With hundreds of species of fish, sharks, turtles, and other marine life, and the 2nd largest coral reef in the world, scuba diving in Akumal is a must. Added to that the natural beauty of the ocean, excellent visibility, fabulous sandy beaches and warm water there’s not much not to like for a diver!
Set on the former site of a coconut plantation Akumal is a quaint Mexican beachfront town. It was first founded in 1958 by Pablo Bush Romero. Because of the exotic coral reef surrounding the bay, it was set up as a community for scuba divers.
The name, "Akumal" comes from the Mayan, meaning "place of turtles". Each year hundreds of turtles arrive to lay their eggs in the sand and feed on the seagrasses. Adding to the allure is that it's home to three species of sea turtles: Green, Loggerhead & Hawksbill. While the double-barrier coral reef makes it a great place for turtles, it also gives rise to an amazing collection of tropical fish and other marine life. Making it a great environment for scuba diving in Akumal.
One of the reasons that the Riviera Maya is such a great place for scuba diving is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The second-largest coral reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef stretches for 700 miles. Including past Akumal Bay. In this location, there is a double barrier reef making the bay a calm and ideal place. The reef supports dazzling arrays of coral, and more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk, and more than 500 species of fish.
Not far from shore, a deep reef starts at a depth of 60 to 70 feet. It extends out in finger-like ridges and drops to between 100 and 140 feet in beautiful canyons. A second reef ranges from 50 to 70 feet in depth. This is an ideal option for a second dive of the day. As well an even shallower part of the reef runs between 25 to 45 feet in depth with large Elkhorn formations. While the deeper dives maybe for more advanced divers, intermediate and novice divers have lots of choices as well.
When scuba diving in Akumal there are many species of fish (plus turtles, sharks, and rays) that are common. For example, angelfish, barracuda, boxfish, butterflyfish, damselfish, grouper, grunt, jack, lionfish, lobster, eels, parrotfish, pufferfish, scorpionfish, snapper, and triggerfish, are all present.
Diving in Mexico is well-established and has a strong network of qualified and experienced divers. People who can guide or assist you in the planning and execution of dives. For example, the Akumal Dive Center,established in 1975, is the oldest in the Akumal area. Since 1975 they have overseen and guided over 1,000,000 dives!
Positioned in the heart of Akumal Beach, the Akumal Dive Center is the perfect location. Walking out of the dive center you immediately feel the powder white sand under your toes. A spectacular beach setting with swaying palms trees and the azure waters of the Caribbean ocean. The bay provides the perfect location for confined water practice, and a short boat ride opens up your choice of over 35 dive sites. In addition this a a fabulous place for those new to diving to take a discovery dive (no previous experience necessary), to take your open water dive certification, or enhance your skills by taking a specialty course.
Ocean Breeze Akumal provides high quality, affordable vacation apartments for your stay and we work with the Akumal Dive Center to provide you with a safe, diving experience of a lifetime. This includes transportation to the Akumal Dive Center and your dive site from the front door of your vacation apartment.
Another unique aspect of diving in this region is the cavern and cave diving you can also do. Centrally located in the Riviera Maya, Akumal provides access to many cavern and cave diving opportunities. Our experienced friends at the Akumal Dive Center provide a full range of cenote diving and certification options.
The Akumal Dive Center has over 35 dive sites in and along the coast close to Akumal Bay, alone. A map of these dive sites is located opposite.
Described below are a few of the popular dives.
This is the main reef of Akumal. It is directly in the front of the Akumal bay, with three different ranges of coral reef separated by transversal sand channels. The first coral reef starts at the 30ft (10 m). This has a high diversity of marine species with an abundance of smaller fishes grouped in banks or large schools. The visibility is 35 ft (11 m). There is a large number of stony coral species including Elkhorn (acropora palmata), Deer Horn (acropora cervicornix), and Lettuce (lobophytum).
The next range of coral reefs is at 50 ft (15 m). Here there are many Green turtles. On some dives, there have been 20 green turtles located here. Also, it is common to find medium size fish species including barracudas, groupers, cuberas. The visibility is to 65 ft (20 m). This is the deepest range of stony coral at this dive site at 130ft (40m). Where it is possible to see larger size species like mature turtles, large sponges, and adult nurse sharks. But the most attractive sites are the large formations of stony corals and the deep blue colours.
The average water temperature is 28 degrees Celsius and the length of this dive is 1.5 km.
La Herradura is beside the Las Redes dive site. It maintains a similar structure with a sand bottom and stony coral formations, at 60-90 ft (17-30m). As this is exposed from the intense current from the south, this is a very interesting place. It is very common to see stingrays (myliobatiformes), and lobsters (panulirus argus). This site is named for the shape of the stony coral which formed into the shape of a horseshoe from the exposure to the strong currents from the south.
It is possible to pass from the deeper areas to a shallow area by following the channel of sand. With a high diversity of species, it is the perfect place to practice multilevel dives.
Located at the northern tip of Akumal between Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay. This dive consists of two different areas. One is the shallow part 30-45ft (10-12 m) where we have impressive formations of stony coral. These are mostly flat formations until we reach the shore of this reef at 50 ft (15 m). Here it is possible to find 3m coral formations over the sand bottom.
As well, in this sand area, there are little islands of coral where it is common to find Mexican lobsters hiding under ledges. This area has diverse species of fish as well as hawksbill and green turtles. Between the change in depth from 45ft to 60ft over sand is a motorcycle, from which the dive is named.
At Morgan Reef, the depth of the stony coral is around 30-45 ft (10-13 m). The stony coral here is more diverse than at Las Redes. This thriving coral reef has some of the most important coral species of the Mesoamerican reef. As well as the colourful coral plentiful fish and turtles make this a striking dive.
There are a large number of nurse sharks here too. They prefer to sleep during the day. Hanging out between the stony coral outcroppings. Also, there is a karstic formation at about 50 ft (15 m) where green turtles congregate together. It is quite common to see 5 or more turtles together here.
Media Luna is made up of karstic atolls distributed over the sand at a depth of 40 ft (12 m). These types of tall atolls, predominantly of karstic stony coral, are seen up to 25 ft (8 m). Here also is the most abundant area of with colonies of Elkhorn (acropora) coral. It is possible to dive between the stretches of coral channels. Special highlights here are the hawksbill turtles and spotted eagle rays. Plentiful parrotfish, chopas, butterflyfish, puffers, damsels, and barracudas make this a very colourful dive. These colourful fish are contrasted against a backdrop of the clear light blue ocean.
As well as the dive sites described above there are plenty of other diving opportunities. Including diving with Bull sharks, night dives, snorkeling with Whale sharks and much more.