Akumal: Snorkeling with turtles

Akumal is one of my favourite spots along the Riviera Maya, about 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Snorkeling with sea turtles in the bay is the main attraction.

If catching a colectivo van to Akumal (see the transport page for info about how to do that), it’s a ten to fifteen minute walk from the highway to the main beach. Taxis are also available.

You will walk past a row of small restaurants and stores on your left. Keep going through the white arch of one of the hotels, and continue along the path to the beach.

Entrance to Akumal is FREE. People may try to sell you snorkeling tours, but if you have your own equipment you can go out on your own. I have seen at least 5 turtles each time I have been out, so you will be sure to see at least a few. Obviously, the clearer the day, the clearer the water for better visibility.

There are some restaurants behind the parking lot near the main beach, such as the Turtle bakery and ice-creamery. Try the salted caramel, it’s delicious!

About ten minute’s drive north of the main beach is the Yal-ku lagoon which is another excellent snorkeling spot.

Yal-Ku lagoon costs 150 Pesos per adult for entry ($12). Palapas with tables and chairs can be rented for the day for 250 Pesos ($20). It’s a nice thing to do if you are going to spend the day with a group, as you can bring your own picnic (but alcohol is not allowed). Otherwise lockers can be rented for 38 Pesos ($3) to keep your valuables. Snorkeling gear is extra.

Palapas which you can rent for the day, bring your own food and drinks!

To get to the lagoon, catch a taxi from one of the stands near the beach, or rent a bicycle. It’s too far to walk, especially in Summer.

North of the main beach, along the road leading to the lagoon is half-moon bay. It is a rocky but very pretty beach which has some nice beach-front accommodation, a dive shop and a few eateries.

Vista del Mar has some waterfront rooms staring at $75 in low season, and a friend of mine stays there regularly.

La Buena Vida is a great restaurant/bar on the bay with a rustic Caribbean vibe, nice food and great views. Try the fish tacos!


View from La Buena Vida on a stormy day.

Akumal is a beautiful spot, and should definitely be on your list if visiting Playa del Carmen!

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