• Khalil

Akumal, Mexico - Swimming with the Sea Turtles

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

We took a family trip to Mexico to explore the area between Cancun and Tulum, and decided to rent an Airbnb in an area called Puerto Aventuras. Puerto Aventuras is located about 1 hr and 15 minutes south of Cancun, 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, and 30 minutes north of Tulum. This seemed like a good point between the locations that we wanted to explore. After doing a little research we found out that we were about 20 minutes north of a small beach area called Akumal. Akumal is a lagoon that attracts sea turtles and has very calm and swimmable waters. We were intrigued so decided to check it out. We read that it is best to go in the morning before the majority of the tourists arrive, and it is free to enter the beach, though there are curbside salesmen that will tell you that you have to pay to enter the beach. We decided to do a little scouting mission on the first day and then get up early the next day to swim with the sea turtles.

Akumal was very easy to find and as we arrived at the entrance there were plenty of people greeting us to get us to park in their parking lots and buy passes to the beach, but instead we drove down the road and to find a public entrance. The beach was lined with houses and resorts after the main entrance, and it was very hard to find a public entrance so stopped at a beach restaurant and get some food and ask some questions. That was a great decision because we found a nice little restaurant on the beach with great margaritas and delicious food at a moderate price. The waiter let us know where to go and told us that it costs 100 pesos ($5) per person to enter the beach even though everything that we had read said that it was free.

We arrived at about 9am and parked in a parking lot at the main entrance that cost 20 pesos ($1) an hour. There were some lots a bit further away that may have been less expensive but it was a reasonable price and we didn't want to spend all of our time finding the best deal. A guy that we thought was a parking lot attendant showed us where to park and escorted us to the entrance. We figured out that he was more of a guide than a parking lot attendant. He told us that there used to be a free entrance but that has recently been closed down in order to conserve and control the habitat. The entrance fee was 100 pesos ($5) per person and it included bathrooms, lockers, and showers. Although we were a bit hesitant to believe him we noticed that there was an area for the Mexican nationals to pay (80 pesos) and tourists to pay. After seeing the locals paying to enter also we decided that it was worth it to pay instead of spending our time searching for secret entrances.

Our guide let us know that there were certain areas close to the beach where we could swim and snorkel without a guide and past the buoys, we would need to pay a guide another $20 (U.S.) per person to accompany us past the buoys and show you the sea turtles. He said that we were guaranteed to see a sea turtle or you would get your money back. The guide set us up with life vests and snorkel gear and we all set out on our snorkel tour. He showed us multiple sea turtles, a starfish, and many beautiful fish along the coral reef. It was amazing and very beautiful, but it was a lot of swimming. If you are not a great swimmer or not in such great shape, we would suggest finding a boat guide in order to see the wildlife.

We totally recommend this as a good way to spend the morning at a beautiful beach.

Have you been swimming with turtles? Share your comments and ideas below.

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