Akumal (place of turtles) is famous for its beautiful beach and large, swimmable lagoon, and does attract turtles, though in far fewer numbers than before due to the massive development that has encroached on nearly all of their nesting grounds. Akumal is an Americanized beach community which is home to divers, fishermen, and laid-back residents from the U.S. and Canada. It’s basically a long string of upscale homes and condos along three bays. Akumal Bay is the best base for visits, with a good selection of hotels and restaurants plus the best all-around beach for swimming and snorkeling. Half Moon Bay, just beyond, has decent snorkeling and more condos for rent, but the beach is narrow and rocky. For snorkeling, go to Laguna Yalku. For a detailed description of all the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya, visit here. Akumal Vacations planning is simple, just read on and find everything you need for your Akumal beach vacation.
When to Go (Weather)
Summers are hot and humid in Akumal, and with the rainy season running from June to August, visitors should expect torrential rains almost every day sometime in the late afternoon or early evening. The rains do leave nights cooler and more pleasant. Hurricane season starts in June and runs through October, further complicating the summer weather. The busiest month is January, followed by February and March. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance.
Entry & Exit Requirements
You’ll need a passport to visit Mexico, plus a tourism card (FMM) that can be issued at any Mexican consulate, border-crossing point, Mexican tourism office, or directly from your airline. FMMs are usually issued free of charge upon arrival. Be sure to hold onto this card for the duration of your trip, as you will need to present it upon departing the country. It’s also a good idea to leave your passport and FMM in a secure location and carry a photocopy of both documents with you at all times.
Getting Around Akumal
Taxis are very easy to find. They can be a bit pricey, but they are reliable. Taxis are great for tourists who are staying on resort properties and don’t have a real need for a rental car. The drivers are friendly and more than happy to take you on tours of the area, even all-day tours.
The buses in Akumal are large, with reasonable seating and enough space to carry several dozen passengers at one time. Routes are clearly printed in the front window of each bus. The price is usually about $1, and should be paid in local currency. Most drivers will have change for you. Remember that not all buses have air conditioning.
By Rental Car
If you don’t need a rental car, and can rely on taxis or buses, then spare the headaches. They are relatively inexpensive, but local police can spot a rental car easily and will look or any excuse to pull you over. It is not a comfortable situation for most tourists.
There are quite a few options for day trips in Akumal. Many companies offer group outings taking you sailing up and down the coast. You can enjoy the view, have some snacks – sometimes a full meal is provided – and learn everything about Akumal.
Must See Places
The name is Mayan for “the cave with cenotes inside,” and these amazing underground caverns—estimated to be about 5-million years old—are the area’s largest. You walk through the underground passages, past stalactites and stalagmites, until you reach the cenote with its various shades of deep green. There’s also an on-site canopy tour and one cenote where you can take a swim. For more information call 52-984-109-2061, or visit them on the web at Aktun-Chen.
In Laguna Yal-kú, you’ll find a series of small mangrove-edged lagoons that gradually reach the ocean. Laguna Yal-kú is an eco-park that’s home to schools of parrot fish in clear water with visibility to 160 feet in winter and spring. Snorkeling equipment can be rented in the parking lot; the site also has toilets, lockers, changing rooms, outdoor showers, and a snack bar. Sunscreen is not allowed, so bring a T-shirt to keep from getting burned.
Xel-Há is a natural aquarium made of coves, inlets, and lagoons cut from the limestone shoreline. There’s enough to impress novice snorkelers, though there seem to be fewer fish each year, and the mixture of fresh and salt water can cloud visibility. Low wooden bridges over the lagoons allow for leisurely walks around the park, and there are spots to rest, swim, cliff–jump, zip-line, or swing from ropes over the water. For more information call 52-984-875-6000, or visit them on the web at Xel-Há.
Akumal Bay is known for the sea turtles that swim in its waters, and is sheltered by an offshore reef. When you drag yourself away from the snorkeling, there are plenty of palm trees for shade, as well as a variety of waterfront shops, restaurants, and cafés.
Things to Do
Blue Experience Diving
They offer PADI courses, daily Ocean and Cenote diving in small groups, all tailored to your requirements and level of experience. For more information call 52-984-144-4524, or visit them on the web at Blue Experience Diving.
Vea ATV Tours
Their excursions and tours are tailored to bring the right balance of adventure, culture and fun and most spectacular beaches of the Mayan Riviera. Enjoy their unforgettable tours. For more information call 52-984-875-9214, or visit them on the web at Vea ATV Tours.
Dos Ojos Scuba Dive Shop
Dos Ojos Scuba specializes in cavern and cave diving services, including guiding and training (IANTD – Cavern to Full Cave Diver and PADI – all recreational scuba diver levels). For more information call 52-984-105-1048, or visit them on the web at Dos Ojos Scuba Dive Shop.
They offer snorkeling and scuba diving activities for all levels, from beginners to very well experienced divers. For more information call 52-984-802-8325, or visit them on the web at Aqua Excursions.
Individual private Tours of the Yucatan! Enjoy your special day: trips to Sian Ka’an to meet wild dolphins in the ocean, discover Coba and have lunch with a Mayan family, snorkel with turtles and in Cenotes, visit beautiful islands, swim with the whale sharks or try your luck in sport fishing in the Caribbean ocean with snorkeling, and much more. For more information call 52-984-179-2231, or visit them on the web at Aledia Tours.
Best Rated Restaurants
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$$ – $$$ La Buena Vida
This popular beachside eatery serves some of the best fish tacos around! If you are one who likes the option of shade, La Buena Vida offers comfortable seating areas perfectly situated beneath towering palms. There are also ultra-comfy beanbag pillow beds and hammocks, ideal for sinking into for an afternoon siesta. For more information call 52-984-875-9061, or visit them on the web at La Buena Vida.
$$ – $$$ Turtle Bay Café & Bakery
For fresh baked goods (some of the best pies in the region), and a divine mix of local and international cuisine (from eggs benedicts to seafood stuffed chili rellenos,) Turtle Bay Café is a must when in Akumal. It has been around for a while, filling customers’ bellies with home baked goodness and delicious meals for nearly 20 years! For more information call 52-984-875-9138, or visit them on the web at Turtle Bay Café & Bakery.
$$ – $$$ Lol-Ha Restaurant & Snack Bar
Ocean views, a flavorful menu with generous portions and friendly staff. There is a vast selection of items on the menu including the popular nachos al pastor (a thinly shaved pork marinated with chiles and achiote, a very traditional regional spice.) They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you have the choice to sip coffee while watching the pelicans feast, have a cold corona with your nachos in the afternoon, or try a fried whole fish dish, caught fresh, while you enjoy the evening breeze off of the bay. For more information call 52-984-875-9012, or visit them on the web at Lol-Ha Restaurant & Snack Bar.
$$ – $$$ La Cueva del Pescador
This is where you’ll usually find a friendly crowd of residents gathering for cold beer and fresh seafood dishes. The fish tacos are great as is the cured ceviche seasoned with cilantro. The sand floors are a nice touch and add to the relaxed, Mexican-Caribbean atmosphere. For more information call 52-, or visit them on the web at La Cueva del Pescador. For more information call 52-984-875-9002, or visit them on TripAdvisor at La Cueva del Pescador.
$$ – $$$ La Lunita
This Mexican Caribbean-style, beachfront restaurant serves an intriguing assortment of savory entrees from duck to jumbo prawns. Enjoy the ocean views over lunch or by moonlight in the open patio area on the sand. For a unique Mexican cocktail experience, try the Serrano margarita! For more information call 52-984-875-9070, or visit them on the web at La Lunita.
La Buena Vida
A popular beachside restaurant-bar with sand floors, swings, roaming musicians and a drink menu with gimmicky cocktail names such as ‘The Viagra’, which offers you ‘a stiff one’. For more information call 52-984-875-9061, or visit them on the web at La Buena Vida.
Beached Bikini Bar & Grill
Swings around the small bar create a cozy space, so you are just as likely to come away with some new friends as a hangover. Neus will give you a warm welcome in her adorable Catalan accent. Good bar food. Real fruit in the blender drinks. Soon everyone is having one more and singing along to the 70s station. It’s like Cheers on the beach. For more information call 52-998-845-4528, or visit them on the web at Beached Bikini Bar & Grill.
They are located in the pueblo side of Akumal. Visitors can see the ‘authentic’ side of Mexico. They have a variety of great drinks. The food is great too! For more information call 52-984-875-9022, or visit them on the web at Tequilaville.
Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya – All Inclusive Adults Only
Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya All Inclusive-Adults Only features an outdoor pool and year-round outdoor pool. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. You can play tennis at the hotel. The hotel also provides free use of bicycles and car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Adults Only.
Villa Eva Luxury Akumal
Villa Eva Luxury Akumal has a hot tub and a private beach area. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. There is also a kitchen, fitted with a dishwasher, oven and microwave. A toaster, a refrigerator and stovetop are also featured, as well as a coffee machine and a kettle. Villa Eva Luxury Akumal also includes an outdoor pool. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar and restaurant. You can play tennis at the property, and car rental is available. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Villa Eva Luxury Akumal.
UNICO 20°N 87°W – Riviera Maya
Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, UNICO 20°N 87°W – Riviera Maya offers accommodations in Akumal, just 18 miles from Playa del Carmen. The hotel has an outdoor pool and water sports facilities, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. There is a 24-hour front desk, concierge services, a gift shop, and a shops at the property. You can play tennis at this hotel, and the area is popular for snorkeling. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Unico 20°N 87°W – Riviera Maya.
Villa Morena Boutique Hotel Ecoliving
There is a playground and terrace, and guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. The bed and breakfast also provides free use of bicycles. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Villa Morena Boutique Hotel Ecoliving.
Luxurious Ocean Villa – Steps to Akumal Beach
This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. The property features views of the sea and free WiFi is available throughout the property, along with private parking. A dishwasher, an oven and a microwave are provided in the kitchen. A flat-screen TV, Blu-ray player and DVD player, as well as a CD player are provided. There is a private bathroom with a hot tub and bathtub or shower. Bike rental and car rental are available at the property and the area is popular for snorkeling. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Luxurious Ocean Villa – Steps to Akumal Beach.