4 Reasons Why You Need to Go Snorkeling at Akumal Bay
IT’S TURTLE TIIIIIME!!! Snorkeling at Akumal Bay was at the top of my list for things to do on the Mexican Quintanaroo coast and it turned out to be better than anything I had dreamed up in my head. Here’s why:
- It’s Free.
Yes you read that right. Free. You cheapskate backpackers (it’s ok, that’s all of us) can get what is essentially an incredible experience for the price of ‘on the house’. But it’s not that simple – it depends on what time you go there, otherwise your fun, nature-loving adventure might be disrupted by a man in a boat trying to corral you back to the shore to pay for a tour. So what’s the key? Go early. And I’m not talking 8 or 9 AM, I mean sparrow’s fart, early bird gets the worm, 6 AM kind of early. There’s been word of scammers who try to charge you $50 USD to enter the beach, ignore them and keep walking – this is not a thing!
This way you will be able to walk onto the beach and start snorkeling without being hassled by tour operators. By the time I had left the beach at about 8:30 ish they were already set up and throwing pamphlets in the faces of latecomers. If you’re concerned about not having the tour guides inside info for finding turtles you need not worry! If you enter the water from directly in front of the hotel you will come across heaps of them, I think I counted 6 or 7 different turtles in the water!
- The Beach
Akumal Bay is such a pretty beach and the best bit about it? It’s often super quiet in the early morning, only populated with the morning shift hotel staff who keep the beach pristine. For about an hour we had the beach (and the turtles) to ourselves, and together with perfect conditions meant for some epic drone flying! Naturally as the day goes on you will be sharing it with the hotel goers and fellow day-trippers but even still there is so much beach that it won’t feel as crowded as Playa del Carmen. I also read somewhere that using fins isn’t allowed because it destroys the sea grass when amateur snorkelers stand or kick up the sand – fair enough, best not to draw attention to yourself!
- It’s Easy to Get To
Situated smack bang in between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, snorkeling at Akumal Bay is such an easy day trip. The cheapest way (may as well keep that the theme) is to catch a collectivo along the main highway where you’ll be dropped off. Then it’s just a short walk from there to the beach. If you have your own transport that’s even better, so you can get there as early as possible. There is parking for a small fee, well worth it if you can get there for sunrise.
How could you not love turtles? The turtle comes third in my top 5 favourite marine animals just behind manta rays and whale sharks, they’re so graceful when swimming along, fairly harmless in terms of aggression and look beautiful! It goes without saying that you SHOULD NOT touch them, leave them alone and they will keep coming to the beach. That being said, they seemed to be almost unaware of our presence and didn’t mind if you free-dive down to get a closer look. Just have a look at the video below, they’re perfectly happy with snorkelers swimming beside them!