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Snorkeling the Reef at Akumal Beach

Location: absolutely perfect. The crowds, the water, the reef, magic!
Queer Rating: friendly
Beach: White sand beach leads to a coral reef with lots of colorful coral, fish, turtles and rays.

Swim With Sea turtles and More at Akumal Beach

Do a Google search for “top places to Snorkel” there will be a number of lists that speak of great reefs and blue waters to snorkel. There are literally pages of articles about where to go for great snorkelling. Akumal Beach, is a part of the Mesoamerican or Great Maya Reef, is located just North of Tulum/South of Playa del Carmen,  in the Riviera Maya.

When you arrive in Akumel (travel there from any of the many all inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya resort for less then $20 USD) head to the Akumal Dive Shop. Here you can decide if you want to rent equipment or do a group tour with the dive shop. The other option especially if you have your own equipment, is to go by yourself (life jacket required) or use a guide (life jackets provided with guide for $12 per person).  When you use the guide you can also go out to the deeper reef areas. Here you will see more of the reef’s inhabitants.

Rules are strictly enfoced. Our guide shouted at a few unvested swimmers to head back into the shallows. Paddleboarders were also in the water keeping charge.

The Underwater Adventure

Three species of turtles call Akumal home, the Leatherback turtle, the Loggerhead turtle and of course the Greenback Sea turtle.  While out on the reef I have seen the Logger and Green. I have yet to see a Leatherback. Generally you will see a turthle as soon as you are swimming over the sea grass. The turtles here  range in size. One about a meter wide swam along side of me as swam down to get closer pics.

The Turtles here are protected. Each spring they are known to return back to the beach to lay eggs. Part of the reason there are strict rules to snorkeling this reef is the ecological protection of the region for the rebirth of the reef and the turtle population.  Several sections of the reef are dead, all that remains is broken coral.

In addition to the turtles, the reef is alive with lots of other sea creatures. I believe by far my favorite is the spotted eagle ray! In general I am a fan of rays, the grace and beauty in the way they almost fly through the water. I followed one for some time just watching it move across the sand bottom.

I suggest if you are planning a trip to the Riviera Maya, you make a point to visit Akumal Beach. It is an adventure worth having. Beautiful beach, gorgeous underwater life and an eco-tourism pholosophy.

Have you snorkeled in Akumal, post a pic or leave a comment!