In the first edition of the brand new ‘Day Trip to’ series I’m taking you to Akumal, a beautiful little town situated in the middle of Playa del Carmen and Tulum!
Akumal is best know for it’s white sand beaches, turtle conservation program and it’s rich marine life, making it a favourite with both sun seekers and avid divers alike.
The only problem with this lovely little beach town attracting so many visitors is the fact that it’s very rapidly becoming overcrowded. In just a year it’s quaint, small town charm has changed into that of a mainstream water park in the height of summer. There is very little space left on the beaches now that a brand new hotel and condo complex opened earlier this year, and the waters are even more crowded.
I remember the first time I went to Akumal, just over two years ago. I was one of the only people on the serene beach, and finding a place to eat meant walking a good 20 minutes away from the main snorkelling areas, to one of the small restaurants. With the introduction of an OXXO (big convenience store chain in Mexico) late last year, I’m dreading the inevitable opening of a Shopping Mall and McDonnald’s.
Having said all that, there is a way to do Akumal right! You can truly avoid the crowds and never ending hoards of snorkelling tours if you do it the locals way.
Contrary to what the multiple Mexican boys will tell you as you enter to the beach in Akumal, you don’t need to rent the full equipment, watch a video or pay for a tour to enter the water. If you need some gear, by all means rent it there but wait until you’re on the beach, at the official dive centre palapa, to rent it for the fairest price.
Once you get onto the beach just keep on walking… they will tell you that you need to stay within a collection of coloured buoys to see the turtles or any of the reef but that’s simply not true! Of course the turtles will be where the people aren’t and, under the conservation act, they can’t promote people to enter the water where the coral grows. I found that a little ways down the shore, before you hit the new condos and hotel, that’s the sweet spot. You’ll find little to no tourists in the water and tonnes of marine life!
Out of The Water
Another great, quiet spot is a little stretch of shore line, to the left of the main town square, with a collection of rock pools and panoramic views of the ocean. I visit this area every time I’m in Akumal and I’ve never seen another person there, a great place to explore! The rock pools in summer get big enough to sit in like a large jacuzzi, and in winter are full of life.
Any walk away from the small town centre will be accompanied by beautiful smelling flowers, local dog walkers and never ending jungle. Akumal is a truly beautiful place to spend the afternoon just wandering around, visiting the local stalls and eating the locally made ice cream.
After a long day of swimming and walking around theres nothing better than scoffing down a tasty meal and a cerveza or two. This is the only place I’ll recommend going in Akumal that’s always full of people… the restaurant La Buena Vida. This place is always busy for a reason! Not only does it have reasonable priced meals, that cater to every taste, but it also boasts some of the most amazing views of the ocean, has it’s own pool and a hammock garden!
I never miss an opportunity to eat, or even just drink, in this beautiful place! It’s so full of life and colour, and has a truly unique concept that matches perfectly the flow and vibe of Akumal.
You can watch my ‘Day Trip to Akumal’ in my vlog here!
If you’ve ever visited Akumal then please let me know what you thought, and your favourite places to see, in the comments below.
Stay Salty x