Only a 30 min taxi ride from the hustle and bustle of Playa Del Carmen on the road to Tulum you will find a small village called Akumal. Akumal is a small coastal town with approximately 1200 inhabitants. Akumal in Mayan means “place of the turtles”
When you are looking for a laid back and relaxed atmosphere and you are in need of some peace and quite and nice beaches from where you can see the pelican’s dive in the water Akumal is the place to be.
Back in the days
The first time Akumal was discovered was back in 1500 something, when a Spanish shipwrecked conquistador came on land where local Indians instantly captured him. It is believed he was he first Spaniard that set foot on Mexican ground.
The only reason why he was not killed at that time was because of the daughter of the chief who fell in love with this white stranger. Like in every love story they married and got children. their children where the first mix of Mexican and Spanish blood. When you enter Akumal you will find a statue of him and his family.
Now in modern times Akumal is being discovered everyday by explorers from all over the world. But Akumal is still a quite town and you cannot compare it to places like Cancun or Playa del Carmen. You come here for some peace and quite, to watch sea turtles hatch and to have a beer and some great food right on the beach.
The Turtles of Akumal
The loggerhead and the green turtle use the beaches of Akumal as their breeding grounds. During the nesting season between April and July female loggerheads nest 3 to 7 times and they lay between 100 and 120 eggs. The Green Turtle comes to land to lay her eggs between June and September and she lays approximately 140 eggs each season.
Protecting the Turtles of Akumal**
Since 1993 Centro Ecológico Akumal is authorized by the government to run conservational projects in order to protect the turtles. The main goal of the project is to raise awareness amongst locals and tourists.
You can join CEA as a volunteer. During the nesting seasons you will join the staff of CEA when they look for nesting and hatching turtles who come to land when the sunsets. During this walks on the beach in search of turtles, scientific data is being collected and female turtles are being tagged. In some cases fresh nests are being relocated to more favorable areas.
You do not need any specific background to join as a volunteer. Volunteers are expected to have a strong interest in marine biology and wildlife conservation.
Akumal has got it all
Akumal has got something for everybody and it a typical place where people stay longer then they planned. Turtles can be found all year long right along the shoreline close to the reef. Just get your snorkel gear out and walk in. Chances are you will be snorkeling surrounded by turtles in no time.
The reefs are shallow and in a great condition if you would compare it to the reefs of Playa del Carmen. Therefore Akumal is perfect for scuba diving too. You will find multiple dive operators in town who will take you on a reef dive.
Since the reef is close to shore boat rides are short and you will be blowing bubbles before you know it. Expect to find an abundance of hard and soft corals as well as moray eels, angelfish, and yes the lionfish made it to Akumal too.
So where to stay in Akumal?
There are many places along the different bays. You will not find the big 5* resorts here, which in my opinion is a good thing. You will have plenty of choice from smaller boutique hotels and condos.
When renting a condo in Akumal you can really feel like a local, which makes your stay in Akumal even better. We can recommend staying in La Bahia and then more specific Bahia #3 which is located right on the beachfront of Half moon Bay.
Bahia #3 is owned by Donna and Paul Clark who gave the beachfront condo an eclectic and colorful Mexican decor with a whimsical mermaid theme.
This is the kind of stuff your travel dreams are made off! The minute you step in you feel ad home. With 2 master bedrooms with private bathrooms a seaside balcony with hammock and amazing sea views from every corner of the house you have everything you need to feel like you are in Paradise. Enjoy the simple Caribbean pleasures and soothe your soul at La Bahia
What are your thoughts about this hidden gem? Have you been already? Let us know in the comments below
Would you like to go dive Akumal? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer dive packages and scuba lessons.
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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who used to be a scuba scuba instructor but he got stuck in a suit a couple of years ago. Now he is on his way back, as a the founder of bookyourdive he travels and dives as much as he can. His motto as a start up founder and scuba diver is "The only good suit is a wetsuit"