Akumal Snorkeling with Turtles
We entered late in the day, about 4:00 in the afternoon. Like most animal encounters, it pays to be of the first or last tour of the day. The kick out wasn’t spectacular. Tour guests aren’t permitted to use fins, and there wasn’t a lot to see. Jose excitedly showed us fish and coral but the real stars, the sea turtles, weren’t out to play yet. Our first turtle sighting was almost out to the outer edge of the circuit. I don’t know if it’s more magical to watch baby sea turtles hatch or swim with them in the water, but I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to do either.
The outside edge of the circuit was rough and choppy. We noticed large groups of snorkelers who were transported out here by boat. I would avoid this tour because of how choppy the water was. Additionally, I believe that these boat tours are an intentional circumvention of the Akumal Bay Management Plan which aims to reduce stress on the Akumal turtles.
The return swim home was the highlight of the trip. We were happy to get back to the calm waters of the bay, and we saw almost two dozen turtles! Unfortunately, we also saw a lot of independent snorkelers in this section. They were diving down to harass turtles and generally behaving poorly. It’s evident that, at the time of our visit, you could get away with swimming in the keep out zone, but should you?