Trip Date 10/14/2021
Posted On 12/27/2021 10:24:24
Destinations | Caribbean | Mexico | Qunitana Roo | Yucatan Peninsula | Riviera Maya | Cancun | Tulum | Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal | Resort | All Inclusive Resort | Beach Vacation | Adults Only | Family Vacation
The white sands and blue Caribbean waters for which the Riviera Maya is known make an ideal setting for a beach vacation. Qunitana Roo, the state in Mexico that is probably best known for tourism, is bounded by Cancun in the north and Tulum on the south.
Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal is one of four resort destinations that, together, form an amazing complex within the state. This all inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula can be a relaxing adults only escape or a fun filled family vacation with the kids.
1. "A" is for "Adult Beverages"Bars, bars and more bars - bar service is plentiful all around the Luxury Akumal resort. There's bars by the pools (White Sands and Infinity Pool Bar), a bar on the beach (Bar El Mar), a bar in the theater and of course, a bar in the Sports Bar (Bar Pakal). You'll even find bars in the Riviera Restaurante (main buffet), Acuario Snack Bar and inside each of the a la carte restaurants. And, that's just the bars that were open during our stay - La Sirena (the swim-up pool bar), the Coral Bar (near the "middle pool"), Bar 66 (a second beach bar) and Bar Chit (near the jacuzzi) were all closed during our early October stay. There's also bars at the nearby Bahia Principe resorts that Luxury Akumal guests are welcome to order from as well!
Many people choose to vacation at all-inclusive resorts because the price that they pay includes a wide selection of drinks. An unlimited number of soft drinks and adult beverages (beer, wine, cocktails, local drinks, frozen drinks, etc.) are all included with no additional cost. (Alcoholic drinks are only offered in restaurants, the snack bar and through room service between the hours of midnight and 10:00 AM.)
Walk up to the bar (wearing a mask was required during our stay), order from the wandering wait staff poolside, beach side or in any of the restaurants, or dial room service to have a drink delivered right to your door. No matter whether it is day or night, it's hard to find a time when you won't see at least one adult sipping on an adult beverage.
Be sure to try the welcome drinks served at a la carte dining venues. After being seated, each guest is offered a drink unique to the restaurant. One of my favorites was the Apple Amaretto served in Dolce Vita.
2. "B" is for "Beach"The white sand and lounge chairs shaded by palapas will call your name whenever you pass by. The long stretch of sandy beach along the shoreline of the Caribbean Sea is inviting no matter where you decide to stake your claim. The only downside is having to leave the view of the crystal clear blue water when you get hungry for a meal, want to join in on an activity or need some time out of the sun.
Especially during the warmer months, the Riviera Maya is known for seaweed washing to shore. Making every attempt to clear it away, the resort staff worked tirelessly during nearly every daylight hour of our stay.
3. "C" is for "Coatis"Hardly a day will go by that you won't find wildlife exploring the grounds of the resort along with you. Coatis (also known as Mexican raccoons) can frequently be spotted playing with their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins ... and other family members. Yes, you'll see (and sometimes hear) them as they galavant around in groups ranging in size from two to many more.
Iguanas are frequently seen scurrying about on rocky areas or across sidewalks. When they see you, they will frequently run and hide ... but if you are slow and quiet, you can sometimes snap a photo!
Although less frequently spotted, be on the lookout for raccoons as well. We heard of snake sightings and also saw signs on the path between Luxury Akumal and Grand Tulum indicating that crocodiles live in the area, but we saw no evidence of either during our 11 night stay.
If you are staying in (or near) the adults only villas (82 and 83), don't miss making friends with the resident cat.
4. "D" is for "Dolphins"The Bahia Principe Grand Tulum is home to Dolphinaris Tulum, a dolphinarium. The "aquarium for dolphins" is located at the southern end of the resort, making it a short stroll along the beach from Luxury Akumal. Each morning at 10:30 AM, the dolphins and their trainers put on an educational and fun performance (free for guests of all four of the Bahia Principe resorts). In just 10 minutes, the dolphins are definitely the stars as they show off their abilities! (During our stay, regular announcements were made reminding guests that masks were required during the entire performance.)
Truth be told, one of the reasons for the free daily performance is to entice guests to purchase one of the available interactive experiences:
- Little Ambassador (geared for youngsters aged 6 - 11 who leave with a t-shirt "painted" by a dolphin);
- Friendly Encounter (perfect for those preferring to stay in shallow water);
- Ocean Secrets (how about a "belly ride"?);
- Fintastic! (includes a foot push and a t-shirt "painted" by a dolphin); and
- Dolphin Trainer for a Day (a 7 hour program for guests aged 12 and up).
5. "E" is for "Exercise"If your goal is to keep up your exercise regimen while away from home, there's no excuse when you vacation at Luxury Akumal. Each and every day starts with instructor led yoga or Pilates at sunrise. For those who prefer not to wake up early while on vacation, Aqua Fit fills the mid-day exercise time slot at noon daily. Zumba or yoga cap off the days with sunset sessions to get that final bit of exercise in before starting an evening of dining and entertainment.
If traditional exercise classes aren't your thing, there's other fun ways to offset (at least partially) the calories that you take in. How about learning a new sport? Tennis lessons are offered twice daily on the resort grounds. Enjoy riding a bike? A morning or afternoon bike tour will burn some calories and help you to explore places within the Bahia Principe complex that you may not otherwise find.
Dance lessons are offered daily making your vacation a great time to grab your partner or join other dance lovers and learn the bachata, cumbia, merengue and more. (You can even put your new moves to practice during live evening music sessions.)
Not a day went by when I didn't hit at least 10,000 steps just by walking around the Luxury Akumal resort - without even making an effort! The grounds are so expansive - if you choose to walk rather than ride, you can't help but get some exercise. Add in walking to the nearby Bahia Principe Grand Tulum and the Bahia Principe Grand Coba for a meal or just to explore, and exponentially increase your step count. Don't miss climbing the 48 steps of the Observation Tower for a view of the grounds from above!
Finally, for those who prefer a more traditional workout with weights, there's an on-site fitness center as well.
6. "F" is for "Food"If it's not the drinks that lure you to an all-inclusive resort, maybe it's the food. Between buffet dining at Riviera Restaurant, the Acuario Snack Bar and room service, food is available somewhere every minute of every day of every stay!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style in the main dining room. Lunch (as well as late night snacks) are also offered in the snack bar. If you prefer a lighter outdoor lunch, a small team from the dining staff relocates to the outdoor food hut daily at 1:00 PM to serve a specialty item:
- Monday: Tostadas
- Tuesday: Fish & Chips
- Wednesday: Guacamole
- Thursday: Tacos
- Friday: Burritos
- Saturday: Ceviche
- Sunday: Tortas
And, this list doesn't even include the four a la carte restaurants within Luxury Akumal:
- Arlequin (gourmet cuisine);
- Dolce Vita (Italian);
- Frutos Del Mar (seafood); and
- Los Corales (adults only Brazilian steakhouse closed during our stay, but it did appear to be getting prepared to open again soon).
By choosing Luxury Akumal as your vacation destination, the doors to the a la carte restaurants at the two "grand level" resorts will welcome you as well. Grand Coba, the largest of the property's resorts, has as many as six a la carte restaurants (gourmet, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese and Japanese/Peruvian fusion). The four a la carte restaurants at Grand Tulum include a grill specializing in beef, gourmet dining, and venues offering Indian and Mexican dishes. Upon the reopening of Luxury Sian Ka'an, adult guests at Luxury Akumal can include Alux (gourmet) and Maiko (Japanese) in their list of possible dining options.
- As of the date of this article, all guests were required to wear a mask to both enter and exit all dining venues;
- Temperature checks and required hand sanitizing prior to restaurant entrance was location specific;
- Tables were labeled as "cleaned and sanitized" between seatings in all restaurants;
- Buffets were open for self-service with the requirement that guests wear a glove while in the buffet line;
Have Glove, Ready to Serve
- For a quieter meal time in the buffet, adults only parties can request to be seated in the Arlequin dining room during breakfast and lunch hours;
- Although not posted, the Riviera buffet does have a theme each evening. If you have an appetite for a certain type of
food, inquire at the front desk for the buffet schedule offered during your stay. (During our visit, the "Gala" buffet, which
included lobster, was scheduled on Saturday);
"Gala" Buffet at Riviera Restaurant
- If you would like to dine at a buffet other than Riviera, ask in advance. Although all online information indicates that
"Guests may use the buffet in their own hotel", at check-in we were invited to also dine at the buffets in the chain's other
Bahia Principe Grand Coba Kulkulcan Restaurant
- Whet your appetite by looking at the online menus of many of the a la carte restaurants before your stay. Be aware, however, that some items like lobster that appear to be a part of the all-inclusive rate may actually have an upcharge once you arrive at the restaurant;
- Tequila (located in Grand Tulum) is a slightly upscale Mexican buffet;
Bahia Principe Grand Tulum's "Tequila"
- If you prefer to dress in more casual attire, we suggest asking in advance which restaurants are requiring more formal attire. (We were originally informed that Arlequin, Le Gourmet, Don Pablo and Alux would only seat guests in formal attire. This requirement, however, was not being followed during our stay);
- Once the a la carte venues in the adults only areas (Alux, Maiko and Los Corales) reopen, reservations will only be accepted for those over the age of 18;
- Reservations for a la carte restaurants do fill up fast! It is highly recommended that you make all dining reservations as early as possible. Guests who are members of the My Bahia Pricipe loyalty program can make a la carte dining reservations up to five days prior to arrival at the property. Those wishing to make "group" reservations can request assistance from firstname.lastname@example.org;
- If you are unable to find availability in an a la carte restaurant, your butler may be able to provide assistance with making a reservation (or help with transportation from your villa directly to a restaurant); and
- Due to staff reductions, select restaurants were open on alternating days and sharing venues (for example, Arlequin was operating in the Frutos del Mar location). Since this information is not posted, it's best to ask in advance for the exact location of your meal.
7. "G" is for "Games"The entertainment team at the resort leads a variety of games and activities open for the participation of all resort guests. During our stay, organized games of water volleyball and water polo were played in the main pool. If you enjoy competitive team games but prefer to play outside of the water, how about joining in on a game of beach volleyball?
Pool-side games where getting in the water is not required were played daily just after the conclusion of Aqua-Fit exercising. Other competitive individual games on the schedule during our visit included darts, mini-golf and ring toss. Games of luck and chance that most of our group played at one time or another included Bingo and Loteria Mexicana. (I think almost everyone in our travel group except for Scott and I won at least one game!)
Both adults and kids can challenge a fellow resort guest to an outdoor game of chess or shuffleboard at any time of their choosing. The 24 hour Sports Bar also offers indoor fun including billiards and video games. Young ones at the resort may enjoy the kid's club activities and games for at least a part of each day.
8. "H" is for "Hobie Cats"Going out on the water aboard a Hobie Cat is a fun way for up to three guests at the Riviera Maya Bahia Principe resorts to spend an hour each day. When you get out to sea, it's fun seeing the resort from the water as the wind takes you around the bay!
There is no cost to sail the small catamarans for those who are confident, knowledgeable and ready to go out on their own. Be mindful that getting away from the shore can be tough going if the wind direction isn't helpful. (For a fee, Scubaquatic staff members are available for hire to take guests with no sailing experience out on the water.)
Reserving Hobie Cats is not as easy as it was at other Bahia Principe resorts where we've stayed. Rather than securing a time slot the day prior, sailing times at Luxury Akumal must be booked on the day that you hope to sail - and only when the sails are up! (The catamaran sails are raised when weather conditions are favorable for sailing.)
The Scubaquatic "office" is the one place where reservations can be made. With its location at the northern edge of the Luxury Akumal beach (very near the Grand Tulum resort), it's difficult from most places within the resort to see the sails. If the cloud cover and wind are anything like they were during our stay, it can be a long walk which ends with disappointing news!
9. "I" is for "Internet"While access to the internet hopefully isn't a primary reason for going on a Caribbean vacation, it is nice to know that it is available. If you want to do a quick search (or truly have an internet addiction), Bahia Principe guests have free WiFi access throughout the hotel all day, every day during a stay. You can plan your next vacation, text your friends or update all of your social media accounts no matter if you are inside your room, at one of the pools or all of the way out on the beach.
Having access to the internet also helps resort guests to know what is going on during their stay. In addition to a daily schedule of events, guests who download the Bahia Principe App can check out the menus for the a la carte restaurants and make dinner reservations. There's even the option to choose the events that you want to attend and add them to your personal plan.
10. "J" is for "Jungle"Land located in the tropics that is covered with forest or vegetation is frequently referred to as jungle. As you wander about within Luxury Akumal or explore the surrounding resorts in the Bahia Principe family, you'll find areas within the resort complex that perfectly match the definition of jungle!
11. "K" is for "Kayaks"Get some exercise or have some fun (whichever you prefer) by exploring the nearby waters of the Caribbean in a kayak. For up to one hour per day, guests can paddle out of the protected areas by kayak or paddle board. To reserve a time slot, meet a member of the Scubaquatic staff at their office on the beach at the north side of Luxury Akumal.
12. "L" is for "Luxury"Does "living a life of luxury" have a nice ring to it - even if just during your vacation days? The resort rooms in the adults-only villa allow you to indulge in those comforts that are not really necessary. Awaiting your arrival in the closet are a pair of robes and two pair of slippers. The large bathrooms have double sinks, a water closet, shower and hydro-massage bathtub.
Bedrooms have either a king size bed or two full size beds, a sitting area and a balcony or terrace, depending on your floor. Small refrigerators are stocked with soft drinks, beer and snacks and are happily refilled upon request. Coffee drinkers can even request coffee grounds along with a coffee pot and mugs to satisfy their need for caffeine.
The luxurious accommodations are surrounded by a beautifully landscaped property. Paved walking paths throughout the grounds are surrounded by green grass, manicured gardens and palm trees. Sculptures placed throughout the resort add even more to the visual appeal.
Housekeeping service is offered daily and a team of butlers are on duty to provide assistance upon request. During our stay, Andres, Cynthia and Victor were an awesome, always willing and super helpful trio. Andres was able to help with restaurant reservations for two of our evenings for our group of six - including personally driving us all to restaurants located in the neighboring resorts.
Cynthia saved me from climbing back up two flights of stairs on more than one occasion when I realized that I left my mask in our room. Not a day passed when Victor didn't smile as we passed by, ask about our day and what he could do for us or approach us ready for a daily fist bump!
13. "M" is for "Me Time"The pages that will describe what you did during a stay at Luxury Akumal will start out blank and it is up to you to fill them in the way that you desire. Those who prefer to spend all of their time with family, friends and other resort guests have that option. But, those who just want some "me time" can make that choice as well.
If relaxation is your goal, enjoy soaking in your private hydro-massage bathtub or "zenning out" on your balcony or terrace. Want to relax but don't want to miss out on the sunshine? Grab a book or your earphones and head to an outdoor lounger on the beach or poolside. A member of the waitstaff will likely pass by soon, so be prepared with your drink order so that you stay hydrated.
More active time alone can include a workout in the fitness center, a jog along the beach or a hike between the properties. Maybe you want to expand your horizons by trying something new, but none of your travel companions have an interest? This is the perfect place to learn a dance, try out an exercise program, sample new foods and drinks and so much more. And, if you are a shopper, there's a lobby shop in each of the resorts plus a large market at Grand Tulum and a smaller market at Grand Coba.
What About the "N through Z"?Make sure to also check out the final 13 reasons why we recommend Bahia Prinipe Luxury Akumal. Starting with "Nightly Entertainment", we wrap us this list of 26 reasons for considering this resort for your next Caribbean vacation. We also share the highlights of My Bahia Principe and why you should join the loyalty program before making your reservation. Finally, we close with some packing tips for making this (or any other resort stay) more enjoyable.
All-Inclusive ResortsWhich all-inclusive resort ranks at the top of your list, and what makes it your number one?
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