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“Rustic Paradise”

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Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
1 review
“Rustic Paradise”
Reviewed March 17, 2014

If you're looking for the comforts of home (a flat screen TV, a large bathtub, air conditioning, etc.) this is probably not the place for you.

If you're excited about the idea of showering under the stars, doing yoga on a pier facing a blue ocean and sleeping in mosquito net draped bed, Ak'bol is a great place to spend a few nights (or even a few weeks if you can squeeze it in!).

We had the pleasure of spending a few nights at Ak'Bol and within a short period of time, we felt very much at home. Kirsten, Neelio, Tua, John, Phillip and the rest of the staff treat everyone like family. Our typical day started with coffee and breakfast at the main house, followed either by a run or yoga. Then we'd either go for a boat ride, snorkel, go into town or just relax on the pier.

*food / consistently some of the best in San Pedro. Typically, everything is fresh and locally sourced (they'll tell you if it's not). the juices, ceviches, shrimp and fish are awesome! same goes for local Belizean foods (salbutas, tortillas, etc.)

*rooms / all are footsteps from the beach, which is awesome. you never have to wear shoes the entire time you're at Ak'bol. the outdoor shower is fun - there's nothing like standing naked under the stars (don't worry, it's totally private).

*service / since Ak'bol is small and remote, you literally know everyone within a day and they know you. everyone was extremely kind and helpful, especially with arranging various logistics - from day trips to getting in and out of San Pedro.

Overall, Ak'bol is a great experience - if you're looking to get away from the mainstream and get a more local experience, Ak'bol is the place to go!

Room Tip: There is no fitness center. The ocean is the best (and most beautiful) fitness center in the world).
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank OSamari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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283 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2014

This was a return visit for us to Ak’Bol. We were greeted so warmly upon our arrival and that feeling pervaded our week-plus stay.

I have written a long, detailed review before, so this year, I just wish to highlight:

-“Ak’Bol” means “heart of the village,” and as beautiful as this place is, it’s so much about the people: Those who work there, stop for a meal, or stay. Ak’Bol really attracts some good eggs. It was only our second visit, yet we were treated like family.

-More practically, when I got our bill, I sat rather stunned with my husband, as I could not believe it was right. The total for food and drink over 9 days in BZ $ was so reasonable, I was sure there was a mistake. When I think of what we pay for “whatever” in the US and how very special and from-scratch everything was, I was just very grateful for the goodness in everything we ate and drank. (Which for me was almost exclusively local seafood which I highly recommend sticking to).

-Come for the ocean, stay for the yoga. Last year was my first experience with yoga. After a year of beginner effort and a sprained knee, I really enjoyed having different teachers on this trip and a big A+ to my husband for trying it! While I was in class often with very experienced yogis, my total beginner / injured efforts were supported and encouraged. And I did see a ray off the dock while in a pose.

-Flora and fauna. Iguanas are occupants of the cabanas (mostly outside), and we were a little jealous that others had hatchlings. If you don’t think these creatures are fascinating, keep that in mind when deciding to stay. I could watch them all day and find their nighttime activity oddly comforting. Likewise, the bird calls at sunrise and the flowers at every turn. I loved coming home to find a few flowers sprinkled about our outdoor shower, watched over by the resident iguana.

In summary, “wherever you go, there you are.” Ak’Bol offers a pretty simple and straight line to a happy and carefree vacation, but it’s up to us guests to unpack our baggage and allow ourselves to enjoy the ocean, the sun, the food and drink, the almost-completely-non-existent WIFI, and days of activity and rest.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank xntj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, MN
Level Contributor
45 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2014

We spend 7 days at Ak'bol in late February/early March. Milio was really nice and a great person to talk to (what an interesting life story!). The yoga classes (taught by a guest instructor from Chicago) were high quality, the food and drinks (especially the fresh fruit smoothies) were tasty and affordable, the outdoor shower was dreamy, the staff were friendly, the swimming and snorkeling off the pier was refreshing and overall we had a great time. We loved our beach front cabana and found that the breeze off the sea, the fans and the mosquito net made for a comfortable sleeping environment. We were up early due to the sun and sounds (not only other people talking and walking by but also dogs and boats) but that worked well as we were also able to go to bed early as Ak'bol is on a fairly quite part of the island.

We ate at Ak'bol for most meals and found them to be really good and reasonably priced. We walked down to White Sands Cove to book our diving and would highly recommend them (they also have a great happy hour!). We also had a wonderful, romantic meal at Aji, which was also just a short walk down the beach. Right next door there is a bike, kayak etc. rental (Maya House) and also the Palapa House where you can float in a tube while enjoying a beer/drink. We did go into town a few times and found it to be an easy bike ride (the weather taxi, cab or golf cart would also be options). Those looking for a party atmosphere or more options within walking distance, you may consider something more central than Ak'bol but when we return to the island, we will stay with Ak'bol again.

Note: this is not a resort with air conditioning nor is the service particularly quick. Ak'bol is for a more laid back, go with the flow, eco vacationer for sure. We had geckos and iguana in our room/climbing around in our thatched roof nearly daily and an iguana that seemed to be living in our outdoor shower (they aren't dangerous, of course). The WiFi didn't work at all while we were there but we found the WiFi at both the hotel up the beach and Capricorn (a little further up the beach) to be very good for the very few times we needed it (e.g. to check in for our flight home).

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SRBT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2014

I recently visited Ak'Bol (March 2014) and overall found it a pleasure to visit. I was there for yoga, so more of a restorative, relaxing vacation to unplug and recharge.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the owner, Kirsten, who is a lovely person and her sweet dog Maya. I was provided a key to my room and led down a path across the dirt road to where the rooms and restrooms are. The room was a comfortable size, with plenty of storage(drawers and a locked cabinet). Very simple. A ledge and window over it. Lighting was very dim and only on wall over the bed. The windows were a dark, wood, jalousy, which can be opened for air circulation, and each room had a ceiling fan. The side window had screens, to keep the bugs out, so I had made use of them. There were a few evenings however that I had gotten bit by mosquitoes, so insect repellant is recommended. On top of the wooden platform which housed the cabinet and drawers was a mattress. As I have a pillow-top mattress at home, I found this a bit too firm for my liking. In fact, I had booked a massage to work out the knots acquired from the uncomfortable sleep conditions.

Now to describe the massage. I met the masseuse, who was absolutely wonderful. A small, local woman with impressive strength and really knew what she was doing. As I am accustomed to a serene, spa environment when I have massages elsewhere, I was anticipating the same. Instead, I had to walk through a yard filled with miscellaneous clutter,to a house, and climbed exterior stairs to the second floor. As this is a rustic eco-resort, I went with the flow. However, through out my massage, there was a man working with power tools just outside the window, which completely detracted from the whole experience and in fact, made me tense up even more. This was no fault of the masseuse as she was great.

Next, when staying in the single or double rooms, one must realize there is a community bathroom. It took me a few days to adjust to this, but after a while, it was fine. The toilets can not handle tissue paper and so wastebaskets are provided in each stall to discard soiled tissue.

The food prepared every day is fresh and delightful. Kitchen staff is easily overwhelmed and the wait for breakfast can exceed half an hour, so don't be in a hurry, or order early. One must be mindful when in Belize, you are on island time...

All of the hotel staff was extremely friendly, hospitable, accommodating and a pleasure to see every day. Tua, Claudia and Phillip were fantastic and ones I had most interaction with, however everybody was equally wonderful.

I would recommend bringing a flashlight or headlamp as it is very dark walking the path from the bar back to the rooms.

Yoga on the palapa was very special and there are excursions which can be booked through Kirsten. Although I did not go, the Mayan ruins and Cave tubing got rave reviews, although it is a long day of travel there and back.

For those who don't mind "roughing it", Ak'Bol is a delightful place to stay. It is a truly organic environment to immerse oneself. If you need a comfortable bed, air conditioning, and private baths with full working toilets, I would not recommend it.

Room Tip: I would recommend the cabanas as they have the private bathroom, ocean views and personal lounge cha...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank fungrltraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2014

My boyfriend and I came for a drop-in yoga class. The studio is like heaven as you practice yoga over the turquoise Caribbean sea. It will be hard to adjust to practicing anywhere else after this experience.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank H B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2014

Ak'bol was a great place to stay. The staff was helpful. The room was comfortable, clean, and simple. I liked that I did not have to buy water. The room had it own water container, so I was able to refill my water bottle. The location was superb. It was a great place to unplug and relax. The food was great. I especially enjoyed the fresh coconut pancakes. I enjoyed everything about Ak'bol except for the email I received after my stay: Thank you... for visiting Ak'boL. Sorry, I am confused a bit doing the end of the month reports. You paid for a private room with shared bath 5 nights $287.50US and ended up staying in a cabana #5? There will be an upgrade charge: 5 nights @$145US/nt+tax total $833.75US less payment $287.50US due $546.25US.
thanks for clarifying, Kirsten/Ak'boL

I would have considered staying again in Ak'bol, but after receiving the email regarding the room mix-up and wanting me to pay for the mishap after the fact was not cool. I am not sure if I would return to Ak'bol Nonetheless, I believe it to be a great place to unplug and relax. There just need to be better management on billing.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank 159patricia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solomons, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

We were not staying on the resort but up the beach about 10 minutes. Decided to stop for lunch on our way back from a walk. The place was almost empty 5 folks sitting at a table and 2 at the bar. We stood at the bar for a good 5 minutes before anyone said a word to us even
though there was plenty of staff in the kitchen area that could see us. Waitress finally acknowledged our presence and handed us a couple menus. No hello, no thanks for coming, I'll be right with you. Nothing. We went and sat a table. 15 minutes went by and she never came back to take a drink order. I finally flagged her down and ordered a couple beers and lunch.

Nothing speedy about the food arrival, but my wife and I finished our beers by the time the food arrived. We asked for a couple more beers when the food arrived but never received them. Now we were the only people in the place. Waitress never came back to check on us, finished our food, waited for a while. Finally I got up and walked to the bar to get the check. I had ordered a combo platter of salbutes, panades and pupusas that was supposed to have fish (snapper) on it. I asked if the dish had fish on because it didn't taste like it had any fish. Waitress said "so you wanted it to taste fishy". No but I would like to be able to tell that there was fish in in it. Sure couldn't taste it, sure couldn't find anything that looked like pieces of fish. The quesadillas my wife had were excellent. The combo platter I had was tasty but in my opinion there was no fish in it. Food was pretty good but the waitress needs to find another profession. She was terrible.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort

Property: Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort
Address: One mile North of the Bridge, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 30 Specialty Lodging in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only full service Yoga Center on the Island. Stay nightly (meals and yoga not included in room rate) Join 7 night yoga retreats with meals and yoga included, prices on our retreat schedule. Daily yoga classes open to the public at the end of our pier with mats available. Massage and snorkel trips with Ak'boL guide. We help line up all trips, so you can relax. Come unplug with us! namaste ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ak`Bol Yoga Retreat And Eco-Resort
Ak`Bol Yoga Retreat & Eco Hotel San Pedro
Ak'Bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort Belize/San Pedro

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