Welcome to Akumal, a laid-back beach town located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, just 30 minutes north of Tulum south of Playa Del Carmen.
This often overlooked beach town is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, abundant marine life, and some of the best snorkeling in Mexico.
If you’re looking for something different than Tulum or overcrowded Playa, then Akumal is a good choice if you’re seeking a relaxing tropical getaway. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best things to do in Akumal.
Snorkeling with Turtles
One of the top things to do in Akumal is snorkeling with sea turtles. These gentle giants are a common sight in the shallow waters just off the beach, and you can get up close and personal with them while snorkeling.
You can rent snorkeling equipment on the beach or join a guided tour for a more immersive experience. Just remember to respect the turtles and their habitat by not touching or harassing them.
Exploring Yal-ku Lagoon
Only 10 minutes north of Akumal you’ll find Yal-ku Lagoon and cenote, a hidden gem that is worth a visit. This natural lagoon is a mix of freshwater and saltwater and is home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, rays, and even barracudas.
You can explore the lagoon by snorkeling or swimming, or you can simply relax on the beach and take in the stunning views. The entrance fee to the lagoon is around 300 MXN pesos ($15 USD) per person, and snorkeling gear can be rented on site.
Relaxing on Akumal Beach
While Tulum has some of the best beaches in Mexico, Akumal Beach easily rivals them. The main beach is a beautiful stretch of sand that is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Akumal Beach is usually less crowded than some of the neighboring beaches, making it a great spot for a peaceful day by the sea.
The water is crystal-clear and calm, making it a great place to swim or paddleboard. There are also a few beach bars and restaurants where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat. Chilling on the beach is one of the easiest and most relaxing things to do in Akumal.
Visit the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
If you’re looking for a break from the beach, head to Akumal Monkey Sanctuary. This animal sanctuary is home to a variety of rescued animals, including monkeys, macaws, and deer.
You can take a guided tour of the sanctuary and learn about the animals and their habitat. The sanctuary also offers a zipline and rappelling experience for an extra thrill.
Take a Day Trip to Tulum
Akumal is located just a short drive from Tulum, another popular destination on the Riviera Maya. Tulum is known for its pristine beaches, Mayan ruins, and trendy restaurants and shops.
You can take a day trip to Tulum and explore the ancient ruins, swim in the turquoise waters, and enjoy a meal at one of the many beachside restaurants. If you have time, the nightlife in Tulum is also some of the best you’ll find in Mexico
Cenote Diving and Snorkeling
Cenotes are one of the unique natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula, and there are many located near Akumal. These freshwater sinkholes offer a completely different kind of diving and snorkeling experience.
You can take a guided tour to explore these incredible formations, with experienced guides who will show you the best spots and help you navigate the underwater caves.
Some popular cenotes for diving and snorkeling include Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Azul. While there are thousands of cenotes all over the Yucatan peninsula exploring the ones near this beach town is one of the best things to do in Akumal.
Dining at La Buena Vida
La Buena Vida is a popular beachfront restaurant and bar located on Half Moon Bay. It’s known for its relaxed vibe and delicious food, with an extensive menu that includes fresh seafood, Mexican favorites, and creative cocktails. It sometimes becomes a party later on with live music and dancing.
You can dine on the open-air deck or relax in a hammock on the beach, enjoying the beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea. One of the unique features of La Buena Vida is the cenote located on the property, which you can swim in or even jump into from the deck.
Kayaking on Akumal Bay
Akumal Bay is a calm and sheltered area of the Caribbean Sea, which makes it ideal for kayaking. You can rent a kayak from one of the vendors on the beach and paddle around the bay, taking in the beautiful scenery and maybe even spotting some marine life.
You can explore the rocky coastline, paddle out to the reef for some snorkeling, or simply relax and enjoy the sun.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Horseback riding is a fun and unique way to explore the coastline and one of the most enjoyable things to do in Akumal. You can take a guided tour that will take you through the jungle and along the shore, giving you a different perspective on this beautiful area.
There are several companies that offer horseback rides in the area, including Akumal Monkey Sanctuary & Rescued Animals.
Shop at the Akumal Artisan Market
The Akumal Artisan Market also known as MexicArte is located in the town square and features a variety of locally made goods, including jewelry, pottery, and textiles. You can find unique and handmade souvenirs and gifts to take home, all while supporting local artists and artisans.
The market is open daily, and you can browse the stalls at your leisure and haggle over prices with the vendors.
Explore the Aktun Chen Natural Park
The Aktun Chen Natural Park is a great place to explore the natural beauty of the area. The park features a variety of activities, including ziplining, cave tours, and swimming in a cenote. The main attraction of the park is the incredible cave system, which you can explore with a guide.
The caves are filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and you can even swim in an underground cenote. The park also has a zip-line course, with several lines that take you over the jungle canopy.
Take a Yoga Class
If you’re looking to relax and rejuvenate, there are several yoga studios in Akumal that offer classes for all levels. Many of the classes are held outdoors, giving you a chance to connect with nature while you practice.
While some of hte best Yoga retreats and spots are in Tulum, Akumal has some as well including Yoga En Akumal and the Hare Krishna Spa. You can also of course practice on the beach on your own.
Visiting the Xel-Ha Water Park
Xel-Ha is a water park located just a short drive from Akumal. It’s a great place to spend a day with the family, with a variety of water activities and attractions. You can snorkel in the crystal-clear lagoon, swim with dolphins, and even explore an underwater cave.
There are also several restaurants and bars on site, as well as a souvenir shop. You can buy a day pass for the park, which includes access to all the activities and amenities.
Akumal is a beautiful destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to get away from the crowds of the other beach towns and relax on the beach, or explore the marine life, Akumal has it all. It make a great day trip from Tulum or Playa Del Carmen as well if you don’t feel like spending the night.