…fine beaches, quiet, and sea turtles…
Honestly, I’m running up and down the beach trying to catch the eye of some sunbathing women.
It never seems to work.
Although with the amount of beer I’ve been drinking I look more like John Candy than ‘The Hof.’
But on other days I just want peace and a different kind of beach animal.
On these days I make a trip to Akumal.
This map shows exactly where Akumal is and how close it is to everything.
It only takes about 40 min. to go from Playa Del Carmen to Akumal.
Moreover, you have several transportation options, including a taxi, private tour, or collective van (cheapest).
It’s got one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Mexico–perhaps even the world (not that I’ve seen enough to make that boastful claim).
Specifically, it’s great for snorkeling.
Not just any type of snorkeling though.
Snorkeling with turtles – sea turtles.
But it doesn’t stop there…The town itself is a cute little fishing village with some nice and ultra-friendly bars and restaurants.
There’s no nightlife or midday tequila shots, but that’s not why you come to Akumal.
Like Tulum, most people come here for some pure and soul-cleansing peace and quiet – and to swim with sea turtles, of course.
What Does Akumal Mean?
When I’m in Akumal, I still do my Baywatch impressions.
I’m running up and down the beach trying to prevent a special specimen from drowning.
Except I’m not rescuing some 6-foot blond women with boobs up to her armpits.
In the Mayan language Akumal means ‘Land of Turtles.’
It’s one of the turtles’ favorite place to hatch their eggs, thus the name.
Akumal has a protected shallow bay, which makes it perfect for these sea turtles.
If you go snorkeling it’s almost certain you’ll see some of the resident turtles swimming in the bay.
I saw either two or three during my first visit.
I wasn’t sure if it was two and then a third, or if it was two and then one of the same later on.
Honestly, they look a hell of a lot alike! Thus the confusion!
How Do I Snorkel With The Turtles?
If you have your own equipment you can swim out from the shore and enjoy the reef.
There are two dive shops in Akumal and they offer snorkeling trips for around $40 USD per person.
But if you stand on the Akumal beach and look like a turtle enthusiast then a local may approach you and offer you a snorkeling tour.
The boats aren’t as good, but they’ll try and find some turtles for you.
How Can I Go On A Tour To Akumal?
There are companies in Playa Del Carmen that offer half-day tours to Akumal.
You get transfers, snorkeling equipment, and a massive barbecue lunch on the beach.
More importantly you get entrance to the beach and reef where the turtles hang out.
These tours cost around $100 USD per person.
It’s also possible to take a bus to Akumal from the bus station on 5th Avenue.
You can get dropped off at the Akumal turn off and then take a local minivan into town.
If you do it yourself, you’ll have to bring your own snorkeling gear or rent it in town.
The advantage of the tour is that you’ve got a guide that shows you where to swim to see the turtles – which is the reason many people come here.
Is It Dangerous To Swim With Turtles In Akumal?
But don’t think you’re ‘The Hof’ and try carrying one back to the beach.
They shouldn’t be touched or harmed in any way.
When you’re swimming you might end up quite a long way out from shore.
If you’re not a strong or confident swimmer then it’s essential you wear a life jacket.
This is especially true if you go out swimming beyond the ropes.
Life jackets are included if you’re on a tour.
If not, then the only place to get them is at the dive shops.
What Else Do You Do In Akumal?
Once you get away from the turtle beach there are very few people in Akumal.
So it’s perfect for relaxing.
The town is very chilled and can be quite charming.
If you want to escape with a lady then this is a nice place to bring her.
Nearby there is a place called Aktun Chen, a park that combines ziplining, a cenote, and the most incredible underground cave.
The Santa Cruz Cenote is also worth a visit.
When you’re looking at Akumal tours ask if they also include visits to these places.
Should I Go To Akumal?
I really love Akumal.
It’s very close to Playa Del Carmen and is a peaceful retreat during your vacation.
It’s also got such a unique attraction.
Where else in the world is it so easy to go out snorkeling with turtles?
With so many tours to choose from many people ignore Akumal.
Which is a shame for them.
But not for those who make it to Akumal.
This is a place where “less people” is synonymous with “better.”
I hope to see you here soon…
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Have you experienced Akumal? Tell us about it! See the comments section below…
can I drive to Akumal on my own?
Thank you for the question. Yes, you can drive to Akumal on your own. Of course, you will need your own car, motorcycle, etc.
Akumal is my favorite beach in the area. It is an amazing place with an array of wildlife to match. Swimming with sea turtles is really incredible!
However, be forewarned that Akumal is going through some political problems right now. There is a group of people who want to make the beach accessible ONLY after payment (similar to Tulum).
On the other hand, many of the locals are quite upset about this and consider the beach to be public property – which, in fact, is correct. In Mexico, all beaches are public property according to federal law.
Consequently, you may want to check some of the local news outlets to make sure that Akumal is accessible to the public and not the center of protests at the time you will be traveling.
Here is a news article that explains the situation:
I hope this helps, and I hope you have a safe trip.
See you here soon…