As winter tightens its grasp across much of the United States, we are finding ourselves dreaming about a few days at the beach. One of our favorite places to travel as a family is Akumal, Mexico.
We much prefer the off the beaten path locations to the bigger resorts and more tourist driven locations. Akumal provides not only a quieter atmosphere, but also serves as an excellent base camp to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and beyond. Located 100 km (62 miles) south of Cancún, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this quaint beach town boasts some of the finest white sand beaches we have seen in the Riviera Maya with lots of natural palm tree shade.
You can find a little bit of everything as far as lodging goes in Akumal, if you are looking for a larger resort with all-inclusive plans you can find that! If you are looking for a quiet hotel with great views and snorkeling right outside the door, you can find that! And if you are looking for a sweet house to rent, you can also find that. We have stayed at Del Sol Beachfront on Half Moon Bay and loved the easy access to great food, great beaches and awesome snorkeling.
Snorkeling in Akumal
We have had great experiences snorkeling in the 3 bays that make up Akumal. It is worth noting that we have typically spent time in Akumal during the months of February – April, so I cannot speak with confidence on snorkel experiences, namely those with the sea turtles, the rest of the year. There are two dive shops in Akumal to rent snorkel or dive gear from, but if you are going to have little kids join you, it is worth bringing your own as they don’t have a large supply of child size gear. We have rented from both dive shops, but personally, I prefer Akumal Dive Adventures.
- Snorkel with Sea Turtles: Akumal is known as “the place of the turtles” and for good reason. The endangered green sea turtles love the quiet waters in Akumal Bay and can spend hours at a time eating the sea grasses that line the bottom. Because of this, you have an opportunity to swim and snorkel with the sea turtles. Please be sure to note the new rules for snorkeling with the turtles.
- Snorkel the rest of Akumal: Be sure to check out Yal-ku Lagoon. Because of the unique mixture of both fresh AND saltwater here, it means there is a large variety of fish that’s simply impossible to beat! Additionally, you can explore the gorgeous Half Moon Bay to the north of town or the less popular Akumal Aventuras Bay to the south. If you do opt to snorkel in Yal-ku Lagoon, one of the rules is that you can only wear bio-degradable sunscreen. This is our go to for the kids and ourselves:
We also always pack a set of rash guards for our whole family. This allows us to snorkel for longer periods of time without being concerned about our fair skin.
Good Family Eats in Akumal
Akumal is a small town, but the food choices do not disappoint. There are several restaurants within the town center as well as further into town. Our favorites in no particular order are:
- Breakfast at Imelda’s Ecococina. This tiny little restaurant dishes out delicious meals. Located right in town and near the beach, it is a great place to start your day!
- Lunch at Lol Ha. Lol Ha is literally on the beach in town, Lol Ha’s menu has something for everyone after a morning of snorkeling with the sea turtles.
- Dinner at La Buena Vida. La Buena Vida is my absolute favorite place to dine in Akumal. It is located in North Akumal on the shores of Half Moon Bay. The outdoor and indoor dining options are hard to beat. Our kids loved the seats that are swings or the giant pillows to sit on around some of the outdoor tables. Plus the views aren’t too shabby either.
In our next post, we’ll share some of the best day trips from Akumal because there are some amazing sites and experiences you don’t want to miss when you are in the Riveria Maya!