Akumal: Land of Turtles

Akumal’s Área de Refugio shelters three sea turtle species and their feeding grounds: green turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, and hawksbill turtles.

Las playas

This small town is a favorite of those who love quiet, scuba diving, and nature. Meaning “land of turtles” in Mayan, it is a key habitat for these marine animals which can be spotted while snorkeling and scuba diving. During nesting season, the turtles come up on the beach to lay their eggs. Plus, there are many cenote pools and caves, like Aktun Chen and Kantun Chi, nearby.

Akumal is a quaint village favored by those seeking peace and quiet, diving enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Part of the region forming the Riviera Maya, it sits just 30 minutes from Tulum and an hour and a half from Cancún. 

Its name, which translates to “land of turtles” in Maya, is apt, as Akumal is a crucial habitat for these marine creatures. You can observe them while snorkeling or diving. The primary attraction of this lesser-known paradise is its crystal-clear water, offering the opportunity to swim alongside magnificent turtles. During nesting season, turtles come ashore to lay eggs, and it’s also possible to witness this remarkable event. 

Akumal’s beach boasts white sand, a coral reef, and warm waters teeming with diverse marine life. Among its attractions are the crescent-shaped Media Luna Bay (Half Moon Bay) and Yal-Kú Lagoon, abundant with tropical fish, rays, and barracudas. 

Interesting Facts

  • Akumal’s beach is the oldest tourist development in the Mexican Caribbean.
  • Since the 1950s, this destination has captured the attention of numerous explorers and divers.
  • The beauty of its landscapes, along with its aquatic fauna, is simply unparalleled.
  • Its proximity to Tulum allows exploration of its archeological site, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and the tourist destination of Playa del Carmen.

What to Do in Akumal

  • Explore numerous cenotes and caves in the vicinity, such as Aktun Chen and Kantun Chi.
  • For a peaceful stay, consider getting a room at Playa Jade, very close to the town of Akumal.
  • Take a stroll through the town and visit some of its restaurants. Seafood is their specialty—truly delightful!
  • Don’t miss purchasing local crafts, such as turtles crafted from various materials. However, refrain from buying starfish, corals, or other marine species illegally extracted from their habitat.
  • Swim in the turquoise waters of Yal-Kú Lagoon. Here, you can also spot turtles and admire beautiful landscapes.

Water adventures




Playa akumal, Akumal Trail, Yodzonot, Akumal, Q.R., México

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