Some of the area’s first scuba divers waded into the waves right here at Akumal Bay, and the area has been special to the sport ever since. While not as spectacular as other areas along the Riviera Maya , Akumal’s diving is easy and fun, with a mellow current and few profiles that go below 20 meters (66 feet).
The reef is predominantly boulder coral, which isn’t as picturesque as other types, but still it teems with tropical fish and plant life. Visibility is decent by Caribbean standards—great by everyone else’s—averaging 10–30 meters (33–99 feet).
Founded more than 30 years ago, Akumal Dive Shop (tel. 984/875-9032, www.akumaldiveshop.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) was the first dive shop in the Riviera Maya, long before anyone called it that. Still right on the beach, the shop offers fun dives and various certification courses in both open water and cave/cavern diving. Divers can take one- or two-tank reef dives (US$50/80), cavern or cenote dives (US$85/140), or buy packages of 4 or 10 dives for US$140/290. Fun dives do not include equipment rental (US$18/day, US$70/week). Open-water certification courses take 3–4 days and cost US$485, equipment and materials included.
Down the beach a short distance, Akumal Dive Center (tel. 984/875-9025, www.akumaldivecenter.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) has operated in Akumal  almost as long and offers the same dives and courses at comparable prices.
On Half Moon Bay, Akumal Dive Adventures (next to La Buena Vida restaurant, tel. 984/875-9157, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/425-8625, www.akumaldiveadventures.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) offers somewhat lower prices than the other shops, as well as dive and accommodation packages starting at three nights lodging and four reef dives for US$270/360 per person double/single occupancy. Rooms are at the affiliated Vista del Mar hotel.
Aventuras Akumal has excellent diving and snorkeling as well, with a calm bay and less traffic than Akumal proper. Aquatech Dive Center (Villas DeRosa, tel. 984/875-9020, U.S. tel. 801/619-9050, www.cenotes.com ) has many years of experience and offers a complete range of dives and courses, with special emphasis on cenote and cave diving. Reef dives run US$45/75 for one/two tanks, while cenote dives are US$75/140. Open-water certification is US$450 per person—check the website for details on cavern and cave diving instruction. Equipment is included in courses but not fun dives (US$35–40 per day for the full kit). Multidive packages, night dives, and fishing excursions are also available.
Laguna Yal-Ku (8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily, US$9 adult, US$6 child age 4–12, free age 3 and under, US$15 snorkel gear, US$2 locker) is a favorite among many snorkelers for its large area, calm water, and unique mix of fresh- and saltwater ecosystems.
The northern end of Akumal Bay also has fine snorkeling, reachable right from the beach. It’s a great little nook of fairly shallow water where tropical fish dart about a labyrinth of rocks, boulder coral, and plant life. Fishing boats do not pass through here, another reason it’s good for snorkeling, but be alert to currents pulling you out of the safe area and into boat channels.
Likewise, some snorkelers make their way toward the large buoy at the edge of the bay, not realizing it marks a channel that boats use to get through the reef. Be smart and steer clear. Half Moon Bay has good shore snorkeling as well—plus, no boat traffic. Just consider wearing water shoes, as the entry can be rocky or overgrown with water plants.
You can rent snorkel gear at any of Akumal’s dive shops for around US$9–12 a day or US$50–60 a week. Rentals at Yal-Ku cost US$15 and can only be used on-site. The dive shops also offer guided snorkel tours, which run 1–3 hours, depending on the number of sites you visit, and cost US$25–40 per person, including gear.
Akumal Dive Shop (on the beach, tel. 984/875-9032, www.akumaldiveshop.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) offers a popular Robinson Crusoe cruise: a five-hour excursion on a catamaran sailboat, with stops for fishing and snorkeling (US$85 including lunch and equipment). Or try the two-hour Sunset/Moonrise Cruise, which doesn’t include fishing and snorkeling, but offers beautiful evening views of the bay (US$40).
Dive shops also offer fishing tours, varying somewhat in length and group size according to the type of boat that’s available. Expect to pay US$90–150 for a two-to-three-hour tour for 2–4 anglers. Trips typically include equipment, tackle, and soft drinks/water, and longer outings can be arranged. Fishing is excellent year-round, but the best months for trolling are April–June, when sailfish and marlin are most numerous and active.
To schedule a tour, contact Akumal Dive Shop (on the beach, tel. 984/875-9032, www.akumaldiveshop.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), Akumal Dive Center (on the beach, tel. 984/875-9025, www.akumaldivecenter.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), or Akumal Dive Adventures (next to La Buena Vida restaurant, tel. 984/875-9157, toll-free U.S. tel. 877/425-8625, www.akumaldiveadventures.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily).
Yoga en Akumal (town arch, 2nd Fl., cell. tel. 984/745-3488, www.akumalyoga.com , 7–8:30 a.m. Tues. and Thurs., 8:30–10 a.m. Mon.–Wed., 9–11 a.m. Sat., 7:30–9 p.m. Mon. and Thurs.) offers a variety of classes for all experience levels: Hatha (basic, open, flow), Anusara, and Yin, to name a few. Sessions are led by one of four certified instructors; they cost US$15 per class, US$75 for an unlimited two-week pass, and US$125 for a month of unlimited classes. Workshops and private sessions also are offered. Look for the breezy studio inside the arch at the entrance to town.
AKgym (Plaza Ukana, 1st Fl., tel. 984/876-3363, 7:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.) has a small air-conditioned exercise space that’s crammed with free weights and cardio machines. Day passes cost US$8, weekly rates US$30, and monthly passes cost US$50.