My little adventures south of the border.


Recycling treasures from the sea…

When I go to Isla Mujeres, I always do some hunting for interesting shells and sea glass.  I didn’t find anything interesting in Puerto Morelos or Tulum this time, but I didn’t really do any serious searching anyway.  But when I got to Akumal, I found something that I had never found before on beaches…but then again, I had never really looked for it before.  I was walking around the beach on Half Moon Bay after Hurricane Ernesto hit, and found the remains of what is called Sea Fan Coral.  Here’s a photo from the internet of what it looks like in the sea:

I thought to myself, “Geez, there’s something you should be able to do with these…I should take some home.”  So I did.  They come in all shapes and sizes, but I will tell you right now that one of the worst things about collecting these is that THEY SMELL HORRIBLE!!  I got a big collection of them and laid them out on the little space outside the front doorway in the condo where I was staying so that they could dry out.  Every time I passed by them, I almost gagged from the odor that came from these once-living specimens. When it was time to go home, I wrapped them in three plastic shopping bags, so that the smell wouldn’t get all over my clothes in the suitcase.  I could still smell them a little when I opened the suitcase at home, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.  I was hoping that customs wouldn’t suspect there might be a dead body inside my suitcase if the smell happened to get out.  So when I got home, I just tossed them out on my back patio and didn’t think about them for several weeks hoping that the hot Texas sun would dry them out and reduce the smell.  After about three weeks, they were pretty much odor-less.  (Thank God.)

So last week, I started wondering what I could do with these, and I just started playing around with one and came up with this.  I painted the coral a metallic turquoise and left the base natural and just put a polyurethane coat on it.  It’s kind of unique on its own as a display of interesting sea life…

But then it occurred to me that it could do double-duty as an earring holder!  Sweet!!

Let’s see what else I can come up with.  Stay tuned.

Final post on this trip…

Sorry about my lateness in reporting my full day in Akumal.  It started out pretty cloudy on my morning walk on the beach.

Here’s a fixer-upper right in the middle of Half Moon Bay.  It has potential.  I wouldn’t turn it down if someone gave it to me.

As I walked, it got cloudier…

And cloudier…

…as Hurricane Ernesto made his approach.  It poured for about 15 minutes and I thought that was going to be it, but it stopped and some blue sky came out so I thought we had been given a reprieve.  I grabbed my bike and pedaled into town with camera in hand hoping the worst had passed.  I got into town long enough to take a few pictures.  Aren’t these flowers pretty?

I grabbed a quick lunch of fish tacos at La Cueva del Pescador.  They were very good…

Then I went for a walk along Akumal Bay.  They were bringing boats in in preparation for the storm.

Definitely not a one-person job.  I think the woman in the orange bikini must have been supervising.  (Or not…ha!)

Here’s the last picture taken by my Canon G12.  (HEAVY SIGH)  See the big waves and sea spray?  That was just the beginning.  As the clouds began to reform, I headed back to the bike to pedal home only to have my camera and me drenched by the torrential downfall along the way.  I survived…my camera didn’t.

So, now…the question of the day.  What did I think of my trip?  Hmmm…it wasn’t my best.  Like I’ve said before, it was too disjointed and I did too much jumping around.  As a result, I never felt a connection with any of my destinations.  I’ve learned that you need to stay in one place for a matter of days before you can feel comfortable and at home there.  I’ll go through my stops one by one.

Puerto Morelos:  I’ve been here a couple of times before and already knew there’s not that much to do and didn’t want to spend much time there.  But it’s a convenient short stop from the airport..  The hotel I chose was okay, but I wouldn’t want to spend a long time there. There were some negative changes to the town this time, so I didn’t even entertain the thought of staying there longer.

Playa del Carmen:  Like I said on my post the night I stayed there, I’m not a PDC kind of gal because it’s too commercial and glitzy.  But I absolutely loved the hotel I stayed at there.  The Hotel Lunata was really comfortable and cozy.  The bed was soft, it had a very Mexican feel and I could have comfortably stayed there for a year or two…seriously. I did not want to leave.

Tulum:  I would never stay at the Secret Garden again…it was almost oppressive with a closed-in feeling and lack of sunlight.  I was disappointed in the town because it was right on the highway and didn’t really have the charm or history that the towns more inland have to offer.  The restaurant prices were much higher than I thought they were going to be and they just weren’t that great.  Getting to the beach involves cab fares and the beach area is confusing to someone who is not staying on the beach.  Since the town is so separate from the beach area, it’s just an inconvenience if you’re staying in one place and want to get to the other.

Akumal:  This was probably the most disappointing place I stayed on this trip.  I’ve been briefly through it twice before but have never stayed overnight here.  Both previous times, I wasn’t impressed, but when I was deciding where to go after Tulum on this trip, I thought maybe I hadn’t given Akumal enough attention.  It turns out I had.  There just isn’t that much to do in Akumal.  There is a small town area where there are some souvenir shops, a convenience store and some restaurants.  It takes no more than about 15 minutes to see all of this.  The restaurants are very pricey and are just okay…nothing over the top.  There are little convenience stores along the road to all the condos and homes along the coast which are very expensive and don’t offer much of a variety.  After being there for a few days, I learned that it’s a place where families and/or couples go for some quiet time.  This definitely isn’t a party town or a place where people going solo can meet other solo travelers.  I felt kind of isolated here and that wasn’t because of Hurricane Ernesto.  I would never go back to Akumal on my own.  And if I DID go back, it would only be with a family member or someone I wanted to spend some quiet, close time with.  Even then, I would probably opt for another Mexican location.  It’s just kind of boring after one day if you’re looking for other things to do.  I would definitely recommend that you rent a car if you stay here so that you can go to other locations like Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Coba, Puerto Aventuras, Xcaret, etc.  They offer water activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, etc., so if you’re not into these, Akumal doesn’t offer much other than relaxation.  One big thing I didn’t like about Half Moon Bay is that the beach is nothing but dead coral.  It is difficult to swim in this bay because the sea floor is covered with the coral so you can’t get any kind of footing.  It’s best if you have some water shoes because you don’t know what you’re stepping on out there.  I waded out once and had a hard time coming back on to the beach because the coral was slippery and I couldn’t stand up.  Akumal Bay is much better and more swimmer-friendly, but if you’re staying at Half Moon Bay, you have to commute to Akumal Bay.

Highlights of the trip were definitely my trek to the top of the ruins at Coba and the sea turtle release in Akumal.  These made up for all the downsides of the other events.  I won’t be going back to these locations in the near future, but I’m still glad I went.  Now it’s just on to the next adventures.

On to Akumal…

Not being really happy with Tulum, I decided on a whim to head up to Akumal and made last-minute arrangements on-line the day before I got there.  I’ve been through Akumal briefly a couple of times, but have never stayed there.  I already did a post about the condo, but I’ll reiterate that it really was a very comfortable place and it was nice having a kitchen.

There were two things that were just a little disappointing.  There was no cable TV…they had a TV and a DVD player…but it wasn’t hooked up to cable.  When the website said there was a TV, I automatically thought it meant they had cable, so that was my error.  On the other hand, the internet connection was excellent so that made up for it.  The other thing I missed is that it didn’t have any kind of outdoor balcony.  It had a nice big window that looked out to the sea between the two neighboring condos, but it would have been nice to be able to sit outside.  Nonetheless, it was a great place and I would highly recommend it.  The maintenance staff was incredibly efficient and everything was very clean and well-kept.  It was $75US per night.  There were three women from the rental website who were extremely helpful and friendly, and offered ideas of things to see in the area.  They also communicated with me before Hurricane Ernesto struck, informing me that if it became serious, they would find accommodations in Valladolid.  That was very reassuring.  Thank you, Lisa, Jill and Toni!

One thing they told me was there there was a little cenote just across the street from the condo.  How cool is that?

While it may not be one of the cenotes that people drive miles to see, it’s still interesting to find out that there are so many all over the Yucatan.  See the big fish?

The plants really flourish down here.  The Hibiscus bushes are huge…much bigger than my little potted ones in Texas.

I went into town and needed something from the little store.  I think it’s funny that you can buy eggs by the egg in Mexico..ha!  “I’ll take one egg, please.”

Even though Ernesto wasn’t due for another day, the winds were starting to kick up and dark clouds were appearing on the horizon, so there weren’t a whole lot of people in the water.

I stopped at Lol Ha for lunch and had a cold one while I waited for my meal.  I wish I could always have this view for lunch…

This time, I had a scallop po’ boy.  I LOVE po’ boys, so I was really excited about this since I had never seen one before on a Mexican menu.  Here we go…

It was excellent.  The corn meal breading was perfect and the sauce was very authentic.  Definitely a thumbs up.

So when I left Lol Ha, I passed by a real estate office and took some pictures of the ads in the window.  Kind of interesting to see the large range of prices for places in Akumal.

I could see myself living here…

You own this place for one week for $14,000???  Seriously?  Who would do that?  That seems crazy to me even if you have money to throw away.  Unless I’m misunderstanding this, I could think of about a million other things to spend $14,000 on.

Way more reasonable…

I was surprised to see my condo was for sale.  I like it, but I don’t know if I’d pay that for it.

And MUCH more reasonable.  Hmmm…wonder what it looks like inside.

Obligatory toes in Akumal sand photo…

Beach shot before Ernesto came calling…

And my cochonito pibil at La Buena Vida which is a restaurant on Half Moon Bay.  Very good.

One more post to come on Akumal before the death of my camera.


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