Akumal is a beautiful little town situated in the middle of Playa del Carmen and Tulum in Mexico! This amazing place 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 some places 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 can be even more crowded. However, there is a way to totally avoid the crowds, and enjoy Akumal the local way!
You can access Akumal extremely easily, whether using public transport or your own car.
Car Simply hop onto the highway from Playa del Carmen and head towards Tulum, after around 15 minutes you will see the entrance to Akumal on your left. Another 2 minute drive and you will reach the one and only available car parking on your right hand side, the price is $50 Mexican Pesos a day.
Taxi The most expensive, but definitely the most relaxing way of getting to Akumal is via taxi. You can hail a cab from anywhere in Playa del Carmen or can have your hotel call one to reception for you. It will take the same time as a car to reach Akumal, but you can expect to pay $250+ each way, depending on the nature of your driver.
Colectivo The most popular, and cheapest way of getting to Akumal is using the public transport, vans called Colectivos. You can jump on one of these air-conditioned bad boys at Calle 2 with Avenida 15 in Playa Del Carmen, and they will take you to your destination for only $25MXN per person!
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. Rental of full gear; snorkel, fins and life-vest, will set you back around $200MXN. Once you get onto the beach just keep on walking… they will tell you that you need to stay within a collection of colored 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
Any walk away from the small town center will be accompanied by beautiful smelling flowers, local dog walkers and never ending jungle. However, a secret little gem only the locals know about, is a quiet little stretch of shore line, to the left of the main town square. It has a large collection of rock pools and panoramic views of the ocean, making it the perfect 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.
Later in the afternoon Akumal comes alive with bustling stores and local artisan markets, where you can find anything from glistening jewellery to hand crafted pottery. This beach town is also known for its locally made ice cream and Gelato, the perfect way to stay cool while enjoying a little shopping.
Where to Eat
After a long day of swimming and walking around there’s nothing better than scoffing down a tasty meal and a cerveza or two, and believe me, there’s no better place to do that than 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!
If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids busy while you sip quietly on a margarita, then you’ll love the crows nest tables made especially for kids! They can climb up the ladder to eat in their very own palm-tree house, and for added fun, their food is lifted up to them on a rope pully system.
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.
*Fern is one of our guest bloggers and was born in the UK. She travels all around the world and is currently living in Mexico. You can read more of her stories on www.thesaltyfern.com.