I live in the city of Cancun. Not in the hotel zone, with its manicured lawns and aqua blue water, in downtown Cancun. It is hot and fast-paced, so when I seek some tranquility, I escape the city. One of my favourite places is Akumal (the place of the turtles) which is more than an hour south of Cancun, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Although it is also a tourist destination, it is nothing like Cancun.

Akumal Bay (image by Wikimedia Commons)

Akumal is a very small town. In fact, it almost isn’t even a town at all. “Downtown” consists of a supermarket, which is in fact not super (in size) at all and a few restaurants and shops which sell Mexican handicrafts. You may wonder, “Am I actually downtown yet?” Just a few steps from downtown is Akumal beach, which is on a protected bay, so the water is quite calm and tranquil, no crashing waves here. If you snorkel out a hundred yards or so you can watch sea turtles lunching on the sea grass.

The tranquil Yal-Ku Lagoon

My favorite place in Akumal is Yal-Ku, a natural lagoon located about 10 minutes from town.

Yal-Ku lagoon

Once you pay your cover and follow the path down to the lagoon’s edge, all you can hear is the wind blowing through the jungle foliage. The cool, bright blue water shines in the sunlight and invites you to slip in and escape the heat. Once inside, even if you decide not to snorkel you will be able to see fish and other marine life. One of the fish might even tickle your toes.

After you’ve cooled off in the lagoon, you can shower and change in the restroom area close to the entrance. Then grab a cold beer from the rustic snack stand and take a leisurely stroll along the paths that wind around the edge of the lagoon. Stop to ponder the intriguing traditional and contemporary sculptures which rest in the lush green jungle vegetation. The setting is peaceful, picturesque and relaxed. The natural beauty and intimacy of the cool lagoon and its surroundings are what makes Yal-Ku my go-to place for some serenity.

Yal-Ku lagoon sculpture

About the this week’s guest writer
Kristin Busse is currently a travel writer but has worked in many different industries. She lives in Cancun, Mexico and plans to use her diverse experiences to write about the Yucatan Peninsula from her unique perspective.



5 Responses

  • We’ve been to Mexico 7 years in a row and headed back this November. We started with our honeymoon in Akumal and never left. Our all time favorite place to go. I have my favorite bays that I like to snorkel on and my favorite restaurants there. The people make the town wonderful to stay in and it’s much less “touristy” then Playa del Carmen.

    We too like Yal-Ku Lagoon, the only thing I dont like is the harsh rock gravel on my feet when I get out of the water. Makes it hard to get over to my sandals out of my flippers.

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  • Hi Kristin,
    I love your piece on Akumal. I have been there a number of times after the hussle-bussle of Cancun and a water stop at Wal-Mart. I have traveled around Yucatan and Akumal intrigues me the most because although it is super touristy, you can walk across the highway and visit Akumal Centro. In a mere road-crossing, you are right back to Mexico with nightly markets, blaring music, front porch shops, and very little English. For someone that loves the Caribbean and also Mexican culture, it’s a jewel all wrapped up in one place.
    Thanks for sharing your piece!

  • This looks like a great getaway from the crowds at Cancun. Must remember this place when I get a chance to get down there! So beautiful and peaceful.

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