Balamku Inn on the Beach - Review:
by: Lydia Linton Pontius
photos: Alexandra Bradley
video: Lydia Linton Pontius (many links are to videos)
Just imagine driving down a bumpy dirt road with the Caribbean Sea on one side and mangroves on the other. The sun is starting to lower in the sky, washing everything with warm colors, birds are chirping, and the water is lapping on the shore. Turn off your air conditioning and roll down your windows to get the full effects. At this point we even turned off Marc Anthony because he was a distraction. There is an ahhh moment that happens after the long drive down a great paved road heading east from Limones, as you pass through sleepy Mahahual and head on to the Balamku Inn, and you feel tension melt away.
In our case there came a moment of reality when my cell phone rang. It was my husband, Mike, calling from the States. "Where are you? Carol just dropped me an e-mail wondering when you would arrive." We laughed, because we had just at that moment pulled into their parking lot. That is just a small example of how caring and wonderful the owner, Carol, is. I hung up the phone and we went to meet her.
The main building at this small resort is so warm and welcoming. It has a great area full of books, maps and information about the area, the fauna, the flora, and any tours or excursions you might want to take. There is a small bar, a kitchen, and a lovely screened-in porch, brightly painted, where breakfast is served each morning and there is Internet if you need it. Oh, and they have the best selection of music playing in the background—a really wonderful first impression.
Carol gave a quick tour of the property and showed us to our room. We quickly put our things down and grabbed our cameras to get some great photos and videos of the sun setting. The late afternoon sun really made the entire resort glow.
There are restaurants in town and also one just down the street, but we opted to just sit and relax first on the beach and then on our balcony. We were completely content watching the stars and listening to the water gently splash on the shore. We had stopped in Tulúm so we had plenty to eat and drink in our cooler.
Carol had mentioned that the sun would wake us if we left our shades up. We opted to do that and awoke to a magnificent sunrise—more perfect photo ops. Off we went to walk on the beach; what a truly amazing way to start your day, peacefully observing the world come alive, birds singing, and the rising sun burning off a cloud bank.
Off in the distance I saw what appeared to be the smallest dot on the horizon. Each time I looked back it seemed to grow. Then I realized it was a cruise ship, and about that time it turned west heading into Mahahual. It seemed strange to see this in the distance, yet you would never know there were thousands of people about to descend just miles away. At Balamku you are blanketed in peace and quiet.
This resort would be the perfect location for a small wedding or retreat. There are 10 rooms; 2 are individual and the rest are in 4 two-story palapa buildings. They are beautifully decorated in bright local colors and artwork. The resort is highly eco-friendly, with wind and solar power, composting toilets and rainwater collection.
By now it is time for breakfast. Carol and her cook present a really great spread. The coffee is a rich organic blend from Chiapas. You wouldn't expect anything less here; they totally get sustainability. In addition is a wonderful assortment of teas, fresh fruits, juice, yogurt and homemade granola. You can also choose from a wide range of egg dishes (omelettes, Mexican specialties, French toast, your choice), with bacon, chorizo, ham and pancakes.
The screened-in sunroom where you dine is a delightful area conducive to relaxing and chatting while you eat. We had the pleasure of meeting Barbara and Patrick who stopped by to visit with Carol. Barb is a local dive instructor. She and Patrick spend six months a year in Mahahual. She has also agreed to write about her Mahahual experiences for Sac-Be.
When Carol is not busy with the resort, she is very involved with the local community. The latest is a construction project at the local school. She has promised to keep us up on the progress, as well as other happenings in the area.
After a great breakfast and wonderful visit, it was time to get a little exercise. I borrowed a kayak and went off by myself with my camera to get a glimpse of this lovely resort from the water. Note to self: Don't try to video and paddle in waves. I'll share the footage with you but you might need a Dramamine before watching.
Next time I will opt to bring my snorkel gear with me. There are buoys set up so you can tie up your kayak and snorkel. I was alone and, being a swim instructor, I know it is never wise to swim alone, so I passed for this trip.
When I got back it was time to head out. We were on our way to Xcalak and wanted to check out what Mahahual was like when a cruise ship was in town. Actually a second one had arrived while we were playing. This is another great reason to bring a group to this resort. Where else can you have the option of a sleepy fishing village one day and a bustling shopping mecca the next, without going to two locations? Both worlds exist on any two days. Just check the cruise schedules and you too can experience a City of Two Tales.