1st Annual Lionfish Challenge Akumal On May 18th, 2014

Wondering how to have loads of fun and save the local ecology at the same time? Try Lionfish Challenge in Akumal. On May 18th, 2014 Lionfish challenge will be held in which teams will go out to the sea to hunt Lionfishes. The teams have to turn in their catch at 4.00 pm at the Akumal Dive Center. The judegs will then weigh and measure to declare the winner of the hunt. Same evening, Lol Ha Beach bar will host a free Lionfish Tasting.

1st Annual Lionfish Challenge Akumal On May 18th, 2014

1st Annual Lionfish Challenge Akumal On May 18th, 2014

If you are an experienced Lionfish hunter and would like to register your team or find a team to join, email CEA Akumal at info@ceaakumal.org or call 52 (984) 875 9095. A complete listing of rules and regulations can be found here on the Akumal Lionfish Challenge Facebook event page.

The sole motive of organizing this hunt is more serious than fun. Lionfish is not indigenous to the Caribbean Sea. They were probably introduced by someone or swept in by the hurricanes in Florida. They are normally found in the Indo-Pacific or tropical reefs of the South Pacific Ocean. Although beautiful, these fishes are quite harmful to the coral reefs of Akumal. Lionfish is a predator and sit at the top of the food chain with no enemy to restrain their population. Since they are voracious eaters they are the foremost reason for the depletion of reef fish, lobsters, snapper etc. Lionfish proliferate quickly overwhelming the other marine species.

Thus to ensure that Akumal’s famed coral reef survives this onslaught, the Annual Lionfish Challenge is being held. This way not only Lionfish population is restricted, you also get to enjoy the lip-smacking lionfish dishes.

2014 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Beaches in Mexico, Akumal On The Second Spot

2014 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Beaches in Mexico, Akumal On The Second Spot

2014 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Beaches in Mexico, Akumal On The Second Spot

Akumal is truly a gem in Mexico’s 10,000 kilometers of coastline. Situated 62 miles south of Cancun, halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the charming and picturesque little town of Akumal features some of the most stunning beaches on the planet.

Akumal Beach on the 2nd Spot

It does not come as a surprise then, that recently, when the popular travel website, TripAdvisor announced the results of the 2014 Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Poll for Top 10 Beaches in Mexico, Akumal was featured on the second spot!

After conducting surveys based on millions of reviews, TripAdvisor finally came up with the following list for the Top 10 Beaches In Mexico:

  1. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
  2. Akumal Beach, Akumal
  3. Playa del Amor, Cabo San Lucas
  4. Chileno Beach, Cabo San Lucas
  5. Playa Zicatela, Puerto Escondido
  6. Balandra Beach, La Paz
  7. Playa Delfines, Cancún
  8. Nuevo Vallarta Beach, Riviera Nayarit
  9. Paradise Beach, Cozumel
  10. Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo

As opposed to some of the other Riviera Mayas beach destinations, the waters around Akumal beach are comparatively clearer and feature healthy coral reefs that make for some fantastic snorkeling sites. In Half Moon Bay and Yal Ku Lagoon, snorkelers can find a plethora of underwater adventure. Snorkeling gear is easily available on hire at the Akumal Dive Shop, located at the main road while entering Akumal.

A wide expanse of Akumal’s magnificent beaches surrounds “Las Bahias de Akumal” – a string of five bays. Starting with North Akumal Beach and ending at Aventuras Akumal to the south, all of these bays are fantastic for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, diving and beach combing.

Akumal or the “Land of the Turtles” is one of the favored spots for sea turtles to lay their eggs. These turtles can be spotted on Half Moon Bay between the months of May and November.

Once a secret, the peaceful town of Akumal, with its white sand beaches on the warm blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, has today emerged as a popular beach destination in the Riviera Maya and is perfectly suited for those who are on a lookout for an unhurried Mexican beach vacation that still has plenty of activities to offer.

This photo of Akumal Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Is a Snorkel Guide Mandatory In Akumal?

Is a Snorkel Guide Mandatory In Akumal?

Is a Snorkel Guide Mandatory In Akumal?

Recently someone posted a question on TripAdvisor asking about what all is required to snorkel in Akumal Bay. Though this traveler has visited Akumal twice in the past he needs to know about the current snorkel situation there as he has heard that now it is compulsory to get a snorkel guide in Akumal Bay. Also, he will be carrying his own snorkeling equipment but has been told that there are guys on the beach checking wristbands that are given out to snorkelers from the dive shop. Does all this information hold true?

In response to this query, here is what some experienced travelers had to say about snorkel guide in Akumal

It is not necessary to hire a guide for your snorkeling adventure in the Akumal Bay. It could be that some pushy guides are spreading this information in order to sell their services. If you are not carrying your snorkeling gear with you, you can rent it in from the dive shop. Over the last few years Akumal has rapidly emerged as a popular snorkeling destination and has drawn visitors from all across the world. Unfortunately, some of these visitors disregard the natural environment of the area causing damage to the corals and turtles. In order to put an end to this situation and get more control over the area, the authorities adopted certain precautionary measures but those are hardly being enforced. Even today, you do not need a snorkel guide in Akumal Bay nor are the wristbands compulsory to snorkel in Akumal Bay.

Due to over-crowding and large scale snorkeling endangering the coral reef and turtles, certain restrictions were placed by CEA. Nevertheless, Akumal is still is the destination of choice for snorkeling for people from all over the world. IOwnAkumal.com appeals to all snorkelers to be more respectful of the nature’s bounty and treat it with the care it deserves. This way. Akumal Bay and its marine wildlife will be conserved for our future generations.

Photo courtesy: https://flic.kr/p/aEZVKT

Top Five Travel Tips for Cancun Spring Break 2014

Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014

Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014

Cancun Spring Break is a heady time in Mexico. Thousands of students from USA descend to Cancun and spill over to Playa del Carmen & Akumal in search of beach, sand and unlimited fun. But alcohol, youthful exuberance, crowds and a foreign land doesn’t mix well. The result is that we read quite a few cases of students  getting in to trouble. Usually Cancun is quite safe for foreigners but being aware and smart is always recommended.

To prevent such unwelcome situations, US State  department has issued a press release – Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014. (http://1.usa.gov/1kmp1OR)

Here is the complete list

For some college students, Spring Break is a time to bask in the Caribbean sun. Some use their respite from classes to volunteer in a foreign country. Others venture across the Atlantic to embark upon a European adventure or to visit friends studying abroad. Regardless of the destination, the U.S. Department of State encourages students to follow our tips for traveling abroad:

  • Avoid underage and excessive alcohol consumption. “Overdoing it” can lead to an arrest, accident, violent crime, or death.
  • Obey all local laws, and remember they might be different from our own. Don’t carry or use drugs, as this can result in severe penalties. Don’t carry weapons either—some countries have strict laws, and even possessing something as small as a pocketknife or a single bullet can get you into legal trouble.
  • Before you leave for your trip, learn as much as possible about your destination at our website dedicated to student travelers: studentsabroad.state.gov. Here, you can find out about entry requirements, crime, health precautions, and road conditions.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program keeps students up-to-date with important safety and security announcements, such as Travel WarningsTravel Alerts, and security messages.
  • Keep in touch with your parents. If you will be without Internet or phone service for a few days, let them know. We receive many calls from parents who fear the worst when they have not heard from their children. In most cases, their child is fine, but has been too busy to check in.

Of course, even well-prepared travelers may face an emergency, like a lost passport or an injury. In those cases, our embassies and consulates are available to help 24/7. Be sure to write down the contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination country.

Members of the media who wish to speak about Spring Break travel tips with an official from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs are encouraged to contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov.

Been To Akumal? Now Try These 5 Snorkeling Spots In Mexico

Akumal Snorkeling

Photo compliments of photographer Micheal Hall

5 Great, Must-See Snorkeling Destinations In Mexico (Other than Akumal) – Dive on in!

From green sea turtles to moray eels, anemones to manta rays, the waters off Mexico’s vast shoreline offer its visitors more than enough terrific snorkeling sites. Akumal is of course the best place to snorkel but you have few more choices in Mexico.

The best part about snorkeling is that it does not involve any specialized training or pricey equipment. With some basic swimming skills, you are qualified to begin your underwater adventure in one of these excellent Snorkeling Spots in Mexico:

Snorkeling In Cozumel, Mexico

The island of Cozumel is one of Mexico’s superior snorkeling destinations. Cozumel is globally renowned for its high-quality diving, and on many of its shallower dive sites, snorkelers can see plenty of corals and sea life from the surface because of its crystal-clear waters with a 100-foot visibility! 200 yards from west-central Cozumel, Paradise Reef is brimming with sea life, along with spotted moray eels and seahorses. The colorful corals of this 20-40 feet deep reef are intersected by sandy channels and surrounded by eelgrass. A good way to access it is on a boat snorkeling trip. The Cardona Reef, with a depth of 25-40 feet and mild currents, also makes for a superb snorkeling site. Adorned with big coral heads and interjected by rock and coral overhangs, this reef is a haven for snapper, glasseye and cardinal fish. Another popular snorkeling site in Cozumel is Dzul Ha, which is 10-15 feet deep. The area is inhabited by lots of lobsters and crabs, along with camouflaged sand rays, flounder, and parrot fish.

Snorkeling In Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Located eight miles off the coast from Cancun, the island of Isla Mujeres offers snorkelers a rainbow of Caribbean sea life and corals, as well as an occasional lucky chance to see some of the largest fish in the sea. The reefs off Isla Mujeres are packed with a diversity of marine life, such as moray eels, schools of blue tang, angelfish, crabs, snapper and amberjack. In Isla Mujeres, visitors can also snorkel with the whale sharks. Between June and September each year, whale sharks and manta rays migrate into the waters off Isla Mujeres. These colossal sea creatures come to the area to feed on plankton and fish eggs, and hence are calm and safe to snorkel with. Built opposite the prime tract of the island’s coral reef, the Garrafon Reef Park is the centre for shore snorkeling in Isla Mujeres. Visitors can also opt for snorkeling boat tours to visit sites that are difficult to reach from the shore, such as Los Manchones and El Farito. Another snorkeling attraction in Isla Mujeres is the Underwater Museum of Art. Note Of Warning: The bull shark is also sometimes spotted in the waters of Isla Mujeres. This aggressive creature is a known to be a man-eater, so snorkelers should move out of the water if they see an 8- to 10-foot long shark with a blunt snout.

Snorkeling In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A resort town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta’s beaches and offshore islands feature the clear waters and marine life that make for some exciting snorkeling sites. Shore snorkeling sites are accessible to independent snorkelers and do not require joining a tour. Majahuitas is a covered cove with a beach, which can be accessed by land. But some of the best snorkeling sites in Puerto Vallarta can be found around the islands in the Bay of Banderas, as the reefs here are overflowing with marine life such as puffer fish, damsels, noisy parrotfish, plus lobsters and octopi hiding in the corners, holes and gaps which are lined by corals. Snorkelers will also see soaring eagle rays and mysterious sea turtles and might even have a close encounter with dolphins. The lucky ones may even be able to spot a humpback whale. Playa El Anclote, on the north end of the Bay of Banderas, is a popular snorkeling beach.

Snorkeling In Manzanillo, Mexico

Situated along the Pacific Ocean, Manzanillo is a port city in the Mexican state of Colima. Most of the distinguished scuba diving locations that Manzanillo is noted for also make excellent places to snorkel. From healthy hard-coral reefs and warm water marine life in the sheltered waters of Santiago Bay, to alluring wild creatures making merry in the warm water of Elephant Rock, Manzanillo always has something exciting to offer to even the most experienced snorkelers. Tourists throng to the three primary beach zones of the area – Playa Salagua, Playa Azul and Playa las Brisas. The beaches on the nearest bay alongside to downtown Manzanillo also have ideal conditions for snorkeling.

Snorkeling In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is regarded as the snorkeling, scuba diving and sport-fishing capital of the world. The neighboring waters of the Sea of Cortez have plenty to offer, including, underwater canyons, the only living coral reef in western North America, a submerged ship, and an array of marine life like sharks, swordfish, manta rays and around 350 other sea creatures. Bahia Santa Maria, located in a horseshoe-shaped cove, is quite a popular snorkeling site. Santa Maria Bay, a natural marine park, is also a superb site and snorkelers will be able to see the famous Los Cabos Arch, Lover’s Beach and the various rock formations. The open-style catamarans render a solid and unruffled sailing experience on the Bay of San Lucas.

3rd Annual Akumal Comedy Festival, 2014 Schedule Announced

3rd Annual Akumal Comedy Festival, 2014 Schedule Announced

3rd Annual Akumal Comedy Festival, 2014 Schedule Announced

The schedule for the 3rd Akumal Comedy Festival, 2014 has been announced. Be a part of this three day laugh fest and contribute to the Red Cross. Charity can be fun!

Tuesday – April 29, 2014

Tulum– 8pm – 50 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
Mateos Mexican Grill – Tulum Beach Road South

Wednesday – April 30, 2014

Playa del Carmen – 8pm – 200 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
Wah Wah Beach Bar in Playa Del Carmen

Thursday – May 1, 2014

Akumal Center – 8pm – 50 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
The Plaza Ukana Grateful Dead Stage

North Akumal – 10pm – 50 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
La Buena Vida late night show *Adult Content 18+

Friday – May 2, 2014

Akumal Center – 8pm – 50 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
The Plaza Ukana Grateful Dead Stage

North Akumal – 10pm – 50 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
La Buena Vida late night show *Adult Content 18+

Saturday – May 3, 2014

Akumal Pueblo – Closing ceremony y comedia en espanol – 7pm – free show / gratis
Akumal Pueblo Cancha (Basketball court)

North Akumal – Best of the fest show – 10pm – 100 peso donation at the door (goes directly to the Red Cross)
La Buena Vida late night show *Adult Content 18+


Akumal Swimming With Turtles For Free?

Akumal – Swimming With Turtles For Free?
Recently someone posted a question on Tripadvisor asking if it is possible to take a taxi to Akumal, pay the entrance fee to the park, and then swim with the turtles for free i.e. without booking an organized tour?

In reply to this, here’s what some travelers had to say:

It is not necessary to book an organized tour, you can just do your own thing. Take a taxi and head out to Akumal Beach. The beach is a short walking distance (2-3 minutes) from where you get off the taxi. If you are not carrying your own beach towels, you can rent in loungers and chairs available on the beach. There are also two dive shops (the one nearest to the beach is just next to the Lol-Ha Restaurant) from where you can rent snorkeling equipment, lockers, life jackets etc. for roughly USD 18. No experience or tour guide is necessary. There are a surprising number of giant sea turtles feeding off the grasses in this beach area. Simply wade out in the water, follow the groups and the turtles are everywhere. Bring an underwater camera to get some great clicks and later have a yummy meal right on the beach at the reasonably priced Lol-ha restaurant.

Photo of Swimming With Turtles:http://olanina.com/2013/04/27/swim-with-turtles-in-tullum-mexico/

Snorkeling With Turtles – Akumal

Akumal is famous for snorkeling and turtles. Here is a breathtaking video of snorkeling with turtles.

Akumal Beach Mexico Snorkeling with turtles from kitesurfvacation.com

In Pics: Cenote Diving in Akumal

Akumal is famous for its snorkeling and Cenotes. Stumbled upon a thread on http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/cave-diving/473487-back-mexico.html.

See the surreal pic to get an idea of how exciting Cenore cave diving is:

Tulum Vs. Akumal

A reader posted on TripAdvisor with a query regarding Tulum and Akumal. She will be visiting Riviera Maya with her family and is very excited about beach, Mayan ruins, Mexican culture and food. She plans to preferably rent a beachfront home in Akumal or Tulum but wants something non-touristy. She is still unsure about the differences between Akumal and Tulum. While she prefers Akumal region, she is also very attracted by Tulum’s varied food options. She wanted more information regarding snorkeling, beaches, waves and look & feel of the areas.

The other posters answered with very informative and detailed information which we will summarize for the benefit of our readers.

Tulum has excellent wide, white sandy beaches which stretch for miles. There are big waves and the water is turquoise blue. Tulum’s beaches are one of the best in the world. There are no rocks or turtle grass underwater. Walking on beach is a great idea. Downer is that, Tulum lacks big resorts. It has only small hotels and pricey boutique hotels. The food options are many but that too are bit on the expensive side. If you are Tulum, you can then explore Sian Kaan Biosphere which has a beautiful beach. Tulum Pueblo is many kilometers inland and has more local flavor.

Akumal is perfect for snorkeling as the water there is calm. The reef is nearby. The general look and feel of Akumal is pretty much laidback though it is definitely touristy. There are many hotels in Akumal – Akumal Beach Resort & Hotel Akumal Caribe, Bahia. Akumal also doesn’t lag behind when it comes to restaurants (Check out now eating joint in Akumal) but the options are suitable to American palates.

src: http://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g150813-i155-k7079002-Please_compare_Tulum_Akumal_beach_food_local_feel-Tulum_Yucatan_Peninsula.html