Important News: Akumal Beach Access Restriction Questions Answered

Of late there has been a lot of heartburn over reported news of restrictions placed on the access to the Main Bay in Akumal. The earlier entrance has been closed and new path has been earmarked for people. CEA – CEA Centro Ecológico Akumal has sought to remove any confusion such steps have confused in the minds of the Akumal residents and Tourists alike.

Here is the message posted on


In an effort to clarify certain issues that are affecting Akumal and Centro Ecológico Akumal at this time, we submit the following information.

Akumal Bay is being destroyed from massive snorkel tourism, and related bad snorkeling and marine recreation practices (grabbing sea turtles, standing on coral, poaching sea turtle nests, illegal vendors, shoddy equipment, molesting visitors). Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), the hotels, and dive shops are working to revert this situation through better control of the beachfront properties and by implementing an integrated bay management program.

1. CEA owns the land on which its offices are located; from the middle of the road between Super Chomak / Hotel Club Akumal Caribe and El Pueblito in the south / east, and El Pueblito and the federal zone of the beach (east / west) and Taj-Kumal and the mangrove to the west / north.

2. CEA has owned this land since 1973, first in a bank trust as Club de Yates Akumal, and since 1993, as Centro Ukana I Akumal, A.C., better known as Centro Ecológico Akumal, and with direct title.

3. CEA land is not an official public access site of Akumal; the public entrance is further south.

4. In the past, CEA had no need to control its property as it does now. Today, we witness multitudes of tours (legal and illegal) commercially using CEA property to take tours to Akumal Bay; also there are robberies; drug sales; illegal merchants on the federal zone; violence; basic insecurity, due to lack of control of our property.

5. CEA cannot and is not “privatizing” Akumal beach; it is demanding that the government respect its constitutional rights as land owner and Mexican civil association. Several business interests are attempting to take over CEA land and they are being supported by certain municipal government representatives.

6. CEA is changing the location of access across its property to a more secure and controlled site, and IS NOT denying access to the local population. CEA will guarantees free access to Akumal and Chemuyil citizens and residents. CEA has the legal right to determine what businesses use its property and is asking for that right to be upheld.

7. CEA is working with the local hotels, dive shops and tour operators to update and implement a management plan for Akumal bay, with the help of federal authorities and within the federal legal framework for ecosystem and species protection. However, this plan cannot work if the uncontrolled number of commercial tours continues to enter the bay each day.

8. All properties and resident dive shops support and agree to work within the parameters of the integrated bay management program.

Video: Snorkeling in Akumal Real Estate has posted earlier also on why Akumal is the snorkeling capital of Mexico. Here is another testimonial to this fact. Here is a breathtaking view of  Snorkeling at Riveria Maya – Kantenah Resort and Akumal Bay

Akumal – The Snorkeling Capital of Mexico

You cannot visit the Riviera Maya and not snorkel in Akumal!

Akumal lies roughly between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and to the south of Cancun. The bordering reefs of Playa del Carmen are mostly dead, while Cancun and Cozumel are better known for their deeper waters and scuba diving rather than their snorkeling.

Photos of Akumal Dive Shop, Akumal
This photo of Akumal Dive Shop is courtesy of TripAdvisor

As compared to the other beach destinations on the Riviera Maya, the waters around Akumal are much less polluted and feature healthy coral reefs. Some of region’s most beautiful and healthy reefs are situated in Akumal and it also has significant amounts of marine wildlife. There is plenty of underwater adventure here for snorkelers assuring them one of the most fantastic experiences ever!

A perfect snorkeling experience requires just four things: clear waters, gentle currents, abundant aquatic life and the chance to get away from the crowds. And Akumal has it all! Here’s our guide to Akumal’s topmost snorkeling sites:

Akumal Bay: For those looking forward to spotting some sea turtles a visit to Akumal Bay is a must where visitors can snorkel with sea turtles and swim alongside them.

Half Moon Bay: It is the next bay towards north of Akumal Bay. The snorkeling here is rich with hard and soft corals, sponges, lionfish, angelfish, sea turtles, parrot fish and rays. More snorkeling is possible right from the beach here, and without the risk of “fire corals”. The area behind the beach is developed with restaurants and hotels.

Yal Ku Lagoon. For the advanced snorkeler a great site is the  Yal ku Lagoon. This area is an exit point for freshwater that flows out to the ocean underground. This unique blend of waters attracts schools of fish and often acts as a nursery ward for new fish. It is more placid than Half Moon Bay, but one must be careful of the triggerfish found here. These territorial fish have a painful bite that could cause big bruises. Yal ku Lagoon is a unique snorkeling site that is not to be missed.

Tak Be Ha or Palace Of Hidden Wonders: This is one of Mexico’s most famous cenotes. The cool, fresh water in this cenote is so crystal-clear that snorkelers can see plenty of stalagmites, stalactites and other cave structures lower down in the cave.

Night snorkeling is also a regular feature at Akumal standard as many sea creatures are nocturnal. Most snorkelers in Akumal rent underwater flashlights and return to either Half Moon Bay’s reef or Yal Ku Lagoon at night where a highly experienced guide helps them look for elusive sea creatures.

Some lucky snorkelers can also spot the “Wall of Fish“, an unusual occurrence that Akumal is known for. ‘Wall of Fish’ is thousands of silver looking fish swimming in a dense circle that resembles a bagel. In the centre of this formation is usually a  barracuda.

Just so that you have a safe and a memorable snorkeling experience in Akumal, please remember the following steps:

  1. Ask at your hotel desk if they have complimentary or rental snorkeling gear. Most hotels in Akumal provide this service. If not, or if the rental seems expensive, you can rent a kit from some beach gear shop or kiosk.
  2. Study the surf before getting in the water and swimming out to the reef directly off Akumal Beach. The reef is as shallow as 5 feet in some places and even lesser at low tide. If the surf is up, consider snorkeling at some other place that day.
  3. Strap on your snorkeling mask, snorkel and fins, and swim off from the beach for roughly 100 yards, until you reach the reef.
  4. Maintain a safe distance from the part of the reef marked by buoys. This is the so-called “fire reef,” comprised mostly of bright red stinging corals. The stings are painful, and too many are potentially dangerous or even fatal.

Are there any secluded quiet beaches in Akumal?

Akumal or “place of the turtles” in the Mayan language is a small beach-front tourist resort community in Mexico. Tourists flock to this region to snorkel with turtles and relax on the serene beaches. The growing popularity of the region has been attracting crowd for quite some time now.

For those who want private and secluded options, there are still many options. The long stretch of pristine coastline line with palm trees makes way for beautiful spots to lounge in. the beaches get crowded during the holiday season however the southern part of the region remains empty comparatively.

Visitors can venture in Xcacel which lies ten minutes south of the Akumal bay and Xpu Ha located ten minutes away towards north for diving in cenotes. The region has such hidden natural marvels which can be easily accessed for quality fun time. As the heart of the town is more popular among tourists therefore it is bound to be the center of the attraction with huge inflow. Therefore treading on such offbeat tracks leads to nature in its most glorious form.

Feasibility of walk from Yak-ul lagoon to Akumal bay?

Akumal is the perfect diving and family destination in the heart of the Riviera Maya. The region has a stunning barrier reef, longest in the western hemisphere and one of the most elaborate coral structures on the planet. With such fabulous natural setting a walk would definitely cover the best of the area. One such visitor is interested in knowing about the feasibility of walking from Yak-ul lagoon to Akumal bay with two children. They want to take a taxi to the lagoon in early morning then walk to Akumal bay for turtle swim. They plan to take taxi on the way back to their resort.

Suggestions by fellow travelers agree that it is a good plan. There will be a quiet beach road with jungle for the most part of the walk. They can also catch a glimpse of the Half-moon bay along the way with a natural stopping point about halfway at La Buena Vida. There are also few access points to the ironshore sections of shoreline that are home to fossils and iguanas. For those on a short trip this isn’t available as walk it a bit time consuming. But for those with ample of time, a walk should be undertaken to experience the best of Akumal.