Welcome to Akumal
For those looking for a laid-back beach town on the beautiful Caribbean Sea, Akumal, Mexico is a perfect choice. The name “Akumal” comes from the Mayan word for “place of the turtles” and this Riviera Maya town has gained notoriety for being one of the best places in Mexico to spot and swim with sea turtles. Come to Akumal if you want white sand beaches and turquoise water without the crowds. You may never want to leave!
1. Snorkel with the Sea Turtles
Akumal means “place of the turtle” in the Mayan language and it is one of the best places in Mexico to swim with sea turtles. Snorkeling with sea turtles is one of the top activities in Akumal, and for good reason. The water is clear with excellent visibility and you’re almost guaranteed to see the turtles in the water. Even if snorkeling isn’t your thing, there’s something magical about seeing the turtles in their natural habitat.
To snorkel with the sea turtles in Akumal, you can simply rent gear or use your own and head out in the bay from the shore. Just make sure to get there early, as the water grows hazy with sand kicked up by fellow snorkelers and rising daytime temperatures.
Not wanting to go it alone? Check out the amazing tour options such as, the Swim With Sea Turtles Tour, or this Half Day Sea Turtles and Cenotes Tour, or this Hidden Cenotes, Swimming With Sea Turtles, and Lunch Tour.
3. Swim in Cenotes
There are seemingly endless cenotes on the Riviera Maya and several delightful options near Akumal. Take a swim in Gran Cenote and Yal-ku Lagoon. Gran Cenote is south of Tulum, while Yal-Ku is north of Akumal.
The cenotes charge an entrance fee, which is typically around $15-$20 USD. Keep in mind that prices may vary by season and the exchange rate. The cenotes often have snorkel gear and lockers available for rent.
For more cenote info and great local cenote recommendations, be sure to check out our Ultimate Cenote Guide.
4. Explore the Town
Akumal is a charmingly quaint town that can easily be explored on foot. You’ll find shops, markets, restaurants and hotels in the downtown area. There are also a few ATMs in town, which is useful in the often cash-only Riviera Maya.
Spend an afternoon wandering the town and you’ll undoubtedly discover a few hidden gems. The shops and galleries are a highlight, so be sure to check out the Galeria Lamanai, which offers a selection of Mexican folk art, to pick up some local goods. Or check out MexiArte for a wide variety of souvenirs made by individual artisans throughout Mexico.
5. Visit the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
If you love animals, you should pay a visit to Akumal’s famous animal sanctuary, where you will find a wide variety of animals, including monkeys, birds and more. The top priority of this rescue center is to make sure the rescued and donated animals receive the care and attention they need to make a full recovery.
Many animals living in the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary come from very poor conditions working for circuses and similar attractions. Visiting the sanctuary is a fun activity for the whole family, and you’ll also be helping the environment and wildlife in the area.
This popular tour to the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary includes a guide and a “monkey bonding experience”.
This ATV Tour includes a visit to the Monkey Sanctuary as well.
6. Have a Spa Day
How does a fantastic massage on the beach sound as you listen to the gentle lull of the rolling waves? If your accommodation doesn’t have the type of spa experience you are looking for, you’re in luck! In Akumal, you’ll be pleased to discover there is a tranquil and charming place called the Buhda Garden Spa.
This boutique spa is just steps away from the Caribbean Sea. Here you’ll find peaceful gardens, trickling fountains and intoxicating tropical flowers, making for a perfect place to unwind and enjoy professional spa services.
The spa menu boasts a variety of invigorating spa treatments, including luminous facial rituals, hot stone massages and a romantic couples massage.
7. Take in the Beauty at Aktun-Chen
A visit to Aktun-Chen Natural Park makes a great day trip from Akumal that offers plenty of different adventures! Not surprisingly, National Geographic has included Acktun Chen on the list of the “Top 10 Best and Most Impressive Underground Walkways in the World” and it’s easy to see why.
You can take a guided walk through a five-million-year-old dry cave, the most extensive dry cave system in the Riviera Maya. Inside you’ll be able to view spectacular natural domes decorated with beautiful stalactites, columns, pillars and translucent curtains that seem to glow in the soft blue light of the cave.
Once you are done exploring the cave you can take a swim in the gorgeous crystal-clear cenote. Or try the Riviera Maya Jungle zipline, an exhilarating and fun ride through the rainforest.
This epic adventure tour to Aktun-Chen includes cenotes, ATV’s and ziplining in one day!
8. Get Out on the Water
Akumal’s magnificent coastline offers excellent opportunities to get out on the water. Whether you want to rent a paddle board or take a sail, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the Caribbean Sea.
Take one of the many catamaran tours available in the area to take in the splendor of the beautiful turquoise waters.