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

2014 Cancun North American Windsurfing Championships

cancun-windsurfing
Cancun is a hotbed of water adventure sports in Mexico. Tourists get to enjoy many activities such as snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing. In February, Cancun will host the 2014 Cancun North American Windsurfing Championships.

2014-cancun-north-american-windsurfing-championships

The tournament will be held from 20th to 23rd February 2014  at Puerto Cancun Marina, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

For more details contact http://puertocancunsailing.com/nawc/index.html

 

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

Top 8 Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

For all of those living in Playa del carmen or Cancun, Mexico seems to be a perfectly normal and safe place to live. But after news of drug related violence in the country in the recent years, a common question posted by travelers is: ‘Is Mexico a safe country to go to?’ The answer is yes, if you know where to go and do your research well. So before you dismiss a vacation to Mexico this year, take into account our list of the 8 top safest places to visit In Mexico (there are quite a few other contenders as well!), in terms of safety, charm and attractions. Also, none of these 8 Mexican getaways feature on the US State Department’s warning list.

Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Loaded with entertainment, plentiful cultural offerings, a bubbling street life, history and an year-round spring-like climate, there is no doubt that Mexico City is one of the most fascinating cities in the world! Twenty years ago, the city was regarded unsafe, but successive local surveillance, like a widespread presence of police and security cameras, has made it safe for residents and visitors. With an increasing population of over 8 million, Mexico City is considered to be the cultural, political as well as the financial capital of Mexico. The tourist attractions of this city are quite different than those offered by the country’s beach destinations. This ancient city has Aztec canals (Check about Xochimilco Cancun Park), pyramids, revived colonial buildings, elegant eateries and a whole lot more. The downtown area, known as Zocalo, is the best place to take in the historic sites and it gives you an idea of the essence of the city. Palacio Nacional (The Presidential Palace) lies on the east side of the Zocalo whereas the Catedral Metropolitana is located on the north. Government offices are located south whereas the west side of Zocalo is lined with jewelry shops and extravagant hotels. The streets are full of vendors selling all sorts of knick-knacks. A conventional Mexican night begins at 10pm, and keeping up with this tradition, Mexico City parties until the wee hours of the morning.

Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Though it encountered severe political disturbances in 2006, the city of Oaxaca has recovered completely and today is regarded as a safe area for travel. Oaxaca has the vivacious vibe of a small Mexican town coupled with a rich cultural history. Visitors can expect to be pleasantly surprised with the spontaneous fiestas on the streets. Oaxaca also offers stunning Pacific beaches with world-famous surfing opportunities, an acclaimed art scene, beautifully designed laurels and an interesting shopping scene. For some exceptional finds, head to the street markets of Oaxaca that sell everything from unique crafts and artwork to mouthwatering Oaxaca chocolate and mole sauces! The city also boasts of an impressive range of cuisine and accommodations, from classic and economical to contemporary and stylish.

Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

One of the safest and cleanest cities in Mexico, the colonial city of Merida is located four hours inland from Cancun. With its many hotels and restaurants, hidden courtyards, tropical gardens, cultural attractions and lively shopping scene, Merida is not just an underestimated additive to a beach vacation, but is a destination in its own right. The city looks and feels the best on weekends, when the historical center – a setting of 17th-century cathedrals made from Mayan bricks – shuts out all vehicles and transforms into this lively place with open-air stages, taco stands and much life. Merida is encircled by world-famous Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, which is 74 miles to its east, Uxmal, which is 50 miles southeast and Dzibilchaltun, which is just nine miles away.

Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Near the southern tip of Baja California, the tiny Mexican town of Todos Santos is a haven for surfing, fresh seafood and ravishing scenery along the Pacific Ocean. There are a good deal of places here to have a drink in a laid-back sort of a way, so enjoy your beer against the gorgeous setting of golden sand beaches and the serene, turquoise waters. A couple of hours from Cabo, this easygoing, little beach town also has a thriving art scene. With splendid beaches and tiny taco stands, Todos Santos is safely secluded from any sort of crime or violence negating the question, “Is Mexico safe?”. For your next Baja trip, if you wish to escape the crowds, live off the grid, have the most genuine experience, but still be on the beach, Todos Santos would be worth considering.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Located in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is a stunner, without any traces of drug violence. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, the magical town of San Miguel de Allende does not have gorgeous beaches like the other popular Mexican resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, or Los Cabos, but has that something to make tourists fall head over heels in love with it! So much so, that most visitors decide to revisit the place while many others plant to settle here permanently! No wonder then that expats contribute to 20 percent of the town’s population.

This irresistible city, famous for its rose-tinted turrets, is full of pretty guesthouses, handicraft shops, 17th-century churches and botanic gardens. San Miguel de Allende’s snug lifestyle, cobblestoned appeal, splendid restaurants, perfect weather, intriguing architecture and a healthy art scene make it extremely easy for newcomers to settle in also contribute to making vacationers have a fantastic time.

Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

A 2-hour drive from Mexico City is Puebla, a colonial wonder city, long known as one of the safest cities of the country. Loaded with cathedrals, monasteries, forts, battlefields and a magnificent museum displaying ancient artifacts, Puebla is famous for its culinary contributions and its ‘talavera’ pottery. History- lovers will be delighted to visit the city’s architectural marvels. The publicly accessible bell tower of Puebla Cathedral, at 226 feet, is the tallest bell tower in Mexico and is filled with historic frescoes and offers an extensive view of the city. Other colonial churches to visit in Pueblo’s center include the Temple of San Francisco and the Temple of Santo Domingo. Must-see museums include the Museo Amparo and the Museo Poblano de Arte Virreinal. (for more museums in Mexico, click here)

Playa del Carmen

Undeniably the most chic and popular spot on all of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is most famous for its beaches, shopping and nightlife. Quinta Avenida or the 5th Avenue is this touristy town’s main street and is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, take-away tacos and vendors selling souvenirs and knick-knacks. Just a short walk from the main beach, this area bounces back to life after sunset. You can dance the night away in one of Playa’s nightclubs, have a quiet drink in one of the lounges, bargain with the vendors or just stroll around doing some people watching. The reefs of this town are excellent, and offer good diving and snorkeling opportunities. The town is conveniently located and allows easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Coba and other praiseworthy destinations.

Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

A small and safe colonial city with a thriving cultural scene, Guanajuato is brimming with character. 30 minutes from León’s Bajio Airport, Guanajuata is a ravishing hill town featuring magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, brightly colored homes on steep hillsides and tree-lined plazas. This city is best known for its Festival Cervantino – a 3-week long international arts festival held every October, featuring world-class opera, music, dance, theatre, orchestras, mariachis, street performance, visual art and films. Another must-see in Guanjuato is the Museo de las Mumias, a museum at the city cemetery, which exhibits approximately 100 mummies.

Photos: flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/8772009444/
flickr.com/photos/danielmlove/4819181287/player/
flickr.com/photos/graeme/6060304616/in/photostream/player/
flickr.com/photos/philipgibbs/5064423372/player/
flickr.com/photos/esparta/1930081801/player/
flickr.com/photos/robphoto/2605144877/player/

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:
cenote-diving-akumal-real-estate

What’s It Like To Live And Retire In Cancun, Mexico?

Recently I came across a blog post, where a retiree has summed up his experiences of living in Cancun, Mexico. The couple has been living in Cancun for 6 years now and their perspective is very valuable for those who are still on the fence regarding retiring to Cancun, Mexico. Tom Price has written beautifully about Cancun, its highlights, features and infrastructure. This is by all means a very valuable resource as it is a first-hand account.
Here are the main points of the article:

    1. Cancun has all amenities comparable to that in USA.
    2. Cancun has an excellent public transport system.
    3. Cancun has Walmart, Sams Club, Costoco, City Club, Home Depot, Grease Monkey, Superama, Mega, AutoZone and Plaza Las Americas.
    4. No dearth of sports arenas: local “Triple-A” baseball park and soccer stadium and water sports.
    5. Immigration facilities are quick and efficient.
    6. Cancun has an inexpensive, comprehensive and world class medical care system.
    7. Cancun has a rich social life. There are many clubs and Cancun has a cosmopolitan look about it.
    8. One can indulge in snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and boating in waters around Cancun, Akumal, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres.
    9. Lots of restaurants serving local and international cuisines.
    10. Mexicans are warm and friendly. Life in Cancun is full of fun, festivities and is peaceful and secure.

As you may have guessed all these characteristics of Cancun make it an excellent retirement destination for Americans and Canadians.

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 https://www.facebook.com/CEA.AKUMAL

———————————————————————————————————————–

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

IOwnAkumal.com 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.