Mexico’s Riviera Maya – home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, crystal-clear waters, dynamic cultures, and savory cuisine, this Caribbean destination has been a traveler favorite for decades – and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Whether your someone who best unwinds by taking it easy or someone who needs a little adventure in order to de-stress, the Riviera Maya has it all.
A big factor that has played in the region’s growth is the number of impeccable growth of ecotourism in Mexico – offering a limitless number of excursions to guests. Regardless of where you rest your head, the Riviera Maya is home to hundreds of thrilling outdoor excursions and tours. With increased popularity comes increased foot traffic, however. Over the years, big name destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the island of Cozumel have witnessed consistently increasing numbers of visitors to their shores. While this is great news for the tourism industry, those looking for a more relaxed get-a-way far from the crowds might be looking elsewhere to spend their annual vacation. They won’t have to look far however – Mexico’s Caribbean paradise known as Akumal is just the place they are looking for.
Located at the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, approximately 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Cancun, between the towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this cozy, Caribbean paradise is sure to leave you in awe.
Famous for its white-sand beaches and large, swimmable lagoon, Akumal is one of Mexico’s oldest resort towns, consisting primarily of sheik hotels, condominiums, and residential communities. With 3 miles (5 kilometers) of wide beach spread out between four consecutive bays, it’s safe to say that there are a plethora of options for kicking back and relaxing with a cold drink in hand. To top it all off, Akumals ideal location is perfect for guests looking to explore the region’s lush and diverse landscapes. Home to numerous ecotours of diverse types, Akumal attractions are the perfect combination of rest and action.
If this sounds like your kind of recipe for fun, be sure to check out the following three ecotours that are easily accessible to Akumal guests. Afterall, while taking in the beauty of Mexico’s natural landscapes from afar, or perhaps while laid out on the beach and taking in the sun, is truly breathtaking – the best way to experience them in all their glory is to explore their habitats from up close. Only then do they reveal their most spectacular secrets.
1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Adventure
Often times travelers look to ecotourism as a means to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. That said, imagine a place of such natural beauty that it seems divine – a place where thousands of species of flora, fauna, and alluring wildlife coexist and create an atmosphere unlike any other on earth. Seem to good to be true? Guess again. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve fits this description and so much more. Designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, Sian Ka’an is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean and arguably the most astonishing site in the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
Located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Akumal, Sian Ka’an is comprised of approximately 1.3 million acres (526,091 hectares) of intricately linked marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystems, making it an impressive natural reserve home to extremely diverse terrestrial, air-borne, and aquatic wildlife populations. You know what that means? Amazing ecotours!
One such tour is our Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Adventure – board ship and explore the reserve and its many endemic and migratory birds, crocodiles, manatees, turtles, starfish, and even dolphins – all in their natural habitat. Participants will also be given the chance to admire the reserve’s abundant marine life on a snorkel tour above impressively colorful coral reefs and during a refreshing tropical swim in the reserve’s crystal-clear waters.
Equipped with a bilingual staff, roundtrip transportation,a boat tour of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, bird watching activities, a coral reef snorkel tour and snorkel equipment, snacks upon arrival, a buffet lunch, and refreshments, this full day excursion is unlike any other.
2. Amazing Secret River Tour
While a large number of ecotours centered on natural landscapes will explore diverse ecosystems such as tropical forests, desert mountains, and life under the sea, very few have ever been able to explore life below earth’s surface – that is, until now.
Located just 18 miles (30 kilometers) north of Akumal near the resort town of Playa del Carmen lies a jaw-dropping geological formation dating back millions of years. This is no ordinary natural wonder, however, but one where the history of our planet is written on the myriad geological formations. Welcome to the Río Secreto (Secret River). A labyrinth of limestone caverns and underwater rivers that few will ever see, Riviera Maya’s Secret River offers guests a truly unmatched, underground exploration of life below. The perfect way to get in on the action is via our Amazing Secret River Tour.
With the chance to explore three routes, all of which lead through different geological formations where living creatures capable of adapting to the underworld have been discovered (including catfish, bats, spiders, and shrimps without pigmentation, among others), this excursion is a must for all thrill-seeking explorers looking for some action.
Explore the Riviera Maya’s unique natural-crystal museum up close and personal In this surreal locale near Playa del Carmen. With the chance to observe natural history dating back millions of years as you hike and swim through a half a mile route full of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, this tour should be a no brainer! Afterall, how many people can stay they have gone exploring deep inside an underground cavern system, where they experienced an atmosphere unlike any other in the world? They even go as far to say if you listen close enough, the caves will speak to you.
Equipped with a bilingual staff, wetsuit, life jackets, a buffet lunch, refreshments, and restrooms, lockers, and showers, this half-day tour is one that you won’t want to miss.
3. Coba Ruins & Mayan Village Cultural Tour
It is often misunderstood that ecotourism only encompasses activities that revolve around nature itself. While nature plays a key role in the ecotourism industry, it’s important to remember another critical component of this evermore popular tourism industry – culture.
Luckily for visitors at Akumal – or any other Riviera Maya resort town for that matter – Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is steeped in a rich and complex history, making it home to one of the most fascinating present-day cultures. Often combining the past with the present, Riviera Maya culture is as diverse as the number of towns that populate its shores, which is why it’s important to make room for ecotours that expose the region’s vibrant past and present day traditions. One tour in particular is a must for those looking to experience another side to this tropical paradise – the Coba Ruins and Mayan Village Cultural Tour.
Believed to have been one of the most important archeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, the ancient ruins of Coba expose visitors to a historic settlement both unique in design and purpose when compared to other ancient Mayan cities. Located just 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of Akumal, this ancient Mayan site is home to a number of towns adorned with white roads – each one leading from town to the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul. It’s safe to say, this ancient settlement is as mesmerizing as it is mysterious.
Coba, with translates to “‘waters stirred by the wind’, was surrounded by two large lagoons, both of which are still visible today. For many years Coba was an ignored piece of Mayan history – but not any more. On the Coba Ruins and Mayan Village tour journey to the heartland of the Maya world on an excursion that spans thousands of years of history. Starting with the ruins of the ancient city of Coba, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy original shaded walkways, three settlements steeped in stunning architecture and vast open spaces, ancient ball courts, and a climb up the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan, Nohoch Mul.
To wrap up the trip, what better way to appreciate both ancient and present-day Mayan culture than by visiting two off-the-beaten-track villages inhabited by current Mayan communities. That’s right, you will be able to meet the Mayans that call these lands home. Learn how they create a sustainable environment, share a swim in their beautiful cenotes, and enjoy a delicious traditional meal prepared by the local people themselves.
Equipped with a bilingual staff, round trip transportation, a buffet lunch, refreshments, towels, and restrooms, lockers, and showers, this full-day tour is sure to leave you with a greater appreciation for both local nature and the ancient and present-day communities that call it home.
You no longer have to worry about thinking about things to do in Akumal – the answer is clear: relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy its unparalleled proximity to some of the region’s top ecotourism attractions. Spend a day at Akumal Bay, witness mesmerizing landscapes at nearby nature parks and biosphere reserves, and explore the ancient worlds such as the Ek Balam ruins that once dominated the lands. Of course, you can’t forget that refreshing margarita or Mexican lager. Now, it doesn’t get much better than that.