For the last few years, I’ve been on some great adventures for which I am grateful: hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, road-tripping through Denmark, and being helicoptered out of Everest Base Camp. In fact, I would say I’m drawn to worldwide adventures! So when someone would mention an all-inclusive vacation, I would often say “I don’t think it’s really my thing these days”. Granted, I’ve been to Cuba and the Dominican Republic for one week stints of pure relaxation, and I loved those vacations! But with so many treks and hikes around the world that remain on my to-do list, should I choose to use precious vacation days to lounge on a beach? I’m not exactly great at sitting still. Well, after spending a week at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, I have concluded that sometimes an all-inclusive vacation is exactly what I need.
Relaxation. When choosing a vacation, the condition was that it needed to be relaxing, and it had to be somewhere warm. Hawaii was in the running, but ultimately, Mexico won out. Neither Robbie or I had visited Mexico before, and with quick flights from Calgary to Cancun, we hoped it would be the quick break we desired. We combed through the selloffvcations.com website for deals and settled on Akumal Bay.
Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is located about 85 km south of Cancun near the town of Akumal. In the Mayan language, Akumal means “Land of turtles”, and the area is great for snorkeling the reefs and seeing turtles. Note: we did not end up snorkeling for turtles, so definitely search online or through Tripadvisor reviews for info. Biodegradable sunscreen is a must to help protect the area; guides may or may not be needed; turtles spawn on the beach at certain times of the year; and there are dangerous coral from which to stay away. Turtle-watch and explore the reefs with caution!.
After a long travel day, we pulled up to the front lobby of the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. The smell of the nearby beach and sea greeted us as we stepped out of the van. We walked into the lobby to see beautiful flowers in the centre, adding a touch of elegance. We were quickly given a tour of the premises- the bars, restaurants, pools, and towel stations. There were many beach chairs, beach beds, and hammocks for relaxing. As we were escorted around, I couldn’t help but notice that the resort was spotless! It’s a smaller resort with only 241 rooms, and recently underwent renovations to transform it from a three-star to a five-star resort. I’m not sure what it looked like before, but it’s definitely a gorgeous resort now. Another plus for being at a smaller resort? No shuttles! I’ve heard of some resorts that use shuttles between areas because they are so massive! That’s definitely not my style.
Then it was on to what would become home for the week. Our room was large and beautiful. A swan made out of towels sat on the foot of the bed, greeting us. A jacuzzi was on the balcony, though we never ended up using it. The fridge was stocked with daily supplies of water, drinks, chocolate and chips. But what makes this resort incredible is that all rooms have a wonderful view of the ocean. I never grew tired of waking up to the sunrise over the ocean and watching it from the balcony. And many nights when I couldn’t sleep, I would stand out on the balcony and look into the dark expanse of the sea while the palm trees swayed in rhythm with the forceful wind. It was so peaceful.
Over the course of the week, we became fully aware of the resort’s offerings. As the name suggests, it is a beach and wellness resort. Daily yoga, a spa and fitness centre are all available. Activities such as beach volleyball, snorkeling and stand up paddleboarding add exciting variety to the usual beach and pool side lounging. The crowd is generally older, but ranged from kids, to young couples, to large families, to retirees. The nightly entertainment consisted of live music, which, while not as elaborate as theatrical productions found at other larger resorts, was totally in line with what you’d expect from a resort focused on wellness and relaxation. (We did notice a night club on the premises that never seemed to have anyone in attendance. Perhaps they are consciously trying to shift the focus). And of course, drinks and food are in “infinite” supply. It’s a gluttonous offering common at these resorts, but at least there were many healthy options when willpower triumphed. At the end of the day, I never suffered from traveler’s diarrhea, which is a feat worthy of a high-five.
Looking for a super relaxing destination to focus on rejuvenation? I definitely recommend Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. Oh, and request either building 3 or 4 if you can. They may be further away from the main pool and bar areas, but with their quiet locations and close proximity to the ocean, those morning sunrise views will be that much more amazing.