Swimming With Sea Turtles in Akumal, Mexico

Swimming With Sea Turtles

While travelling one of our main passions is to try to swim with as many different marine life in the wild as possible. Whether it’s Dolphins, Seals or shoals of fish, we are always on the lookout for the next opportunity to do so.

So when we recently visited Riviera Maya in Mexico we knew we had to get down to the small fishing village of Akumal where we discovered swimming with sea turtles was possible just yards off the beach. The ocean floor at Akumal is covered in sea grass and that’s what attracts the sea turtles to this area. They’ll spend hours just swimming around eating the sea grass and every so often heading up to the surface for oxygen. Luckily for us (great planning more like) we were staying a short Collectivo ride up the road from Akumal. The Collectivo, a minivan which is popular with the locals, travels up and down the main high connecting Tulum and Playa Del Carmen and for around 35 pesos (£1.40) it’s the cheapest and best way to get around Riviera Maya.

After the Collectivo dropped us off on the highway, we made the short 10 minute walk down to Akumal Village passing a few little food shacks and a small supermarket on the way down. A small word of warning, on the walk down to the main village you will no doubt pass groups of men trying to sell you tours to swim with the Turtles. They will tell you that it’s best to pay to go on a tour with them as they know where the best place to go swimming with sea Turtles. It’s completely up to you if you want to take one of these tours but if you’re on a budget you really don’t need to as the Turtles are easy to spot as you will see below.

Swimming With Sea Turtles

Once we arrived into the centre of Akumal, we were greeted by a stunning beach stretching down around the bay with the lush turquoise Caribbean sea gently lapping up against the soft sand. Spread out along the edge of the beach was a couple of restaurants and bars selling a range of local and international cuisine with a relaxed atmosphere, it looked a great place to chill out with some fish tacos and a bottle or two of Corona. Unfortunately we had not long had a (late) breakfast so didn’t stop to try any of the food, plus we were here for one thing and one thing only, swimming with the sea turtles!

Swimming With Sea Turtles

Need Snorkelling Gear? No Worries..

There are two dive shops in Akumal, Akumal Dive Shop and Akumal Dive Center, both hire out life jackets, mask and snorkel and can provide you with lockers. As we already had our own mask and snorkel we just hired out a locker for a few $ to store our bags in. If you aren’t a strong swimmer or you easily tire it’s advisable to hire out a life jacket as you will be in the water for quite sometime swimming around trying to find and/or watching the sea turtles.

Swimming With Sea Turtles

Swimming With Sea Turtles…

Now for the bit we had been waiting for! No sooner had we made it down on to the beach we had dumped our beach bag, donned our snorkel gear and made a beeline for the water. Within 5 minutes of swimming around we caught a glimpse of our first sea turtle, lazily swimming along feeding on the seagrass. We swam along with it for what seemed like ages just watching in awe at these graceful sea creatures just minding their own business. We found the whole experience of swimming with sea turtles so relaxing and calming, after a while you forget your swimming around in the ocean. We spent a further two hours swimming around watching the turtles, we even came across a stingray!

When you first enter the water you will see groups of people swarming around patches in the ocean watching turtles, you will be tempted to swim over and join in, but don’t. People tend to forget the turtles are wild animals in their natural environment, respect the turtles, give them space and don’t try to touch them. Swim around on your own for a bit and you will eventually come across a turtle by yourself, you will enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

Swimming With Sea Turtles

We loved our time swimming with sea turtles and have already researched about where we are going to do it next on our travels. We definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting Riviera Maya to make time to visit Akumal, you won’t regret. We are also going to try to volunteer at the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Sanctuary in Sri Lanka when we visit early next year, as along with most people we know the dangers us humans put these beautiful creatures in, we need to protect our marine life and help where we can and do our bit to protect them where/when possible.

Have you ever visited Akumal and swam with the sea turtles? Or perhaps you’ve swam with them elsewhere on your travels, we would love to hear your tales!

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Sea Turtles Akumal

  • Eulandas

    Really helpful tips! We haven’t visited the region before, but turtles are just the most lovely creatures. Your photos definitely make us want to visit soon!

  • Kaara

    My goodness, this is definitely going on my bucket list! ♥

  • Yay, I’d love to do this one day! 🙂

  • Jennifer Morrow

    Lovely! Sea Turtles are so abundant in the Caribbean, but it is always a treat to share the water with these little guys!

  • I would love to do this. I watched a group of them playing in the shore break in Maui and they are just hypnotic.

  • Bernard Tan

    this is going into my to do list! Awesome experience!

  • Jem

    I wish I could swim as well. Would be really nice to do this. Have you heard of Turtle Island in Palawan?

  • Seems like you had fun there swimming with the Turtles. Its great that you have decided to volunteer in Sri Lanka to work with conservation, we do disturb marine life abit too much with out swimming, feeding and selfies with……………..

  • Wow that sounds a good fun swimming with the sea turtle, and it’s cool that you dont have to pay to swim with them unless you needed gears

  • Wow they look so majestic, looks like you had a great time.

  • Sounds wonderful. This is something I would like to do.

  • Travelling Chingrita

    awesome! glad you had a good time. I want to swim with dolphins as well but I end up missing it half the time because I’m too late to get to the ocean 🙁 They hang out in the line-up with friends of mine.

    Sea turtles are awesome to cruise with, no pressure, just swimming super slow. I would suspect not the brightest of species.. at least the ones I encountered in Galapagos.. but they sure are cute!! <3 Turtles especially the Green Sea Turtles!

  • Traveltorecovery

    aww they are so cute. I did this in Barbados and it was amazing so will definitely check out if in this area

    • We love them, hoping to volunteer at a turtle sanctuary while in Sri Lanka