Travel Guide: Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya | chicago foodie girl


Travel Guide: Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya

Despite my aversion to hot weather and my tendency to shift into crispy tomato mode within minutes of baring my blindingly white skin to direct sunlight, I've had it in my mind all winter that I really needed to escape to someone warm. I imagined white sandy beaches, tropical drinks, heated pools, and yes, even loads of sunshine. That urge grew stronger and stronger as the weeks went by, thanks to a crazy amount of work-related stress that popped up early in the year. By mid-February, I was desperate for a break and in need of a serene place to unplug and recharge.

Fast forward to a few weeks later in which I was unexpectedly offered the chance to plan a girls getaway at the gorgeous Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya (aka a little slice of paradise right along the Caribbean coastline) in conjunction with Apple Vacations. Now, I'm not someone to attribute fantastic opportunities to random occurrences of fate or manifestations, but in the midst of a particularly stressful few days, it was as if the universe finally threw me a bone: a gold-plated bone in the form of a luxurious all-inclusive resort in beautiful Mexico. #lifedoesnotsuck

From the moment my friend Barb and I arrived in Mexico, we knew it was going to be a fabulous stay. We were greeted by a group of friendly Amstar drivers at the airport (thank goodness for them, as they made navigating the crazy Cancun arrivals and departures processes so seamless!); after an hour-long drive, we were whisked onto the resort property and immediately given cool towels and glasses of bubbly. *Pop, fizz, clink*

The stunning view from my room - so many leafy palm trees and gorgeous shades of blue everywhere I looked! With the lush flora and soothing sounds of running water around every corner, everything about the property feels elegant and luxurious. It is so beautiful that I actually managed to forget to complain about the heat, which is a small miracle. ;-)

I totally geeked out over these incredible Moroccan-inspired lanterns. Every evening when I would return to my room after turn-down service, I would spend a few moments delighting in the kaleidoscope of light dancing across the walls. It's a small touch, but the combination of the lighting and the rich materials/colors throughout the room really made everything seem so magical.

I could not get enough of all of the gorgeous flowers throughout the resort! Coming from a place that is currently dark, grey, and littered with dirty snow (Illinois is not a pretty place this time of year), it felt exhilarating to be amongst so much greenery and colorful blooms.

I especially loved all of the lush and serene little stops tucked away around every corner.

But let's be real. As much as I needed the serenity and relaxation, I also wanted fun in the form of sparkling blue waters...

white sand...

breezy sunsets on the beach...

swim up bars serving a nonstop lineup of fruity cocktails...

and palm trees galore! Yes!

Not only is the beach at Secrets Akumal a picture-perfect postcard setting from every angle, but also it offers the opportunity to explore the vast amount of ocean life. The world's second largest barrier reef is located just offshore of the resort and the area is home to the highest population of green sea turtles in Mexico. Barb and I opted to snorkel with the turtles and absolutely fell in love with the adorable little creatures!

After we finished swimming with the turtles, we took some time to rehydrate (snorkeling is hard work!) at this cute little bar on the beach.

Trying hard not to burn to a crisp while taking in some much needed liquid refreshments in our post-turtle sighting bliss.

This was one of my favorite spots, as it offered the perfect vacation view trifecta: heated pool, white sand beach, and the sparkling Caribbean. What more do you need in life?!

Along with the many hours Barb and I logged at the beach and the many (many, many) hours we spent at the swim up bar during the day, we also made sure to leave time to take advantage of the numerous activities and parties that popped up once the sun went down.

One of our favorite events was the Top Chef finale viewing party. The finale was filmed on the resort grounds, so it was super cool to view the finale in the same spot and grab some insider information from some of the resort staff.

The final showdown!

The outdoor viewing party included some amazing food and drinks; Barb and I both especially loved the flaming martinis.

When the sun goes down, the twinkly lights come out!

After so many days of beach-going, drinking, snorkeling, eating, and swimming, we needed a little pampering before heading back to our frozen tundra (because we obviously didn't get enough R&R during the week, right?!). We made our way over to the world-class spa for Swedish massages and some quality time at their *amazing* hydrotherapy circuit. The combination of the massage and the circuit (sauna, steam room, whirlpool, hydro-massage pools) was an incredible experience. I don't think I've ever been so relaxed!


Needless to say, our stay at the resort was absolutely phenomenal! Between the opulent setting, the top-notch amenities, the fun activities, and the amazing resort staff (I have never met a friendlier, more accommodating group of people!), we had the time of our lives. Having all of our travel arranged through Apple Vacations and Amstar made it all the easier - the most stressful parts of vacation planning were completely taken care of quickly and efficiently. If you're looking for a fun spot for your next girls getaway or a romantic setting in which to spend some quality couples time, I highly, highly recommend checking out Secrets Akumal Rivera Maya. It is an amazing, magical place and I guarantee you won't regret it!

Up next... the food! Yes, we ate so much that it has to go in its own dedicated post. :-)

This trip was coordinated in conjunction with Secrets Resorts, Amstar, and Apple Vacations; thanks for supporting the companies that support chicago foodie girl!


  1. Wow, that all looks so incredible! I NEED TO GO THERE!!!

  2. I am so jealous of your trip!!!! You look so relaxed and happy!

    1. Yes! You really can't help being relaxed and happy... there must be something in the air. ;-)

  3. I could go there now! What a view!

  4. WOW! WOW! amazing, I really liked your blog post and basically i'am foodie loved to try different dishes, Thank you alot for sharing valuable information. Keep updating more, Loved it.


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