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An Interview With A Real Estate Expert About Akumal Lodging Options
This month we have a special interview about Akumal Lodging with Will Robinson. Will is an expert in real estate in the Riviera Maya Mexico.
Will First Of All Can You Tell Us A Little About Yourself
"Sure! I’m from Dallas Texas, having also lived in Utah, Hawaii, and the Denver area. I first visited the Cancun and Riviera Maya area for the first time in 2009. A month after visiting I decided to move here! "
That’s Quite A Risk You Took?
"In some ways yes. But I had always been in sales and felt I could go back to one of the companies that I had worked at before. That's if my Mexican adventure didn’t go as planned. I had also sent my resume in advance and set up an interview with TAO Mexico before moving. I met with the owner a few weeks after settling down in Tulum. Fortunately, he asked if I could start the following day and the rest is history.
I am very fortunate that I found a wonderful company, headquartered in Akumal, which soon afterwards also became my permanent home. I had lived in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, but I finally settled on Akumal."
After Living in Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, Why Did You Decide to Make Akumal Your Home?
"It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, which I like. But it’s also become a favourite of locals and tourists alike due to its proximity to both Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. Akumal is truly the heart of the Riviera Maya. It has great access to all that this area offers but it still maintains it’s small-town feel."
We Seem To Be Hearing More And More About The Mayan Riviera, How Much Has It Grown In Recent Years?
"Cancun became a major international tourist destination starting in the ’70s. Over time the tourist growth has increased and moved down the coastline of the Riviera Maya. First to Playa Del Carmen, and now down to Tulum. Now, over 25 M people visit the region each year and it was recently named the Best Vacation Destination in Mexico. They're attracted by the powder white sand beaches, the warm Caribbean ocean and the hot temperatures. As well, visitors also enjoy the natural freshwater cenotes, the Mayan Ruins, and the history and culture.
Also, as the area has developed it has attracted good infrastructure and amenities. For example, it is easy to get along the coastline by travelling up and down highway 307. For example, the Mexican Government has announced a rapid transit system to bring travellers from Cancun International Airport to the Riviera Maya.
Designed to meet the needs of the variety of visitors to the area, lots of amenities have sprung up. For example, there are many resorts, water and adventure parks for those thrill-seeking visitors, and first-class international restaurants. And also, the hot spot party areas in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Yet, the beauty of the Riviera Maya remains. There are still plenty of local, natural, off-the-beaten-path undisturbed areas as well."
How Much Has Akumal Changed During This Growth?
"The majority of growth has occurred in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and to a lesser extent thus far Tulum. Akumal, located between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, has changed but far less. It is still a small beach town, whereas Playa Del Carmen has grown tremendously. Tulum in the last few years has also grown a lot. Akumal has changed but at a more leisurely pace, commensurate with life in Akumal!
While there are large resorts, they are outside of Akumal. And while visitors come to Akumal for the spectacular snorkelling, diving and fishing, it still has its sweet local charm. Generally, after 6pm most things quieten down and it still retains its quaint little beach village vibe."
As Tourism Has Increased Over The Years, What Are The Lodging Options In The Riviera Maya To Accommodate The New Visitors?
"The vast majority of people who visit the region stay in all-inclusive resorts. There are many in Cancun and dotted throughout the Riviera Maya. All-inclusive resorts are great for people who want typical resort amenities. Including access to entertainment, great beaches, and a party vibe, all on your doorstep.
There are a few homes that offer rooms on Airbnb and other sites. But these are few compared to other international tourist destinations. Recently a few apartments and condominium buildings have sprung up over the last 5 years or so. They provide a very viable accommodation option. Especially to those wanting something different than the all-inclusive resort experience.
While only catering to a small percentage of visitors, the number of people staying at vacation apartment rentals is increasing each year. It is becoming a more popular lodging option, especially for more experienced travellers. As well, many first-time visitors at all-inclusive resorts decide they would like to return again. A growing number of them opt for vacation rental accommodation on their return."
Tao, Who You Work For, Develops New Apartment Projects In The Mayan Riviera – Can You Tell Us a Little About Those Developments?
"TAO Mexico is a property development company and began as a simple dream. To create a lifestyle, which was woven into the rich natural tapestry of the abundant Mexican Caribbean. Founded in 2006 Tao was inspired by the concept of building residential communities that create a sense of belonging. A perfect balance of the desire for luxury real estate, an inspirational and welcoming community, and a consistent sense of connection to Mexico’s precious natural paradises. TAO Mexico is today regarded as one of the premier developers of real estate and lodging in the Riviera Maya. It has more than 14 residential communities located in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Akumal. All within exclusive and private master-planned neighbourhoods."
Focusing On Akumal A Little More – Can You Tell Us About Akumal Lodging Options?
“All-inclusive resorts are located outside of Akumal Bay proper. Examples would include Bahia Principe and the Grand Sirenis. These offer all the amenities you’d expect from all-inclusive resorts in international tourist destinations.
As well as all-inclusive resorts there are a couple of smaller boutique hotel options. These offer some of the services of resort-style hotels, such as daily maid service, direct beach access, and someone onsite 24 hours a day. They are smaller in size than the large all-inclusive resorts. For example, Las Casitas or Hotel Akumal Caribe. Las Caistas offers 18 exclusive 2 bedroom self-catering homes to stay in. Hotel Akumal Caribe offers a variety of accommodation options including beachfront hotel rooms or bungalows. Hotel Akumal Caribe includes daily breakfast for 2 and offers guests discounted meal plans for Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar.
Another good and affordable Akumal lodging option to consider are vacation rental apartments. Located in and around Akumal they can offer excellent value, such as Ocean Breeze Akumal. But, as with any accommodation you need to do some due diligence and want to go with a reputable provider. Some apartment providers, such as Ocean Breeze Akumal (a Tao developed building), cater to groups as they have several apartments they can rent. As well they have partnered with local tour providers such as the Akumal Dive Center and Puerto Aventuras Fishing Charters. As a result, they also offer outstanding snorkelling, diving and fishing charters for their guests to add to their experience. All at much more affordable prices than the resorts charge for tours."
Which Type of Akumal Lodging Would You Recommend for Couples?
"That depends a little upon what you are interested in, and what your budget is. If you want to stay in one place and have all your meals provided for you, and all your entertainment set up, then an all-inclusive resort is a good option. But, these can be busy, and while fun, sometimes a little boisterous! Good options would include both the Grande Sirenis or the Bahia Principe.
If you are looking for a quieter experience in an exclusive boutique type hotel, then the Hotel Akumal Caribe or Las Casitas could be a good option. Both are located in the heart of Akumal, and provide an exclusive ‘small’ resort option.
Party time at Bahia Principe
However, if you are looking for more affordable Akumal lodging options, then there are several vacation rental apartments. Most have excellent amenities. For example, if you are interested in a golfing holiday the Bahia Principe across the highway has several vacation apartments for rent. Although located away from the beach several vacation apartments line the golf course.
Hotel Akumal Caribe
Another excellent option for couples wanting a relaxing, affordable vacation lodging are those located on the residential side of the Grand Sirenis community. What makes the Grand Sirenis so unique is that it is one of the only communities located on the ocean side of the highway. There are several apartment rental buildings located close to the beach and on the edge of the Mayan Jungle. Each comes with a luxurious pool, usually a rooftop terrace, and some, such as Ocean Breeze Akumal with jacuzzi tubs too. If you want a relaxing vacation with the ability to explore the Riviera Maya they are excellent, affordable options for couples or couples travelling with friends.
Poolside at Ocean Breeze Akumal vacation apartment rental
Which Lodgings In Akumal Would You Recommend for Families?
"Again, it really depends on what you want from your holiday and what your budget is. For example, all-inclusive resorts can be great because some have programs and activities for children. Making it easier for their parents! Yet, the costs can add up if you are taking a family of 4 or 6 to the resort.
If you have a family of 4-6 people then renting a vacation apartment can be a much more economical option. Also, if anyone in the family has food allergies eating at all-inclusive buffets might be a challenge. Whereas managing your food at a vacation rental or at restaurants may be more dependable and safer.
Also, it depends a lot on whether you want to stay in one place at a resort, or if you want to explore a little. The all-inclusive resorts do have lots of options for tours that you can take outside of the resort. But, leaving the resort on a tour can be very expensive for a family of 4 or 6. To have a little more flexibility you may decide to stay at a vacation apartment rental and rent a car. Which is very affordable and safe in this part of Mexico. This allows you to explore the area on your own time. And it's much cheaper than booking expensive all-inclusive hotel tours."
Will, You’ve Mentioned Or Alluded To Budget A Few Times. How Much Does Akumal Lodging Cost?
"Haha, the $64 million question. Well, the good thing is nowhere near that amount! However, it depends on a few factors. First, what time of year you want to book lodging in Akumal? There are 4 pricing seasons here: peak season, high season, shoulder season and low season. Peak season is a few weeks over Christmas and New Year. High Season is from mid-December to the end of March (not including Christmas and New Year). Shoulder season is April to August, and the low season is September to mid-December.
Second, we have to take into account the type of lodging you are looking to book. Including the location, and the services, and exclusivity of the accommodation.
So, let's take a week in high season and look at a few options for a family of 4.
Bahia Principe, the regular rate for a 1 room junior suite (2 beds) is listed at $3,119 USD for the week* (includes meals)
Grand Sirenis a 1 room deluxe junior suite (2 beds) is listed at $2,003 USD for the week* (includes meals)
Las Casitas a 2-bedroom casita is listed at $2,457USD for the week (no meals)
Hotel Akumal Caribe a room with 2 double beds is listed at $1,505 USD for the week (includes breakfast for 2 daily at Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar. Also discounted meal plans for Lol-Ha are also available)
Ocean Breeze Akumal a 2-bedroom apartment (inside the Grand Sirenis community) sleeping up to 6 people is $840 USD a week (no meals).
So, as you can see there is quite a difference. Even though the all-inclusive resorts include food and drinks for a family of 4 it can get very expensive.
*Note children over 12 would need an extra room or an upgraded suite.
In Conclusion, For Akumal Lodging, What Other Advice Would You Give?
"I would provide 2 pieces of advice. First, there are lots of lodging options and the most important thing to factor in is the type of vacation you want. If you want to stay in a resort and don’t want to explore much and want everything laid on for you then an all-inclusive resort is great.
Alternatively, if you want to explore a little, aren’t interested in the party zone atmosphere as much, then a vacation apartment rental or boutique hotel is a better option. Certainly, if you are travelling with family or another couple a vacation rental is a much more affordable option.
Second, the Riviera Maya and Akumal, in particular, is a very safe place. So, don’t be afraid to explore a little. Rent a car, driving is easy here and rental cars are very inexpensive. Instead of booking the group tours, do it yourself. And often the vacation apartment owners are great at answering questions and providing suggestions and information.There is a reason that Airbnb and other sites are huge successes. People are looking to visit an area and actually explore it. Rather than just staying at a huge resort and eating and drinking for 7 days.
This region has so much to offer, that is why I tend to recommend renting a condo. Get out and try out a few local restaurants, go to the local grocery stores, and see the archeological sites. You’ll find it easy to do, and much less expensive too. And it will provide the great memories that your family will keep, not the ones of an endless buffet."
QUESTIONS ABOUT RIVIERA MAYA REAL ESTATE?
If you have questions about real estate opportunities in the Riviera Maya, reach out to Will at one of the following:
Exploring The Riviera Maya is Ocean Breeze Akumal's Blog. Here we explore the diversity of Mexico's best tourism destination to highlight the best beaches, cenotes, restaurants, attractions, Mayan ruins, etc., etc. We provide information to help you explore this spectacular part of the world and give you tips and tricks that only the locals know. Helping to give you the vacation experience of a lifetime.
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