Snorkeling with Sea Turtles, Akumal

Sea turtle nest in Akumal

One of the most common things to do while visiting Playa del Carmen is to leave Playa del Carmen. Excursions are as common as the stray dogs roaming the street.

So, of course we went to Akumal.

Akumal is a tiny town 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen that is famous for one thing: snorkeling with sea turtles. 

Getting to Akumal was an adventure! Eventually we found the right “collectivo”, which is what the public transportation is called here. It cost 35 pesos/person one way to get to Akumal. Our driver paid no heed to the speed limit, whizzing past all the other vehicles on the road. 

Finding a beach spot in Akumal

Two guys from our hostel went with us.

Once we arrived, we were corralled into an “orientation” to the beach where they told us where we could snorkel for free and where the guide would take us if we hired one. It was a bit of a racket. We were told that without a guide and without renting life vests, we could only go 10 feet from shore, and we wouldn’t see any of the turtles.

We ignored all of the orientation information.  


No one stopped us from swimming farther out. Ha.

I saw two sea turtles, a sting ray, and several varieties of fish. It was amazing how close I was able to get to the sea turtles, who were just munching on some lunch along the bottom of the sea. 

We were really glad we said no to the silly life vests. 

Life jackets in Akumal

Akumal construction

Cat in Akumal

On our way back to Playa del Carmen, our collectivo driver got pulled over by the police just a few blocks from our stop. I’m unsure as to what happened exactly, but I think it may because one of the passengers got out of the van in the middle of the street. I felt bad for our driver, who did his best to get out of the ticket. No luck. 

Snorkeling with the sea turtles in Akumal was a novel experience. If you find yourself in Playa del Carmen, it is worth the 70 peso round trip bus ride to check it out. 

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1 Response

  1. Krissy says:

    I’m having fun catching up on your posts! They are bringing back some Mexico memories for me (I went in 2002 and fell in love with the Yucatan Peninsula).

    You are right on about the driving there! I remember that proper driving was going full speed on a one lane highway and if someone was tailgating you, it was protocol for you to drive on the shoulder until they passed you. Super scary!!