by Laura Bush Wolfe (June 2014)
With links to videos by Sac-Be.com

You may have heard about Akumal, the place of the turtles. Akumal was the first area developed for tourism along the Riviera Maya coastline and began long before Cancun even existed.

Back in the day, until the highway was built, the only way to get to Akumal was by boat from Cozumel. I know these little-known facts, because I have been visiting Akumal for 50 years and living here full time for 30.
Most people know it as a place to visit just for the day, to hang out at the beach, take your cooler and your umbrella, and swim and snorkel with the turtles. Others are familiar with it because they took a tour to swim with the turtles, returning to their hotel without really getting to know Akumal as a destination.

You cannot experience the real Akumal unless you stay overnight, and once you have, you will know why. Itís about the early morning walks on an empty beach, the sun rising over the Caribbean and the peaceful breakfast you can enjoy overlooking the bay at Lol-Ha Restaurant, before the day trippers even show up. In the evenings, itís about the beautiful sunsets viewed from the point, flanked by cannons recovered from Spanish galleons in the 1960s, and the strolls on the beach under a sky full of stars, or the silvery moonlight shining over the bay.

Itís about staying in a room that overlooks the bay, or that is just steps away from the beach, and not having to use your car. Itís about having your own private beach palapa and loungers, reading, napping, swimming, and yes, snorkeling with the turtles! To enjoy the turtles you donít have to be part of an organized tour. Just watch our video on safe snorkeling with turtles, collect the proper equipment from our dive center, and if you really feel you need some guidance, take one of our certified local guides.

Akumal cannot be fully experienced with just a quick tour and ultimately our local economy cannot thrive on this type of tourism. We need guests to enjoy everything that we have to offer: accommodation, restaurants, stores, galleries and services. We have it all, for every budget and every taste.

In the last few years, we have seen an influx of commercial tour companies that offer very little benefit to Akumal, introducing mass tourism with day trips that are unregulated, unsustainable, and do not adhere to our Community Bay Management Plan. There is a limit to what the bay can handle and our ecosystem is now in serious peril because of this type of tourism.

So the next time you plan a trip to Akumal, remember that the real Akumal experience can only be appreciated with an overnight stay, and thatís the little known secret! Check out some more video.

Akumal Bay