Turtles in Akumal
Swimming with turtles in Akumal is a very easy activity to do Rivieya Maya, you just have to know how and where. Akumal is a small town located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Mexico; about 39 km from Playa del Carmen (about 35 min) and about 28 km from Tulum (25 min approx). In Maya Akumal means “place of turtles”.
Being the main attraction of this place, this year(2017) PROFEPA suspended swim turtle in Akumal, due to the lack of regulation and exploitation of this tourist activity, and to be honest it was pity to arrive and see so many people stuck on the beach just to harass the turtles, it was inconceivable to think how same locals were the ones who took advantage of this when they should be the most concerned to protect them.
They rented vests and snorkels without pity, they sold you a supposed “tour” with turtles, which was nothing more than going to the beach to tell you where the poor turtles were grazing (they go to this part of the beach to eat seagrass). Any way you could have seen them without giving them a weight. Be aware of this kind of activity, now is forbidden and you could get arrested if police see you around turtles.
This lack of regulation and over exploitation of the activity, caused the turtles will begin to move away and become extinct, the excess of people on the beach damage the seagrass that is the reason why the turtles came, in addition all this amount of people Wanting to touch them and chop them away.
During the times that I went to the Akumal beach, I honestly did not feel like going to see turtles, the poor ones had enough with all that many people on top, that’s the way it was for a couple of times.
Now, the last time I went, things were quite different, thanks to the PROFEPA decided to put letters in the matter, these pseudo sellers of tours are no longer on the beach selling fake tours, now the main attraction is recreational diving and the very act of being on the beach (Oh, and do not forget to go the cove, a beautiful place), for now they have left the turtles alone, the navy stands guard permanently to ensure that are being respected, they have marked the area of turtles with a buoy to avoid being disturbed.
Of course the turtles are still coming to eat and they are always around, suddenly if you are lucky, you can see one, although you can still find ignorant people committing these 5 ERRORS:
For the good of the turtles, the fish, the flora and all the living community that lives in the sea, let’s avoid these 5 VERY COMMON mistakes when we have the luck to swim among them, share and spread, so that we have turtles for many years!
- 1.- Touch them: No matter how beautiful they look and how big your curiosity is, DO NOT TOUCH THEM.
- 2.-kick as swimming: This point is as important as # 1, if you do not know how to swim do not get into the water, and if so, then avoid kicking near the turtles, this lifts the sediment and frightens them, approach quietly and you can contemplate them best 🙂
- 3.-Use of sunscreen: When entering the water, if you use sunscreen or bronzer, try to make it biodegradable, since the chemicals in it besides damaging your skin (yes, you read it well, they damage it) also damage aquatic ecosystems.
- 4.-Stepping on the seagrass: The only reason why the turtles stay on the shore of the beach, is because of the seagrass, which is their main source of food, to step on it is damaged. Avoid stepping on it, better nothing!
- 5.-Throw garbage to the sea or beach: This point is logical, but incredibly still happens, if you go to the beach, pick up your garbage, even if they are cigarette butts, beer cans (please break the plastics where it comes packed your six), since unfortunately much of this garbage ends up in the sea, and worse, in the stomach of the turtles.
And the extra tip of the list, speaking specifically of Akumal, since for the moment they suspended the swim with Turtles, you can not go beyond the marked line (who will be harassed by harassing turtles will be sanctioned with up to 5 thousand minimum wages) that limits the area between us humans and turtles, my advice is:
- 6.- Do not pass the marked area: Better wait patiently around, you will surely be lucky like me and you will see the odd turtle eating out there, and if you are even luckier, you will see lots of turtles, it depends on many factors, but for sure something you find out there 😉
Do you have questions or comments? You are welcome
Are you preparing your next vacation? Write me for more information or if you would like to talk about a specific place in the Riviera Maya. Live Mexico, invest in Mexico! 🙂