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Akumal is located just one hour and ten minutes (100km or 62 miles) south of Cancun on the Caribbean coast of Mexico on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. International visitors can fly into Cancun Airport and then transfer by bus or car, some of the hotels and dive schools in Akumal offer free shuttles. Although unless you plan on staying in Akumal for your entire stay a car or taxi will be needed to get around the colectivo vans which can be hailed from the roadside are popular.
The temperatures in Akumal range around 80 degree during September to April and during the rest of the year you can expect 90 degree temperatures. Although during the winter season the evenings are a little cooler. There is a gentle sea breeze from the nearby Caribbean.
Its most spectacular attraction are the turtles. In fact Akumal means place of the turtles in the Mayan language. Akumal is noted for its sea turtles, which are an endangered species. They lay eggs on the beaches at night all through their nesting season which runs from the end of April to October and can also be seen swimming close to the main beach during the day. The egg hatching season runs from June to November, somewhat hazardously coinciding with hurricane season. There is also a well established population of green turtles in the area.
Still relatively undiscovered Akumal and remaining a unique treasure in the area, it revels in its natural beauty and seeks to preserve this environment. The Centro Ecoloico de Akumal is a non-profit group dedicated to environmental marine research and education. The centre along with other groups such as the local hotels and the dive shops works with government authorities to run a management programme for the area which tries to protect the young sea turtles as they hatch as well as the delicate coral species in the bays of Akumal.
The area itself is made up of a small community (its population is estimated to be a little over 1,100 people) with white sandy beaches, tropical seas and a general feeling of paradise! It has in essence three separate bays Half Moon Bay, Greater Akumal Bay and Aventuras Akumal Bay as well as the gentle Yal-Ku Lagoon (perfect for family swimming). Fringed by numerous tropical reefs with calm clear waters it offers spectacular conditions for snorkelling and diving.
The community was originally founded as a community for scuba divers. The reef did suffer some damage from Hurricane Wilma but the snorkelling still remains a standout activity - indeed it is one of the best locations on the Yucatan Peninsula. The local dive shops can provide all the guidance, tuition and equipment that you will need.
Although relatively under developed there are still many facilities for tourists including beach bars, restaurants, hotels and a variety of shops all within easy walking distance. The range of shops covers the basics but this is not the main attraction of the area. Besides the snorkelling there are other water sports and fishing on offer. It is nevertheless a destination for those who want to escape the crowds of Mexico's more popular destinations.
Close by you can visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum which is about a 20 minute drive and for more vibrant bars and shopping Playa del Carmen is only a short drive away. From here you can get a ferry for a day trip to Cozumel.