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
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.