Unreachable by land until the 1960s, Akumal (literally, Place of the Turtle) is a quiet, upscale community that has developed on two bays: Akumal and Half Moon. It’s a low-key place with sand roads and dozens of condominiums and rental homes.
The beach in town is decent—if you don’t mind the boats occasionally parked on the sand—and the one around Half Moon Bay is calm though rocky in places. Just offshore, a spectacular portion of barrier reef makes for [node::22489 link great diving and snorkeling], and protects Akumal’s bays from the open sea.
A short distance south of Akumal proper is Aventuras Akumal, another small bayside development. It doesn’t have the townlike feel or activity that Akumal does, but two good condo-hotels and a truly gorgeous beach make this a tempting alternative. Aventuras Akumal has a separate access road from the highway, and walking there along the beach takes about 45 minutes.
Akumal Bay—the one right in front of town—has a long, slow-curving shoreline, with soft sand shaded by palm trees. The water is beautiful but a bit rocky underfoot, and you should be aware of boat traffic when swimming or snorkeling. Half Moon Bay can also be nice for swimming and snorkeling, but the shoreline is rocky in many parts; where there is beach, it is mostly narrow and covered with sea plants that have washed ashore.
Getting to Akumal
The turnoff to Akumal is between Kilometers 254 and 255 on the main highway. For Aventuras Akumal, the access road is just south of the main Akumal entrance; look for the sign to Hotel Villas DeRosa, as the community itself isn’t well signed.
Combis and second-class buses stop at the Akumal turnoff, but it’s a kilometer (0.6 mile) walk into town. Likewise, you can manage the center area by foot, but walking to and from Half Moon Bay can be long, hot, and dusty. Consider hiring a cab, which are often parked just outside the town arches.
Combis and second-class buses also stop at the Aventuras Akumal entrance; it’s only about 500 meters (0.3 mile) into the community from there.
If you drive into town, there is a public parking lot (7 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, US$1.75/hr) in front of Plaza Ukana. Some shops and restaurants can validate your parking—be sure to bring your receipt. Parking is free after hours.
Taxis gather near the Super Chomak grocery store at the entrance of Akumal, just outside of the arches. A ride from town to Laguna Yal-Ku costs US$5.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition