The name “Akumal” means “place of the turtles” in Mayan language. Turquoise bodies of water and beautiful, white sandy beaches provide the perfect setting for many sea turtles’ laying area.
Akumal was founded in 1958 mainly as a community for scuba divers to experience the many species and types of turtles which call the area “home”. Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay provide optimal opportunities to see the land and underwater life via diving trips and expeditions.
For certified divers, local dive shops offer a variety of exciting diving trips to the 30 reef sites which include shipwrecks, cenotes and caverns and a breathtaking amount of marine life that you can view. The dive shop makes all the arrangements and you can lease a scuba tank and regulator, mask, flippers and anything else you want. You can reserve an all day diving excursion or if you are more experienced, you can dive the caves, caverns and cenotes that make Akumal famous. People from all over the globe come to dive the cenotes and caves of Akumal and this special village is truly a diver’s dream.
Dive shops also teach courses so you can get certified to dive in open sea. They instruct all levels from resort course to advanced cave diving. And what better area to learn to dive than Akumal, one of the best places in the world to go diving? These PADI Certified Instructors will lead you through the process of certification so you can enjoy exploring the wonders of the reef that awaits you in Akumal.
Cavern and cave diving is a popular activity for tourists. These caves are called “cenote”, which means “sacred well” in Mayan. Dive packages offer several destinations and various depths of diving, group packages, equipment rental and instruction to satisfy varying diver needs.
One of the easy dive sites which is very popular is Cuevas de Tiburones. This site features rock overhangs which provide an optimum sleeping area for nurse sharks. Las Redes offers an array of marine life, schools of fish, barracudas, stingrays, lobsters and sea turtles. Yal-ku is a unique feeding site chock full of Elkhorn coral structures, tunnels and lobster.
Other popular shallow dives are found at Dick’s Reef and Motorcycle Reef. Motorcycle Reef is named so for the 15-year-old motorcycle which is now covered with living coral and plankton that protects local sea life.
Experienced divers can enjoy an afternoon at Tzimin-Ha, which features ruins from a 20-foot fishing boat wreck. Dives up to 100’ deep are found at Trigger Fish, which is a favorite deep dive spot for locals. Here, huge patches of coral contrast with the sandy white bottom with many species of tropical fish providing a colorful array of rare beauty.
Xaar Beach and Gonzalo’s Reef offer various types of feeding areas for several different species of sea turtles for a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience. Xaar features reef fingers reaching 30’ up from the ocean floor, as well as turtles, nurse sharks and stingrays. Gonzalo’s Reef is known for its large and vivid reef fingers; visitors are virtually guaranteed a view of Hawksbill, Green, or Loggerhead turtles which use the area for feeding and playtime.