Akumal and Southern Beaches
Akumal ("Place of the Turtle" in Maya) is a wonderful eco-village located about 25 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen on the Riviera Maya. It was originally established 50 years ago as a haven for Scuba Divers. It is still a thriving diving community with great access to the Caribbean reef as well as the cenotes and cave systems in the jungle close by. Another popular Akumal activity is snorkeling—the area is one of the very best snorkeling spots on the coast with it's calm waters and large population of resident sea turtles. Even if you are not a diver or snorkeler, Akumal proper offers 2 wonderful beaches, Yalku Lagoon, a host of small restaurants, shops, spas, and eco-parks.
Jade Beach is a continuation of Akumal Bay and is located about one mile south of the village of Akumal on the Riviera Maya. This is a quiet area made up of private vacation homes and also a great place to snorkel as the reef comes very close to the beach here. There is a small restaurant on this bay, although it is an easy walk along the beach to the amenities of Akumal.
South Akumal is a lovely white sandy bay to the south of Punta Sur on the other side of the point from Jade Bay. This is a quiet and gated residential community of Akumal vacation homes and the Seven Seas condos. South Akumal is a popular location for repeat customers.
Aventuras Akumal is located on a fabulous beach, the residential communities of Aventuras Akumal have great swimming and snorkeling right out the front door. Aventuras Akumal also has a small store where you can buy snacks and essentials, and a small hotel with an on-site restaurant. It is also located within easy walking distance to the large Bahia Principe beach resort which has a mall for gifts and souvenirs, a nightclub, and even a 27 hole golf course!
Xcacel Beach is located south of Chemuyil, between Aventuras Akumal and Xel-Ha. A sea turtle sanctuary and protected area, the beach offers fantastic kiteboarding and surfing for those who are so inclined; there is a cenote on the grounds as well. There is a bathroom and changing facility, but no other amenities --- don't forget your snacks and drinks!
Located south of Xel-Ha, Soliman Bay is a beautiful location for many TV commercials. This picture perfect bay on the Riviera Maya is home to a number of large, exclusive Akumal rental homes. It is a private gated community and a favorite for many who come back for an Akumal vacation year after year.
Tankah Bay is located immediately south of Soliman Bay approximately 7 miles north of Tulum. This is a lovely area famous for the Manatee Cenote and a number of lovely Riviera Maya vacation homes. There is a dive center here and a restaurant should you wish to stay local. There is a host of amenities just a short drive away in the town of Tulum.
Tulum / Sian Ka'an
Tulum is one of the fastest growing hotspots in the Riviera Maya. With a lovely Mayan ruin perched majestically atop the cliffs and kilometers of fabulous white picture postcard beaches, it's no wonder that the beautiful and eco-chic are choosing to spend an Akumal vacation here. Tulum also has a great range of amenities such as several super markets, good restaurants, shops, internet cafes, and nightlife, as well as a variety of activities.
Just south of Tulum beach, the area turns into the UNESCO protected Sian Ka'an Biosphere. This incredibly diverse area is home to a massive range of indigenous flora and fauna and millions of migrating birds. There are literally miles and miles of pristine and uncrowded beach. Take a kayak out onto the lagoon for some excellent wildlife spotting. A little farther south, Boca Paila offers incredible sand flats fishing.
North of Akumal
Xpu Ha is a wide and beautiful powder-white beach situated between two all-inclusive resorts. A laid-back area that has camping available and a kiteboarding school, Xpu Ha is the ideal place to spend a lovely day with friends or family.
The chic yachting community of Puerto Aventuras continues to grow, conveniently located just 15 minutes north of Akumal. This is one of the best places to go if sailing and deep sea fishing interest you. There is a fairly challenging 9 hole golf course in Puerto Aventuras, and of course the Dolphin Discovery Center where you can swim and play with dolphins. There are a number of nice bars and restaurants around the marina, which is a great spot to have dinner at night looking out over the dolphins. Puerto Aventuras also has a lovely but small public beach for swimming and sunning.
Paamul is a small residential area just 20 minutes north of Akumal. With great snorkeling, a small dive shop, and a restaurant and pool on the beach, Paamul is the perfect location for a relaxing family day.
Playa del Carmen
The vibrant, bustling city of Playa del Carmen is the new Cancun, only much more accessible. It is packed with great nightlife, excellent shopping along La Quinta (5th Avenue), and great resorts and hotels of all sizes and price ranges. This is also the hop on hop off point for ferries to Cozumel. The posh new residential area of Playacar just to the south has an excellent golf course. Playa del Carmen is approximately 40 minutes south of Cancun.