Akumal Vacations

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

By Taxi

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.

By Bus

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.

By Boat

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

Aktun-Chen, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesAktun-Chen

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.

Laguna Yal-kú, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesLaguna Yal-kú

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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesXel-Há

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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesAkumal Bay

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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesBlue 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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesVea 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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesDos 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.

Aqua Excursions, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesAqua Excursions

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.

Aledia Tours, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesAledia Tours

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

$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End

$$ – $$$  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.

Best Nightlife

La Buena Vida, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesLa 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, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesBeached 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.

Tequilaville, Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico, Akumal beaches, Akumal things to do, Akumal restaurants and bars, best beaches of Mexico, best beaches of the Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya beachesTequilaville

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.

Best Hotels

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.

28 Comments

  1. Alex Chong

    This is such an incredible review. You basically provided information to EVERYTHING about visiting Akumal.

    The place certainly sounds enticing. I love beaches and look forward to visiting Akumal one day. When I do, I will know where I can find all the information I need to plan for the trip!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      So glad you enjoyed Alex 🙂 If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. carol

    Akumal certainly looks like a fantastic place to visit. The turtles remind me of the Cayman Islands where they make the effort to preserve them too. This post has certainly given me the boost for a vacation. Getting there should not be so difficult from my border state location. Thanks for sharing, plans will definitely be in the works soon.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Akumal is a fantastic place to visit! I am glad you enjoyed reading. Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply
  3. Jessica

    It would be amazing swimming inside of a cave. I’m curious if there are any health benefits when swimming in these waters?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I don’t know of any benefits of swimming in the cenotes. Maybe the exercise you get, but there is nothing special in the water itself 🙂 But it is amazing! Thanks for visiting Akumal Vacations!

      Reply
  4. Anna

    My favourite type of holidays – by the beach.
    Have not heard of a lot of these beaches, and so many of them are amazing.
    Akumal caught my attention because I lived in Mexico for six months a couple of years ago but I was on the west coast Barra De Navidad. I learnt very quickly that I should have done my homework with regards to the weather as by the coast in May and onwards is incredibly hot. This guide is perfect for when I return next year!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, and you will LOVE the area.  There is just so many things to see and do, besides just laying by the beach.  Or you can do just that if you like 🙂  Thanks for reading Akumal Vacations!

      Reply
  5. Steve

    Hi,

    We stayed in Akumal a few years back. We actually Stayed in the Bahia Principe Akumal just up the Coast but visited Akumal a good few times. I even got my Diving Certification there!

    The Whole area is incredible and we explored the Cenotes, Tulum Ruins, Coba Ruins and the whole coastline. We Snorkeled with Sea Turtles and enjoyed the incredible reef of Akumal Bay.

    We also drank FAR too many Margaritas and too much Tequila!

    Akumal is a fantastic Holiday Destination!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree that it is a great destination, and hey what is a beach vacation without margaritas?  They just go hand in hand, right?  I am glad you enjoyed, sounds like you had a wonderful time!  Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  6. Max

    All of these wonderful places to go and I am overdue for a vacation. I must bookmark this page and look at the packages once I am ready to book a vacation.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Max! Yes, so many wonderful beach destinations to choose from! Thank you for visiting Akumal Vacations! See you back again when you are ready to book!

      Reply
  7. Melissa

    Hi Leahrae,
    You always bring us these amazing places and you have not disappointed. This place sounds amazing and that cave looks so amazing. I can imagine me and my husband exploring it together. The colors are gorgeous and it looks like you can get lost there(not physically). Is that top image one of the sea turtles from Akumal Bay?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for visiting Akumal Vacations Melissa and taking the time to comment. Yes, the top image is from Akumal Bay 🙂

      Reply
  8. Kourtney

    wow this place looks incredible, I would love to check out that atkun-chen cave. Its safe to say this is now officially on my bucket list haha. As a lover of tequila, if I were to go you would most likely find me at tequilaville!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well Tequilaville is a fun place! And this is an incredible place! Thanks for visiting Akumal Vacations!

      Reply
  9. Jan

    Hi Leahrae!
    Wow, so much inspiration in this article.
    I really like the look of Xel-Há and I would really like to go snorkeling there with my kids 🙂
    Thanks for the tips!
    Take care!
    Regards, Jan

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You bet Jan! Thanks for visiting and your kids would love it. I know my son does. Glad you enjoyed reading about Akumal Vacations!

      Reply
  10. Stella Obiozor

    Akumal” place of Turtle”the name alone sounds great.I love the beautiful description and no issue about the safety part.Most importantly the hotels around are great.Also getting around is good.What a good place to visit!Thank you for this great article.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Stella for visiting Akumal Vacations. Yes, it really is a slice of heaven plopped down into Mexico. Everything you could want 🙂

      Reply
  11. Lyndsay

    what a great article! I wish I came across this last year when we were in Akumal. It’s a great area, we have been twice and stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe and love the resort. It is quite a distance from the Cancun airport, so I always recommend two weeks if you can swing it and visiting some of these great places you have recommended. I didn’t realize that it was home of the sea turtles. I would have guessed home of the iguana’s 🙂 never seen so many iguana’s in all my travels and I love the little guys, just like humans, love bathing in the sun! thanks for the great article, although I have been to Akumal, I learned lots from your article and can reference next trip we take there.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Wow, great Lyndsay.  Most people have never even heard of Akumal.  It really is a great place, and yeah lots of Iguanas for sure!  Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  12. Celeste

    I love travel. Akumal sounds fantastic. I have never been to Mexico before but hopefully we can plan a trip soon. Are there regular flights from NYC? Lol-Ha Restaurant & Snack Bar sounds like my kind of restaurant. My husband and I love diving. Since we will be coming from South Africa we don’t wan to travel with all our diving gear. Do you know if there are good scuba rental shops around?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ok, tons of flights from NYC and lots of scuba rental shops.  Scuba diving is big here, so you won’t have any problems getting the gear.  Thanks for reading about Akumal Vacations.

      Reply
  13. Steven Cook

    I’ve never been to Mexico before, but is actually a place me and my wife are wanting to go this year. Looking at your Akumal Blog, the scenery looks absolutely stunning, and seen as I’m also into diving, this looks like an ideal place to visit,

    I really like your website, and the blog is packed full of information for anyone interested in going, especially the nightlife, which sounds great.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed reading about Akumal Vacations and visiting my website.  If you have any questions, or when you are ready to pack your bags and head to Mexico, I would love to help you find some great deals!

      Reply
  14. Chris Jones

    Akumal Mexico I take it you fly into Cancun? Looks really interesting. I like going to Cancun especially the adult only all inclusive resorts.

    If you fly into Cancun how do you recommend getting there or did I miss that? I noticed you talked about rental cars and how police watch for them.

    I assume you also feel safe in that area?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you can fly from Cancun or Playa del Carmen.  And yes, rent a car, but with this be very cautious and follow all the road laws.  I am glad you enjoyed reading about Akumal vacations.  And, yes, it is safe in Akumal.

      Reply

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