On day six, Nic and I woke up very early and had breakfast at the ecolodge. There was a large Christian group from Wisconsin that had arrived the night before and they kind of took over the lodge. They were really loud and pretty obnoxious. We were kind of in a rush to get on the road and get away from them.
The roads on highway 307 from Bacalar, North towards Cancun, were really nice. The farther North that you drove, the more “touristy” things were. We saw a lot more restaurants and little gift shops. The plan was to go to the ruins of Tulum before we made it to our destination of Akumal. When we arrived at Tulum around 9:30 am, we were in for a shock. There were over 40 tour buses and the place was packed. We were so used to being the only tourists… just taking our time exploring the culture. When we got here, we decided that this was the kind of vacation that we didn’t want. It was just the kind of thing that we were trying to avoid on the trip: cheesy tourist destinations where everything is Americanized. We pulled out of the parking lot and back onto the highway without even thinking twice.
We arrived at the next lodge around 11am. We planned on showing up later in the afternoon, so the owner was surprised to see us. The lodge was called Organic Yoga. It was a small yoga retreat with only a few huts. The huts were very similar to the ones we stayed at the previous places. They were made of traditional mud with thatched roofs. The rooms were very clean and it even had a nice screened in porch with a little couch and a hammock. The bed had a net around it, which was very practical with all of the geckos and bugs in the jungle.
The owner, Leon was very nice. He had 4 dogs: 2 great dane mixes, a lab and a chihuahua that were all very friendly. It was nice to get my dog-fix. Leon was from Mexico City and taught yoga lessons to groups that stayed at his lodge. Many groups came here as a yoga retreat but there were no other guest during our stay. He also had a worker there from Italy. Her name was Claudia and she was staying there for experience working in an ecolodge. She was our age and showed interest in hanging out with us when we got there.
We said that we were going to the beach and Claudia asked if she could come with us. We all got in the car and went to the beach that was right in Akumal. It was pretty touristy, but not bad. There were a lot of restaurants and a couple resorts. The beach was crowded with people. We had to search for a spot to put our towels. I think Claudia wanted to go to this beach to look for guys 😉
One of the main attractions in Akumal was snorkeling. The beach was right on a reef and it was a place where sea turtles came to lay eggs (although I don’t know how they would lay eggs there with all of the tourist commotion). There were a lot of people walking around with snorkels and you could reach the reef by just walking out into the water. Nic put on his snorkel while Claudia and I got some sun. He was out in the reef for about an hour. There were a lot of other groups swimming around, and boats cruising by too. I was worried that he would get hit by a boat, but he came back to shore very excited because he saw a turtle. He said it swam right next to him.
I put on my snorkel and wanted him to take me out in the water. The water was really warm and and soon as you stepped in, you could see tropical fish swimming around your feet. It was quite amazing. Let me inform you that I am terrified of seaweed, fish, coral and basically anything in the water. I don’t ever swim where there is fish or seaweed present. Even being in a boat and seeing what is below, freaks me out. So. I must have been feeling ambitious to think that I would enjoy snorkeling with fish and coral all around me. As soon as Nic and I stepped into the seaweedy area, a fish zipped through my legs. I jumped up into Nic’s arms and had him carry me to where it was sandy. I decided that this wasn’t going to work. Nic left me in the sandy area and went back out to the reef. I put my snorkel on and just put my face into the water. Two barracudas swam by me and I got even more scared and got out of the water. Snorkeling is just not an activity for me…Oh well, at least I was getting a great tan while hanging out with Claudia.
Nic and I had lunch at a little cafe in Akumal. It was ok, but we could tell that things were less authentic near the resort, and more expensive. After that, we were pretty drained from the sun and found Claudia. We went to a grocery store and picked up some food to cook for dinner. The lodge had a community kitchen to use, so we thought we would save some money and cook pasta for dinner. When we got back to Organic Yoga, Nic and I sat out on the covered porch, reading in the warm breeze. The lodge was very peaceful and beautiful.
The sun started to fade and we left to go to the beach for the sunset. We drove to a beach North of Akumal called Xpu-Ha. It was recommended by Nic’s cousin who was a tour guide in the Yucatan. We paid the 10 pesos to park and walked up to the beach. It was perfect. There were hardly any people. The ones that were around, were laying in hammocks, drinking beer and having a great time. Most people had tents in the sand. You could camp there for free. There was even a small Mexican wedding happening right on the beach. The falling sun was turning the sky pink and it was just beautiful.
We cooked dinner that night at the lodge. Claudia, Leon and his pack of dogs, also joined us as we ate dinner. We had a great night talking to them for a couple hours in the darkness of the jungle. Leon was a really interesting guy who had a wonderful outlook on life, and a lot of stories to share. We were meeting so many awesome friends in Mexico!