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Beaches Nearby Ocean Breeze Akumal
With almost 100 km’s of coastline broken up by numerous coves and bays the Riviera Maya has kilometers and kilometers of white sand beaches, interspersed with wild, largely unexplored rocky outcrops that separate the numerous bays and coves.From Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, and down to Tulum there are dozens of beaches, ranging from the large all-inclusive resorts that limit access to the public beach, to little known (to tourists at least) public beaches to unique and off the beaten track gems. All framed between wild tropical jungle on the one side, and warm Caribbean ocean on the other. Whether you want to relax in unspoilt solitude, swim and snorkel with fish, sea turtles, whale sharks and the like, or participate in fun beach activities there’s plenty of space and opportunity for all. Below are a few of our best selections all within a few minutes drive of Ocean Breeze Akumal.
Looking to explore a single spot with a barrier reef that is well preserved and teeming with fish, and with seagrass beds full of green turtles and stingrays? Then head for Akumal Bay, the most famous spot in Riviera Maya. Facing a white sandy beach lined with coconut trees, crystal-clear waters with an exceptional snorkeling experience all within 5 minutes of Ocean Breeze Akumal.
History - Akumal Bay is located on the former site of a coconut plantation and currently has a population of 1300. The town was founded in 1958 by Pablo Bush Romero who was a local businessman, archeologist, writer, historian, and scuba diver. It was this latter interest that resulted in the founding of Akumal as a community for scuba divers.
Its exotic coral reef surrounding Akumal Bay makes snorkeling and diving a unique experience. The name, “Akumal” comes from the Mayan, meaning “place of turtles” as hundreds of turtles arrive each year to lay their eggs in the white sand beaches, and swim in the shallow bay feeding on the sea grasses.
Turtles - There are 3 species of sea turtles that can be found in Akumal: Green, Loggerhead & Hawksbill.
Green Sea Turtle: - Only 2 inches long when born green sea turtles can grow to 5 feet in length and weigh up to 700 lbs making them the largest hardshell sea turtle in the world.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle: - With a lifespan of 50 years or so, Loggerheads weigh in at about 250 lbs and 3 feet in length, from feeding on a diet of mostly jellyfish, molluscs, and crustaceans. Their name comes from the ‘large log’ of a head and have a reddish-brown hardshell and pale yellow underbelly.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle: - Named for its sharp, narrow head that is reminiscent of a bird’s beak, they are often considered the most beautiful of all sea turtles due to their colorful shells. They feed mostly on sea sponges and as one of the smaller sea turtles weigh up to 200 lbs and 2-3 feet in length.
The sea turtles in Mexico are a protected species so it is illegal to hunt or capture, or take their eggs.
What The Tourists Don't Know - If you’re the average tourist, you should be aware that it can be hard to find free parking, which you pay a small 50 peso fee for before you walk to the beach and then have to pay another small fee (again about 50 pesos) to enter the beach. Here, if you didn't know better (keep on reading) you will be hounded by tour guides trying to get you rent rent snorkeling equipment and sign up for a tour. However there is a better way if you want to go it alone, and not take an organized tour, save on parking and the entrance fee, as well as avoid the tour people harassing you.
First of all to help preserve the reef, tour groups are not allowed on Monday’s so its’ much quieter. Sogo on a Monday and go early in the morning (say 9:30am) when the beach and ocean will be quiet.
Next park at Lol-Ha Restaurant - When you go, if you are driving head to Lol-Ha restaurant first. Drive past the Oxxo store and immediately past it turn right. There will be a chain across the avenue/alleyway with a person standing next to it who come over to you. Tell him “Soy va a restaurante Lol-Ha”. He will likely ask you if you are going to 'La Playa or La Restaurante'. Assuming you are there early (see tip #2 above) say “Playa y restaurante para comida” as the restaurant doesn't open till 11:30am. He will then let you through and you will drive straight before heading left and following the road around through some rental cabins. Usually there will be people who the gate person has radioed to who will direct you, and there are a few signs as well. Lol-Ha restaurante allows you to park here for free, and enter the beach for free, as long as at some time during your visit you order a few drinks or some food. The food is good and moderately priced especially considering that you are sitting right in front of the beach. Save your restaurant receipt just in case on exiting they ask you if you ate there. First of all though, go snorkeling.
Snorkeling - When you get to the beach walk to the left and look at the information boards describing the 2 snorkeling routes, as there are protected areas where you are not allowed to snorkel. If you need to rent snorkel equipment or a life jacket then there is a a Dive Shop where you can rent them if you don't have your own.
After snorkeling and relaxing on the beach head back to Lol-Ha for a well earned lunch and/or a drink and watch the activity from you beachfront shaded table.
As a guest of Ocean Breeze Akumal you can access the Tao Beach Club, an 8 min drive south along the Carr. Cancun – Tulum highway 307.
From 10 am to 6 pm daily you have access not only to the beach, pool, and reclining beach chairs but also to the beach bar and restaurant, which serves great seafood at the Jungle Fish Restaurant.
If you want to find out about special events (e.g. salsa classes) or what's on the menu you can call them at +52 984 127 8506.
The beach and ocean is about 10 minutes walk south from Akumal Bay but this section of the beach is much more secluded. Few people wander here but the water is just as beautiful.
Xpu-Ha beach is only 5 minutes north on highway 307. While this is a public beach access to it costs 50 pesos a person. However, if you spend more than 200 pesos at one of the bars or restaurants you can get your entrance fee refunded when you leave (you need to show them your bar/restaurant receipt).
This is an excellent local beach where you can swim, sunbathe, snorkel, rent chairs, watercraft, take a massage in a beach hut etc., etc. It's less crowded than Akumal Bay, and you won't be hounded by people selling tours.
While you can order food and drinks from several beachfront restaurants and bars, you can also take a cooler with your own food and drinks. It is surrounded by reefs so there are sections that are great for swimming. While you may not see as many fish snorkeling here as in Akumal Bay, you also won't be fighting with lots of other snorkelers.
Xcacel beach is a similar to Xpu-Ha above except it is run as a natural eco beach so there is more seaweed on the beach than some of the others (which are cleaned off periodically). Also there aren’t any bars or restaurants here so you'll want to bring your own food and drinks. The cost to access the beach is $84 pesos per person.
There’s lots of beach here though and not many people. One thing to be aware of are the riptides here which can be significant, so be prepared.
Xcacel is located 10-12 minutes drive south of Ocean Breeze Akumal. Drive south past the massive stone entrance of Bahia Principa (on the right hand side until you pass the exit for Chemuyil (see map). Once you have turned back on the retorno look for a sign that says Sanctario and turn down it.
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