Discover Akumal: Best Activities, Accommodations & More

  • Plalla Real Estate by Plalla Real Estate
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Couple in the water snorkeling with turtles in Akumal

If you are looking for the perfect destination that combines history, dreamy beaches, magical cenotes and spectacular cuisine, look no further. This Akumal travel guide will take you on an informative and exciting tour, revealing all the secrets of this Mexican paradise.


History of Akumal


Akumal, which means “Place of Turtles” in Mayan, is a charming tourist destination on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula lapped by the Caribbean Sea. Initially a coconut plantation, it was discovered by the Exploration and Water Sports Club of Mexico in 1958.


Pablo Bush Romero, founder of the club, purchased land and established the town of Akumal in the 1960s. Although initially excluded from a new municipality, it was finally integrated in 2008. Despite being considered as a mega tourist destination, it was discarded due to mosquitoes in the nearby wetlands.


Discover the history of Akumal



The Best Beaches in Akumal


Akumal’s beaches, besides being famous for their turtles, are the second most popular tourist attraction. With coastlines facing blue seas and an impressive biodiversity, these beaches offer unforgettable views and sunsets.



Akumal Beach


Iconic for its white sands and turquoise blue waters, it is known for allowing swimming with turtles in a natural environment. With rules to preserve the fauna, it is perfect for snorkeling.



Half Moon Bay


One kilometer from town, this beautiful inlet offers breathtaking views and snorkeling in coral waters. With public entrance and less crowded, it is ideal to escape the crowds.


The Best Beaches in Akumal: Akumal Beach, Half Moon Bay



The Best Cenotes in Akumal


Cenotes, cool freshwater sanctuaries, are found in the verdant jungles and savannas of the Yucatan Peninsula. They are formed when the roof of a cave collapses, creating magical subway passageways. Many cenotes are ideal for exploring with snorkeling or scuba gear, although cave diving is a technical and advanced activity that requires specialized training. In Yucatán, the cavern systems are famous among explorers from all over the world.



Cenote Ma’ax


A cenote with crystal clear waters full of stalactites and stalagmites. Located in the heart of our Sanctuary in Akumal surrounded by jungle and animals.



Cenote Santa Cruz


Located in Akumal, this cenote is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of Yucatan. Unlike many other cenotes, Cenote Santa Cruz is a tiny entrance that starts in a dry cavern, and takes you through a unique 2.5 hour journey through time.



Cenote Puerta Maya


Puerta Maya is just behind Akumal, about a 10-15 minute drive, Cenote Puerta Maya was originally explored by Steve Gerrard and Andreas Matthes in the late 1990s. The cenote owes its name to the twenty-seven Mayan stone stairs leading to the water.



Cenote Yalku


This paradise between Playa del Carmen and Tulum offers waters that merge the sweet with the salty, connecting with the sea to create a unique experience. Surrounded by lush vegetation and inhabited by fascinating creatures such as reptiles and exotic birds, the Yal-Kú Lagoon immerses you in an underwater world full of colorful fish.



Cenote Aktunchen


Immerse yourself in the essence of the Riviera Maya at Aktun Chen, a natural park surrounded by lush jungle in northeastern Quintana Roo. Discover a world full of recreational activities, where animal diversity is the star, from the white-tailed deer to the playful spider monkey, and other endangered species. Also, marvel at the variety of endemic plants and flowers that make Aktun Chen a magical corner of the peninsula.


The Best Cenotes in Akumal: Cenote Ma'ax, Cenote Santa Cruz, Cenote Puerta Maya, Cenote Aktunchen



The Best Hotels in Akumal


For an unforgettable stay, Akumal has a wide variety of hotels. From luxury resorts to boutique options.



Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort


Enjoy luxury at Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort, a leader among all-inclusive resorts in Akumal. Located on Carretera Federal 307 Cancun – Chetumal Km 254, Akumal 77760 Mexico, it offers free parking, swimming pool, fitness center and a relaxing bar. Children have fun in the indoor play area and nursery. The rooms, with ocean views, feature amenities such as blackout curtains, bathrobes and air conditioning. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this paradisiacal destination.



Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya


Embark on a luxury getaway at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, a AAA five-diamond all-inclusive resort. With a privileged location on the famous white sand beach of Akumal, this elegant resort combines original design with natural elements, offering tranquil Caribbean waters and the presence of green sea turtles.



UNIQUE 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya


Immerse yourself in the local culture at ÚNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya, located on the pristine beaches of the Riviera Maya. With cocktails and cuisine based on local ingredients, in-room art, three pools with different ambiances and a holistic spa, this hotel provides a luxury experience with touches of spontaneity.



Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort


Discover the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort, just one hour south of Cancun airport. With architecture inspired by Mayan culture, it offers spacious Deluxe Junior Suites with modern furnishings for an experience of unparalleled comfort and serenity. Enjoy a majestic setting integrated with nature and the open landscape.


The Best Hotels in Akumal: Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort



The Best Restaurants in Akumal


Akumal’s culinary scene is a delight for food lovers. Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at Lol-Ha or sample fresh seafood at La Buena Vida while enjoying breathtaking ocean views.



La Buena Vida


Located on Half Moon Bay beach, north of Akumal, La Buena Vida is a lively restaurant bar with music and a festive atmosphere. Enjoy delicious food under the palapas, right on the beach, while taking in the breathtaking ocean views. The menu offers options such as guacamole, tacos, salads, fajitas and refreshing drinks.



Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe


With over two decades of history since 1997, this establishment offers a dining experience with regional and international dishes. Their bakery is charming, baking bread daily and creating exquisite cakes and pies ideal for special celebrations. You can’t miss Lucy’s delicious homemade ice cream.



Lol-Ha Restaurant


Lol-Ha Restaurant is a relaxed snack bar with live music and a varied menu. Their specialty is the Lol-Ha burger, stuffed with poblano peppers and cheese, topped with avocado and bacon. Accompany this delicacy with cold drinks while enjoying the casual and vibrant atmosphere.


The Best Restaurants in Akumal: La Buena Vida, Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe, Lol-Ha Restaurant



The Best Activities in Akumal


Swim with the turtles


Akumal is home to three species of turtles: green, loggerhead and hawksbill. Since 2019, strict regulations have been implemented in the protected area of Akumal Bay:


  • Access limited to 1440 people per day, with mandatory tours with a guide.
  • The guide provides snorkeling equipment, life jackets and fins.
  • Forbidden to touch them or get closer than 3 m (10 ft).
  • Stay within 10 meters of your guide.


The Best Activities in Akumal: Swim with the turtles



Snorkeling and diving


Just off the coast of Akumal is the Mesoamerican Reef, also called the Great Mayan Reef, which is the second largest reef in the world. It is home to 65 species of coral and 500 species of fish in crystal clear and very calm water, ideal for snorkeling. Besides turtles, you will see for example crabs, rays, groupers, angelfish and Haemulon sciurus. You can take a snorkeling tour in Akumal or go on your own.


The Best Activities in Akumal: Snorkeling and diving



Mayamar Eco Ranch


Located near the Monkey Sanctuary, in a jungle where a multitude of birds and monkeys hide. It has 4 private cenotes in crystalline caves that can only be visited with a guide and are therefore very well preserved. This is a little known tourist attraction in Akumal and it really feels like you are on another planet.



Akumal Monkey Sanctuary


This is a place to visit with children in Akumal. Here you will find many monkeys and other rescued species (goats, lemurs, boas, parrots, turtles, flamingos, etc.) that are cared for, fed and returned to the wild when possible. This is a guided tour with relevant and entertaining information, as you can interact with some of the animals and take pictures with them.


The Best Activities in Akumal: Akumal Monkey Sanctuary



Prices in Akumal


Find out how much money you need to live the full experience in Akumal. From food costs to recreational activities, knowing the prices will help you organize your trip efficiently.


Here are some examples of prices in Akumal:


  • Hotel room: From $100 USD per night hotels like (Itza Hotel Akumal, Las Villas Akumal & Casita de Maya Boutique Hotel).
  • Meals in Mexican restaurant: from 10 USD per person (For example La Buena Vida, Rendesvouz Bar & La Cueva del Pescador)
  • Activities in town: from 100 USD per person (Like swimming with turtles and snorkeling in akumal)
  • Snorkeling: From 67 USD per person
  • Extreme Scuba diving: From 149 USD per person



Nightlife in Akumal


Although Akumal is known for its tranquility, the nightlife offers its own magic.



The Fisherman’s Cave


La Cueva Del Pescador was the first restaurant in the coastal area of Akumal, it was founded in 1997. It is tropically set among palm trees, tables and chairs made of scraps of wood.



Rendezvous Bar


If you’re looking for a little old-world elegance and class, this is the bar to stop at. The staff is incredibly attentive and the martinis are perfect every time. So if you plan to stay a while, a waiter will bring you a tray with nuts and other appetizers. There is an indoor and outdoor space. Sometimes there is also live music or shows.



La Buena Vida Bar


It is located half a mile from Akumal beach, so it may be a hike for some, but I think it is worth the walk. The ambiance was a really cool experience with quirky little decorations and a “tree house” as a backdrop


A beach club with illuminated palapas in Akumal: Nightlife in Akumal



Theme Parks in Akumal


Explore the natural diversity of the region with theme park recommendations. These places offer unique experiences and hidden beauties.



Akumal Monkey Sanctuary


Ideal for fun-loving families and conservation is the ideal experience. Contribute to the welfare and conservation of endangered exotic and endemic species. Explore our sanctuary and meet a variety of rescued primates and other animals, from the majestic spider monkey to adorable Madagascar lemurs and capuchins.



Tsúuk Akumal


We strive to offer a sustainable and safe natural park. Our facilities have high quality hygienic services, ensuring that you enjoy your visit while contributing to the care of the bay and the town of Akumal.



Yalku Cove


This enchanting place is home to an amazing ecosystem full of colorful tropical fish. If you are wondering what to do in Akumal, Yal-Kú is the answer. Dive into its crystal clear waters and snorkel in a relaxed environment. This corner of the Riviera Maya will captivate you with its harmony and spirituality, allowing you to appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the place.


Theme Parks in Akumal: Tsúuk Akumal and Yalku Cove



The Best Tips for Traveling in Akumal


Write down these tips to get the most out of your visit! Consider the cost of food, but remember that in these protected areas you are not allowed to bring food or alcoholic beverages.


  • Ecosystem preservation is key. Use biodegradable sunscreens, creams, repellents and sunscreens to take care of this beautiful place.
  • Don’t forget your underwater camera to capture the beauty both on the surface and underwater – it’s worth the investment!
  • Gear up for hours in the water with light clothing, microfiber towels, submersible fanny packs and water shoes.
  • Explore the delicious local food! Restaurants offer local and gourmet dishes at good prices. Be sure to try Akumal beer, the pride of Quintana Roo!
  • Bring cash, as not all places accept credit cards. Also, ask about guided tours to see turtles, schools of fish and manta rays.



How to get to and around Akumal


Transportation planning is essential. Find out about bus and cab options to get to Akumal. Also, learn how to get around the destination comfortably, whether on foot, by bicycle or public transportation.



How to get from Tulum


The trip from Tulum to Akumal takes about 50 minutes. You will find stops near the municipal palace, and they also make stops along the federal highway, ideal if you find yourself on a beach on the outskirts.



How to get there from Playa del Carmen


The trip from Playa del Carmen to Akumal takes approximately 35 minutes. A comfortable and accessible way to explore the area. There are van stops located at 4 Norte and 15 Av. and the cost per person is 45 MXN.



How to get there from Cancun


The driving distance between Cancun and Akumal is approximately 1h 35m. There is also a direct bus that leaves from Terminal de Autobuses ADO Cancun and arrives in Akumal. Services depart every 4 hours and operate daily and the trip takes approximately 2h 20 minutes.



Security in Akumal


Safety in Akumal is generally good, but as in any place, it is always important to take basic precautions. It is advisable to be attentive to your belongings, avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night and follow the indications of the local authorities. Akumal is a popular tourist town, so it is important to watch out for pickpockets and other petty crime. It is advisable not to carry large amounts of cash or jewelry and to keep your belongings in a safe place when you are not using them.


If you are walking at night, it is advisable to do so in company or in well-lit areas. It is also advisable to avoid isolated areas, such as beaches or roads with little traffic. Local authorities in Akumal work to maintain the safety of visitors and residents. If you see anything suspicious, do not hesitate to report it to the authorities. By following these basic precautions, you will be able to enjoy your stay in Akumal without worries.



Weather in Akumal


Akumal has a monsoon climate. Throughout the year there are high temperatures and a lot of precipitation. The average annual temperature in Akumal is 30° and the average annual rainfall is 675 mm. There is no rain for 127 days per year, the average humidity is 77% and the UV Index is 7.


The ideal time to explore Akumal in Mexico is from January to September, and then from November to December. During this period, you will enjoy warm weather with little rainfall. The average temperature peaks in August at a pleasant 32°C, while in January, the lowest is a pleasantly cool 27°C. So pack your sunscreen and come enjoy Akumal at its best!



Year-round weather averages


  • Day: the average daytime temperature is between 27°C and 32°C during the day.
  • Night: the average nighttime temperature is between 21°C and 26°C.
  • Rainfall: it rains 198 days and there is a total of approximately 675 mm of rainfall.
  • Sunshine hours: throughout the year there are 3243 hours of sunshine.


The weather in Akumal is ideal from January to September, and from November to December





To explore Akumal is to immerse yourself in a Caribbean paradise full of history, dream beaches and unforgettable experiences. From the fascinating history of its beginnings to the turquoise beaches, Akumal offers a unique blend of natural beauty and modern amenities. Snorkeling becomes a magical adventure as you dive with turtles where conservation meets excitement. Every corner of Akumal reveals a vibrant marine world, and the guide provides the best tips to make the most of this jewel of the Riviera Maya.


What do you think of the idea of swimming with the turtles?



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