The Turtles in Akumal Bay Get a Vacation in September

Akumal Bay (Source: Q-Roo Paul)

When you think of swimming with the sea turtles in this part of Mexico, you think of Akumal Bay. No matter what time of day it is, chances are that you’ll be able to locate multiple sea turtles lazily swimming around in the bay a short distance from the beach.

The area draws thousands of tourists a year, the majority of which arrive via the small access road leading from the main highway. Some days, it can take several minutes to travel a short distance down that road because it is full of cars, pedestrians and tour guides attempting to flag down drivers.

The scene was very different yesterday when we headed to Akumal Bay to grab a bite to eat. When we pulled on to the access road, there were no tour guides waving at us, no pedestrians walking in the middle of the road and no cars lining the highway. In fact, there was only one other car traveling down the road at that time.

When we arrived, the restaurant was mostly empty and we sat down in the bar area overlooking Akumal Bay. Normally, both the bay and the beach in front of it are packed with people — but not yesterday. It was the perfect setting to enjoy some cold beverages and delicious cochinita pibil.

We’re accustomed to empty restaurants and beaches during the low season, which just began and extends until November; however, Akumal Bay is even quieter than normal due to a temporary government ban on snorkel tours that lasts until October, 1.

The good news is that tourists, residents and hotel guests can still snorkel and swim in the area on their own.

Let’s Wrap This Up

The low season is our favorite time of year here in Mexico. This is when we can enjoy all of the beauty of this area without having to deal with crowds or lines. It’s reason #1,652 to become an expat and live here full time.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget.

In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (, has been viewed over a million times and Paul’s articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

15 Comments on "The Turtles in Akumal Bay Get a Vacation in September"

  1. That is exactly why my husband and I are here now. It’s a bit more humid, but that just makes wrinkles disappear! We’re scouting out property so we can call Mexico home also ❤️

  2. Why the ban?

  3. In the early 70’s, Paul, there were turtle pens on the west side of Isla Mujeres and probably elsewhere where the animals were kept pending sale to restaurants. Snorkelers were able to go over the fence and swim with the captives. Turtle steaks were on many menus in Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. It’s amazing that the turtle population recovered.

  4. I thought recently they closed Akumal Bay for snorklers (or maybe it was just the un-guided people). As my daughter lives in Playa del Carmen, I love following your Facebook page. She’s been there a little over 4 years now—a blonde from Minnesota! We did snorkel in Akumal a couple of years ago. I love the sea turtles!

    • They closed it for awhile, then reopened it with some restrictions. It will be closed for the month of September, and then will reopen with restrictions on October 1st.

      The next time you’re down visiting your daughter, you should tell her you want to snorkel with the turtles again. 🙂

  5. Thats one of the many reasons I am returning home. First stop Bacalar! Any other suggestions?

  6. Robert Baechle | September 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Reply

    Paul, a friend and I will be beaching it while our spouses go diving Monday and Tuesday. If I am hearing you correctly we can swim in the bay but not snorkel? We were hoping to snorkel. If we are unable to snorkle any suggestions where we can go while the spouses are under water?

    • You can definitely swim there. I don’t know if there is anyone out there preventing people from snorkeling or not. If there is, just walk a little south of the bay along the beach and snorkel in front of the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort. They have great snorkeling there.

  7. Public can snorkel with turtles in the non restricted areas – and doesn’t have to do with “mating season”. Egg laying is almost over – early September. It does have to do with tour groups not following the rules

    • I amended the article to include the information that you provided, Glen.

      The information that we received from SEMARNAT earlier in the month is that swimming with the turtles in the area was suspended for the month — they didn’t specify it was only for tours. In fact, their public announcements (one shown in the article) say the same thing.

      Thanks for the clarification, Glen.

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