DescriptionA diving and snorkeling center, Akumal (“place of the turtles” in the Mayan language) is off Mex. 307, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Cancún and about 26 kilometers (16 miles) north of Tulum. Although centered around several resort complexes, you don't need to be a guest at any of them in order to enjoy the long, curving beaches or swim in the warm Caribbean surf. Akumal is laid-back and friendly, a great place to drop your anchor and get into the relaxed rhythms of the Riviera Maya coast.
If driving southbound on Mex. 307, a concrete center median at the Akumal turn-off prevents making a left turn onto the access road. Continue a hundred yards or so to the signed turnaround (retorno), where you can make a U-turn, head back north and turn right onto the access road (signed “Entrada a Akumal” and “Akumal Playa”).
Less than half a mile down the road you'll drive under a white arch. Stay to the left to get to the Akumal beach parking lot (there are spaces on either side of the road); an attendant will usually wave you in and collect a small parking fee. Past the parking lot, the beach road continues north to Half Moon Bay and Yal-ku Lagoon.
Resort facilities spread out along the shore of Akumal Bay, the largest of three bodies of water along this stretch of coast. The white-sand beach is lovely, and it's an easy swim to an offshore reef. The beachfront bar at the Lol-Ha Restaurant is popular with Akumal regulars and offers great bay views.
To the north, Half Moon Bay is lined with a fine-sand beach backed by villas and condos. There's good snorkeling here as well. Kayaks and other water sports equipment can be rented at both bays.
Akumal Dive Adventures, on Half Moon Bay at the Vista del Mar Hotel and Condos, is a PADI-certified dive center that offers scuba and snorkeling trips emphasizing a low-impact approach to the fragile offshore reef environment. Fishing excursions for mahi mahi, marlin, sailfish and wahoo also can be arranged. Phone (984) 875-9157, or (888) 425-8625 (from the United States).
The Akumal Dive Shop, on Akumal Bay at Plaza Ukana, organizes snorkeling tours that provide an opportunity to view sea turtles in shallow water. You can also snorkel in a jungle cenote or go for a sail aboard a 36-foot catamaran, which includes a stop at a secluded beach for swimming, beachcombing and lunch. For additional information and to make reservations phone (984) 875-9032.
Note: Akumal Bay has recently been at the center of a dispute due to efforts by a local ecological group to regulate the number of tourists and begin charging a fee to access what have traditionally been free beaches.
Things to SeeAktun Chen