Yal-ku Lagoon is an ocean inlet that contains a mixture of fresh and saltwater. The calm turquoise waters are home to tropical fish and manta rays and makes for a nice day or afternoon of snorkeling. Surrounding the lagoon is a sculpture garden with bronze statues ripe for exploring, and when you want to take a break, rent out a little palapa for shade and relax in one of the hammocks.
Here, beneath the exquisite Akumal weather, you can look for starfish and urchins, damselfish, sergeant majors, hamlets, parrot fish, blue tangs and queen triggerfish, among other Caribbean species. If you’re an avid bird watcher, the area also has various tropical species such as herons, cranes, pelicans, seagulls and egrets.
The protective reef in the bay at Akumal is so large that waves can’t disrupt it. This area is also known for the loggerhead and green sea turtles that swim and feed nearby.
Elsewhere, the Mayan ruins at Coba, still half covered with ceiba trees, aren’t as excavated as other Mayan sites, but it is worth the trip. The Nohoch Mul pyramid is the tallest in the Yucatan at over 126 feet (38 meters) and climbing the 100+ stairs to the top of the Grand Pyramid will reward you with a jungle canopy view for miles, with temple mounds peeking out above the trees.
Coba also has the largest network of stone causeways in the ancient Mayan world known as sacbes or white roads, and a place of sacred Mayan rituals. Fifty have been discovered and 16 of them are open to the public. The raised stone pathways connect the clusters of residential areas to Nohoch Mul. To date, only a few of its estimated 6,500 structures have been uncovered.
Walking through the extensive ruins in the jungle, you might see numerous species of butterflies and animals, or even the occasional spider monkey. An easy day trip from Akumal, the beautiful natural setting of Coba is a one-of-a-kind experience to explore.