My sister flew down to Playa del Carmen for one week. A week where my work schedule had changed, and I was working off-hours. Not optimal for a quality hang. So we made some compromises.
The first full day my sister was in Mexico, we drove down to Akumal for the day. My sister, Lindsay, had rented a car at the Cancun airport for the week, which made our journeys much more convenient. We picked up a Brazilian friend I had made the weekend before, and headed to the beach. Lindsay and Marcela with their swimsuits and spf, me with my computer and mouse.
It’s a strange feeling entering the beach zone of Akumal, especially in our first week of arriving in Mexico. As we neared the main entrance, several official looking men rushed towards the car and demanded we roll down the window. They asked where we were going, what we plan on doing, where we plan on parking, etc. We weren’t sure, and what is this all about? After a few minutes, we realized they were just tourism workers, trying to make commission on our parking spot, and our potential sea turtle viewing tour.
We decided to continue on towards the main gate, and we were once again stopped, literally stopped, like the guy stepped in front of the car, to ask the same questions. He informed us it would be $6 USD ($120 pesos) to enter the beach. However, we could also enter through the hotel next to the main gate, and get ‘lunch’ included for a total of $240 pesos ($12 USD). Because I was looking for a place to work, I considered this option for a moment. But he then went on to explain that ‘lunch’ really meant a small snack, and there were no tables, and I could not stay there long term. Only enough time to finish our ‘lunch.’
So we turned the man down and went on our way. We found a parking lot near the main entrance to the gate, and once we parked, we found that this second man had run all the way down the street chasing us, to continue to convince us to come eat at the restaurant.
Being the only Spanish speaker in the group, the onus was on me to figure out the details, and I continued to ask him if the hotel entrance included the beach price, or if it was just lunch. If we would then have to pay the beach entrance as well. It seemed to me that the man was being purposefully vague. Finally the parking lot attendant interrupted to explain simply the question I had been asking all along. Once this man who had chased the car took off, the parking attendant informed us that he was in fact the manager of the hotel. Naturally, he would do what he could to get us to come into the hotel.
We thanked, and paid ($80 pesos, $4 USD) the parking attendant and went in the direction of the beach entrance where we paid our $6 entry fee. Once inside the beach area, everyone wanted to offer us a boat trip, a sea turtle viewing trip, a snorkeling trip. Our first mission, however, was to find a location where I could work.
We finally found that spot in a restaurant in the center of the beach. A palapa is like an oversized umbrella with a roof of leaves and twigs. The restaurant had a half dozen or so palapas for rent, so we selected palapa #2 and set up camp. A palapa with two beach chairs was about $450 pesos, and an additional $150 for that third chair. We were totally settled about 20 minutes before my shift started, just enough time to take a quick swim in the Caribbean Sea in front of us.
I then nested in, with a small table stacked on top of my beach chair, with my computer atop that, for the next several hours of work. While it wasn’t ideal that I had to work that day, it was still hard to complain about the location. I was certainly the envy of all my fellow Zoomers.