The Guide to Akumal: Hotels, Restaurants & Things To Do

If you’re looking for a destination on Mexico’s Mayan Riveria that offers a beautiful beach, a relaxed pace of life, and shines away from the mega-resorts that dot this coastline, let me introduce you to Akumal.

Famed for the turtles that have made the bay of Akumal their feeding ground, and offering snorkeling tours where you can swim daily with one of nature’s coolest animals. Akumal is a small town that is perfect for anyone looking for relaxation and a great base for exploring the Riveria Maya.

If you’re looking for a place to party, well Akumal is not the place for you. You’ll need to head to either Cancun or Playa del Carmen for that fix.

Akumal’s location is also superb and is a perfect base for day trips to Tulum, Playa del Carmen & Cozumel. I would highly recommend renting a car to get around (it’s a major regret that I have from my travels around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula was not renting a car).

Throughout this guide to Akumal, I’ll cover where you should stay, where to eat and things to do in Akumal.

Tips for Akumal

ATMs

e-Sim Data

There is 1 ATM in Akumal Beach that dispenses Mexican Pesos and in the 5 days I was there, it never had any money in it. It’s located by the basketball court. If you head over to the Akumal Dive Shop you’ll find an ATM in the back that dispenses US Dollars.

I use Airalo for connectivity for my cell phone when overseas. An e-sim was one of my best purchases and so easy to install. The e-sim plans with Airalo start from as little as $8 for 1 GB of data.

Where to stay in Akumal

There are several options when it comes to staying in Akumal. I stayed in 2 condos in Half Moon Bay in Akumal which I would highly recommend, as well as staying in Akumal Puebla (for those on a budget).

There are also a couple of All-Inclusive Resorts in Akumal that are located on Akumal Beach and offer everything that you could possibly imagine.

Akumal Beach

Akumal Resorts

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya – Adults Only

One of the largest and most exclusive hotels in Akumal is Secrets Akumal Riveria Maya. It features 3 pools, beachfront access, tennis courts, 7 restaurants, and endless things to see and do.

If you’ve been on the hunt for resorts in Akumal Mexico, you can’t beat Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and the luxury it provides for guests looking to escape and have the ultimate all-inclusive experience. As an adults-only hotel too, you’ll experience top-tier cocktails, gourmet restaurants, and attentive staff who are happy to fulfill all your needs.

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya recently joined the World of Hyatt loyalty program so members should take note. Of the all-inclusive hotels in Akumal, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya has the best location and services on offer to its guests.

Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal – All Inclusive

Another Akumal all-inclusive hotel on the beach is Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal which seemingly stretches forever and feels like a small town. With 7 restaurants and 8 bars, there is no need to ever leave the Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal.

In fact you may want to permanently stay in one of the best 5-star resorts in Akumal Mexico. Spend your days lounging either on the beautiful Akumal beach and swimming in the Caribbean sea, or have your pick of 3 enormous swimming pools.

Akumal Rentals

In Half Moon Bay you’ll find a superb selection of vacation rentals in Akumal. We loved our stay so much we extended it from 3 days to an additional 5 days. Akumal offered such a great balance of rest and relaxation after hot-footing our way around the Yucatan Peninsula that we were in dire need of some downtime.

We found our rentals through Vrbo and cannot recommend it enough! If you’re looking for a longer stay, or want to have your own comforts like a couch, or balcony or even just to rustle something up in the kitchen, then a condo rental in Akumal is a fantastic choice. Also, I noticed Akumal seemed very child-friendly with lots of young families.

Nikte Condos Akumal

We loved our stay in Nikte Condos Akumal! It was so fabulous, and I know it’s somewhere that I’ll return to time and time again for a winter break in the sun. The apartments are well-appointed with all the appliances you could need or want. We stayed in a ground-floor studio apartment that was steps from the communal pool which was always empty, and the gorgeous Half Moon Bay Beach.

The Nikte complex is in a fantastic location, halfway from Akumal Beach and Yul-Kú Lagoon. Several restaurants are only a short walk away. Or you can rent a golf cart like a lot of the other residents do for around $50 a day.

Nahil Condo

Located closer to the Yul-Kú Lagoon and one of the newer buildings in Half Moon Bay, you’ll find that the Nahil Condos are modern apartments with oceanview bedrooms, balconies to soak up the early morning sunshine and all the peace you need for your perfect and relaxing Mexico vacation.

Things to do in Akumal

  • One of the perpetual draws to Akumal is its pristine beaches, and it also happens to be home to turtles that feed in the waters of Akumal Beach. Most visitors are day-trippers who come to snorkel with the turtles before heading off on their next excursion, but Akumal is worth exploring further.

For an in-depth review of Akumal Beach head over to my post.

  • Yal-Kú is a natural lagoon that draws visitors to its crystal clear waters as visitors swim amongst mangroves spotting an array of fish and fauna. Snorkel your way around the lagoon before relaxing in nearby hammocks and enjoying a bit of lunch.

Restaurants in Akumal Mexico

For such a small place, there is quite a decent variety of restaurants in Akumal. For the sake of this guide there are three distinct areas to dine at;

  1. Akumal Beach
  2. Half-Moon Bay
  3. Akumal Pueblo

Akumal Beach Restaurants

If you’re not staying in one of the all-inclusive hotels, or you’re looking for a change in scenery you’ll find a handful of restaurants on Akumal Beach that are worth exploring.

Lol-Ha

Lol-Ha has a fantastic happy hour that is absolutely worth visiting after a wonderful day at the beach. Between 5.30 pm and 6.30 you’ll get a 50% discount on cocktails, beers and wine. I loved sitting at the bar (which if you know me, is incredibly unlike me) and talking with the wonderful barmen who were super lovely. The food is decent at Lol-Ha, but it did seem to empty out after 7 pm (which is very common in Akumal).

Lol-Ha is the perfect place for a sundowner before moving on to one of the neighboring restaurants in Akumal. It’s hard to not love the fantastic view of the aqua-blue Caribbean sea, small boats, and swaying palm trees.

Taverna Akumal

If you need a break from delicious Mexican food then you must head to Taverna Akumal for pasta or pizza. Taverna Akumal is very family-friendly and only open from 4 pm until 10 pm.

A cheese pizza at Taverna Akumal

Turtle Bay Bakery And Cafe

I loved Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe which is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch. If you’re planning a day at the beach, the bakery section is a great choice to pick up freshly baked cookies and pies.

Breakfast at Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe offers smoothie bowls, Mexican egg dishes like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros, as well as breakfast staples like avocado toast. Open daily from 7 am until 10 pm, it has one of the longest opening hours of the Akumal Restaurants.

La Cueva del Pescador

Looking for freshly caught fish? Or just craving some shrimp tacos, then head next door to La Cueva del Pescador for some beautifully cooked fish. And super fresh too. The margheritas and ceviche are worth visiting, and the ceviche is probably the best in Akumal. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Half Moon Bay Restaurants

Half Moon Bay is the residential part of Akumal where you’ll find condos, homes and a wonderful long stretch of sandy beach to explore. Anyone can visit, if walking it’s a 17-minute walk from Akumal Beach to La Buena Vida restaurant. Or hop in a tuk-tuk that roams the streets. Ask the price before getting in.

La Buena Vida

La Buena Vida is one of the most popular restaurants in Half Moon Bay and we revisited it a number of nights. I loved the vibe of La Buena Vida, you feel like you’ve stumbled across the lost boys’ hideout from Peter Pan, with wooden tables, sand floors, swings at the bar, and a couple of towers to enjoy the wonderful views from (they’ll even hoist buckets of beer up to where you sit!).

You’ll also find a small swimming pool at La Buena Vida and direct access to Half Moon Bay. The menu at La Buena Vida has a lot of variety, so even after a couple of visits you’ll still find new offerings on the menu. The food was personally very hit-and-miss for me. Some nights the food was decent, then the next night it was pretty poor.

La Buena Vida opens at 12 pm and closes at 9 pm. Also note that they only accept cash tips.

Jungla Cafe

I absolutely adored Jungla Cafe which is set amidst mangroves and is a superb place to grab an excellent coffee or breakfast. Their breakfast and brunch menu is limited, but what they do rustle up, they do it exceptionally well. Personally, I’d love Jungla Cafe to open in the evenings as a little cocktail or wine bar, the setting is just so wonderful.

Open from 7 am until 3 pm. You can also grab a takeaway coffee and baked goods as well. Across the road is La Lunita, an Italian restaurant that we didn’t get a chance to try but heard some decent things about.

Jungla Cafe surrounded by beautiful Mangroves

AK Restaurant & Bar

AK Restaurant is a low-key kind of place that serves really great dishes. It’s the perfect place to head when you’re craving some affordable Mexican food.

I was highly impressed with AK Restaurant & Bar and my one regret is not dining here more than once. It’s a no-frills kind of place, but serves really good drinks and a mean burrito. Bonus points for pool lovers with a table downstairs to play.

Open daily form 11.30 am – 9 pm.

AK Restaurant & Bar

Akumal Pueblo Restaurants

Akumal Pueblo, but having spoken to long-term visitors, it appears not many visitors head across the highway to Akumal Pueblo to eat.

If you are looking for some great street tacos, you should definitely visit El Amigo Baron, Taqueria Abuelo Miguel & a small little vendor called Tacos & Tortas that were some of the best we had in our 3 weeks traveling around Mexico.

Akumal Pueblo

Across the highway is Akumal Pueblo, it takes around 7 minutes to walk across the highway bridge that links the Pueblo to Akumal Beach. If you’re looking for budget accommodation, then Akumal Pueblo a great place to base your stay.

Also if you’re looking for some great street tacos, you’ll only find them in Akumal Pueblo. I stayed in El Ultimo Maya for 2 nights and it was very basic, but run by two lovely Italians who were working so hard to ensure guests were comfortable and happy. We used our stay to figure out our plans, and ended up enjoying the calmness of Akumal so much we moved across the highway to beachside Akumal.

Akumal Pueblo is small and if you’re on a budget you’ll find something affordable by staying in El Ultimo Maya or around the corner in Itza Hotel Akumal. Akumal Pueblo isn’t the prettiest of towns we found on our travels, but it was a good base for exploring the beach and nearby places like Tulum & Playa del Carmen.

As you walk around the Pueblo you’ll find dozens of murals that were painted by over 120 artists around the town. It’s a nice way to explore this small Mexican town. Aside from the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary, there’s not a lot more to the town of Akumal.

Walk down to the highway and hop on a colectivo for a couple of pesos in either direction of Tulum or Playa del Carmen and tell the driver where you’re headed.

Akumal Colectivo stop

is akumal mexico safe

Akumal Mexico is safe, and you’ll see armed national guards driving around throughout the day and even walking on Akumal Beach. As I traveled around Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Akumal was probably one of the places where I saw the most presence of the national guard the most. You’ll even find a small posting of national guards before the entrance of Yal-Ku Lagoon.

Walking around Akumal felt incredibly safe and I never was concerned about my safety at any stage.

Akumal Wrap Up

If you’re seeking a truly relaxing destination on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera where you can swim in the Caribbean sea, eat some tasty food and be 30 minutes from either Tulum or Playa del Carmen then you can’t beat Akumal.

I loved my time in this tiny beach town and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a vacation in either an all-inclusive hotel or condo that is as quiet and relaxed as it gets.

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