Akumal is a tiny town north of Tulum towards Playa Del Carmen. The name ‘Akumal’ means ‘land of turtles’ in Mayan, which is pretty appropriate seeing as snorkelling with said turtles is the number one thing to do there.
One afternoon in Tulum we randomly decided to jump into a collectivo (public minivan) and head to Akumal Bay. It was an excellent choice. Swimming with sea turtles was a pretty magical experience.
The regulations on snorkelling at Akumal Bay are pretty strict in order to protect the wildlife. I’m not sure if it’s illegal to go without a guide or if the tour operators just tell you that, but we ended up in a tour group. This turned out to be ok because the guide took us around for an hour, then we were able to keep the snorkel gear for another hour and a half and explore by ourselves.
We swam out onto a huge patch of sea grass and it wasn’t long before we saw our first turtle, munching away on the grass.
Every so often the turtles would come up for air right next to you. It was amazing to see them so close. They clearly aren’t scared of tourists.
We also saw heaps of sting rays but the photos didn’t come out very well. The visibility wasn’t that great, hence all the varying shades of blue in these photos! The sun and depth of water is also playing around with the colours.
I was pleased I managed to snap a turtle selfie!
We took many photos trying to get a perfect pic with a turtle.
I should mention that these photos are very zoomed in, we didn’t want to crowd the turtles.
We also saw fish and coral, but nothing as exciting as the turtles. I could have watched them for hours.