Akumal, Mexico

Swim with the sea turtles then stay for the shallow warm waters and secluded sandy beach. A day at Akumal Bay is the perfect way to spend a vacation day along Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

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1 Green Sea Turtle Swimming in Akumal, Mexico

Along the Riviera Maya on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico is the small town of Akumal. In Mayan this means “place of the turtle.” It is well named because you can swim along with green sea turtles at Akumal Bay. It is estimated they lay 70,000 eggs during their breeding season of May through October. At maturity they reach five feet and hundreds of pounds. Simply gorgeous! But look and don’t touch them or their habitat. They are endangered and their ecosystem is fragile.

1 Akumal Bay, 77710 Akumal, Q. R., Mexico
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2 North End Akumal Bay in Akumal, Mexico

The northern end of Akumal Bay is protected by a reef so the Caribbean water is shallow, clear and typically calm. Plus the beach has pure white sand. Best of all, it is far less crowded than other beaches in front of hotels along the Riviera Maya. So if you want sun, surf, sand and seclusion, this is the place to spend one or more of your vacation days while in Mexico.

Las Casitas Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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3 Empty Beach Chairs at Waterline in Akumal, Mexico

The temperatures at Akumal during the winter tourist season averages in the upper 70° Fahrenheit with lots of sun. This is perfect for a day at the beach. Two chairs are available at the waterline of the Caribbean Sea so there is no waiting. But you must act fast. The Riviera Maya region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.

Plaza Ukana I, Playa Akumal, Local 3, 77731 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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4 Rusted Cannons From Sunken Spanish Ship in Akumal, Mexico

In 1741, the Spanish ship El Matancero sunk in a reef near Akumal. Most of the crew were enslaved by the Mayans and soon died. However, Gonzalo Guerrero thrived among the Mayans, married a priestess and taught the indigenous people how to defend themselves. The merchant ship was discovered in 1959 by Pablo Bush Romero. He was so enthralled with the area that he purchased extensive land around the bay and founded the Centro Ecológico Akumal. These cannons from that shipwreck aim towards Akumal Beach near their headquarters.

Las Casitas Akumal, Q. R., Mexico
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5 Centro Ecológico Akumal in Akumal, Mexico

Since 1993, the Centro Ecológico Akumal’s mission is to protect the coastal and marine ecosystem around Akumal Bay. This includes managing the nesting areas of loggerhead and green sea turtles. The CEA was founded by Pablo Bush Romero after he purchased a significant amount of coastline property and then created a non-profit trust. It is a fascinating and educational place to visit.

Carretera Puerto Juarez ~ Tulum Km. 104, 77776 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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6 Marine Ecosystem Mural in Akumal, Mexico

This sea mural at Centro Ecológico Akumal’s headquarters celebrates the precious marine ecosystem around Akumal Bay. The beautiful painting was graciously donated by artist Lauren Floden. These Mexican Caribbean waters are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Great Maya Reef stretches for over six hundred miles. This makes it the world’s second largest. It is a haven for snorkelers who thrill at seeing turtles, manta rays, barracudas, manatees, colorful fish and vibrant coral.

Carretera Puerto Juarez ~ Tulum Km. 104, 77776 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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7 Mayan Ruins and Coral Reef Mural in Akumal, Mexico

Akumal is the third largest town in the Tulum Municipality with about 1,300 residents. From the looks of this exquisite mural by Lauren Floden at Centro Ecológico Akumal they are very proud of their two biggest assets. On the cliff are El Castillo (left) and the God of Winds Temple (right) at the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum. Below the surface is their thriving coral reefs and marine life.

Carretera Puerto Juarez ~ Tulum Km. 104, 77776 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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8 Akumal Bay in Akumal, Mexico

There are several bays near the small town of Akumal. This is the closest so it makes sense to call it Akumal Bay. To the north is Half Moon Bay and further up is Yal Ku Lagoon. Both are excellent for snorkeling. To the south is Jade Bay. You might also enjoy swimming in the 75° degree waters of Tak Be Ha, a cenote called the Palace of Hidden Wonders. So much beauty and so little time.

Plaza Ukana I, Playa Akumal, Local 3, 77731 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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9 Boy Playing in Sand in Akumal, Mexico

This little boy was intensely putting grains of sand into each cup and then gingerly packing them down before creating perfect mounds on the beach. He devoted a couple of hours to his labor of love. Only his imagination knew what magnificent structure he was building.

Plaza Ukana I, Playa Akumal, Local 3, 77731 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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10 Sports Fishing Boat Anchored at Akumal, Mexico

The water enthusiast will find lots more to do than sit and sun at Akumal Beach. The most popular activity is swimming among the sea turtles. Scuba divers and snorkelers thoroughly enjoy exploring the coral reef, underwater caves and cenotes. Fishermen are thrilled when they catch a mount-worthy sailfish, marlin or dorado. Calmer activities include kayaking or glass bottom boats. And after an exhausting day on or in the water, a nap on the beach will sound great.

Plaza Ukana I, Playa Akumal, Local 3, 77731 Akumal, Q.R., Mexico
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