. (Do you see a pattern developing?) Ate dinner at La Buena Vida. http://www.akumalinfo.com/restaurant.htm What a great restaurant! The décor is straight from Halloween. A very large crowd from a wedding reception was winding down when we arrived.
Saturday October 27th: A slight hangover from last night. But a couple pots of coffee took care of that headache! Skipped breakfast but went out on an early dive. After the dive we drove South to Tulum. Ate lunch at a Shrimp taco's cafe just North of San Francisco's (a grocery store in Tulum). After lunch we drove to our friends house, Karen & Gary (Nancy has known her for over 20 years). They were at the beach house on South Tulum beach road. Spent the next several hours gabbing with them. It's been a year since we last saw them. On the way out of Tulum, I noticed we had a low tire. So we stopped at Pemex (Mexico gas station) and filled up the tire. Drove back to Akumal in a rain storm. This part of highway 307 is only 2 lanes. Most Mexican drivers do not slow down for a rain storm. So this half hour drive was not fun! But we arrived back to VDM with no problems and the rain had stopped. (this was the only real rain storm during the day of our vacation) We called Easyway Car Rental to report the flat tire. At first they wanted me to fix the tire or bring the tire to their office. But after a short conversation, they agreed to have someone at the hotel in the morning with a new tire.
Sunday October 28th: Awoke, had coffee, went to the dive shop, did another beautiful dive, ate lunch and took a nap. (Just continuing in our "pattern") Easyway Car Rental showed up at 11 am with a new tire for the rental car. Life is good again! After the nap we went to Tulum for a party at our friends beach house. We met some new friends, had a great dinner and talked for hours. Back to VDM late in the evening.
Monday October 29th: Today we took the day off from diving and drove up to Playa Del Carmen (PDC) to do a day of shopping. We bought gifts for everyone back home who were dog sitting, cat sitting and or house sitting for us. Must have walked at least 10 miles! Even stopped in at the new Wal-Mart in PDC. Once we got back to the hotel, we notice there was no electricity. Notified the office and they had it working within an hour. Very strange they hadn't noticed the electricity was out! We went out to dinner at the La Lunita restaurant. http://www.lalunita-akumal.com/ A great dinner on the beach for about $20 USD each.
Tuesday October 30th: Woke up early again, had coffee and did the morning dive. Back to the room for a shower and ate lunch at the Super Chomax. Took a nap. Ate dinner at the La Buena Vida and just hung out for a while. The TV was out in the room. The night manager had no idea why. Oh well. We just hung out on the balcony and watched the ocean go by.
Wednesday October 31st: Woke up early again, had coffee and did the morning dive. After the dive we drove down to Tulum to Karen and Gary's house. Their computer was not acting right. So as a computer consultant (and their friend) we did a little repair. The funny part here is Karen's computer is all in Spanish. The OS is completely in Spanish! But, no problems for David even though he speak or reads very little Spanish (Karen did translation, when needed). He fixed all that needed to be fixed and Karen now has e-mail again. Now David can add to his resume that he is an International computer consultant. We drove back to Akumal, arriving just after sundown. We stopped in at the pueblo side of Akumal (Which is on the West side of highway 307) to a street vender who cooks and sells hamburgers and hotdog. It was a little strange to eat from a street vender. But his hotdogs and hamburgers were delicious! And very reasonably priced too. We went a costume Halloween party at the La Buena Vida. (see the pictures below) This was the best Halloween party we have every been to -- the band was terrific. Went to bed very late.
Thursday November 1st: Awoke early, had coffee, went diving, took a shower and a nap. What a way to start the day!! Went over to Ani's apartment in the afternoon and did some computer repairs to a laptop belonging to her friend Phil. Used his computer to print out our boarding passes for the flight home. Ate dinner in the room and just sat on the balcony watching the ocean go by. I could get a accustomed to this way of life.
Friday November 2nd: After coffee we checked out of the hotel at 11 AM. Ate lunch one last time at the Super Chomax and drove back to Easyway Car Rental in Cancun. Easyway checked out the car (no problems) and gave us a ride to the airport. We were several hours early, but terminal 3 has a very nice covered area outside. So we sat there watching all the new arrivals until it was time for us to leave. No problems on the flight or in Houston with customs. We arrived at the Phoenix airport around 10 PM. After getting our bags and catching a Blue Shuttle to the house we were home again around 11 PM.
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