3 Year Anniversary at Grand Oasis Tulum
Sam and I spent 5 days at an all-inclusive in Akumal, Mexico at the end of June for our 3 year anniversary - that we found on Groupon, 12 hours before our flight. We originally had an Airbnb booked in Tulum (around 30 minutes from the resort), but we decided last minute, "hey, what if we just lay on a beach and not worry about eh-knee-thinggggg instead?".
Groupon for the win! But honestly, I'm retrospectively a little bummed that we didn't actually go in to Tulum! We'll have to check it out eventually because I hear so many great things. And if you're looking for a good guide, check out this Charleston Blogger's visit. It looks so romantic, and the area of Tulum they explored looks AMAZING (I want to go exactly everywhere they went). Just don't forget about my little blog after you read hers because Gal Meets Glam is #goals.
Anyway, we ended up getting the last available booking for the dates that we wanted and when we arrived there was no record of our Groupon booking! So thankfully they upgraded us to an ocean view room (score!) and then before we could start the party, we were there about 5 minutes before we had to grab a Taxi and find a doctor and some antibiotics because for the first time in my life I got a UTI.... like a really bad one (sorry for the TMI). But I've got to say it was the fastest doctor & prescription visit ever! And two days later I was able to party aka sip on Mojitos intermittently all day. So it all turned out okay!
This was our 2nd all-inclusive experience ever. The first was our honeymoon at The Excellence in Punta Cana, and Grand Oasis was not the same level of fancy, but for 5 nights and all drinks & food for two people, $1000 was a really great deal!
We mostly spent our time lounging around the beach (which was absolutely beautiful) and the food (which was alright - we mostly ate at the buffet because it had almost all of the same food that the restaurants had, but definitely loved eating at the sushi bar every day!). And it was nesting season for the sea turtles, so one of the nights while we were there, we walked down the beach and actually happened upon a giant sea turtle mama crawling up onto the beach to lay her eggs! SO NEAT! And there were hundreds of nests marked on the beach...so if you're thinking about visiting I would plan a trip around hatching season - you would get to see SO MANY baby turtles waddling back to the ocean.
On our last day in Akumal we went out for an excursion! We spent a lot of time debating whether we should just go on our own or sign up for a tour (we usually prefer the first one)! But we were feeling particularly lazy this trip, so we signed up for an excursion that took us to swim with sea turtles, swim in an underground cenote, and have lunch around jungle animals! All of which are actually possible to do on your own as well if you want to.
The excursion was around $90/person and we thought it was completely worth it for the two of us! There were around 12 people total, and we had a really funny guide. But now knowing better, we'd definitely go on our own next time!
Swimming With Sea Turtles
We started at Akumal Public Beach to swim with the sea turtles. Everyone will try to tell you that you need a licensed guide - it's actually not true nor necessary. There will be life vests and snorkels that you can rent cheap at the beach and then you can go on your own! We saw a ton of green turtles (really big ones!), a baracuda, sting rays, and squid on our snorkel trip! I was actually surprised we saw as much as we did - it was really neat, and the turtles were SO CUTE.
My neighbor has also been to Akumal and swam with the sea turtles, but she and her husband actually went on their own without a tour guide! She shared this article with me that tells you exactly what to do for an adventure on your own: How to Snorkel with Sea Turtles in Akumal, Mexico.
Snorkeling in a Cenote
Next we headed to Aktun Chen Park to swim in an underground cenote. This park was really neat because it had caving, zip-lining, a restaurant and monkeys, pigs, deer and other animals roaming around the property as well. We snorkeled in the cenote, had burgers at the restaurant and then we were able to walk around and check out the different animals. They had a portion of monkeys in a big open caged area (which was kind of sad) and the free monkeys outside of the enclosure would drop tree fruit down to them, so we would pick up the fruit and the monkeys would take it straight from our hands! So that was kind of neat. But those poor monkeys! Hopefully they rotate them out or something. They were a hoot to see so close up though!
You can also do this on your own and buy individual tickets or adventure packages through their website. If you order your ticket online, the price per adult to swim in the cenote is $33.
There are a ton of different cenote's to experience in that area. If you're going into Tulum the main three are Cenote Cristal, Gran Cenote, and Dos Ojos Cenote! The entrance fee's vary. Online I've seen them anywhere from 40 pesos to 600 pesos (which was about the entrance fee to ours). Although I think ours was definitely set up to be a more touristy and pricier experience, which is why I would do it all on our own next time!
Either way I definitely think it is worth getting out of your resort and exploring the area! There's a lot to see - don't forget about the ruins too. We'll have to put those on the list for our next trip!