Akumal – A Snorkeler’s Paradise
Akumal in the Mayan language means “Land of Turtles”. It is the most well-known place in all of the Mayan Riviera to see and swim with several species of sea turtles. It is also still one of the best and favorite places for these sea creatures to spawn.
The result of past hurricanes, changing sea beds have transformed Akumal bay into prime feeding grounds for green sea turtles. There’s an abundance of sea grass for them and their young to feast on.
Akumal town and bay have grown a lot over the past few years, becoming a potentially multi-million dollar location. There’s a bit of a tug-of-war between the hotels and developers versus the conservationists who are concerned about the damage that over-development can do to the fragile ecosystem.
Currently there’s a 400-room resort being built right on the bay next to where the turtles feed and nest. And there are rumors that the land behind Akumal and Half Moon Bay has been sold as well, with plans for more resorts and a couple golf courses. Nothing has been confirmed…we will have to wait and see what comes of the many rumors of change.
One thing is for sure: this is a beautiful location but is definitely getting crowded! If you time it right and avoid the bus loads of people, it is an incredibly picturesque place where you can enjoy crystalline water and get close to turtles as well as other species of marine life. (Often barracuda and sting rays come visit the bay for a bit of a break.) The snorkeling and diving are simply excellent.
The beach in Akumal is very pretty as well and is basically a series of bays. There are several restaurants, boutique hotels and vacation homes dotting the coastline. If your visit is between the months of June to November, you might even be fortunate enough to see baby turtles hatch and make their way for the first time to sea.