Akumal Bay, just a few minutes north of the coastal town of Tulum, offers visitors some of the best snorkeling in the region, given the unique experience water enthusiasts enjoy while being in the water with sea turtles.
In the local Mayan language the name Akumal means “place of the turtle” and for six months of the year, two species of turtles, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) nest along the beaches of Quintana Roo, including the beaches of this beautiful tropical Caribbean paradise.
The local Centro Ecologico Akumal (“Akumal Ecological Center”) has been working tirelessly since 1993 to protect, conserve and research Akumal’s sea turtles as well as their nests and hatchlings. During breeding season, CEA staff and volunteers patrol the beaches of Akumal in search of nesting females. Their activities include protecting and tagging females, obtaining scientific data and, in extreme cases, relocating eggs to more favorable locations. Data is collected on the patrols and is used to determine how many nests were successfully laid, as well as specific turtle behavior, distribution and abundance.
A few local operators have obtained permits in order to bring visitors to enjoy these gentle creatures in their natural habitat, either on swimming, snorkeling or diving tours.