Laidback or luxe
Though not as busy as other beach towns bordering the Riviera Maya, accommodation options abound in Akumal. Villa Morena Eco Living puts guests in close touch with nature. The property’s four cabanas feel as if they’ve been dropped into the jungle, and the pool, carved into a massive rock, is refreshingly natural, too. For couples looking to pamper themselves, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort that opened in late 2015. It sits right on the beach, and many of its 434 luxurious suites (below) look out to the turquoise ocean.
Have a leisurely lunch at Hotel Akumal Caribe’s Lol-Ha Restaurant, which offers seafood, meat and vegetarian options, and often showcases live music. Be sure to try their churros (sugar-dusted doughnuts). Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery (below) is a favourite, as it’s open for breakfast (try the sticky buns), lunch, and dinner. The homemade ice cream is especially popular; their Dulce de Leche and Dark Chocolate Habanero flavours are the most evocative of Mexico’s produce.
All set up for families
Active families will find lots of options at the all-inclusive Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, where several kids’ clubs, which cater to youngsters of different ages, are open from early morning until late at night. There’s fun for the whole brood at the freshwater pools, tennis courts, soccer fields, and nightclub.
Make a splash
Thousands of cenotes (natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock; above) dot Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Take a dip in these otherworldly pools, some of which are concealed in caves. Explore independently or book a guided trip with Cenote Santa Cruz. You may want to observe bioluminescent marine life on a nocturnal dive with Akumal Dive Shop. The operator also offers snorkelling trips, on which you may spot the endangered green sea turtle that feeds on beds of seagrass in the waters around Akumal.
Locally made goods are the highlight of MexicArte (below). Its whimsical toys make it a particularly good place to pick up souvenirs to take home to the younger ones. Another must-visit spot for well-crafted souvenirs is Galería Lamanai. While its name implies an upscale art gallery, its locally produced handicrafts and jewellery are sold at affordable prices.
– TEXT BY JULIE SCHWIETERT COLLAZO
PHOTOS: MEXICARTE, GRAND PALLADIUM KANTENAH RESORT & SPA, TURTLE BAY CAFE & BAKERY, SECRETS AKUMAL RIVIERA MAYA, 123RF.COM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.