Fifty years ago, a Mexican aquatic archeologist named Pablo Bush Romero (1905-1998), "rediscovered" Akumal as he was looking for the wreckage of the Spanish merchant frigate, Nuestra Senora de Matanceros (1741). He loved Akumal so much that he bought the property from a local land-owner and established Akumal as a diver's enclave.
Myrna Bush (a daughter of Pablo Bush Romero), is producing a video about the discovery and founding of Akumal, titled "AKUMAL - HALF CENTURY AGO - The Rescue of Matanceros." View the trailer - http://vimeo.com/3993300
I get asked all the time, "What must I absolutely see/do while in the Mayan Riviera?" Here's my list (in order of importance).
Must See/Do 1. Tulum Ruins (Do NOT miss out on going down the stairs to the beach and PLAYING IN THE WATER for a while! The sand is soft and the waves are fun!) 2. Playa del Carmen 5th Avenue (Go at night – the temperature is better and it is a lot of fun!) 3. Akumal Main Bay (Snorkel with turtles!!!) 4. Coba Ruins (Rent the bicycles and ride around the ruins! And climb the pyramid!!) 5. Cozumel (Take the ferry from PDC…snorkel, eat, etc.)
Our night at Hacienda Paradise in Playa del Carmen was an interesting one. The boutique hotel is on a fairly busy side-street in north Playa--and with all the one-way streets, it took us a bit to find it. Pros: Clean; cool room furniture; free breakfast; pool (too cold to use on this trip); great bathroom & shower; found a street parking spot right infront of the hotel; hard beds/mattresses--but it didn't bother me at all;
Cons: Located on a busy side-street and half of the room doors are on this street, out in the open; a glass pane next to our "window" A/C was broken, so that let the noise in even further; no hot water for my 5:00 AM shower--I went back to bed and called at 7:00 and they fixed it; had to pay $2.50 for yogurt at breakfast--but it was worth it;
A recent article entitled "Extreme Makeover" by Mary Miller in Archeology, discusses interesting facts about what the Mayan people believed to be physically beautiful. The article mentions binding the head to produce a flattened forehead and elongated skull to drilling holes in their teeth and filling them with jade.
La Cueva del Chango means "Monkey's Cave" in English. I have heard a lot about this restaurant/bar in Playa del Carmen, and this trip I am going to check it out! It is an open-sided palapa made of woods and natural materials such as stone. Water and greenery contribute to the ambiance of a "jungle" feel. As far as the food goes--lots of fresh fruit (salads, juices, etc.), homemade rye bread, and freshly made salsas! (Yum!) Traditional Mexican food with a twang (ie: shrimp breaded with Xcatic chili and cinnamon) is said to make for a new experience.
On our upcoming trip, we will be staying one night at the boutique hotel "Hacienda Paradise" in Playa del Carmen. This is somewhere I have never stayed before--I'm looking forward to previewing it. Besides the regular selling points of cleanliness, decor, location, etc., my considerations in choosing Hacienda Paradise were:
1. Free Beach Club Passes
2. Free Gym Passes
3. Free Wi-Fi
4. Free Continental Breakfast
5. Free Parking
In just over a week from now, I'll let you know my personal opinions of the hotel.
I am a native Southern-Californian who grew up barefoot and bikini-clad!
Mayan Riviera Gringa combines my three loves:
1) The Ocean
2) Spanish/Latin Language & Culture
I hope to "share the dream" with you!