Famous for its stunningly beautiful beach and swimmable lagoon, Akumal continues to welcomes tonnes of visitors each month, keen to catch a slice of paradise.
Akumal actually translates to “Place of the Turtles”, and that is because it has also been attracting turtles to its bay for hundreds of years, who come to lay their eggs.
Unfortunately its sad news for tourists, as officials are suspending sighting and swimming tours with the majestic creatures for the rest of February, in order to preserve the bay.
Why Is This Happening?
Unless you have been living under a rock these past few years, you will know that the Mexican Caribbean, and more widely the Yucatan Peninsula, has been experiencing a tourism boom like it has never seen before.
While this is brilliant news for businesses and locals who can reap the benefits of said boom, as well as you, the tourist, who get to enjoy the continually improved experience of vacationing in southeastern Mexico, it can sometimes be bad news for environment and wildlife.
As large groups of human beings vacation in these concentrated, sometimes smaller destinations, they can negatively impact the environment.
Anything from littering, polluting natural landscapes, oversubscribing to attractions and activities that involve animals and their habitats; the list goes on.
Now of course, when it comes to swimming with turtles, it is…just the best…a total bucket list moment if you have never done it before.
However, the oversubscription of this activity, and the overcrowding on the bay can affect the seagrass and algae which are essential for the feeding of the sea turtles who come to nest.
The closure of the bay is part of a management plan which was established in 2016, and also is applied in the month of September.
The plan itself is fully supported by hoteliers and businesses in Akumal, who see the necessity of the action, and most tourists understand its need as well, with sustainability becoming a growing concern for many who choose to vacation.
Local tour guides have assured water loving tourists visiting Akumal that recreational fishing, snorkelling and boasting will be available to them, despite the closure of the bay.
What To Do Instead
Fear not; the list is genuinely endless when it comes to other fun things to try and see, both in Akumal and the surrounding areas.
1. If you still want to spend some time with some animals, Akumal’s Animal Sanctuary is the place the be.
The main goal of the sanctuary is offer care and attention to animals who have come from poor conditions(like working for circuses and other attractions) and nurse them to full recovery.
Visiting here will not only be heaps of fun, but will also be a way to help the environment and wildlife in the area too.
And did we mention…monkeys?!
2. A must see is the Yal-Ku Lagoon.
Unlike the more oversubscribed cenotes and other parks in the Mexican Caribbean, this lagoon is fairly undisturbed, and is the perfect place to swim and snorkel.
A totally different experience from swimming in the ocean, this location offers guided tours to help you get the best experience and appreciate the stunning landscapes and marine life that surround you.
3. Not too far away from Akumal lies Tulum and its famous Mayan ruins.
Located on a cliffside overlooking the ocean, the site dates back over 1,500 years ago to the ancient civilisation, while also being occupied during the Spanish colonial period for a time.
The area is brimming with history that will truly capture your imagination and make you appreciate how important the Mayans were in the history of civilisation.
And of-course, when you are all history’d out, you can check out the stunning beach below which is perfect for an afternoon dip to escape that hot Mexican sun.
Akumal is also in no short supply of luxury spa amenities and beautiful dining experiences, which will be sure to make your vacation an unforgettable one.
We promise the absence of sea turtles this time around won’t be too hard to get over!
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