Akumal Beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico’s Riviera Maya is picture postcard perfect. Golden sands, turquoise seas, palm trees swaying in the Caribbean breeze. It’s one of our favourite places to go on a family vacation. Our children are now 9 and we’ve been coming here since they were 6. You can read about why we keep returning to Mexico in this post about Tulum. One of our favourite things to do is head to Akumal Beach, about 15 minutes from our hotel by taxi. Akumal is a pretty bay with white sand, clear warm waters fringed with palms and is famous for its turtles. Mexico has the world’s second largest reef but you don’t have to head out in a boat or go scuba diving here to see these wonderful sea creatures. Get your snorkel gear on and swim out straight from the beach for great views of the turtles feeding on the sea grass.

Sea Turtles, Akumal Beach, Mexico

Snorkelling is one of my top vacation activities. I love to look down and see the underwater world below.  You can bring your own snorkel gear, hire it on the beach or you can hire a snorkel guide and this is what we tend to do as it makes it much easier with children and you see a whole lot more!

Snorkeling, Akumal Beach, Mexico

We’ve hired a snorkel guide from Akumal Dive Shop when we’ve been here.The shop is right on the beach, they have lockers and showers and all the snorkel kit including life jackets, which must be worn when snorkeling here. The snorkel guide also pulls a rubber ring which children can hold on to. This means that you aren’t constantly checking where your children are – they are holding onto the ring with the guide, leaving you free to swim alongside and explore the seas below.

Another advantage of a guide is that they know the best spots to take you to for maximum snorkel sights!

Within an hour on our recent snorkel trip we had seen about a dozen turtles, a barracuda and several rays, as well as lots of other colourful fish.

Later in our vacation we travelled to Cozumel and went snorkelling on some of the reefs there and didn’t see anything like the sea life we saw at Akumal.

Snorkeling with rays, Akumal Beach, Mexico

When my daughter and I went back in on our own later in the day, we again saw turtles and I’ve seen rays snorkelling on my own there before.

As well as the sealife, Akumal is a beautiful beach popular with locals and vacationers alike. There are plenty of palm trees for shade and a good restaurant, Lol-Ha, under a thatched dome for a lunch or drinks stop.  On our recent visit some friendly locals at the beach had offered us drinks, food and use of their brand new snorkel gear within 5 minutes of sitting down under the palm tree next to us – such friendly people!

Akumal Beach is pretty much one of my most perfect vacation destinations, beautiful views, abundant sealife and the clear waters of the ocean. Life doesn’t get much better!

Akumal Beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico


Luxury Beach Holidays:  Tulum, Mexico/Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Orlando,  Florida/Captiva Island Florida/


Akumal Beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by any of the organisations mentioned. Photos are all the authors, taken on various trips.


  1. June 22, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Sea turtles are my favourite. With that clear sea and abundant wildlife Akumal looks like the perfect family break. Love to go there one day. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  2. June 23, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    This sounds like perfection, Jo. I love snorkelling and I can see that hiring a snorkel guide would be the best way to introduce it to children. Absolutely wonderful! I’d love to do this with my two. I’m really keen to visit Mexico. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  3. June 23, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    So beautiful! I have been to Tulum but not to Akumal. Love the area though. I read the snorkeling tours are going to be stopped on the bay (not sure when you visited). Maybe they are going to be limited to protect the marine life.

    • June 23, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      We were there about three weeks ago. They do have strict rules like you can only view a turtle for 2 mins before you move on.

  4. June 25, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    The ocean is a beautiful place and there is so much to see down there! That’s why snorkeling is one of my favorite activities when traveling to somewhere tropical. I can’t believe you saw nearly a dozen turtles!! So jealous, I’ve only seen one!!

  5. June 26, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Haven’t snorkeled before. Planning to do it in Bali next month. This looks like a great family spot by they way.

  6. June 26, 2017 / 10:03 am

    We love snorkelling and have been doing quite a bit of it recently! This place really does look amazing for it though, and sounds like you had an awesome time!

  7. June 26, 2017 / 10:37 am

    This looks like an amazing experience. I done snorkelling once in my life but never with sea turtles. So want to try this now 🙂

  8. June 27, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    I love snorkeling! First time I went was in the Caribbean near St. Thomas when I was 8 years old. Such a cool experience no matter how old you are!

  9. June 28, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    I’m so jealous that you go to see turtles! That’s my dream <3 what a great spot!

  10. June 28, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    Your kids are so lucky! I would love to snorkel and see turtles. Diving totally scares me but I think snorkeling is a great alternative 🙂

  11. June 28, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    How fun! I love to go snorkeling and have never seen a sea turtle before, that’s so awesome! The last time I went was in Negril, Jamaica and we saw a barracuda o_O

  12. June 28, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    What a fantastic experience! We were supposed to do this in Maui but got sick. Your photos are absolutely amazing. 🙂

  13. June 29, 2017 / 2:42 am

    Snorkelling in Akumal Beach looks wonderful! I’ve only snorkelled once in Hawaii and I loved it! I didn’t see any sea turtles sadly but I did enjoy swimming amongst all the fish.

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