Discovering the Tranquility of Fly Fishing in Akumal, Mexico

   

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Hidden splendors in the Mayan Riviera

The difficult part of writing about a place like the Mayan Riviera, especially Akumal, Mexico is avoiding the dreaded cliche, “crystal clear waters”, or “delicious drinks with umbrellas.” It’s difficult to dodge these cliches due to the fact that Mexico is perfectly described by them, and can be so much more. “Que mas?” translating to “what more?” as the Mexicans say, perfectly describes Akumal. For me, the “que mas” is what drives my writing.

Akumal, Mexico – The other sister

Located between two larger, more popular sister cities, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Akumal is akin to the quiet, younger sister who you don’t realize is actually cool until you meet her after she’s grown up. But be aware, if you’re looking for a pampered stay full of those cocktails with umbrellas in them, your best bet is to bark up one of the sister cities’ trees.  If you’re looking for a meandering, the-world-is-your-oyster type of experience, Akumal, Mexico is the place for you.

Akumal, Mexico – For the discerning traveler

Akumal is remote enough to be away from the circus of Playa and the throngs of dreadlocked backpackers in Tulum but developed enough that it doesn’t feel like a forgotten fishing town that never made it on a map.  Better still, Akumal is a great home base, perfectly situated between Tulum and Playa. In just a short drive north, drinks and madness abound in Playa. A little jump south and you can be on some anonymous beach at a trippy house show, where would-be tribals in moon-flecked face paint howl and pulsate.

Hidden ceviche on the Caribbean Sea

After the night, you can return to Akumal where the glassy Caribbean whimpers with gentle on-shore winds.  You have a hammock and all morning to recover. For the sake of brevity, I will only mention one place from my Akumal, Mexico trip specifically. It’s a local hideaway down some windy dust and dirt where a clever entrepreneur placed a number of plastic picnic tables and chairs among the palm trees lining the shore. There are no Tiki torches or cabanas, just the cove, some tables, and a heaping platter of ceviche you won’t soon forget.

Discovering the tranquility of Fly Fishing in Akumal, Mexico

It was during a day trip here with my brother that I finally started to understand his obsession with fly fishing and why we were here in Akumal, Mexico. Beneath the place where the shore elbows to welcome the tumbling waves,  the sun-drenched palm leaves droop and jitter in long ocean gusts. Low waves ripple along the chaliced shoreline.

I remember staring out and seeing a turquoise figure against the blue-washed sky. It was the spec of my brother moving out to the seam where sky and water join. I watched the wide arch of his fly-line whipping like little crescents.

At that moment, I realized that’s part of what fishing is, especially in Akumal, Mexico–the search for a place between the water and sky. If hiking, for me, is about getting lost, I think maybe fishing is the more intentional, more deliberate form of that. I think it’s about disappearing.

After watching for a while longer, I pull my hat over my eyes and push half the ceviche across the table. He will be back. It might be a few hours, but he will be back. And he’ll be hungry when he gets here.



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