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Meet our IDC Instructor!

 

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Alessandra Figari is the owner and manager of Cave Training Mexico. She was born in Milan, Italy in 1960. She moved to Mexico in 1999 where she decided to dedicate her life and experience to teaching diving leaving behind her manager position in a non for profit organization.

Amongst her trainers and mentors are Bil Philips, Paul Heinerth, John and Shelley Orlowski, Andreas W. Matthes, Steve Bogaerts, Len Bucko, Pamela Strother…

She can teach any courses in Italian, English, French and Spanish.

She is certified as an:

  • IANTD Tec Instructor
  • Tec Full Cave Instructor
  • TDI Tec and Cave Instructor
  • RAID MK6 CCR Instructor
  • APSA Certified Cavern and Cave Guide
  • She is also a PADI Course Director, PADI/DSAT Technical and Trimix Trainer and EFR Trainer.
    She teaches the PADI Instructor Career Program (IDC) at The Akumal Dive Shop in Akumal, Riviera Maya and also offering continuing education programs for instructors.

    She has been diving in Mexico, United States, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Italy and Micronesia. She counts a total of more than 5000 dives amongst recreational, cave and Tec/trimix, rebreather dives.

    Her experience and training is focused both to beginners wishing to experiment for the first time this attractive sport and to certified divers wishing to further increase their knowledge.

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    Into The Drink TV show in Akumal Part I

    Into the drink is a Travel Show like no other, taking viewers beyong the map and into the unknown. Each jorney into the drink introduces viewers to local breweries and distilleries and dives into regions around the world shared by some of the most mystifying creatures in the ocean.

    Into the drink is a Travel Show like no other, taking viewers beyong the map and into the unknown. Each jorney into the drink introduces viewers to local breweries and distilleries and dives into regions around the world shared by some of the most mystifying creatures in the ocean.

    This article was written by one of  into the drink´s fan crew that joined them in Akumal,  Mike Dunkerly.

    This trip was put together by The Akumal Dive Shop and the Riviera Maya Tourist Bureau for the   television program “Into The Drink.”  Marlene and I were fortunate enough to join the crew for the filming of this wonderful vacation.

    The following is my report on this ten-day  adventure.

    The Akumal Dive  Shop is without doubt  the most professional and best dive option in Akumal.  The Akumal  Dive Shop carries on the tradition of being the first dive shop built  on the Mexican Caribbean coast and the Riviera Maya, serving the tourism and diving industry since 1978, with over 35 years of experience, The Akumal Dive Shop is fully stocked with anything you might need, from dive equipment, snorkel equipment, tee shirts, hats and sunscreen. In addition to local diving trips, they offer excursions and tours to Mayan ruins, Cenote diving, sailing and fishing trips, guided and unguided snorkel trips in Akumal bay and many other adventures that can all be arranged by the friendly and helpful staff.

    The staff is very attentive and can help with any equipment malfunction or offer replacement equipment for anything that you may have forgotten to pack.  The dive shop has 6 dive boats that can accommodate up to eight divers each. The dive shop has warm showers to rinse off in after your dives and large keyed lockers to store your dive equipment between dives RIVIERA MAYA – AKUMAL,MX

    Akumal Beach

    Day 1
    The Riviera Maya van met us at the exit door of the Cancun Airport.  The full sized, air conditioned Ford van took us on the one hour ride from the airport to, in our case The Hotel Akumal Beach Resort.   Our room was not quite ready, so we had a buffet lunch in the main dining room.  The very large room overlooks the beach.  Lunch was a nice variety of salads, tacos, burritos, baked chicken, pasta, cold drinks and Dos XX’s beer.  After lunch we took a stroll down the beach, stopping in the small dive shops and souvenir shops.  Around three we were taken to our room.  We were less than excited.  The room was exactly as described on the web site.  There was a King size bed,  TV on the main counter, a closet, shower and sink, and toilet.  Staff brought by a bottle of water shortly after we arrived, but no glasses, and if we wanted more water, there was a five gallon dispenser for each floor (about twenty rooms.)  The bed was hard, but we needed a nap after the trip from Sacramento.  After a couple hours, I got up and looked at the bed.  It felt as if it was two box springs, not a mattress and box springs.  As we settled in, I knew this was going to be an issue with my traveling companion.  We were scheduled to join the others on the trip at the “ Casa Luna”     for dinner and orientation.   When we arrived, the first thing out of Randy Harris’s mouth was “How is your room, would you like to move over here, into the guest cottage?”

    After several micro seconds we agreed to move.  Like a shot we were back at the hotel, threw our things in the bags and fled.  You can see pictures of the Casa Luna on the web site listed above. (the last three pictures on the website are of the guest house.)

    casa luna

    This house is a beautiful three bedroom villa. The main room is accessed via a stone walkway that passes by the pool.  This pool can be enjoyed from the living room swim-through or the outside patio.  There is also a dining room and a large covered patio with hammocks tied to palm trees.  One bedroom is just off the main kitchen with doors that open to the pool.  This room has its own private bath and entrance.  Another bedroom is up a short flight of stairs from the main room. It has its own private bath and patio.  The third bedroom is up a winding stairway from the patio.  It includes its own bath, kitchen and roof top patio.  Above this room is a observation room on the third floor, with fantastic views of the ocean, and half moon bay.  In addition to the main house, the property has an open two car garage with a guest cottage above.  This guest room has its own kitchen, bath, living area and a king size bed.

    The first night Gonzalo and the staff of the dive shop put on a buffet dinner, with music and drinks.  Gonzalo told us about the many adventures they had planned for us.  The night went a little long, as we all got to know each other.

    DAY 2
    The next morning we had breakfast at “The Bakery” in downtown Akumal.  The Bakery is a bit of a misnomer, as they serve lunch and dinner as well.  We were scheduled for two, one tank dives.  The wind was blowing and the seas were high, but we boated north about five to seven miles in the Akumal Dive shop boats.  The first dive was to a shelf on the sloping bottom at about 90 feet.  Those of us who dove, missed the 90 foot mark and ended up at just over a hundred.  The bottom was a mix of coral fingers and sand.  Not a many fish as I’d hoped for, (this isn’t the Philippines) but we did see some turtles, and schools of jacks.  The Lion fish here are big.  The second dive was here also, but a bit shallower.  Nice  dives.

    We made it back to the shop around two thirty.  The Casa is only a five minute ride from the shop or at most a half mile walk.  After a quick shower, we made our way back to the beach for  a late lunch in a palapa restaurant “Lunch Beach Bar” facing the bay.  We had a quick tour of the shop, and other sites on the beach.  At five we boarded the catamaran for a sunset cruise.  With fishing lines out we sailed south until the sun set, then turned around and headed north for the harbor.  On the way back we hooked a 36” barracuda.

    That night we had dinner at La Lunita Restaurant just about a mile north of the Casa de Luna.  A great dinner that the restaurant prepared just for the ‘Into The Drink’ group.

    DAY 3
    Friday morning we had breakfast at the Casa.  A great breakfast of beans, eggs, toast, tortillas, coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice.  Almost everyone was up and ready.  We had two one-tank dives just outside the bay, where we found really beautiful, fingers of coral to play in, with lots of small critters to find and photograph.  Just out from the coral fingers was a beautiful sand bottom at around 50’. There were lots of turtles and stingrays to play with and film.  Snorkel tours were available in the bay for those who did not dive.  There is plenty to see here in the bay, turtles, cannons and lots of reef fish.  We were scheduled to drive to Tulum (about 40 min away) for dinner and nightlife, but most were tired and opted for dinner in Akumal.

    The following days will in the next post.  Don´t miss it.

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    Into The Drink TV Show in Akumal PART III Final

    Into The Drink TV Show in Akumal. PART FINAL

    Into the drink is a travel Show like no other, taking viewers beyong the map and into the unknown. Each jorney into the drink introduces viewers to local breweries and distilleries and dives into regions around the world shared by some of the most mystifying creatures in the ocean.

    This article was written by one of the fans of into the drink crew that joined them in Akumal, Mike Dunkerly.

    DAY 7
    The next morning we had breakfast prepared at the Casa Luna. Then it was off to Puerto Morelos / to dive the wreck of JUAN ESCUTIA. This was advertised as a 90’ deep wreck with very strong currents. When we arrived, the seas were like glass. The ten minute boat ride took us to the bouys above the wreck. As we dropped in, we were greeted by crystal clear water with over a hundred feet visibility , and NO current. What a beautiful dive. Moray eels at the keel, a large school of jacks, stingrays and a bat ray off the stern. Tried as I may, I could not talk the dive shop into another dive. Sad. We had lunch in downtown Playa Del Carmen at a very local restaurant named “Los Zarapes”. This is a local’s restaurant that serves real Mexican food in traditional ways. After Lunch, Gonzalo and Randy took a ride in a Cessna. They flew along the coast of Riviera Maya to take photos of this amazing coast and to document from the air all the places we had visited by land.

    Later that night Gonzalo took the rest of the crew to dinner at La Cueva del Chango “The Monkey’s Cave” an traditional restaurant favored more by locals than tourists. The serve typical Yucatec Maya food cooked gourmet style using local ingredients such as “achiote” chile xcatic, recado negro and the ever present CHILE HABANERO!

    After dinner they took a stroll down 5th avenue where the “action” is. This is a colorful and lively stretch with outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants filled with the most eclectic characters, both local and tourist. They ended up at the “hot corner” where the night clubs are located and got into “ The Mandala” which looked to be the one with the most “action”. The place was filled with people dancing, talking and getting generally smashed. Pretty soon everyone was lost in the jungle of bodies dancing, laughter, music, and…. What happened after that? I can not say, because what happens in “The Mandala”, stays in “The Mandala”! I can tell you that it sounded like lots of fun. This is just hearsay, because Marlene sprained her ankle and we stayed home… (take-out dinner from Buena Vida).

    DAY 8

    We returned to the bakery “Turtle Bay Café”, the next morning for breakfast before a dive just outside Akumal bay. These shallow dives were my favorite and this particular was devoted to macro photography, it was a nice easy dive. We did a second dive too an also shallow reef where we found a school of silver siders, more turtles and an array of fish and nice corals. We then toured the Centro Ecologico de Akumal. This is a nice little museum and ecological information display set up to help preserve Akumal. Later we took the Riviera Maya van south about four miles to a small bay where we had lunch of fresh ceviche, fried fresh fish and beers. The plan was to sail the catamaran back, but it got late and we opted for the van. Dinner that night was at Lol Ha Restaurant with a flamenco dance show featuring three beautiful ladies dancing to the old Spanish guitar, a very artistic and delightful show.

    DAY 9
    The last day we dove back up north where we dove the first day… rough seas and deep water, but this time we were on a quest to kill the demon Lion fish. Before the dive we connected with Gynna, “The Lion fish Lady”.

    The dive shop offered spear sticks for those who wanted to try their luck and hunting skills. There were three spear fishermen/fisherladys. We came back with 13 large lion fish. That night we had lion fish tacos at Gynna’s restaurant located about a half a mile from the Casa de Luna. She does it all, she hunts them and stocks her restaurant with the tasty little devils. She prepares them for you any way you wish. If you are up to it and ready to listen, she will tell you about the lion fish, local ecology and environmental conservation. It is fun to listen to her talk about her passion for Akumal and conserving the environment. We ended our trip that night at our host, Gonzalo Arcila’s, villa “Balam Ek”, which happened to be only three houses down from Casa de Luna. He had a little party going for us with beers, margaritas, a mariachi band, and fire dancer presentation. It all ended too soon because we had to pack for our morning flights….

    DAY 10
    Gonzalo is very interested is setting up trips for 8 to 10 divers. He wants to keep the number small so they can stay in the villa’s and not the all inclusive resort. The base trips he wants to set up would include the airport transfers to and from Cancun to Akumal, lodging, diving and most meals, leaving a couple nights open for the group to decide what they would like to do. Once in Akumal, The Akumal Dive Shop and Travel Services will brief you and arrange any additional trips the group or individuals might like to do. Trips to the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Coba, Sian Ka’an biosphere Reserve, Cenote dives, fishing and sailing trips, shopping and dinner excursions to Tulum town or Playa del Carmen would be extra and arranged through the dive shop.. If there a serious interest in organizing expeditions like the one described in this report, Gonzalo will be happy to travel to Sacramento to make a presentation to you and to interested divers and dive shop operators on the region. Please refer to the contact information at the beginning of this report.

    Prepared by, Mike Dunkerly dunkerly@netzero.net

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    I’m watching you! / Te estoy vigilando!

    raya

    When going diving you never know who is watching! That is why you have to relax, forget about everything and be very observative! You will have really incredible surprises like this gray ray hiding from us in the sand but with its eyes wide open!

    Cuando vayas a bucear nunca sabes quien esta mirándote! Es por eso que tienes que relajarte, olvidar todo y ser muy observador! Tendrás sorpresas increíbles como esta raya gris que encontramos escondida en la arena pero con los ojos bien abiertos!

    Posted in Activities, Dive Photos, Flora and Fauna | Leave a comment
     

    Into The Drink TV Show in Akumal Part II

    Into The Drink TV Show in Akumal. PART II

    Into the drink is a travel Show like no other, taking viewers beyong the map and into the unknown. Each jorney into the drink introduces viewers to local breweries and distilleries and dives into regions around the world shared by some of the most mystifying creatures in the ocean.

    This article was written by one of the fans of into the drink crew that joined them in Akumal, Mike Dunkerly.

    DAY 4
    Saturday we were off to Tulum to tour both the Mayan ruins on the beach and the ruins of Coba located about forty miles inland. There were permits purchased to film inside Tulum, but the local authority (we named him Johnny Depp because he had a certain pirate look and similar beard/moustache) decide we should leave.

    After much discussion, wandering around trying to ditch him, we left under threat of the police being called. Oh well, we were soon off to Coba. We had lunch beside a crocodile infested lake in a very typical Mexican cuisine at a roadside restaurant. We entered the ruins at Coba and without any drama, and were told to film as much as we wished. We took pedal carts and bicycles from the first temple area back into the jungle, almost a kilometer to the main pyramid. After climbing to the top to enjoy the view, we finished the tour on foot surveying what was left to be uncovered. On the way to the Riviera Maya tour van, we spied a tower with a zip line across another crocodile infested lake. At only $6 no one could resist. We stopped in the town of Coba to pick up a guide. After picking up a local Shaman, he took us out into the jungle about 30 minutes away. We parked next to a cenote lagoon and walked into the jungle with the Shaman. He showed us the bark he made “balche” from, blessed each of us, said some Mayan prayers, and shared some of the sacred “balche” beverage he had made from the bark. (The special “balche” that made you see flying monkeys he kept for himself. ) We then went to his house in a little ‘town’ in the jungle to buy hand made jewelery and honey. I spoke to his interpreter, a man from Argentina who told me some pretty special talents the Shaman had. It was a late dinner back in Akumal at The Bakery. They had been preparing food for a beach wedding and shared some of the special dishes they had made, along with our dinner.

    Day 5
    Sunday we were off to dive ceotes. First up was “The Grand Cenote”. It is a large open cenote, with a wooden walk-way down to the water. In the center of the opening were trees and shrubs. The cenote has water lily pads growing in it which were very cool to view from below. The guide took us on a short tour of the entire cenote. We ended in another adjacent cenote called “Tiger Eye”. This is the best cenote for snorkelers, and they have guided tours.

    Next up was “The Car Wash”. This cenote is located right next to the highway. The locals used to drive their cars up to the cenote, which is very close to the surface, and wash them. Hence the name. This cenote has an algae layer about 6 to 8 feet from the surface. As you descend through it the water clears, you swim through trees that have fallen into the cenote. There are several caves to explore.

    On the way up, just below the algae the bottom is covered with mostly small fish. The fish eat the algae that is stirred up by the divers. There is also a water lilly that has a three to four foot long stem with a single leaf at the end. Just before we exited, we found a little two foot long alligator to film. Once on the surface we had a picnic lunch among the trees surrounding the cenote.

    “Cenote Lahabna Ha” is reached by a five mile ride into the jungle on a bumpy dirt road. There is a large open cave with a boardwalk. A zip line takes you from the jungle surface to the bottom of the cave or you can take the stairs. It is very beautiful and gives the non-divers a look at what we are seeing below the surface, stalactites, stalagmites and other formations in the rock. The opening to the cenote is down a jungle path about 100 yards from the parking area. There is a small fenced 2’ diameter opening along the way. The entrance to the cenote is down a winding ships ladder to a platform just above the water level in a circular room about 100’ in diameter. The dive is a full on cave dive almost from the beginning. You exit the main room through a submerged opening to the south. With a guide, following staked lines, you venture off into the darkness. After several turns, if you turn off your light, you find out what true darkness is…… I almost liked it, but it does give you a real idea of what actual cave diving is like. Dinner was back in Akumal at another beach front restaurant “La Buena Vida”. This became a favorite, as it was only five homes away from Casa Luna.

    DAY 6
    The next day after breakfast at Casa Luna, we headed south to Sian’ Ka’an, Which in Mayan means “The Doors To Heaven” or “Where The Sky Is Born” depending on who you ask. This is a large Biosphere reserve (1.2 million acres) that encompasses the land and the large fresh water lagoon which is enclosed by the salty spit of land that ends with Punta Allen. We took a guided tour through the jungle on a raised boardwalk, learning about the local trees, birds and animals. Then we boarded two panga boats and went half way across the lagoon to a Mayan ruin. The best idea is that the building here was a check point for goods coming from the sea, a sort of a tax booth.

    After several pictures, and stories, we grabbed life jackets and jumped into an ancient Mayan canal that winds through mangroves. Sadly the most relaxing part of the trip ended about 45 minutes later at the opening to another part of the lagoon. (take your mask and snorkel for this one). From Tulum we turned south down the salty spit of land to Cesiak Beach. From the top of the three story building on the beach we were able to see both the sun set and the moon rise. Lots of pelicans soaring at eye level, and diving into the surf to feed. After a cocktail or two we headed back to Restaurant & Bar La Buena Vida for a late dinner. Then Randy, Gonzalo and I took off to Aventuras Akumal Bay, to hunt egg laying turtles. Only found one nest, and one little girl who had just started to dig her nest.

    Next days coming soon in the next post.

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    Diving with poor eyesight

    106322317.u7h5InVe.DSC_0352RPBaseBigglassesHaving poor eye sight is probably one of the biggest concerns for new divers who are dependent on corrective lenses in order to see properly.

    In the surface you might use either glasses or contact lenses but you probably ask yourself how you are going to be able to see underwater.
    Well, thankfully there are many options available to forget about this issue and enjoy your dive.

    It is impossible to dive with glasses because the mask would not adjust and seal properly on the face; however there is a spec designed to insert prescription lenses into the mask and that is transferable between masks.

    Alternatively you may get prescription lenses from your optometrist and get them customized with a special mask created so that the user can change the lenses with just a screwdriver. More specialized diving stores that are representatives of brands like Cressi, sell a wide variety of masks with corrective lenses. An example is the Cressi “Focus” mask.
    This is a good option but remember to buy more than one mask as backup in case you lose one and you are diving in remote locations where it might be difficult to buy a new one.

    A second option is to dive with your contact lenses but make sure you always wear soft contacts as they rarely cause problems. Hard contact lenses are sucked painfully onto the eye due to the increased pressure underwater or there might be gas bubbles forming between the cornea and the contact lens.
    If you flood or remove your mask, always close your eyes to avoid your contacts to wash away and consider having rewetting drops with you after the dive.
    If you need bifocals to read your pressure gauge, put a small stick-on magnifying inside your mask!

    And what about diving after eye surgery?

    Although diving is possible after most types of eyesight corrective surgery, always consult your ophthalmologist.

    Radial keratotomy (RK) decreases the strength of the cornea and may increase the risk of serious injury if subjected to extreme facemask squeeze. Still there are no documented reports of traumatic rupture of the cornea from diving after this type of surgery. If you follow your surgeon’s advice and wait at least three months to allow the eyes to heal you should be alright but go for a follow up consultation to confirm that that your eyes have fully recovered before returning to the water.

    Another alternative is to get laser refractive surgery (PRK) done. This procedure uses laser to reshape the cornea instead of making incisions. This method does not decrease structural integrity of the cornea therefore there is no risk of corneal rupture as a result of a facemask squeeze. Recovery time is also less than with RK but discuss with your surgeon so he/she has a final word on the matter before you dive.

    If you had surgery for a more serious eye condition always consult an ophthalmologist before diving.

    Now you have a few tips and recommendations so that you feel more confident even if you have poor eyesight to enjoy the world underneath the surface!

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    Chichen Itza Equinox

    Chichen Itza is one of the most astonishing Mayan ruins on the whole region of the Peninsula of Yucatan, with hundreds of thousands visiting every year it is definitely one of the landmarks of the region and a must do activity in your travel schedule.


    To add some excitement, this site is the protagonist of the spring and fall equinox, an amazing show happening twice a year that reunites thousands of pilgrims and curious tourists alike. This phenomenon carefully observed by ancient astronomers and architects in the past is represented in the grandest of all the structures of the site: “El Castillo or the Castle” or also known as the “Temple of Kukulkan”. Here on the spring and fall equinoxes the afternoon sunlight bathes the western side of the pyramid and in the main stairway causes seven triangles to form and create shadows simulating the descent of a 120 foot long serpent.

    This spectacle has been admired for thousands of years until our days. In the past it is believed it served for certain rites of agriculture or celestial events.
    Nowadays though, you can come and admire this remarkable show regardless the reason, just as a curious tourist, an energy thirsty new ager, historian or anthropologist or a modern maya coming back to keep the tradition of your ancient people.

    Be a witness of this event every March 21st and six months later on Sept. 22!

    Chichen Itza is one of the most astonishing Mayan ruins on the whole region of the Peninsula of Yucatan, with hundreds of thousands visiting every year it is definitely one of the landmarks of the region and a must do activity in your travel schedule.

    To add some excitement, this site is the protagonist of the spring and fall equinox, an amazing show happening twice a year that reunites thousands of pilgrims and curious tourists alike. This phenomenon carefully observed by ancient astronomers and architects in the past is represented in the grandest of all the structures of the site: “El Castillo or the Castle” or also known as the “Temple of Kukulkan”. Here on the spring and fall equinoxes the afternoon sunlight bathes the western side of the pyramid and in the main stairway causes seven triangles to form and create shadows simulating the descent of a 120 foot long serpent.

    This spectacle has been admired for thousands of years until our days. In the past it is believed it served for certain rites of agriculture or celestial events.
    Nowadays though, you can come and admire this remarkable show regardless the reason, just as a curious tourist, an energy thirsty new ager, historian or anthropologist or a modern maya coming back to keep the tradition of your ancient people.

    Be a witness of this event every March 21st and six months later on Sept. 22!

    Chichen Itza is one of the most astonishing Mayan ruins on the whole region of the Peninsula of Yucatan, with hundreds of thousands visiting every year it is definitely one of the landmarks of the region and a must do activity in your travel sche
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    dule.

    To add some excitement, this site is the protagonist of the spring and fall equinox, an amazing show happening twice a year that reunites thousands of pilgrims and curious tourists alike. This phenomenon carefully observed by ancient astronomers and architects in the past is represented in the grandest of all the structures of the site: “El Castillo or the Castle” or also known as the “Temple of Kukulkan”. Here on the spring and fall equinoxes the afternoon sunlight bathes the western side of the pyramid and in the main stairway causes seven triangles to form and create shadows simulating the descent of a 120 foot long serpent.

    This spectacle has been admired for thousands of years until our days. In the past it is believed it served for certain rites of agriculture or celestial events.
    Nowadays though, you can come and admire this remarkable show regardless the reason, just as a curious tourist, an energy thirsty new ager, historian or anthropologist or a modern maya coming back to keep the tradition of your ancient people.

    Be a witness of this event every March 21st and six months later on Sept. 22!

    Chichen Itza is one of the most astonishing Mayan ruins on the whole region of the Peninsula of Yucatan, with hundreds of thousands visiting every year it is definitely one of the landmarks of the region and a must do activity in your travel schedule.

    To add some excitement, this site is the protagonist of the spring and fall equinox, an amazing show happening twice a year that reunites thousands of pilgrims and curious tourists alike. This phenomenon carefully observed by ancient astronomers and architects in the past is represented in the grandest of all the structures of the site: “El Castillo or the Castle” or also known as the “Temple of Kukulkan”. Here on the spring and fall equinoxes the afternoon sunlight bathes the western side of the pyramid and in the main stairway causes seven triangles to form and create shadows simulating the descent of a 120 foot long serpent.

    This spectacle has been admired for thousands of years until our days. In the past it is believed it served for certain rites of agriculture or celestial events.
    Nowadays though, you can come and admire this remarkable show regardless the reason, just as a curious tourist, an energy thirsty new ager, historian or anthropologist or a modern maya coming back to keep the tradition of your ancient people.

    Be a witness of this event every March 21st and six months later on Sept. 22!

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
     

    Diving in Akumal

    Diving in Akumal is from a start quite a spectacular experience. Why? It is one of the few places where you will be guaranteed to see up close sea turtles. And well, that is the least you can expect to see if you are in the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second biggest in the planet: the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System or MBRS. It encompasses 1000km from Isla Contoy to the Bay Islands of Honduras.

    Akumal happens to be almost right in the middle of it and at a throwing stone distance from Cozumel which is considered one of the best diving spots in the world. Akumal however and in contrast with Cozumel, still profits from its anonymity and although in the diving industry it is well known for being the headquarters of the Club de Exploraciones y Deportes Acuáticos de México (Mexican Expeditions and Watersports Club) founded in the 50’s, it is still a best kept secret for most of the international tourist scene.

    So how is it like to dive here?
    Water temperature ranges from 25°C to 32°C during the year, visibility is incredibly superior to 50m and the flora and fauna that inhabit this reef makes it one of the best places for diving activities. Akumal Bay has really calm waters and allow beginner divers to make a calm start to their open waters experience as in some parts and during some times of the year it may seem as confined waters. Thus you have a perfect place for all levels of diving abilities, from beginners to intermediates or expert divers.

    The reef system here is home to more than 500 species of fish, 350 species of mollusks and 65 species of coral. Sea turtles found here are the Greens, Loggerheads, Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles. And exotic animals hard to see elsewhere may be the West Indian Manatee, the Splendid toadfish, the American Crocodile, the Morelet’s crocodile and the Nassau Grouper.
    If you are lucky you might spot a dolphin, a whale shark that transit the area until they get to Isla Contoy to feed and mate or why not a manatee.  This reef system is home to one of the world’s largest populations of manatees with estimated numbers of 1,500 or more.

    Close to Akumal you will find a wide variety of cenotes were you can dive in their cool crystalline and pristine waters and have an almost real sensation of flying or experience something completely different by dipping yourself into a hydrogen sulfide cloud into a complete different world where underwater rivers flow such as the Angelita.

    If your thing is getting to know places out of the conventional and far from the touristy, you must come to Akumal and experience a different world of diving with so many different options you will never dive in the same spot twice while you are on vacations visiting this incredible little gem of the Mexican Caribbean! Come and discover the wonders of diving in Akumal!

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    History of Akumal

    Akumal, once a huge coconut plantation owned by Don Argimiro Arguelles was acquired along with thousands of hectares of land by an exclusive tresure hunting dive club in 1958 whose president and founder was Pablo Bush. Attracted by adventure and the salvage of the ship “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios” aka “Matanceros” that sunk buy cialis online in 1735, many treasure hunters started coming to this exotic region accessible only by boat at that time.

    A few years later and as Cancun rapidly gained popularity as a world tourist destination at the end of the 70’s, it didn’t take long for Akumal to be in the spotlight as a new tourist destination of the Riviera Maya.

    But the history of Akumal goes a long way back before the arrival of Pablo Bush. Ancient mayans inhabited this land and in 1511 something quite significant in the history of Mexico happened.
    A shipwreck stranded a small group of spanish foreigners in the coasts of the Peninsula, they were taken as prisoners and most of them died but one; Gonzalo Guerrero. He fell in love with the chief’s daughter Zazil Ha, also known as Ixchel Can and married her. This event historically marked the beginning of the Indian – Spanish mix in Mexico called “mestizaje” with Gonzalo’s offspring being the first mestizos in the region.

    Considered thus the father of “mestizaje”, he quitted his nation, his King and religion and stayed with the mayas and his family. He made a position for himself as a war counselor among the mayas by teaching them war strategies of attack and defense unknown to them. He became part of the tribe so successfully that he even underwent several mutilations and had ritualistic tattoos done to him. He adopted the culture to the point that he even allowed the deformation of his children’s head with a piece of wood and made them cross-eyed, considered a symbol of beauty at the time.

    He even let his first daughter Ixmo, to be sacrificed in Chichen Itza as an offering to the gods and fought against the Spanish conquitadors of Hernan Cortes when they tried to retrieve him.

    Today however, Akumal is a much quieter place compared to those days of war, conquest and human sacrifices! It is a place where you can come and snorkel with the peaceful turtles, SCUBA dive or just lay lazy on the beach daydreaming of the treasure hunting adventures of Pablo Bush or envisioning the days when Gonzalo Guerrero walked this same land and fell in love with it… but be careful you too might fall in love with Akumal and quit your nation, King and religion to stay in this beautiful paradise!

    Akumal, once a huge coconut plantation owned by Don Argimiro Arguelles was acquired along with thousands of hectares of land by an exclusive tresure hunting dive club in 1958 whose president and founder was Pablo Bush. Attracted by adventure and the salvage of the ship “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios” aka “Matanceros” that sunk in 1735, many treasure hunters started coming to this exotic region accessible only by boat at that time.
    A few years later and as Cancun rapidly gained popularity as a world tourist destination at the end of the 70’s, it didn’t take long for Akumal to be in the spotlight as a new tourist destination of the Riviera Maya.

    But the history of Akumal goes a long way back before the arrival of Pablo Bush. Ancient mayans inhabited this land and in 1511 something quite significant in the history of Mexico happened.
    A shipwreck stranded a small group of spanish foreigners in the coasts of the Peninsula, they were taken as prisoners and most of them died but one; Gonzalo Guerrero. He fell in love with the chief’s daughter Zazil Ha, also known as Ixchel Can and married her. This event historically marked the beginning of the Indian – Spanish mix in Mexico called “mestizaje” with Gonzalo’s offspring being the first mestizos in the region.

    Considered thus the father of “mestizaje”, he quitted his nation, his King and religion and stayed with the mayas and his family. He made a position for himself as a war counselor among the mayas by teaching them war strategies of attack and defense unknown to them. He became part of the tribe so successfully that he even underwent several mutilations and had ritualistic tattoos done to him. He adopted the culture to the point that he even allowed the deformation of his children’s head with a piece of wood and made them cross-eyed, considered a symbol of beauty at the time.

    He even let his first daughter Ixmo, to be sacrificed in Chichen Itza as an offering to the gods and fought against the Spanish conquitadors of Hernan Cortes when they tried to retrieve him.

    Today however, Akumal is a much quieter place compared to those days of war, conquest and human sacrifices! It is a place where you can come and snorkel with the peaceful turtles, SCUBA dive or just lay lazy on the beach daydreaming of the treasure hunting adventures of Pablo Bush or envisioning the days when Gonzalo Guerrero walked this same land and fell in love with it… but be careful you too might fall in love with Akumal and quit your nation, King and religion to stay in this beautiful paradise!

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    Protecting the turtles of Akumal

    Akumal in maya language means land of the turtles and if the mayas named it, it means the turtles have been coming to this bay for a really really long time. They feed here and females lay their eggs here every year, thanks to their biology every turtle that hatches here, will come back at some point of their lives and female hatchlings will do the same but to lay their own eggs. And the cycle is supposed to continue that way as long as enough food is available and their ecosystem remains peaceful. However when Cancun gained popularity as a world class tourist destination everything there and around started growing at an alarming pace not caring much about the impact that would eventually result in the ecological disaster Cancun has become now.

    When the Riviera Maya was born the folks at Akumal decided they didn’t want Akumal to have the same dark fate as Cancun and therefore created the Centro Ecologico Akumal or Akumal Ecological Center to act as the protector of all ecological matters in Akumal bay. As tourist activities started to bloom CEA needed to act as a regulatory organism to limit the operations in the bay and therefore make it more sustainable. Some of their programs focused on taking care of the turtles, monitoring the state of the reef, water quality management and educating people to create conscience of the ecological importance of preserving the resources of the bay. There are also regular presentations on the CEA Turtle Watch Program, with slides of the sea turtles and a lecture about their evolution, ecology, behavior, the threats to their survival and how we can help them.

    As all species of sea turtle are in danger CEA takes special care of two species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches at Akumal: the “loggerheads” (Caretta caretta) and the “green” (Chelonia mydas).

    Some other hotels have joined along with CEA to the protective efforts and help the program to take care of the turtles that lay and hatch on their beaches; this is the case of the Club Akumal Caribe and the Akumal Beach Resort. Gran Bahia Principe has its own program as it is located further away from the main Akumal bay.

    These programs run mainly from May until November and involve with the help of volunteers, going every night to patrol the numerous beaches of the area and wait for the female turtles to emerge and lay the eggs. Once they finish laying the eggs their job is to secure the nest or relocate it and then mark it with a sign that explains the day the eggs were laid and when they are expected to hatch. During the hatching period volunteers dig the nests and see if the eggs have hatched, they collect the baby turtles and wait until its dark to minimize de encounters with predators and release them into the ocean.

    If you want to help you can donate to the program by adopting a baby turtle and naming it andyou will receive a certificate of donation and a poster.

    So when you come to Akumal please help by donating but most important be conscious and try to spread the word on conservation so that we and many more generations can enjoy yet another wonder of Akumal: the sea turtles.

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    Akumal Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo; México
    Phone (52) 984 875 9032 | Toll free in México 01 800 462 1212
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