Akumal is a small village on the Caribbean coast of Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo. It is located on the Riviera Maya between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The beautiful bay of Akumal is famous for its sea turtles, you can watch them while you swim or snorkel. Of course, nature conservation must always be respected.
What to expect
Akumal is a rather quiet village with some nice restaurants, friendly locals and a much more relaxed atmosphere than the party zones in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. In the Mayan language, Akumal means “Land of Turtles”. In fact, the region is one of the most important habitats of these wonderful creatures.
Climate: Pleasantly warm all year round at about 30°C / 80 °F, high humidity.
Rainy Season & Hurricane Season: June – October. Mostly, however, only short but intense showers.
When to visit: High season December – April.
Currency: Mexican Peso.
Credit cards: Cards are not accepted everywhere. Better rely in Mexican cash. Downtown there is a bank and two ATMs.
Safety: Akumal is pretty safe for tourists. You can also walk at night without worry if you know how to use your common sense. As everywhere else, however, you should pay attention to your valuables.
How to get to there
The closest airport is in Cancun. The drive from the airport to Akumal is about 1 h 10 min. If your hotel does not offer a pick-up service, you can book a shuttle yourself. Or you can simply take a taxi or the public bus directly at the airport.
In Akumal you can get along well walking. For longer distances and excursions, a rental car is helpful, as the nearest sights are at least 20 minutes away by car. If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can also just take a taxi. The fare should be agreed with the driver before boarding.
To Playa del Carmen and Tulum, there is a good connection with shared cabs (“Colectivos“). The fare is relatively cheap. Although they are sometimes full, they circulate very often. Shared cabs are the usual means of transport for the locals. If you are standing on besides the road, the drivers will give light signals when there are still free seats in their vehicle.
Snorkeling with turtles in the bay of Akumal
The wide bay of Akumal with its wide white sandy beach and warm blue-green water is perfect for snorkeling. Although the nearby reef was badly damaged by Hurricane Wilma a few years ago, snorkeling there is a wonderful experience. By the way, in the lagoon Yal-Ku fresh water flows into the Caribbean Sea, and there is also a very special snorkeling paradise.
Snorkeling with the gentle sea turtles is a unique experience in Akumal. There are various ways to do this.
- In the on-site dive shops you can book a guided tour and rent the equipment for snorkeling, or you can book a tour online in advance. The online tour also includes pick up at your hotel, snorkel equipment and a visit to a cenote.
- Go to the beach where the boats of the locals are dropping anchor. Tourists standing on the beach with a helpless face have a good chance of being approached by locals. Snorkeling trips are offered in a private boat, which sometimes also has a glass floor. The snorkeling equipment is often provided and the cost is usually slightly lower than for the professional guided tours. The guides will try to find the famous turtles and show you corals and tropical fish. For this kind of adventure you should be trained in swimming with fins in order to be able to follow the local guide.
- If you want, you can also swim alone to the reef with your own or rented equipment. It is not far from the coast. The use of a life jacket is recommended here without exception, although the water in the bay is not deep. You should also stay away from the “fire reef” marked by buoys with its red corals, contact with them can have fatal consequences.
Corals from direct contact with humans. Therefore, every touch should be carefully avoided. Turtles and other wild animals must not be touched or harassed under any circumstances. All these animals are under strict nature protection.
When snorkeling with the turtles in Akumal, the observation of a single turtle is limited to a maximum of two minutes per animal. But this is not too bad, as there are quite a few of them in the bay.
The best time to snorkel with turtles is in the morning before 11 a.m. After that, many tourists come, and it becomes rather crowded and uncomfortable. Besides, the turtles come into the bay early in the morning to eat the seaweed at the seabed. These wonderful animals are particularly good to observe when grazing.
Things To Do in Akumal
You think Akumal is a small village? That’s true. But that doesn’t mean it gets boring here. From the unique nature to the mysterious ruins of the Maya, shopping and culinary delights, from art to action – there is a lot to do. We have researched 10 exciting activities in Akumal for you.
That’s not enough? No issue. Check out GetYourGuide‘s offers. There you will find lots of great experiences with good service and very fair conditions at cancellation or rebooking. You never know how things are going.
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