I have heard about Akumal, Mexico from a lot of people who come through Mahahual from time to time. I have been told the beaches there are almost as natural and pristine as Mahahual. Well this past Monday I got to visit Akumal and do some snorkeling, and swim with the the sea turtles.
Akumal is a small community with sandy white beaches, swaying palms, sun, surf, and a feeling of paradise. This gem of the Caribbean has 3 beautiful bays—Half Moon Bay, greater Akumal Bay and Aventuras Akumal Bay. All of the bays are great for snorkeling, kayaking and swimming. Yal-ku Lagoon is where a fresh water system leads out to the ocean, mixing fresh and salt water. The calm waters of Yal-ku Lagoon provides more great snorkeling. The beaches are wide, the waters are calm and people are friendly.
Known as “The Place of Turtles”,
Akumal has two names, “The Place of the Turtles” as it is here that you can snorkel with turtles off the beach, and “The Place of Magic” because it magically makes your stress disappear. Located just one hour and ten minutes south of Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, Akumal is favored vacation spot. The history is vast, its community friendly, and it was one of the first Riviera Maya communities established in the 1960s.
The beaches of Akumal, Mexico are nesting grounds for two endangered species of sea turtles: the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Nesting season for these turtles is May through October. After mating at sea the female turtle swims to shore to dig a nest for her eggs. It is not unusual to see turtles nesting at night on the beaches of Akumal.
Female turtles dig their nests on the beach with their flippers, then lay their eggs and cover them with sand. They then crawl back to the surf zone and swim out to sea. After 50 – 60 days the baby turtles hatch from the nests and try to make their way through the surf zone and out to sea. Caution should be exercised when walking the nesting beaches in order to avoid trampling nests where eggs are incubating.
Besides Mahahual, Akumal is about the best snorkeling around. I got to snorkel right off the beach, and unlike Playa del Carmen, the waves were calm and you could see all the way to the bottom. I have heard for years about swimming with the sea turtles, so I finally got my chance. It is something I will never forget, watching the sea turtles was amazing, and the fish and plant life were great also.
So if you get a chance, stop into Akumal on your way to Mahahual, or on your way back to Cancun, and swim with the turtles. There is nothing else like it.
Thanks, Stewart Rogers ExPat USA-South Caroilna