Akumal Mexico Sunset Beach

Akumal, Mexico: The Ultimate Guide To Riviera Maya’s Laid Back Beach Town

Akumal Mexico sunset ocean

After a dreamy getaway to Mexico to kick off 2022, I’m so excited to share a recap of our getaway to Akumal, Mexico!

Situated between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, you’ll discover a charming, small beach town packed with true authenticity of the Riviera Maya. Discover Akumal, meaning “Place of the Turtle” in the Mayan language. This lesser-known beach town should be the next stop on your Mexico bucket list, and we can’t rave enough about our stay. The meaning behind the name holds true, as the gorgeous white sand beaches are surrounded by two bays enclosed by the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef system in the world. If you’re a scuba diver like me, you will love exploring the reefs – and you guessed it, lots of sea turtles!

We spent New Years Eve in Akumal, Mexico and had an incredible time!  Akumal is an easy drive from the Cancun Airport, and it’s super easy to get to this authentic and laid-back beach town. It’s the type of place that feels like time stops from the moment you check in, and it’s the perfect getaway for a weekend of true R&R. 

Akumal Mexico Sunset Beach

Since we were traveling with our two year old, we wanted to plan a vacation that would be fun for our daughter, but also easy and relaxing for us. Akumal has been on our bucket list for a while, so we decided to spend the first four nights of our trip here then moved down the Riviera Maya to stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba. The Riviera Maya has so many amazing beach towns within a short distance, so we highly recommend switching resorts during your stay to feel like two vacations in one.

Read about Janie’s stay at the Rosewood Mayakoba here

We discovered Akumal through a friend of ours in Dallas that grew up here, so we were thrilled to get to visit his hometown and even stay at his family’s hotel!  We stayed at Hotel Akumal Caribe and loved our stay! There was so much to do in Akumal that we were always entertained, and we loved the quiet feel the beach without the tourists of the more populated beach towns. 

One thing to note, there is not a lot of nightlife in Akumal – however, you can find this in Tulum just a taxi ride away! Click here to read our Tulum travel guide.

Keep reading to learn more about our stay and how to plan a trip to Akumal, Mexico!

Where to stay in Akumal Mexico
where to stay in Akumal Mexico


Akumal is just a short 1 hour drive from the Cancun Airport, so you can easily book a shuttle or rent a car if you prefer to have your own transportation.

Click here to read our tips for booking a car in Mexico.

Akumal Mexico Dusk



Swim With Turtles

Akumal is known for the turtles, so snorkeling and scuba diving is definitely the most popular things to do.  There are several shops where you can rent gear and sign up for a tour. If you’re planning a trip in the future, I recommend getting your license prior to the trip if you have a local diving center. We got our open water in middle school and our advanced/nitrox in college. The licenses never expire, so it’s a great way to jump right in as soon as you arrive!

Akumal Caribe Hotel


Book A Spa Day

The hotel features a spa on property with rave reviews, but unfortunately we had so much fun on the beach that we didn’t have time to book a treatment.

Explore The Local Boutiques

Everything we did in Akumal was walking distance, and I was pleasantly surprised at all the shopping.  The boutiques are very authentic, so remember to have pesos on hand.  There is also an ATM nearby just in case you leave with a few more souvenirs than expected!

Akumal Mexico town shopping

Rent A Golf Cart

We rented a golf cart from the hotel one day and cruised all around the area. We cruised over to La Buena Vida for an afternoon lunch and relaxed all day.  This was a highlight of our stay! They also offered bike rentals, but with a 2 year old, the golf cart was the best option.

Snorkel At Yal-Ku Lagoon

About 1.5 miles from the hotel is Yal-Ku Lagoon, which is a crystal clear lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling to see lots of fish, mangroves, and rock formations.  They said it looks like you’re swimming in an aquarium, so we plan to do this next time!  While we didn’t snorkel, we loved the very peaceful and enjoyable walk to the lagoon through a residential area with fabulous beach houses.

Akumal Mexico fishing

Plan A Fishing Excursion

If you’re an avid fisher, Akumal is the place for you! While we opted out on the fishing excursions, the dive shop on property can arrange guided fishing trips for your stay.

Explore The Riviera Maya

If you have a car or rent a taxi, there is so much to explore in the area. We planned a day trip to Tulum (read our guide here) for lunch and shopping. You can also visit the cenotes, golf, explore Tulum Ruins, and so much more!

Akumal Mexico town


Lol Ha

This is the restaurant at the hotel, and we loved it!  Our room included free breakfast, and we usually dined at Lol Ha for either lunch or dinner.  They have fabulous Mexican cuisine, but they also have a pizza menu which we enjoyed as well.  The tables are situated on the sand, so it’s such a beachy-feel and the views can’t be beat.

where to eat in Akumal Mexico


Discovering our favorite Taverna in Dallas has a location in Akumal was quite the surprise but we loved having a taste of home on our vacation. It’s one of our favorite restaurants, but I must say, the open-air views from the 2nd floor dining area made this Taverna even better. It is probably the nicest restaurant in Akumal, so be sure to visit if you’re planning a dressy date night.  One night they had a musician, and it was a night to remember.

Taverna Akumal

Turtle Bay Café

We were sad we didn’t discover this spot until the last day, but this restaurant has a great menu. Turtle Bay Cafe’s morning pastries and coffee bar looked amazing, and I definitely plan to visit for breakfast during your stay.  They had homemade ice cream, so we highly recommend stopping by for a scoop of their Mexican Vanilla!

best restaurants Akumal Mexico

La Buena Vida

Do not miss! This spot is directly on the water and every table is in the sand.  La Buena Vida has hammocks and even a tree house!  The restaurant also features a pool and local boutiques, and we loved it.

beach bars Akumal Mexico


La Lunita

Unfortunately we did not have time to go to La Lunita, but we heard their Mexican entrees can’t be beat!


Hotel Akumal Caribe

We stayed at Hotel Akumal Caribe, and we had a fabulous time!As soon as we checked in, we knew we were going to love our stay.  The hospitality was amazing, and everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming. The hotel is small, but it had everything we needed and we loved the intimate feel of the property and seeing familiar faces throughout the day. something, and there was plenty to do that we were always entertained.  We stayed for four nights which was perfect!  

Since we had a few tips from our friend, he recommended the best room – #401!  Our room was ground floor with two balconies and just a few steps to the pool and the beach. It was heaven. The focus of the hotel is on the beach and nature, so our room didn’t have a TV or luxury frills – but we loved how it allowed us to totally disconnect and enjoy much needed R&R from the hustle and bustle of Dallas. 

The room had everything we needed, including a mini kitchenette, and the best views.  A few steps from the hotel was a mini grocery store that had snacks, sunscreen, etc, so it was all very easy!  The hotel is located in Akumal Town Center near all of the restaurants and where we spent most of our time if we weren’t on the beach. It was so nice to be able to walk everywhere, and aside from our day trip to Tulum, we never needed a taxi!

Akumal Caribe Mexico Hotel
Akumal Mexico Travel Guide


Las Casitas Akumal 

Las Casitas Akumal was located next door to ours, and it’s a great option if you need a larger units if you’re traveling with a group or a family. The 18-individual units have private terraces overlooking the bay. One thing to note though, this property does not have a restaurant, bar, or market on property – however it is conveniently located to town, so you have everything you need just a quick step away!

House Rentals

Many of the times Ellen has traveled to Mexico, she has rented a large villa to split with friends and raves about it. If this is something you are open to, there are so many wonderful villas to rent for your stay! As a tip, make sure to read the reviews before booking a home :)

Overall, Akumal is a very quiet town with chill vibes, but we loved how friendly and safe it was.  There were a lot of Europeans at the hotel, and we loved the international feeling!  As I mentioned before, our goal was to rest and truly get away – which we achieved in Akumal.  We think 3-4 nights is plenty to see everything and get a true feel of Akumal! 

We hope you love Akumal as much as we do!

new years eve Akumal Mexico
best restaurants Akumal Mexico

Discover more in Mexico:
Rosewood Mayakoba: Riviera Maya’s Serene & Luxurious Getaway
Tulum Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Mexico’s Chicest Beach Town
Cabo Travel Vlog: Paradisus Los Cabos
Villa Pescadores: Tulum’s Best Eco-Friendly Escape
Mar del Cabo: A Picturesque Boutique Hotel in Los Cabos
The Fives Downtown: A Mid-Century Modern Boutique Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Nizuc Resort & Spa: Cancun’s Luxurious Hideaway
Grand Velas Los Cabos: A Luxurious All-Inclusive Mexico Escape
Craic: Inside Our Favorite Luxury Yacht In Cabo

Comments (1)
  1. Ajasa says:

    Wow cool I really enjoyed the part when you’ll Swim with the Turtles