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.

  14. June 29, 2017 / 10:33 am

    Love these underwater photos! I’ve only been snorkeling once (in the Bahamas) and it was actually a bit scarier than I was expecting!

  15. Helena
    June 29, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    I love snorkelling! I basically grew up doing it and have snorkelled many places around the world. I am hoping to be in Mexico next year so I will have to check this place out!

  16. June 30, 2017 / 10:44 am

    What a beautiful place in the world to go snorkeling! My family and I love Mexico and would love to go back soon. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. July 1, 2017 / 4:24 am

    What a beautiful looking place to visit! I I’ve snorkelling and diving and guided snorkel trips are great because you get to go to some super special places! I’d love to dive there. Seeing turtles is also such a special occassion, they are so graceful as they flap through the water.

  18. July 1, 2017 / 7:24 am

    This place looks fantastic. Like true beach paradise! Would love to snorkelling and see the sea turtles! Adding it to the list!

  19. July 1, 2017 / 9:38 am

    What a beautiful place. It makes me want to go and visit now. #fearlessfamtrav

  20. July 1, 2017 / 9:45 am

    The underwater world is amazing, isn’t it? I was thrilled to discover that there was a whole new world to explore when I first went scuba diving in 2001. Mexico is still really high on our bucket list! I’d love to go diving there. Sea turtles are such fascinating creatures! #FearlessFamTrav

  21. July 1, 2017 / 10:57 am

    So disappointed we never got a chance to snorkel when we were in Riviera Maya – it looks like the most stunning experience! #FarawayFiles

  22. July 2, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    My kids would absolutely love this! I am not entirely sure if they have EVER been snorkelling (it is not a common recreational activity in landlocked Luxembourg 😉 ) and to see turtles and rays must be an incredible experience. I’m having vacation envy reading this! 😉 #FarawayFiles and #FearlessFamTrav

  23. July 2, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Looks like the perfect Damien break – me bucket list item #fearlessfamtrav

  24. July 3, 2017 / 12:05 am

    Oh now this is such a pretty place, and an unforgettable experience! I haven’t been snorkelling but I always love looking at other’s photos 🙂

  25. July 3, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I don’t dive so I love snorkeling too to see the underwater world. I’ve never seen that many sea turtles all at once! The most is just 1 or maybe 2. And I’ve never seen rays – i would love to see some! I was snorkeling in a malaysian island recently and saw tons of baby sharks.. that was definitely the highlight! I was just so sad I didn’t have an underwater camera to capture everything. This place looks great and so easily accessible from the US… I’l have to keep it in mind!

    • July 3, 2017 / 12:36 pm

      Aw baby sharks! That sounds amazing! 🐟

  26. July 3, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    This looks incredible! What a wonderful experience. Amazing photography. We’re going to Thailand later in the year and can’t wait to take our boys snorkelling. Jenny.

  27. July 15, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    What an amazing sounding place to visit. The photos are incredible, I didn’t get on with diving but snorkeling is great fun and to do it somewhere with so much to see must be incrediable. No wonder you love returning and good advice to have a guide with your too. One to add to my one day holiday list!

    Thank you for sharing with me on #Country Kids.

  28. July 16, 2017 / 10:10 am

    This vacation sounds like such a wonderful experience. We have never seen sea turtles or been snorkeling. Definitely giving me food for thought as I am looking for a holiday to celebrate our oldest’s 21st. #countrykids

  29. July 16, 2017 / 11:26 am

    Wowee that’s living the dream! Looks fantastic 🙂 #countrykids

  30. July 16, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    We love the Riviera Maya, we went on honeymoon and then took the kids back ten years later. My parents practically live there and it’s easy to see why people are attracted to revisiting. We haven’t been snorkelling with turtles though! It looks great fun and the guide sounds great helping the kids and taking it at their pace. Lovely photos. #Countrykids

  31. July 16, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    Mexico is high up on my places to visit – this would be AMAZING #countrykids

  32. July 17, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    Wow, looks beautiful. I’ve never been snorkeling before. #countrykids

  33. July 18, 2017 / 11:40 am

    This is so gorgeous! Mexico is defiantly on our bucket list. I would love to take my kids snorkeling and see the turtles. They would love that. Looks like you had a while of a time at Akumal! Thanks for sharing x

  34. July 19, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    it looks soooo pretty no wonder you keep going back. I can’t believe you can see so much marine life so close to the shore, too! we have never been snorkelling, to be honest I’m a little scared of it but this looks like a lot of fun. it’s something my OH really wants to do with our son when he is older. those turtles are so cute! #countrykids

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