The Yal-ku Lagoon is one of the best-kept treasures of the Riviera Maya, a unique place that has managed to preserve its natural beauty in the Mexican Caribbean. Here’s a complete guide to the majestic Yal-ku Lagoon in Akumal.
Where is Yal-ku Lagoon?
It’s located in the town of Akumal, 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen. You can get there by car, which is recommended, if not, you’ll have to walk from the village to the cove. You can take a taxi or public transportation that leaves from downtown Playa del Carmen. Once you’re in the town Akumal, you can take a cab to Yal-ku or walk 1.5 miles. The entrance fee is 15 USD. The site has parking and restrooms; they don’t have snorkeling equipment for rental, so you’ll need to bring your own.
What makes Yal-ku Special?
Yal-ku is a beautiful lagoon that flows into the sea within the area that makes up the different bays of the town of Akumal. There is a large reef with a great variety of impressive underwater flora right at the convergence. Its waters are brackish due to the mixture of the fresh current with the saltwater. The tranquility and separation of the waters from those of the sea allow small fish to grow without being prematurely devoured by predators. When they reach a specific size, they pass into the open sea that will become their final habitat. Its shallow waters and mild currents make it perfect for inexperienced swimmers and children. One of the advantages of visiting Yal-ku is that you won’t find as many tourists as other parks or famous cenotes. It’s practically the best-kept secret of the Riviera Maya.
In this amazing natural aquarium, you can observe bluebeards, parrotfish, damsels, sergeants, triggerfish, golden vaquitas, sea stars, hedgehogs, and other species. This biodiversity makes it one of the most fascinating snorkeling experiences in the Riviera Maya. The beauty of the aquatic habitat is complemented in the air and land by gulls, pelicans, herons, egrets, and cranes. Around the lagoon, an art corridor exhibits the artwork by the famous Costa Rican-Mexican sculptor Francisco Zuñiga.
Guided Tours to the Lagoon
Several tour operators offer snorkeling tours in the Yal-Ku lagoon. To better appreciate the beautiful landscapes and marine life that surrounds the site, you’ll have the help of local guides from the community of Akumal. They have appropriate certification and extensive experience. Another plus of hiring a tour is that you and your companions will enjoy this experience without other tour groups because most of these tours are completely private.
Some tours complement the trip with a visit to the Taak Bi Ha cenote, a cave-type cenote that’s 1.8 miles into the jungle. This beautiful cenote with crystal clear waters has millenary formations, flooded caves and is also ideal for snorkeling. Most tours include round transportation to your hotel, eliminating the stress of figuring out how to get there.
Cenotes Near Yal-ku
The Yal-ku cenote has the most extraordinary biodiversity in the Riviera Maya. Even more than other natural lagoons joining the sea, as Xel-ha, for example, and Yal-ku is a more affordable option. The Yal-ku cenote is located 1.5 miles north of the town of Akumal, with access through Calle 16. It is ideal for observing its biodiversity by snorkeling, and the entrance costs 15 USD.
Other cenotes very close to Akumal are Aktun Chen and Xunaan-Ha. In Aktun Chen, there is an ecotourism tropical jungle park with various extreme adventure experiences. Cenote Xunaan-Ha is not well known, making it an excellent option if you want to have a quiet and peaceful time. There’s a platform to jump off the water and a zip line; however, you can only use them if you’re on a tour.
Look at this incredible lagoon and cenotes; keep them in mind when searching for fun things to do near Akumal. They’re well-preserved thanks to the care and conservation of the community, avoiding overexploitation, which happens in so many places in the Mexican Caribbean. Yal-ku is a magical place full of legends. Consider this fantastic experience of diving in the waters of this lagoon on your next visit to the Riviera Maya.
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