Akumal is a small town between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Fly into Cancun and rent a car for the drive to Akumal. There are also buses and shuttles with some hotels or dive shops offering free shuttles. Akumal is approximately a 1 hour drive from Cancun.
Unless you plan on just staying in Akumal, you will need a rental car to get around. The closest sights are at least a 20 minute drive. However, if you're not comfortable driving in a foreign country, there are plenty of taxis to take you wherever you need to go.
There are also colectivos, a local 15-passenger van service that runs between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. They're cheap (20 pesos per person), and usually full, but run very frequently. You can catch the colectivos off the main highway. If you are standing on the side of the highway the driver will flash his lights at you if he has room in his van. This is the preferred local way of getting around.
Akumal has a beautiful bay with a wide white sand beach, wonderfully warm blue-green water and great snorkeling. Cute little town with several restaurants.
With the destruction of hurricane Wilma, the reefs near Akumal were damaged. However, a snorkeling trip is still very worth the time and expense.
There are three options for snorkeling:
- Go on a tour provided by one of the two dive shops in town. It is $40 USD per person.
- Go on an "unofficial" tour. If you stand on the beach with a clueless look on your face, a local may approach you and offer to take you snorkeling on his glass-bottomed boat. It is usually $20 USD per person and includes snorkeling equipment. The guide will attempt to find the famous sea turtles for you and show you different corals and fish. Make sure you are comfortable swimming with flippers as the guide may swim quickly from site to site.
- Rent or buy your own equipment and swim out alone. The coral reefs are not too far from the shore and can be easily accessed by swimming, especially with the help of a life preserver. Much of the bay is not more than five feet deep. Be very careful to stay away from the "fire reef" marked with buoys and a distinctive red colored coral. It stings and excessive contact can be fatal.
Since coral dies on human contact, you should avoid touching coral at all costs. It is also illegal to touch the wildlife, such as the sea turtles, so please do not try to ride them or bother them in any way.
As of January 2006, there were five juvenile green sea turtles living in the bay.
- Scuba diving. There are two dive shops in town.
- Cenote/cave diving.
- Sunbathing. Enjoy the sunny beaches.
- Ecological Center. Visit the Ecological Center at the end of Akumal bay to learn more about the area's ecosystems, species and local environmental events.
A few small shops in town. No real shopping to speak of.
- Lol Ha Restaurant. Right on the beach in Akumal Bay -- great view!
- Cueva del Pescador.
- Turtle Bay Cafe.
- Cocina Economico.
- Lucy's Tacos. Across the street from Super Chomak by the area where the market is held
There are also other restaurants in North Akumal (near Half Moon Bay):
- La Buena Vida. A restaurant and bar with swings instead of bar stools
In nearby Chemuyil:
Most restaurants serve beer. Lol Ha and La Buena Vida have a full bar.
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- Tulum. About a 20 minute drive to see the Mayan ruins here.
- Playa del Carmen. Drive over for shopping/bar hopping. Playa del Carmen also has a ferry boat that goes to Cozumel. Great day trip for scuba divers!