We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Littleton, Colorado
Level Contributor
903 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

I am actually staying in Playa Del Carmen but plan to spend a day at the beach near Akumal in search of the sea turtles. We have our own snorkel gear and we don't like doing the excursion tours as there are too many people present and we want to spend a nice relaxing quiet day on the beach snorkeling for turtles.

Which beach (area) would be best for viewing the turtles? Also do these beaches allow pubic access? When are the turtles most active and when would be the best time of day for viewing?

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
Level Contributor
43,843 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

First welcome to the forum

Have your taxi / colectivo drop you off at North Akumal (@ Akumal Bay)

Taxis will go into North Akumal - go past the Lol-Ha to get to the beach. Colectivo - you walk in frm the hwy

See these maps

http://www.sac-be.com/maps_travel.shtml

In front of Lol-Ha - go into the water and look for groups spotting turtles

GUESS WHAT

we don't like doing the excursion tours as there are too many people present and we want to spend a nice relaxing quiet day on the beach snorkeling

Won't happen

These Excursions come to this same beach/bay : Get there before 9:30 AM or after 3:30 PM if you don't like crowds

However, you can go south of the turtles and find great coral to snorkel with the rays and fish

Augusta
Level Contributor
469 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Totally disagree with former poster.

Guess what, you can have a great time at the beach, relaxing and no need for an excursion, no need to get there early or late either.

Take a cab to Akumal Bay, and ask to be dropped off at the water sports shack. They are really nice there, so buy a soda, rent a locker if you feel like it, and ask the guy where to see turtles. They will point out the area off the beach.

To avoid crowds on the beach, face the water, turn right, and walk towards the Akumal Beach Resort, until you have as much sand and real-estate as you need. Plenty of space. Some topless sunbathers will be in that area as well. Not a crowded area.

Now, about the excursions. Yes, they will be coming and going all day, but A>there are plenty of times throughout the day when there are none, B> The turtle area is a large area C>there are plenty of them. In fact the excursions help in a way, you can find your first turtle by following an excursion, the guides are good at spotting them (there is a trick-See below), so you can follow them a bit if you want.

You will have a great day in Akumal Bay.

The tour groups seldom hit sand, and the bay is gorgeous. The reef (a bit further away) is also in good shape3.

Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
249 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

It also depends on what time you get out there. We went last October and only saw 1 couple snorkeling anywhere near us. That was probably because of how excited we were to see the turtles. The Lo Ha beach was quiet, free and easy to get to. We just went out toward the tethered boats and had a great day. We packed a lunch and ate on the beach, there is a couple restaurants there too that I've heard are pretty good. I'll be back October 10 and will be in that bay again for sure.

Campbell River...
Level Contributor
479 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Both days we snorkeled at Akumal area we saw Turtles.

Had to go out a ways but the water is not super deep for some distance. We did go out directly by Lo Ha as is suggested by most people. You can look out into the water and see where people are snorkeling and no doubt they are probably looking at Turtles!

The beach is safe and we left our bag and towels set up under a tree with no worries...of course there was nothing of value in them! We carry our ID and cash in waterproof bags and our camera in a waterproof bag also.

Be sure to read a bit on Turtles before you go so you are respectful of them and their habits. Many times in our excitement we actually do things that are not really smart or kind to the Turtles. They are amazing creatures and we want them to be in the bay for many years to come.

austin,texas
Level Contributor
89 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

I have been going to Akumal since 1984 and I agee that Akumal bay is a good place to see turtles and the wall of fish as well, just be careful of the strong current on the north end. Half moon bay just north of town has quite a lot of tortugas as well. there is plenty of sea grass for them to feed on. From our condo on half moon bay we saw turtles all day. good luck, jungle cowboy

Center Valley...
Level Contributor
907 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

We caught a boat out of Half Moon Bay that took us to Akumal Bay...when we got out there it was just the four of us plus our guide...about halfway through another boat came with about 10 people. They left before we did though.

I was only out there about half the time and saw a few turtles. The rest of the group went out further and saw more turtles plus all sorts of cool fish & coral.

We were there around 2:30 or so, I'd guess.

Fond du Lac...
Level Contributor
226 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Are the turtles there all year I heard they lay their eggs to hatch May to October so are they still there in October?

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
Level Contributor
43,843 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Sorry to get Marty going. I have seen this area for 6 weeks+

and when the boats come in from GS and BHP (30-50 people via boats) plus 20 -30 from the beach via Coz. Cruise boats, it gets crowded.

I just wanted the original poster to know this is not a small isolated area - it can get crowded. Also on weekends / holidays, in front of the Lol-Ha part of the beach gets very crowded with locals

As mentioned, go south towards ABR and it is much less crowded in the water. Yes , you can park on the beach but is is a 5-10 minute walk back to Akumal for drinks and other ameneties. You cannot use ABR facilities unless you pay a $35 day pass (good value in my opinion for chairs / food / booze / etc)

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
Level Contributor
43,843 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Sorry Tripmeplease

Yes , there are resident green turtles all year long

if you see a Loggerhead or a Hawksbill, it's a treat

Littleton, Colorado
Level Contributor
903 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Snorkeling for Sea Turtles

Many thanks for all your suggestions. I am so excited about our Thanksgiving trip. Renting a boat sounds like loads of fun but I want to leave as little impact as possible on the environment. I do respect the turtles and their habitat and just want to float around viewing and shooting photos of the beautiful creatures.

@ Vancouversundog, that is an awesome map link, I've been searching for maps and those are the best I have seen so far. We do plan to get an early start to explore as much as possible.

I am a total n00b to the area. @ Vancouversundog. I am assuming that ABR = Akumal Beach Resort? $35 for the day pass sounds like a great deal as I was a bit concerned about how we would carry food and drinks for the day and have it secured while we are snorkeling. I can't seem to find the link to purchase the day pass, will keep researching.

Great suggestions from all posters, I really appreciate your thoughtful post. Any more suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Elle