29 December 2009

Lol-Ha New Year's Eve Beach Party

Ring in the New Year in Akumal at Lol-Ha's Beach Party! Food, Dancing, Live Music... Everyone welcome!

21 December 2009

Annual Candlelight Service

It's time once again for Akumal’s Annual Christmas Candlelight Service. Come and enjoy Christmas in Akumal this Wednesday, December 23, 2009 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Ukana Plaza Stage. Live Nativity, Christmas Carols with a special signing performance by the Hekab-Be Ninos.

Akumal Direct Reservations

16 December 2009

Elton John at Chichen Itza - April 3, 2010

Official news has it that Sir Elton John will perform at Chichen Itza in 2010 and and former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney will follow sometime in 2011 as part of his “Farewell Tour”.

Plan your visit to Akumal with plenty of time to enjoy an unforgettable concert, and a few days to take in the magic and wonder of the Riviera Maya too!

Find your tickets at TICKETMASTER.COM

Lol Ha's Christmas Eve Menu

For those lucky enough to enjoy the holidays in Akumal this year, save your seat at Lol-Ha Restaurant for an unforgettable Christmas Eve dinner!

For reservations or additional information, please email Laura at laura@hotelakumalcaribe.com

Akumal Direct

15 December 2009

Making Wishes Come True

Hekab Be will host their Christmas celebration on Tuesday, December 22nd at 3:30 p.m. There will be singing, an exposition of Christmas-themed art work by the children, and readings of the winning stories from the Christmas Story Contest. And of course, gifts will be given to the kids, and treats will be shared.

This year they are trying something new, and asked the kids to write down what they wished for. If you are interested in helping make wishes come true, please visit their blog for the list of gifts requested by the kids.

Come share the Christmas magic!
Akumal Direct

01 December 2009


A spectacular festival of sports and music for the whole family. Come and spend two days on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Tulum Mexico.

A fun way to participate in beach and aquatic sports and learn new ones! Come and try out the Stand Up Paddle boards

Don't miss the opportunity to try out the new 2010 equipment of Best Kiteboarding

A perfect way for sponsors to promote the start of a new season.

Place: Playa Paraíso, Tulum

Carr. Tulum - Boca Paila, Mza. 3, Lt. 2, Tulum Ruinas

Date: December 5 and 6, 2009

10 am until Sunset

The media and local press will be there to cover this exciting event of the Riviera Maya

Learn more by visiting them on the web here

25 September 2009

WILD9 - The 9th World Wilderness Congress

For the first time ever, the WWC will convene in Latin America from 6-13 November, in the city of Merida, Yucatan, in the heart of the Mayan world. Many of the world's leading conservation experts, politicians, academics, corporations, artists, native peoples, students and many others will gather in Merida, Mexico to debate and act upon the most urgent environmental issues of our time.

With Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón as the Honorary Host of WILD9, the schedule is already filled with leading names in conservation today. Wilderness and Climate Change is a central theme – driving the message that protecting wild nature eliminates at least 1/4 of the carbon threat.

WILD9 is a project of The WILD Foundation, Unidos para la Conservacion, and many collaborating organizations, institutions and government agencies from Latin America and around the world.

Other topics such as Freshwater and Underground Wilderness, Climate Change and Biodiversity, Fire in Nature, Transboundary Conservation and Connectivity, Marine and Oceanic Wilderness, and the Role of Human Communities in Nature will guide the trainings, plenary sessions, local excursions, working and poster sessions, cultural events and celebrations. In one of many associated sessions, the world’s best conservation photographers will participate in the first RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) of Mexico’s unique Yucatan Peninsula.

James Balog, a professional American photographer whose work revolves around the relationship between humans and nature, will present a keynote during the plenary sessions at WILD9, the 9th World Wilderness Congress. It will be an eye opening to hear about Balog’s photography experiences and conservation work!

James Balog has garnered numerous awards, including the Leica Medal of Excellence, premier awards for nature and science photography from World Press Photo, the 2007 Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure and the 2008 Outstanding Photographer of the Year from the North American Nature Photography Association. He has exhibited work at more than a hundred museums and galleries around the world, and is the author of seven books. Balog was the first photographer ever commissioned to create a full plate of stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, a 1996 release featuring America’s endangered wildlife.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the WILD 9 website regularly and be sure to visit the page dedicated to The Land of The Maya !

15 September 2009

Festival de Tortugas Marinas Tulum Fri. October 16, 2009 - Sun. October 18, 2009

The traditional Tulum Sea Turtle Festival will take place from October 16 - October 18th. The event is organized by the Flora, Fauna and Culture of Mexico organization (FFCM) and other companies as well as the public and government organizations of Tulum and Solidaridad.

The Sea Turtle Festival is a free event for the whole family, and encourages the participants to learn about sea turtles that are considered to be endangered species, and to familiarize themselves with the various organizations that are trying to protect them. Many artistic, environmental and cultural activities will also be a part of the festival. And... for the first time in its history and due to its big success and additional day has been added in order to do some more environmental activities and baby turtle releases in Akumal.

Currently, the Festival is conducted as a joint effort of civil society, private and government sectors in which companies and organizations such as the Parque Xcaret, Akumal Ecological Center, the CESIAK, the House of Culture Tulum, Xel-Ha Park, the Autonomous University of Quintana Roo, Tulum Municipality, the Municipality of Solidaridad, Global Vision International, Echo Bay Foundation, Workshops Zero, the Commission of Natural Protected Natural Areas, the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment State Government of Quintana Roo, the Directorate-Xcacelito Xcacel Sanctuary, the Hotel Nueva Vida de Ramiro, Save the Children Foundation and the Origins of Quintana Roo.

Activities are organized by various associations and institutions dedicated to environmental and cultural work, such as the Ecological Center of Akumal, the Eco Bahia Foundation and the Environmental Management Department of Tulum and Solidaridad’s municipalities. Also, the Sea Turtle Sanctuary Xcacel-Xcacelito will recreate a collective experience through a symbolic liberation of the baby sea turtles. Each participant will be able to be a part of this project, which is a tribute to the oldest inhabitants of our beaches and sea.

If your in the area, come join the fun!

14 September 2009

Xcacel needs your help!

Courtesy of Marti Johnston

As many of you may know, Playa Xcacel, here in the Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, is an important nesting site for the green and loggerhead turtles. It has a designation as a state protected turtle sanctuary. There is a long and very dubious background that leads to the current moment where land on the northern border of the protected area is in the approval process for development of yet another resort community; a third incarnation of the project now called Punta Carey. They have filed their impact statement to SEMARNAT , Mexico's environmental ministry. It is in violation of various environmental laws and a refute has been filed and is now in the hands of SEMARNAT as well. It is my understanding that by next week 9/18 SEMARNAT is supposed to have a reply.

Sign the petition here: Xcacel needs your help!

Please take a few minutes to look at this link, sign the petition and pass it on. The effects and fall-outs of these type of illegal projects touch the Mesoamerican Reef, mangroves, underground rivers, as well as the endangered turtle species....it is all connected, and is part of the patrimony of us all as global citizens.

23 July 2009

July 24-26th / Spay & Neuter Clinic in Akumal

This Friday, Sat and Sun (July 24-26th) the Secundaria schools in both Chemuyil and Akumal will be conducting their annual free Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Currently, a total of eight veterinarians will be coming coming in from Merida and several others from Playa del Carmen. All are volunteering their time and closing their practice to participate in the Clinic.

Akumal Direct Reservations would like to thank our owners who so generously donated reservations of their properties to support a great cause!

Sterilizing an animal increases its quality of life and health, improves behavior and eliminates unwanted births. The sterilization of animals also decreases the spread of disease.

Dog Stats

• The average number of litters a fertile dog can have a year: 2
• The average number of puppies: 8
• Thus, in 6 years, 1 dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs

Cat Stats

• The average number of litters a fertile cat can have a year: 3
• The average number of kittens: 5
• Thus, in 7 years, 1 cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats

Statistics are courtesy of Humane Society International

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Jennifer Smith at the Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery

Veterinarios Internacionales Dedicados a Animales Sanos, (International Veterinarians Dedicated to Animal Health)
Spay Yucatan

22 July 2009

Map of the Maya World

In its heyday from about A.D. 300 to 900, the Maya civilization boasted hundreds of cities across a vast swath of Central America. Now archeological sites, these once-flourishing cities extended from Chichén Itzá in the northern Yucatán to Copán, about 400 miles to the south in modern-day Honduras. Each bore ceremonial centers where theocratic rulers practiced a complex religion based on a host of gods, a unique calendar, and ceremonies that featured a ball game and human sacrifice. The ancient Maya also mastered astronomy, mathematics, art and architecture, and a glyph system of writing on stone, ceramics, and bark paper. Using the interactive map, visit 15 of the better-known Maya sites.

Courtesy of one of our favorite websites! Visit NOVA / PBS online and explore Anthropology, Disasters, Earth, Exploration, Flight, Health, History,
Nature or Technology ....just to name a few.

17 July 2009

Where does chocolate come from?

Switzerland? Belgium? Not even close!

Inspired by the original chocolate first created by ancient Mayans in 500 BC, Häagen-Dazs® Mayan Chocolate blends the finest cocoa beans with cinnamon to create magical Mayan offering: rich, chocolate ice cream with a fudge swirl and a hint of cinnamon.

Cacao (kah-KOW, a Mayan word) was offered as tribute to gods and leaders, as well as having value in day-to-day life as the region’s financial currency. For the Aztecs, cacao was a gift from their most revered God, Quetzalcoatl, forming a bridge between heaven and earth.

Everyone needs a pint of Mayan Chocolate in their freezer!

14 July 2009

Did you know...

The Palancar coral reefs were discovered by marine explorer Jacques Cousteau off the island of Cozumel in 1961; he subsequently proclaimed Palancar to be one of the world's best places for scuba diving.

For more fun facts and history of Quintana Roo visit the Yucatán Peninsula on The History Channel

13 July 2009

Sea Turtle Adventure August 9 - 15, 2009

Sea Turtles have been returning to the beaches of Akumal and the Mexican Caribbean to nest for centuries. This is our legacy, to ensure their safe return to Akumal beaches for generations to come.

Beginning in May and through September, female sea turtles will make their way out of the sea to the beaches where they will hopefully dig their nests and deposit eggs. A female sea turtle may come ashore many times before finally laying her eggs.

The eggs mature in 58 days. Right around the beginning of July we will see baby turtles dig their way out of their nests and begin the journey back to the sea.

Minnesota Zoo with the help of Just Imagine Vacations, Inc have organized a week-long Sea Turtle Camp in Akumal. The camp is for students in Grades 10 - 12. Students will work nights with the CEA, Centro Ecologico, Akumal's Turtle Protection Program staff and volunteers.

During the nesting season, CEA turtle biologists, interns and volunteers walk the beaches of Akumal in search of turtle nests, nesting female turtles and hatchlings. Volunteers have been helping the CEA Turtle Team by reporting sightings of turtles, turtle tracks, nests, or hatchlings. See the CEA'S Visitor Programs for more information.

12 July 2009

The Mayakoba Golf Classic is here July 19th...Golf PARa Todos!

Once again, the exciting community golf program of the Mayakoba Golf Classic is here...Golf PARa Todos!

We invite you to bring your family and friends to share an afternoon of golf and fun at the El Camaleón Golf Course Sunday, July 19th from 2 PM to 4 PM. There will be golf lessons, raffles, games, complimentary food provided by John Gray Restaurant Group and much more.

Golf PARa Todos aims to create a fun-filled, diverse and educational program that teaches about the game of golf and its ideals.

Visit Golf PARa Todos for more information.


Also visit Mayakoba Golf Classic

10 July 2009

Yoga in Akumal!

Greetings Friends,

We are fortunate to have very talented people in the Akumal community. Rey Ortega is back in Akumal for the summer bringing with him a vast collection of flutes, including a number that he has reconstructed and learned to play from the ancient Maya. Music of the soul. When I heard the sounds he called out in these single, double and triple piped wind instruments, the inspiration was that we had to play together! He has agreed to come and "play yoga"! I invite you join us on Wednesdays at 8:30a.m. for the vinyasa flow class, beginning next Wednesday, July 15th.

WHO: Rey Ortega
WHAT: Vinyasa Yoga
WHERE: Yoga in Akumal
Above Las Casitas at the white arch
WHEN: Wednesdays at 8:30a.m. Beginning July 15th
COST: $200 pesos or monthly pass

Put this in your calendar and plan to join us! If you can forward this to anyone who might be interested, that would be fantastic! Also, a July calendar is attached.


Tel. (984) 745 3488

09 July 2009

Peanut Pet Shelter

The Peanut Pet Shelter, located in Playa del Carmen is dedicated to rescuing and finding permanent homes for injured and abandoned dogs and cats. All rescued animals receive quality veterinary care and special attention to ensure that they are healthy, happy and ready to be adopted into a loving home!

Visit the Peanut Pet Shelter online at http://peanutpetshelter.org/index.html

19 June 2009


The United Nations General Assembly designated June 20 as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world. Since then, World Refugee Day has become an annual commemoration marked by a variety of events in over a hundred countries.

This year’s World Refugee Day theme is “Real People, Real Needs”. Despite the efforts of many, the needs of refugees worldwide are far from being met. Behind the unmet needs are not just numbers but real people with real stories.

For more information on World Refugee Day and how you can help, please visit USA for UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency

15 June 2009

New Border Crossing Rules: June 1, 2009

Beginning June 1, 2009, in order to enter or re-enter the United States, American and Canadian citizens will face new rules. Americans will have to have ONE of the following: A U.S. Passport, a U.S. Passport Card, an Enhanced Driver’s License, a NEXUS Card, a Fast Card, a SENTRI Card, a Military ID Card with orders, or a Merchant Mariner’s Card with proof of official maritime business. Canadian and Bermudian visitors must have one of the following: A Passport, a NEXUS Card, a Sentri Card, a Fast Card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License. Unfortunately, most of these forms of identification are not what we have been led to believe they are, so one must read carefully to discover that the real object of this exercise is for you to have to get a passport. Obviously, Mexico will begin to require passports for entrance into the country because it would be foolish to allow foreigners in if they could not go home again.

The following is taken directly from the U.S. Department of State Customs and Border Protection:

U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea. (and your having one is the entire object of this exercise)

U.S. Passport Card – This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea. (In effect, if you ever have to fly, this would be useless)

Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) – Several states and Canadian provinces/territories are issuing this driver’s license or identification document that denotes identity and citizenship. It is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea. (but those are only available in 4 states: New York, Washington, Michigan, and Vermont, and in 4 areas of Canada: Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Manatoba; and, again, this cannot be used to fly)

Trusted Traveler Program Cards –
NEXUS (only good between Canada & U.S., good for land, sea and air IF they have a NEXUS kiosk at the airport)
SENTRI(only good between Mexico & U.S., good for land or sea only, not for flying)
FAST(For commercial truck drivers between Mexico, U.S., & Canada)
GLOBAL ENTRY ( for International travelers entering the U.S. (so this isn’t even for U.S. citizens)

25 May 2009

Akumal 50th Anniversary Celebration - Dive Festival

Details of the First Pablo Bush Dive Festival

The Treasure Hunt! “Treasurers” will be dropped at various dive sites, and divers will search for them. Divers must register for a fee of $20, which includes a t-shirt and free drink at the Lol Ha Beach Bar (on the beach of Akumal Bay). The Akumal Dive Center is the host dive shop for the treasure hunt. To reserve dive times or get more information about diving in Akumal, visit the Akumal Dive Shop or Akumal Dive Center
The treasure hunt registration fee does not cover any dive costs. Register for the treasure hunt at the Akumal Dive Center or Akumal Dive Shop.

At the “Matanceros Expedition“ celebration (5:30 – 11:00 p.m., also at the Beach Bar) the names of the divers with the treasurers will be drawn from a hat and the diver will choose a real treasure (BC, mask, fins, and other prizes for example) as the diver’s name is chosen.

Fish identification class. Free at the CEA Center. Open to anyone who wants to sharpen their ability to identify fish in Akumal Bay and nearby reefs.

Dive buddy dash. Rule #1 in diving: Take care of your buddy. In this dry land event, divers will carry their buddies 50 feet. The winning diver and buddy win free drinks. Only diver (with a C card) can carry a buddy, who doesn’t have to be a diver – we suggest a lightweight lady.

Who’s the oldest diver? Youngest? Et cetera. Any diver can bring a C card to prove that they’re the oldest diver at the Matanceros Expedition celebration. We’ll find the youngest diver, too. Bring along the oldest piece of dive equipment and win a prize. Divers making their first open water dive during the festival get a prize.

9:00 am - Registration
12:00 pm - Fish ID presentation
1:00 pm - Diver treasure hunt
3:00 pm - Diver treasure hunt
5:30 pm - Matanceros Expedition celebration
6:00 pm - Diver dash
7:00 pm - Diver awards/drawings

Akumal Direct Reservations

20 May 2009


PUBLIC RELEASE, May 15th. 2009

The State Governor, Lic. Félix A. González Canto, confirmed that with the withdrawal of travel restrictions by the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador, the recovery of tourism in the destinations of Quintana Roo will be immediate.

In the last few days more than 90 thousand tourists have arrived in Quintana Roo, showing their preference for traveling to tourist destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. It is anticipated that with the new reservations that are currently being generated, tourist activity in the state is clearly in a period of recovery.

The State Ministry of Tourism (Sedetur) announced that activities in the Mexican Caribbean’s tourist destinations have intensified, and that they will play host during the next few days to the 3rd edition of the Sacred Mayan Journey, the 4th International Open Water Swimming Marathon, Cancun – Isla Mujeres, the National Fishing Tournament in Cozumel and the XX Sport Fishing Tournament in Puerto Morelos, events in which participation is expected by a large number of sports enthusiasts, journalists and attendees from Mexico and abroad.

The state secretariat pointed out that The Sacred Mayan Journey, to be held from the 21st to the 23rd of May, promises to be the most spectacular ever, with the participation of 30 canoes, each eight metres in length, with crews of six to eight rowers, who will cross, during a period of almost 7 hours, the 28 kilometres of the Cozumel Channel, from Xcaret to the Island of Swallows, and the next day cross back to Playa del Carmen.

The Sacred Mayan Journey is a recreation of the ancient ritual pilgrimage to “Polé” - now Xcaret - made by the peoples who inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula, with the intention of setting sail to “Cuzamil” (Cozumel) to worship the Goddess Ix Chel
(Goddess of Fertility) and consult her oracle, the only one that existed in the entire region.

Similarly there is great expectation surrounding the XX Sport Fishing Tournament in Puerto Morelos, organized from the 29th of May to the 1st of June, a traditional sporting celebration which brings together more than 100 vessels and 500 fishing enthusiasts. The winners will receive attractive prizes, which include complimentary stays in renowned hotels of the Mexican Caribbean.

At 50 years since its foundation, the pioneers and founders of Akumal will celebrate this extraordinary occasion with diverse activities. The festivities will begin on Friday the 29th of May with various photographic exhibitions and the “premiere” of a video entitled “Akumal half a century ago”. The festivity will continue on Saturday the 30th with the “Night of the Matancero Expedition”, starting at 6.30 pm, and on Sunday the 31st of May with an underwater treasure hunt at the reef.

Finally, for the 30th of May, with the slogan “Put your Heart into Swimming”, the 4th International Open Water Swimming Marathon, Cancun – Isla Mujeres, a magnificent event endorsed by the Mexican Swimming Federation which promotes this sport, will take place, supporting charitable causes in a family atmosphere of goodwill.

The State Ministry of Tourism reiterated that the Mexican Caribbean is an ideal place for holding aquatic events and a perfect location for deep sea diving, swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts, who this very year will be able to enjoy the first stage of the Cancun Underwater Sculpture Museum, an ambitious project which plans to submerge 200 sculptures that will serve as new reefs and refuges for multicolored fish.

18 May 2009

CDC Travel Health Warning for Novel H1N1 Flu in Mexico Removed

This information is current as of today, May 18, 2009 at 16:39 EDT
At this time, CDC has removed its recommendation that U.S. travelers avoid travel to Mexico.
CDC continues to recommend that travelers visiting Mexico take steps to protect themselves from getting novel H1N1 flu. CDC recommends that travelers at high risk for complications from any form of influenza discuss with their physicians the risks and benefits of travel in the context of their planned itinerary to Mexico, and may want to consider postponing travel. Travelers at high risk for complications include:
· Children less than 5 years old
· Persons aged 65 years or older
· Children and adolescents (less than 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
· Pregnant women
· Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders
· Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
· Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities

If you travel to an area that has reported cases of novel H1N1 flu stay informed and continue to check updates from these sources:
o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
o Secretaria de Salud / Secretary of Health, Mexico - Web page in Spanish
o World Health Organization Influenza A (H1N1) website
o Pan American Health Organization

Be aware that Mexico is checking all exiting airline passengers for signs of novel H1N1 flu. Exit screening may cause significant delays at airports.

04 May 2009

World Health Organization, Influenza A(H1N1)

Listen to today's audio of the Influenza A(H1N1) World Health Organization press briefing. [mp3 50 Mb] with Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General ai, Health Security and Environment.

For the most current and updated information please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/en/

01 May 2009

One Journalist’s View of Mexico

One Journalist’s View of Mexico

By Linda Ellerbee

Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico.

You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico, causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed. But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.

I’m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico, specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer. I walk the streets of my Vallarta neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico. Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New
York; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.

I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?

No, it was a local police officer, the “beat cop” for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.

Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood — house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows)..

There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel. Mexico is a beautiful country, a Special place. The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.

And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but— in general — Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot. I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth — and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman — with the same joy.

Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that — noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.

The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, “Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?” or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the Bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns. Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America, you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.

So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.

29 April 2009

Swine Flu Watch

In light of recent health concerns related to travel to Mexico, Akumal Direct remains focused on what is - and always has been - of primary importance to us: the safety, comfort and security of our guests, staff and the residents of Akumal.

Clients arriving prior to May 15, 2009 have been given the option to reschedule their reservation without penalty.

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Mexico that most cases of influenza are not “swine flu”; any specific questions or concerns about flu or other illnesses should be directed to a medical professional. At this time the Mexican Secretariat of Health urges people to avoid large crowds, shaking hands, kissing people as a greeting, or using the subway. Maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other persons may decrease the risk of exposure. In addition, the following prevention tips are from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:

1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

As of today (according to Yucatan government officials) there have been zero cases of swine flu in Yucatan state.

For the latest information on the Swine Flu outbreak, please consult the State Department's website at www.travel.state.gov, the CDC website at www.cdc.gov, or the WHO website at www.who.int.
The U.S.-based call center for U.S. citizens can be reached from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time, M-F, at 1-888-407-4747, or if calling from outside the U.S., at (202)-501-4444. The U.S. Embassy will also post additional information as it becomes available at: www.usembassy-mexico.gov.

Akumal Direct cannot predict what will happen next in this constantly evolving situation; however, we are committed to acting quickly and decisively to enhance client safety and take necessary steps to support customers through this uncertainty.

Please be sure to let us know if you have any questions or concerns and thank you for choosing Akumal Direct Reservations!

The Akumal Direct Staff
Toll Free at 877-489-6600

27 April 2009

Book Now and Akumal Direct will provide the Travel Insurance!

We want you to be excited about your visit to our little paradise. No worry, no hassle! For that reason, Akumal Direct is now offering free travel insurance to all new reservations confirmed by May 15, 2009. Some black out dates do apply. Email us today for more information!

Protect your vacation! Choose travel insurance! www.csatravelprotection.com.

24 April 2009

A note from Lucy's Kitchen

Many of you know Lucy’s Kitchen, best known for homemade ice cream and shrimp tacos! We have been in Akumal Playa for over seven years now. We’ve grown up and out of that location, and have moved to a bigger place in Akumal Pueblo!

"Lucy’s Too" is now open in the old ‘Restaurant Hafet y Jamed’. It is located halfway up the hill on the main street, on the right side (the old roasted chicken place!). The bridge should be open very shortly so getting there will be a short and easy jaunt from the old location.

We offer the same menu as we had at Lucy’s Kitchen, but will be adding charcoal grilled items, soups, salads, bringing back the popular Pad Thai, and more. Of course Lucy’s famous homemade ice cream will be available for dessert!

No more trips next door for beer! We have a full selection of icy cold beers, as well as wine and some fabulous tropical cocktails!

Our low season hours are 11 to 5 from Monday to Saturday.

We are excited to be offering a new refreshing option for dining in Akumal - look for dinner at Lucy’s Too this coming summer high season!!!

Please remember – we are STILL open for homemade ice cream at Lucy’s Kitchen in Plaza Ukana in Akumal Playa (opposite the crafts/fruit & veggie palapa)! Hours are currently 9:30 to 5 for ice cream. We have a good selection of flavors by the quart for you to take home.

THANK YOU for your support and encouragement over these past years – your word of mouth recommendations, your positive reviews…and your donations for animal rescue.

LUCY’S TOO , Akumal Pueblo 984 137 9713
LUCY’S KITCHEN, Plaza Ukana I, Akumal Playa 984 127 6791

Thank you!
Lucy James

22 April 2009

Happy Earth Day from Akumal Direct

Make Earth Day Matter!

Dive Festival added to Akumal 50th Anniversary Celebration

Divers plunge into the festivities on May 30th as part of a three-day celebration to commemorate 50 years since Pablo Bush Romero first arrived in Akumal, Mexico, on an expedition to the Matanceros shipwreck.

Divers on Akumal’s reefs find schools of fish like they have never seen before!

Among those reefs and fish, divers can search for treasures during the Pablo Bush Romero Dive Festival! The Akumal Dive Shop has already donated a Technisub compact pro mask ($175.00 value), Aqua lung new sling shot fins ($225.00) and Aqua lung titan regulator ($500.00), as well as a complimentary hat and t-shirt for every participating diver. Those are treasurers worth the hunt! And we'll be getting more prizes before the divers hit the water.

For a deco stop, a featured speaker will share diving trips that most divers can only hope to experience.

In the evening, divers and friends will gather at the Lol Ha beach bar to claim their treasurers, carry their buddy for 100 feet for more treasures, show their C-cards to find the oldest among them, and engage in other antics.

This will be a dive festival like Akumal has never seen before! Book your flight, and reserve your dive times with the host dive shops -- Akumal Dive Center and Akumal Dive Shop. Check the dive festival details! And be sure to get to Akumal on May 30th!

Ed Blume
CEA volunteer and Communications/Outreach

21 April 2009

Celebrating Akumal's 50th Anniversary

As many of you know, we are celebrating Akumal 50th anniversary on the weekend of May 29-31, 2009. In order to make this celebration successful for the Akumal Community and its visitors, we’ve organized a group to coordinate this special event and our goal is to attract more visitors to Akumal in this low month May and June.

We would like to share with you all the fun stuff we are planning (please see list below). However, to be able to realize all these activities we need funds to cover the expenses. Therefore we very much depend on your collaboration. One of our coordinator will be visiting you at your business to respond any questions you might have on the details of this event. If you prefer to send your donation you are welcome to drop it off at TSA with Mariana. Thank you!

May 29th – Friday

1.- Fun for kids Theater and Puppets
Location: Akumal Stage
Sponsered by: Akumal community, funds needed

2.- Akumal Through the Years “Hace Medio Siglo”
Digital Photographic displays from guests, residents, and
Location: CEA info center Presentation of audio visual
Sponsered by: Lol-ha

3.- Akumal Party and Bazaar
DJ Hix Opening of the night with Music and screen display announcing all the business sponsors of this event.
Salsa Music Band and Salsa Dance performance
Rock Band
Drinks and food by local restaurants.
Bazaar from the local boutiques and stores.
Location: Plaza Ukana Stage
Sponsored by: Akumal community, funds needed

May 30th - Saturday

1.- Diving – Treasure hunting
Location: Akumal Dive Shop and Akumal Dive Center
Sponsored by: Akumal Dive Shop and Akumal Dive Center

2.- Pirate Games for Children, treasure hunting, Learn the History of Akumal and the Ecology.

3.- “Matanceros Expedition“ night
Sale of “Under the Waters of Mexico” book by Pablo Bush Romero
Sale of limited edition replica of the Matanceros Cross.
Beach BBQ with live music – tickets include picnic style dinner
on the beach with beer, margaritas, or wine.
Concert to follow at the Lol-Ha snack bar–Cash bar.
Location: Lolha Beach and Snack Bar Happy Hour at Lolha and presentation of the PBR museum Artifacts in game room.
Sponsored by: Lol-Ha

May 31st - Sunday
1.- Sunday Fishing tournament with beach activities and live music, Sand Sculpture contest and Volleyball tournament.
Location: Akumal Bay
Sponsored by: Akumal Dive Center and CEA-POBAK

The above are the schedule of the events. Time to be announced!

The following are the different ways that your company or you yourself can help to participate in Akumal 50th Anniversary Event. We ask and need your support to help make this a very positive and successful event for the whole Akumal Community.

Your participation is greatly appreciated.


Akumal Gold US$800
Akumal Silver US$700
Akumal Bronze US$600

Benefactors $400
Patrons US$300
Friends US$200
Donors US$100

Through out the community there will be banners and flyers listing all sponsors of this event.

Akumal Dive Center
Akumal Dive Shop

Contributor, Akumal Businesses:

La Buena Vida / Vista del Mar
La Cueva del Pescador
Que Onda
La Lunita Restaurant
Condominios Playa Caribe
Akumal Real Estate
Super El Pueblito
Turtle Bay Bakery
Ixchel Boutique
La Galeria
La Calaca
Akumal Villas
Akumal Direct
Akumal Rentals
Galeria La Manai
Lucy’s kitchen
Imelda’s good food
Mexico Maya
Bill & Tulsa
Caribbean Fantasy
Heartz Car Rental
Las Casitas Akumal
Las Villas Akumal
Hacienda de la Tortuga

Looking forward to hear from all of you!


Akumal 50th Anniversary Coordinators

Ingrid Datica, Laura Bush, Ed Blume, Juan Antonio Huerta,
Miguel Angel Maldonado, Gerardo Orozco, Monica Estrada,
Claudia Flores, Jimkrid Chirinos, Mariana Galindo , Isela Pech, Jesus Perez, Marcy Essy, y Sandy Bartosh

Tel. 984 875 9030 – 31 -32 -33
Email: Ingrid@akumaltravel.com
Email: Laura@hotelakumalcaribe.com

24 March 2009

Water World Day 2009

As part of our celebration to commemorate World Water Day, The CEA, in coordination with CAPA (Comision de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado) and the children of Akumal, painted a mural on the new pumping station on 19 March. The painting depicts the hydrological cycle of water.

Over the last three years, CEA’s Water Quality Program carried out an evaluation of the sewage treatment in Akumal to understand the kind of treatment being used in the area, for both the coastal and town sections of Akumal. We found that 49% of the treatment being used in North Akumal is done using artificial wetlands, 27% with just septic tanks and 5% using treatment plants. We did not have access to the rest of the houses. In Akumal Pueblo, we found that in Phase 1, people have sewage, but not all of the houses are connected to the system, and in Phase 2 the people do not have sewage lines. This year, we want to extend the area of research to South Akumal, and conduct a census from Akumal Beach Resort to Bahia Principe, to determine how wastewater is being treated.

With the results of the diagnosis we will be able to determine the activities that we need to promote with the community and the government in order to ensure that all of the sewage is being treated, thus not reaching the underground rivers and eventually the reef.

Now, CEA and CAPA (the state water commission) are doing a census in Akumal Pueblo to find out which houses are not connected to the existing system and we are looking for money to help these people pay for connecting their house. We are working with the Friends of Yal Ku Lagoon and the Yucatan Environmental Foundation to set up a trust fund that will offer micro-credits to low-income households. These funds will be matched by the Mexican state and federal government water agencies. The local program has been named "Hook a House."

NY Times Op-Ed Re: "Violence in Mexico"

Op-Ed Contributor: The Mexican Evolution
While we bear responsibility for our problems, the caricature of Mexico being propagated in the United States only increases the despair on both sides of the Rio Grande.

10 March 2009

Travel warnings in the media for Mexico.

In light of recent travel warnings and media coverage on travel to Mexico, we want to give you a clear idea on exactly what’s happening and which areas of the country this is affecting. The following is a letter written by the president of CEO Mexico in response to this issue and how it affects tourism to the Mayan Riviera which runs along Mexico’s Caribbean coast:
I am writing you this email to address any concerns you may have about the safety of your groups, clients or family traveling to Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

I have seen some of the news reports coming out of the U.S. and they are really doing our destination a disservice. While there are problems in some parts of Mexico, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are as safe as they have ever been for tourists.
The violence that is being reported is very real, but it is primarily along the Mexican border with the U.S. The 5 major drug cartels in Mexico are at war with each other and with the federal authorities leading to more than 1,000 dead just in this year. Those being killed are drug dealers and traffickers of rival factions as well as authorities who are trying to bust up the cartels. It is a very dangerous place to be and I do not recommend anyone travel to these areas.
I do want to make you aware that there was a major military operation in Cancun several weeks ago. A retired high-ranking military general was contracted by the Major of Cancun to head a task force to curb the influence of the cartel in our area called Los Zetas. Soon after his arrival to Cancun, he, his bodyguard, and another companion were kidnapped and murdered. As the police were unable to solve the crime, and it seemed some crooked cops may have been involved, the military came in to clean house and oversee the investigation. They were successful in a very short time to capture 6 suspects believed to be the murderers along with millions of dollars and a cache of serious weaponry. Some of the weapons were police issue in fact leading to the detention of the Chief of Police who is now being interrogated in Mexico City for his role in enabling and protecting Los Zetas. Having achieved their mission and at the same time dealing a major blow to the cartel, the military presence in the area is reduced. Tourists during this period were only inconvenienced by strategic military roadblocks and extra patrols.
While I know it may be risky to reveal the dirty laundry of a resort destination, please keep in mind that Cancun has a population of 1,000,000 people and the Riviera Maya another 500,000 people and violence per capita is lower here than what you may find in Phoenix for example. Have you heard of any travel warnings to Phoenix? Thought not.
The U.S. media is guilty of painting Mexico with one broad brush. I was outraged yesterday morning watching Fox News interview two college-age spring breakers asking them how they dare to still go to Cancun with all the killing in Mexico. If there were major gang wars in Chicago would you not go to Florida because of it?
If you need more convincing that this destination is safe, my sister, brother-in-way and two nieces just left Saturday morning after a tremendous week-long vacation. Do you think I would let them come if it was in any way dangerous for them to do so? I will also be happy to connect you with any and all of my clients that have been here in 2009 if you need further assurance.
Friends and clients, please know you are welcome and safe in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
Sincerely, John Nedeau
CEO Mexico

This is a map of where the main problem areas are in relation to the Riviera Maya.

As you can see the problem areas are almost on the opposite side of the country from the Riviera Maya. The affected areas are very dangerous indeed and we most certainly reiterate John Nedeau’s words in saying that it is absolutely not safe to visit these US/Mexico border towns at this time. The State Department also re-iterates these warnings about this area. You can read their comments of the US Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html . Fortunately these areas are a long way away from us.
On a personal note, I live full time in the Akumal area and have been living here for 3.5 years now. Day to day we are seeing absolutely no effects of this drug cartel violence in the area. Everything continues as it always has with people on vacation enjoying the sun, warm Caribbean Sea, and the world class beaches. John Nedeau mentioned an incident around Christmas time. The only effects that we saw of this was a bit of a traffic jam heading into Playa del Carmen as the military were doing some checks. This is something that they do as standard anyway now and again so we didn’t know anything about it until we read about it afterwards. I feel very safe living in this area and of course living in such a beautiful place means my family and friends come and visit all the time. If I thought for a second that there was any risk to the safety of my family and friends I would certainly not let them visit, and to be honest if I thought that there was any risk to my own personal safety I wouldn’t stay there either. As with anywhere in the world, as long as you stay away from rough areas with drugs and prostitution you will be absolutely fine.
If you would like to talk to any of us about this in person, please don’t hesitate to call us here at Akumal Direct on our toll free number 877-489-6600.

More information can be found at:

Travel Industry Wire: http://www.travelindustrywire.com/article37650.html
Mexico Premier: http://www.mexicopremiere.com/?p=983
Mexico Tourism Board: http://www.visitmexico.com/wb/Visitmexico/Visi_Home
US State Department: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html

10 February 2009

History of the Mayan Hammock

The Mayan hammock is the original hammock, dating back over 3000 years. Hammocks were very practical for the weather conditions of the Yucatan Peninsula. The health and safety factors weighed heavily on the fact that it elevated the sleeper off the ground protecting the sleeper from snakes and other forest floor crawlers. It also elevated the sleeper above water, dirt and other unsanitary conditions.

The conquering Spaniards soon adopted them as the standard sleeping practice during the early Spanish Colonial Period. Even the Viceroy had a hammock on his hacienda. The first Yucatan hammocks were woven from Henequen fiber, which comes from a cactus that grows in Yucatan.

An elevated sleeping area also exposed the sleeper to cooling breezes that are crucial for staying comfortable in the humid rain forests of Central America and the Yucatan.

The main focus of a Mayan hammock is the intertwined, sprang-woven pattern that is the trademark of a Yucatan hammock. Each hammock is handmade and therefore each hammock bears the distinct finger print of the artisan. It is the vivacious color signature of Mayan hammocks that make them both unique and appealing.

And speaking of hammocks, Leslie and Marieke highly recommend the two you see here. Of course the view of the Caribbean makes a difference too!

30 January 2009


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4th Annual CEA Wine & Cheese Festival - FEb 25, 2009

Akumal Direct is proud to continue to be a part of this event which hopes to raise awareness and the many CEA programs that are so important to the continued well being and enjoyment of this little corner of paradise.

Tours, Games, Workshops, Environmental Products, a Silent Auction and much more! - To learn more about the festival please visit the CEA online at www.ceakumal.org To volunteer or donate to the Silent Auction please contact the CEA via email at info@ceakumal.org

Akumal Direct will again be hosting the "Cheese Table" at this years festival. Please stop by and visit with the Akumal Direct staff. We love the CEA and we love cheese!


Mayakoba Golf Classic is proud to announce that tickets for the third edition of México's Only PGA TOUR are now on sale. The 2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic will take place from February 25 through March 1. Prices start at only $20 USD.

The Mayakoba Golf Classic made golf history when it became the first PGA TOUR event to ever be contested outside of the United States and Canada in February 2007. Now, as the tournament enters its third year, it continues to establish itself as one of the finest stops on the PGA TOUR schedule in the eyes of players, fans and sponsors alike.
Tickets and additional information can be found on their website at http://www.mayakobagolfclassic.com/

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza


The ancient Mayan site, Chichén Itzá is one of the greatest surviving monuments of the Mayan civilization, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as the setting for a spectacular display at the time of the Spring Equinox.

At the precise time of the spring equinox, at 1.31pm GMT, the sun casts its rays on the balustrade, in turn highlighting a feathered serpent that seems to be moving or slithering its way down the steps towards the well of sacrifice.The Kulkulkan temple is the site of a dramatic display of Mayan astronomical knowledge.

Chichén Itzá Spring Equinox 20 Mar 2009
Free Admission Opening Hours
7.30 am (1.30pm GMT)

Airline tickets, hotel and car rental reservations

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