Akumal, Mexico

I stayed at Villa Cascadas, a 4 bedroom villa within walking distance of the town of Akumal
Relaxing, private, customized, culture, right on the Caribbean, no beach vendors, private swimming pool. Some villas are more remote than others so may possibly need transportation options. Have to make your own entertainment..no organized activities but Akumal Villas will help with setting up activities.
I love Mexican food and I was not disappointed on this trip. We went to many small, local Mexican restaurants and the food was fabulous at each and every one. The service was always very good and friendly.
This was like going to “the lake” but much better! You have a staff to wait on you!!! Also, I was there during the season when the sea turtles lay their eggs. The villa that I was in was oceanfront but not on a beach (you can walk along the water but it was more coral than sand). However there was a very small area of sand directly in front my villa. This apparently is a popular place for the sea turtles to nest and I was fortunate to watch a sea turtle lay her eggs one evening. The security guards that keep an eye on several villas alerted me and the neighbors and held a red light behind the turtle so we actually saw the eggs drop in the sand! When the mama turtle was done laying about 100 eggs, she covered them up and swam out to sea, never to return to the eggs. The security people marked the nest with rocks to protect it. It was a scene I will never forget. The photos were taken the next morning as the turtles only lay their eggs at night.
In most villas, you cannot put the toilet paper in the toilet, but must put it in the wastebasket. This was not a problem, even with the heat, but it is something different to get used to! And you should bring your own shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Soap is usually provided as are blow dryers, towels and daily maid service. Someone looking to feel that they are part of the destination would love these villas. Villas work nicely for small groups traveling together too. You will need to leave a tip for the caretakers at the end of the week. Pre-order groceries or plan to stop for some prior to arriving at the villa if possible. Use the “colectivos” if you have a chance. These are vans that run up and down the 4 lane road that goes between Playa del Carmen and points south. You simply walk to that road (that can be a bit of a hike but not bad), and if there isn’t a designated bus stop, just wait on the road and one of the vans will pull over for you!!!! The rates are approx $2.50USD-$5USD one way per person and they give change. This is a wonderful and inexpensive way to get around like the locals do. I never felt unsafe and if we seemed at all confused, someone on the van tried to help us. They took both pesos and US dollars. I loved that I could have everything I needed within steps. If I forgot something, I didn’t have to walk a ¼ mile to the room to retrieve it. If I wanted a snack in the middle of the night, I simply had to walk to the kitchen and get it. Sometimes it is good for the tummy to have “normal food” and not have to go to restaurants/buffets for every meal. I felt I ate much healthier on this trip I was worried that a villa vacation would be more work, and less relaxing than an all inclusive resort. However, I had the opposite experience. I did not have to go to the restaurants for breakfast, it was ready for me when I got up. Yes, room service is an option at all inclusive resorts, but this was much more personal and friendly service. (Maybe since I also owned a B&B, I can appreciate how hard the caretakers work!) You can choose to not have breakfast as well but it many cases it is included. The caretakers will also make you dinners if you plan ahead. Each villa has different options as to how many dinners are included (labor included, you must pay for the food). Some villas even throw in a couple of massages. Each villa owner can negotiate what is included and what is not included. They negotiate this with Akumal Villas so you know in advance. The owner of the company makes it a point to stop in within 24 hours of a guests arrival to answer questions. Akumal Villas represent many villas in the southern Riviera Maya surrounding Akumal and Tulum. This is a much less commercialized area than Cancun, of course, and even Playa del Carmen. They do speak English! They will help the guests book other options like snorkeling trips, help with tee times, car rentals, airport transfers, weddings, etc.
I was able to view several of their villas. Each villa is unique and vary in size from 2 bedrooms to 9 bedrooms. Akumal Villas will ask many questions to be sure you get the right villa for your needs. If I were to go again, I would choose Villa Maravilla. It is on a great stretch of beach and I the view from the rooftop (where there are hammocks and sofas) is to die for!