This year's cast of characters: Me, my wife Kathy, my brother Jac from Tucson,
his wife Betty, and two surprise guests. More on them later! Parts of this report
may be quite repetitive so I'll mention that we had breakfast at Lol Ha every
morning (always perfect) and most days spent at least part of Happy Hour at the
Lol Ha Beach Bar. Overall the weather was outstanding, as usual. I've learned
never to worry about looking at the forecasts before the trip, since they're always
wrong. As it turned out, despite forecasts for rain on at least four days, we
had about 5 minutes of rain on our last morning. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with
highs in the mid to upper 80's. It was a bit windy most days, but that was hardly
a factor no matter what we were doing during the day.
A few things have changed since our last trip last July. First, most of
the road from Playa south now has street lights, and the parts that
don't have them soon will. Also being installed are lights south of
Akumal to Tulum and from Tulum to the beach road. Tulum itself is
having major road construction. The area in Akumal between the arch and
the Original Akumal Dive Shop has a new road and there is a new parking
area just in front of the Turtle Bay Bakery and La Cueva del Pescador.
The first night we drove from our rented house located halfway to Half
Moon Bay back to the Lol Ha and I ended up driving into the new parking
area by mistake, since it's where the road used to be. The last change
I noted is that the internet cafe, now called Cyber Akumal, has moved
downstairs and slightly south. It has about 10 PC's as well as some
connections for personal laptops, and it's a DSL connection, so is now
very fast as well as very reasonably priced.
A few things have changed since our last trip last July. First, most of the road from Playa south now has street lights, and the parts that don't have them soon will. Also being installed are lights south of Akumal to Tulum and from Tulum to the beach road. Tulum itself is having major road construction. The area in Akumal between the arch and the Original Akumal Dive Shop has a new road and there is a new parking area just in front of the Turtle Bay Bakery and La Cueva del Pescador. The first night we drove from our rented house located halfway to Half Moon Bay back to the Lol Ha and I ended up driving into the new parking area by mistake, since it's where the road used to be. The last change I noted is that the internet cafe, now called Cyber Akumal, has moved downstairs and slightly south. It has about 10 PC's as well as some connections for personal laptops, and it's a DSL connection, so is now very fast as well as very reasonably priced.
We rented the Casa Papagayo for this stay. It's a very nice house, built in two sections. The main section has one bedroom as well as a nice living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Separate from the main house is a guest house with a bedroom and bathroom. It's an Art Deco style structure, very nicely decorated, and only a few years old. It's set close to the road, with parking under the main house itself and a large yard with trees and rock-outlined paths to a palapa overlooking the water. This was a very comfortable house and I'd highly recommend it for two couples or a small family.
It was snowing with a very strong wind as we left home around 3:30. Our Transglobal Vacations flight with Ryan Air left right on schedule at 7:15. Once again, the plane was a very comfortable Airbus A-321, with an in-flight movie. We arrived in Cancun a bit ahead of schedule, but that was soon taken care of by a horrendous crowd at Immigration. I've heard others talk about having to wait hours to clear Immigration, but this was a first for us. Actually, it "only" took about an hour and 45 minutes. Finally clearing the airport, we whipped through the rental process at Executive and were on our way south. We couldn't go too far south for now, since we had to come back to pick up my brother and his wife at about 4 PM. We stopped in Puerto Morelos for lunch at Los Pelicanos, then drove around for a bit before heading back to the airport. As it turned out, we could have done a few more things, because the Immigration crowds hadn't thinned out any and it took nearly as long for them to clear as it did us. However, we finally all pulled out and hit the road to Akumal around 5:30. After unloading the car at the house, we went out to the Super Chomak for a few groceries and then to the Lol Ha Beach Bar for dinner. Back to the house to unpack and crash.
After breakfast we stopped in at the Hekab Be biblioteca with a load of school supplies and prizes, then headed out to find the ATM in Tulum. We then drove up the Boca Paila road and walked on the beach a bit, then back to Gringo Dave's for lunch. Stopped at the new San Francisco store in Tulum for a few more supplies and just to see it. Returned to the house, got ready for the beach, then spent some time snorkeling in Akumal Bay. As we were coming out of the water we walked right up to our WI friends, Dale and Jule, who decided to fly down for a few days to surprise us. Later, after Happy Hour, we had dinner at the Turtle Bay, went back to the house for coffee and a visit, then called it a day.
Met Dale and Jule for breakfast, then went for a walk along Half Moon Bay with brother Jac and his wife Betty. Stopped at La Buena Vida for a beer, and Dale and Jule showed up. (Unplanned!) So we stayed for lunch. Went snorkeling in Akumal Bay in the afternoon. We saw some young turtles and the huge school of fish that usually swims around the baracuda, but the big guy was somewhere else. In the evening the six of us went into Playa for some shopping and dinner. Jac and Betty bought a large screen which the shop packed in cardboard for traveling. Interesting process to get it back to the house, given the lack of space in the Nissan Tsuru! Should be even more fun on the trip to the airport, with all the luggage also!
Headed out to the ruins at Tulum. Jac hired a guide who provided a nice commentary and history. Did a bit of shopping and visited the ATM at the ruins, then headed back to Gringo Dave's for another wonderful lunch. Drove past Casa Cenote, but the lot was full with a large crowd enjoying Gary Phillips' Sunday barbecue, as well as a lot of people swimming in the cenote. Also saw Ann in DSM's Casa de Perro Feliz on Tankah Bay. Very nice-looking house. Maybe some day we'll want to rent it for a week. We then drove north through the development area along the bay and were surprised to find a new stone wall across the road at the north end of the development. No more trips to Soliman Bay along the beach road, I guess. Had to turn around and go back out the way we came in. Back to the house for some lounging until time for Happy Hour. Later we went out to Cd. Chemuyil to find Pizzaria Leo's. We've been meaning to try it out for a couple of years and finally did. Won't be our last time dining there...it was great, and reasonably priced. Had some after-dinner drinks at La Buena Vida, then climbed the stairs to our roof for some star-gazing.
We all went to breakfast this morning, as Dale and Jule were headed home after breakfast. Then Jac and I went to Cyber Akumal to check email and so Jac could send something off work-related. After lunch at the Lol Ha beach bar, Jac, Kathy, and I went snorkeling. Saw more turtles and again the big school of fish. Kathy caught a brief glimpse of the 'cuda, but again he was staying away from his entourage. After Happy Hour and dinner at the Lol Ha restaurant, we picked up some more groceries and called it a night.
Yalku in the morning. Saw the typical Yalku fish, plus a small baracuda. Despite the early hour there were a lot of people there. Next headed to Tulum for gas. Jac and I double-teamed the attendant and all was fair. Had lunch at Casa Cenote. Pretty good, but not as good as it has been in recent years. After lunch we headed to Xcacel. This is a very pretty beach, still undeveloped and dedicated to turtle nesting. Jac and I then snorkeled Akumal Bay. Today it was just about as good as it gets. We saw a small ray, several feeding turtles, then the huge school of fish surrounding the baracuda. Got some nice pictures and used up the underwater camera. After Happy Hour we went to the CEA building for a presentation by Charles Shaw about the meteor strike in the Gulf of Mexico right off the Yucatan that killed off the dinosaurs. Had a late dinner at La Cueva del Pescador...fair steaks and good lobster.
After breakfast we returned to Tulum so Kathy and Betty could do some shopping. Started at Mixik, then checked out a couple other shops. We then drove south on the Boca Paila road to Ana y Jose's to see their wonderful beach, then back up to Gringo Dave's again for lunch. Had to show Jac and Betty Oscar y Lalo's at Punta Soliman, so we had some more cerveza. Went back to Casa Papagayo for a siesta, then off to Happy Hour. For dinner we went to the Lol Ha and also caught the Flamenco show there. Back home for the final night...just another day in Paradise!
After a final Lol Ha breakfast we went back to the house to pack. Managed to squeeze everything into the Tsuru and then headed up to Chedraui in Playa for a few final purchases. Up to Puerto Morelos for lunch at Los Pelicanos, then drove around that town for a bit. Also saw a small marching band celebrating some sort of church event. Since Jac and Betty hadn't yet seen the Cancun Hotel Zone, we drove through about half of it on our way to the airport for their flight out. Since we still had a couple of hours to kill, Kathy and I then drove through Cancun city until the road sort of ended, then came back to the area of Av. Coba and Av. Tulum, where we stopped for some more refreshments. Brought the car back to Executive, where check-in was very fast and efficient as usual, then back to the terminal for the flight home.
More pictures in 2004 Gallery Number One
The rest of the Underwater Pictures