There are many enchanting things to do in Akumal, such as swimming with turtles, playing with dolphins, admiring multicolored fish, tasting delicious Caribbean food and enjoying the fantastic amenities offered by the comfortable hotels installed in the Akumal coves.
These are the best things to see and do in Akumal Quintana Roo.
1. Swim with the turtles
The great attraction of Playa Akumal Riviera Maya is that it is very easy to swim near the species of turtles that inhabit the waters of the bay.
This is possible just by snorkeling near the beach, to which these beautiful and peaceful turtles approach in their movements through the sea looking for the aquatic vegetables with which they feed.
In a dive that will not cost you anything if you have brought your snorkeling equipment, it is possible to observe several turtles in a while of snorkeling. If you have not brought the equipment, you can rent it on the beach.
Conservation specialists affirm that the growing tourist current developed towards Akumal to swim with turtles is affecting the habitat of these animals and generating stress, for which it is advisable to be very respectful in the sighting.
It is recommended not to approach the turtles less than three meters away and not to try to touch them.
Below is a video of the experience of swimming with turtles in Akumal:
2. Admire the Yal-kú Lagoon
It is one of the best kept treasures of the Riviera Maya, a splendid hideaway that has managed to stay away from mass tourism in the Mexican Caribbean.
It is located in Akumal, with an entrance through Acceso Temporada H street, at the mouth of an underground river, so its waters are brackish due to the mixture of the fresh current with the salt water.
The tranquility and separation of the waters from those of the sea allows small fish to grow without being prematurely devoured by predators and, when they reach a certain size, they move to the open sea, which will be their definitive habitat.
What is observed in this lagoon?
In this fantastic natural aquarium you will be able to observe blue barbers, parrot fish, damsels, sergeants, trigger fish, golden vaquitas, sea stars, sea urchins and other species, in one of the most enchanting snorkeling experiences in the Riviera Maya.
The beauty of the aquatic habitat is complemented in the air and on land by seagulls, pelicans, herons, egrets and cranes.
Around the lagoon there is an artistic corridor in which works by the famous Costa Rican-Mexican sculptor Francisco Zúñiga are exhibited.
Access is priced at 280 MXN (14.7 USD) and the resources are used to maintain the lagoon.
Below is a video of the Yal-kú Lagoon:
3. Escape to Half Moon Bay
Apart from the main bay, in the area of Akumal Quintana Roo there are other beautiful coves. Just over 1 km from the town of Akumal is the Bahía de la Media Luna, a coral-bottomed cove where you can snorkel.
Almost the entire bottom is covered by the coral bank, so if you are going to enter the sea you should wear beach shoes, even if you just want to take a dip. It is not a very busy bay, making it great for people who avoid crowds and love tranquility.
It has a public entrance and other private ones through the tourist establishments located on the shore of the beach. La Buena Vida Restaurant and Bar serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and a wide variety of drinks, with a wonderful view of the cove.
Snorkelers who swim around the reef admire turtles and other marine species, while people who prefer to stay on the sand enjoy the sun and the colorful and romantic sunsets that manifest in Media Luna Bay.
4. Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery
Among the things to do in Akumal, you cannot miss a visit to this dolphinarium that belongs to one of the most important entertainment and conservation organizations in the world in the field of marine mammals.
At the Dolphin Discovery in Akumal you can live different experiences of swimming with dolphins, lasting between 40 and 60 minutes.
Encounter lasts 40 minutes, is for the whole family and offers the opportunity to swim and play with a charming dolphin, hugging and kissing it.
This experience allows you to learn about the anatomy of dolphins, their social habits and other amazing facts about these fascinating animals, provided by the specialists who supervise the entertainment.
Swim Adventure is a 50-minute activity aimed at learning about the speed of movement and agility of dolphins while you walk through the water holding on to their pectoral fins.
Royal Swim is the ultimate Dolphin Discovery experience and teaches about the strength, agility, skills and intelligence of these marine animals by interacting with two dolphins. It lasts 1 hour.
Below is a video of the experience of swimming with dolphins in Akumal:
5. Get to know spectacular cenotes at the EcoRancho Mayamar
The Mayans considered that the cenotes were the entrance to the underworld or Xibalbá, a mysterious subterranean universe governed by Vucub-Camé and Hun-Camé, deities of death and disease.
In the beautiful cenotes of the EcoRancho Mayamar you can feel the spirit of the underworld of the Mayan culture while you bathe in ancient and incredibly crystalline waters, surrounded by green foliage, birds and the most authentic sounds of nature.
The caves and cenotes of EcoRancho Mayamar are used for reality television shows and allow total disconnection and intimate contact with nature, which help eliminate all the stress accumulated in the city.
This place preserves its wild and wild essence, unlike other ecotourism parks in the Riviera Maya that, due to their intensive commercialization, are more similar to spas.
In their guides they feel a deep knowledge of the regional cultural peculiarities and a genuine love for nature and for what they do.
6. Visit the Akumal Ecological Center
Among the things to do in Akumal, one with which you will make a conservationist contribution is a visit to the Akumal Ecological Center, a non-profit institution dedicated to the promotion of strategies for the management and preservation of local ecosystems, which is based in km 104 of the Puerto Juárez – Tulum Highway.
It is a beautiful space on the Caribbean coast with spectacular beaches and turtles that swim peacefully in their natural habitat under the careful care of people with a conservationist spirit who work for their preservation.
Why does the Akumal Ecological Center protect Mexican turtles?
The Mexican turtle species, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific, are threatened by the capture of their eggs for human consumption and by the hunting of the animals for the commercial use of their meat and shell. The work carried out by organizations such as the Akumal Ecological Center try to reverse this situation.
In addition to snorkeling, in the center there are other activities for children related to marine fauna. The fees they charge for entry to the beaches, snorkeling and equipment rental help finance environmental projects.
7. Get to know the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
These are animals rescued by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and are received at the sanctuary for their care and readaptation to natural life.
It works as a kind of small zoo for primates and other animals and there is a guided tour with explanations about the particularities of the species and the stories of the rescued animals.
What types of monkeys can be seen?
The spider monkey, which is the one that lacks a thumb, so it only has four fingers and the elongated clitoris of the females is larger than the penis of the male.
The capuchin monkey, which is the most intelligent among its American congeners. And finally, the squirrel monkey, which is at risk of extinction due to its capture as a pet and the destruction of its habitats.
These are three of several types of primates that you can admire in the monkey sanctuary located on Camino Uxuxubi, s/n, in Akumal.
The fee charged is used for the maintenance of the place, feeding the animals and veterinary care.
Below a video of the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary:
8. Watch the crocodiles at Uxuxubi al Natural
Uxuxubi is one of those places in the Mexican Caribbean that remains just as natural and wild as it was before the construction of Cancun and the explosive tourist development of the Riviera Maya.
In the Mayan language, Uxuxubi means “he who whistles” and in the past the place was a chiclero camp, where gum or resin from the sapodilla tree was obtained. Currently, Uxuxubi is occupied by a community that lives from rustic and natural ecotourism and the organic harvest of vegetables, mainly pitaya (dragon fruit-like species) and melon.
How to get to Uxuxubi and what kind of crocodile do you see there?
To go to Uxuxubi you have to get to Akumal and then go through a stretch of jungle. The place is a sanctuary for the Mexican crocodile (Morelet’s crocodile), a reptile with a wide snout and 3 meters in length in adulthood, which is at risk of extinction due to the environmental deterioration of its habitats and illegal hunting for its skin.
In this place you will return to the life of the time before the urban toilet and the sewers (the bathrooms are latrines) in an environment where everything is done with the rustic authenticity of the past.
9. Have fun at the Kantun-Chi Ecopark
Kantun-Chi is an ecological park nestled in the heart of the Riviera Maya, 14 km north of Akumal, where the main attractions are its cenotes and caves and its rich flora and fauna.
Can you swim and dive in these cenotes?
The ecopark has several cenotes, four of which are available for swimming and diving: Kantun Chi, Sas ka leen Ha, Uch Ben Ha and Zacil Ha. The first is a semi-open cenote, ideal for a refreshing swim surrounded by tropical flora.
Curious facts about these cenotes
Sas ka leen Ha is the largest and its Mayan name is “transparent water”. Nearby is a Mayan shrine.
Uch Ben Ha is a beautiful open-air body of water, with colorful aquatic fauna that you can admire while snorkeling.
Zacil Ha means “clear water” in the Mayan language and the openings in the limestone allow sunlight to pass through to appreciate its beautiful natural formations.
The park’s caves are a magical underground world of stalactites and stalagmites of unique shapes, with cenotes in which the water reaches the chest of an average-sized person.
What species are there in Kantun-Chi?
Kantun-Chi is also a reserve for flora and fauna, including spider monkeys, deer, raccoons, birds, insects, and some rare fungi.
10. Go through Xpu-ha beach
This beach is located 17 km north of Akumal, along the Riviera Maya highway, and you can visit it when you return to Cancun or Playa del Carmen after your exciting day swimming with turtles.
It also has a camping area that is well cared for, since the sargassum that reaches the beach is cleaned daily. Camping costs 150 MXN (7.9 USD) per night and there are restrooms and showers.
The water in Xpu-ha is warm and the sand is soft. The service in the restaurants is good, but the food can be somewhat expensive, since a dish costs around 300 MXN (15.7 USD). There is the option of bringing a cooler with drinks and something to eat.
It has two entrances, one of which is free and the other where the loungers are, access has a fee of 50 MXN (2.6 USD) and the lounger is free if a certain amount of food or drink is consumed. The 50 MXN entry fee is returned if a minimum consumption of 200 MXN (10.5 USD) is made.
11. Stay at Akumal Natura
This place located on the road to Uxuxubi, s/n, Akumal, combines ecotourism lodging with an environment full of ecological entertainment possibilities. It has 20 nature-friendly cabins in the middle of a site of great beauty and absolute tranquility.
The constructions are palapa type, with the use of natural materials (fibres, logs, wood). The cabins are for two people, with a private bathroom and are equipped with a California King Size bed or two single beds with mosquito nets. The rooms have Wi-Fi.
Areas and attractions
Akumal Natura has a private cenote with ichthyotherapy (cleansing the feet with fish that eat dead cells), yoga, a chill out area and a restaurant. The hotel provides free bicycles to its guests to explore the beautiful nearby attractions, including a beach with turtles and the Yal-kú Lagoon.
This hotel is used for retreats, meditations and courses on spiritual topics and twice a year there are Buddhist retreats in which lamas from monasteries in India participate.
It also organizes diplomas and courses on raising stingless bees (Meliponiculture), Environmental Education, Biodiversity and Tracking Techniques.
12. Visit the town of Akumal
A visit to the town cannot be missed among the things to do in Akumal, a Tulumnian town of about 1,500 inhabitants.
The people of Akuma are cordial people, committed to the conservation of their natural environment and always willing to kindly serve visitors so that they have a pleasant and comfortable stay.
In the town, located on the other side of the road, is the well-known Madre Tierra restaurant, which has a reputation for preparing the tastiest seafood in the area. If you are attracted to the Mayan language, in the town of Akumal you can take some classes.
Another thing to do in Akumal is to buy a craft. The most popular are the figures of the emblematic animal of the town, the turtle, which local artisans carve and sculpt in different materials.
How to get to Akumal
To go to Akumal from the interior of Mexico, the easiest way is to take a flight to Cancun International Airport. This air terminal is located 92 km from Akumal, a journey that can be covered in 1 hour and 15 minutes by rented car or taxi. Another option is to travel to Mérida, Yucatán, which is 284 west of Akumal. The trip from the Yucatecan capital is through Federal Highway 180D.
Where is Akumal located?
Akumal is a beach town belonging to the municipality of Tulum, in the central coastal part of the state of Quintana Roo. It is located 28 km north of the municipal seat of Tulum on Federal Highway 307.
Akumal beach has fine white sand and turquoise blue waters of unparalleled transparency. It is one of the favorite beaches of the Riviera Maya for its beauty and because it offers the opportunity to swim with turtles in a totally natural environment.
The main attraction of Akumal beach is its turtles, turtles that can be admired in their wildlife just by snorkeling. Wherever you see a group of snorkelers, there are bound to be turtles. If the turtles are not being seen, excursions depart from the beach to places a little further out in the sea where you will surely be able to admire them.
Sargassum in Akumal
Sargassum is affecting all Caribbean beaches, including Akumal. This is a random phenomenon that cannot be accurately predicted, since it depends on the winds and the movement of sea currents. The sargassum problem is international, not only in Mexico, and all that can be done is to clean the beaches while an effective method is found to prevent masses of algae from reaching the coasts.
What are the best cenotes in Akumal?
The Yal-kú cenote has transparent waters and is located 2.5 km north of the town of Akumal, with access through Calle 16. It is ideal for observing its biodiversity through surface diving and the entrance fee is 265 MXN (14 USD). Other cenotes very close to Akumal are Aktun Chen and Xunaan-Ha. In Aktun Chen there is a tropical jungle eco-tourism park with various extreme entertainment.
The entrance fee to the main beach is 100 MXN (5.3 USD). Turtle watching tour prices depend on the duration and whether they include other attractions. In Akumal there are options for hamburgers and other foods at affordable prices. Restaurants on the beach are somewhat more expensive. You also have the option to bring your own food.
The town of Akumal is located in front of a beautiful bay that in the 1960s was totally virgin, since it could only be reached by sea. Akumal became known at the end of the 1950s, when the writer, photographer and environmentalist Pablo Bush Romero settled in the bay and founded the town.
In which hotels to stay in Akumal
Most people who go to Akumal stay in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. If you prefer to stay as close as possible to Akumal, you can do so at Xio Akumal – Adults Only , which has a spa and fitness room (Avenida del Golfo, Manzana 39, Akumal); ONLY 20°N 87° W – Riviera Maya (Chetumal – Puerto Juárez Highway, Manzana 22) or Villa Duendes Akumal (Rancho San Martín, No. 69, Calle de la Luz, Akumal).
Akumal public beach
The main beach of the Bay of Akumal is theoretically public and until recently there was no paid access. Currently there is a 100 MXN (5.3 USD) entry fee. Residents of the state of Quintana Roo do not pay if they can prove this condition with a document. A palapa and two sun loungers can be rented for approximately 450 MXN (23.6 USD). There are several parking lots, with prices between 50 and 150 MXN (2.6 to 6.9 USD), depending on the proximity to the beach.
7 km southwest of Akumal is the Aktun Chen Park, a 180-hectare natural space that has a cenote with clear waters, an underground river, caves to explore and a zip line where you can move near the treetops. . You can buy the individual attractions or the Cave, Underground River and Zip Line combo, which costs 1,908 MXN (100 USD) for adults and 1,530 MXN (80.2 USD) for children.
Akumal was an unknown place until in 1958, the writer and conservationist figure, Pablo Bush Romero (founder of CEDAM) bought several hectares and established his residence in the bay, starting the town. With the development of Cancún and the construction of the Riviera Maya highway, Akumal began to gain interest as a micro-tourist destination in Quintana Roo and is currently one of the most appreciated.
Akumal beach turtles
One of the main attractions of the Bay of Akumal is the possibility of swimming with turtles just by snorkeling. The turtles come to the Akumal beach to eat the aquatic vegetation and during the breeding season they come to the sandbank to lay their eggs.
Distance between Playa del Carmen and Akumal
Akumal Bay is located 39 km south of Playa del Carmen along the Riviera Maya Highway (Federal Highway Mexico 307), a journey that can be made in approximately half an hour by car.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Akumal
You can go from Playa del Carmen to Akumal by car, taxi and vans. The buses leave from Calle 2 Norte, between Avenidas 15 and 20, they charge around 35 MXN (1.8 USD) and leave passengers at the access bridge to the town, which is located approximately 1 km from the beach. You must tell the driver to stop at the entrance to Akumal.
Things to do in Akumal: get to know Bahía Príncipe
It is another of the majestic coves of Akumal, with a warm white-sand beach on whose shore is the all-inclusive 5-star Luxury Bahía Príncipe resort. This comfortable hotel has 758 rooms, three swimming pools, a water park for children, a spa , a golf course, seven restaurants and nine bars. Its restaurants offer the best of world cuisine, including modern gourmet cuisine , Mexican, Italian, Peruvian, Mediterranean, Japanese, Brazilian and seafood.
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