Quintana Roo, Mexico

Our friend Denise and her twin brother turned 50 this year. They wanted to celebrate this milestone together so they planned a week at one of Riviera Maya's top All Inclusive resorts. Jeff and Denise road the bus up from Chetumal to Playa Del Carmen. Joyce and I, along with Wayne and Lorraine, decided we would go pick them up saving them the bus trip home. This was all the excuse we needed to spend some time on the Beach in Mexico.

Our original plan was to stay in Tulum, but we didn't like it much. It is way too expensive for what is offered. So we continued north to Akumal. What a magical place. The beach was wonderful, the snorkeling inside the reef was good even with the constant 10-15 knot wind.

The reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which stretches nearly 450 miles from the southern Yucatan Peninsula, past Belize and on into the waters of Honduras. Referred to as the “Jewel of the Caribbean,” the reef is home to many species of coral and fish as well as colorful flora, mammals, and reptiles.

Akumal, meaning “place of the turtle” in the Mayan language, is on the shores of two bays - Half Moon bay and Akumal bay. Both are teaming with sea life. It has been a nesting ground for green and loggerhead sea turtles for centuries. One of Mexico’s most successful ecological endeavors has been its “turtle watch and protection program” at Akumal. Nesting season begins in May and lasts through October. Swimming hundreds of miles through the oceans these turtles follow their instincts to the beaches of Akumal to lay their eggs and continue the circle of life. Visitors during nesting season can participate in the protection of these gentle creatures and witness a miracle of nature.

There are several restaurants with excellent food, Turtle Bay and Buena Vida were great, but there was virtually no night life. I'm not really into loud noisy crowds but I think some of the group would have preferred a little more action.

Most of these photos were taken in March of 2009. Here is a Live Web Cam at Akumal Beach.