Officially founded in 1958, Akumal is a small beach-front community between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum and often overlooked by visitors. It’s most famous for its endangered green sea turtles that feed on the sea grass in shallow waters.
In Mayan language, Akumal means “place of the turtle”.
You can see it certainly lives up to its name.
We stopped for a quick swim one afternoon and were dismayed at how murky the water was. Visibility
was only 3 feet out with all the sand that was getting kicked up from the waves, and we didn’t see a single green
turtle. We did, however, chance upon a hawksbill! This guy was larger than the other green turtles we saw.
We also came across a sting ray.
How To Get There & Where to Park
Just plug in “Akumal Beach” in Google Maps for accurate directions.
As you enter on Carr. Cancun street, you’ll see a fairly large parking lot to your right. You can park here and walk to the main beach area, which is a quick 5-10 minute walk. There is another parking lot across the Akumal Dive Shop. It’s fairly small and fills up quickly, as it only holds about 20 cars, so get there early to secure a spot.
Along the way, you’ll pass several signs that direct you to the beach.
Lifevests, snorkels, etc., can be easily rented from the Akumal Dive Shop, the Ecology Center, or from the hard-to-miss rental booth/kiosk/stand as you enter the beach.
Or, you can skip the rental and get your own snorkel, which I did years ago after I repeatedly gagged on salt water that entered the top of the tube.
Plus, although they’re cleaned, I just can’t stand the thought of a mouthpiece shared by hundreds of other people.
Check out my Top 5 water items post for more info!