6 Top Things to do in Akumal Riviera Maya

things to do in Akumal

6 Top Things to do in Akumal Riviera Maya.

The natural beauty and variety of attractions near Akumal make it ideal to visit for the day on a private tour. Located midway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Akumal has breathtaking beaches and lagoons. From sea turtles to cenotes, here are 6 must-do activities in Akumal.

akumal turtles

Swim with sea turtles

Akumal has a natural sheltered bay protected by a reef. It’s the perfect place to snorkel with sea turtles in their natural environment. Make sure you book a tour guide (mandatory) and read the Akumal bay regulation before the activity.

akumal beach

Akumal beaches

Akumal’s beaches are the jewel of the Riviera Maya coastline. Stroll on the sand or swim and snorkel in the clear warm sea.

tulum ruins

Tulum ruins

Situated on a headland overlooking the beach and sea, Tulum ruins are the most visited archaeological site in Mexico after Chichen Itza. Marvel over the engineering feat of these well-preserved buildings and imagine 13th century Mayan life in this beautiful spot. Take captivating photos of this historic site before enjoying a refreshing swim in the sea.

lagoon yalku

Yal Ku Lagoon

Don’t miss Yal Ku Lagoon in Akumal. The lush site has footpaths, statues, benches and the calm lagoon waters are safe for less confident swimmers. It’s like snorkeling in an aquarium with a lot of colorful fishes!

cenote dos ojos

Snorkel in cenotes

There are many excellent cenotes near Akumal including Taak Bi Ha, Dos Ojos and Nicte Ha. Snorkeling in the crystal clear waters is a unique experience and each cenote is different. Some are covered, like caves; others are open to the sky and edged with ferns. Why not visit several?

Delicious lunch in Akumal

Escape the heat with a relaxed lunch at one of the excellent restaurants in Akumal. Our favorites are “Buena Vista” and “La Cueva del Pescador” for fresh fish and yummy seafood.

Why not plan to spend a day in Akumal, swimming, snorkeling with sea turtles and enjoying the nearby attractions? Choose a private tour which includes transport, snorkel equipment and a friendly local guide.

9 Best Cenotes to Visit in Riviera Maya

Best cenotes to visit

9 Best Cenotes to Visit in Riviera Maya

One of the unique things to do in Mexico is visit the underwater sinkholes known as cenotes.There are thousands of these natural phenomena - large and small, well-known or tucked away, crowded or peaceful – take your pick. We’ve chosen 9 of the best cenotes in Riviera Maya for you to consider visiting independently or on a private tour.

Cenotes between Tulum and Playa del Carmen

There are 3 significant cenotes located north of Tulum in an area known as Dos Ojos Park. Choose one or visit them all!

Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos is the best-known cenote. It translates as “two eyes” which refers to the twin sinkholes that are connected together. You can snorkel in both cenotes but you’ll need to join a guided snorkeling tour to visit the Bat Cave.

Cenote Taak Bi Ha

This small cenote is known for its crystal clear water and many stalagmites and stalactites. Less well-known than other cenotes, it offers an uncrowded, peaceful experience.

Sac Actun

Tucked away in the jungle, Sac Actun is an incredibly beautiful cenote. Snorkeling can only be undertaken with an official guide who will escort you through the circuit of interconnecting tunnels filled with limestone formations. It’s amazing!

Cenotes near Playa del Carmen

3 best cenotes to visit near Playa del Carmen: It’s best to avoid visiting on Sundays as they are teeming with locals. Chikin Ha and Jardin del Eden are closed Saturdays.

Chikin Ha

Chikin Ha offers three different cenotes – a cave, an open cenote and a dry cenote, which is still used for Mayan ceremonies.

Jardin Del Eden

This huge cenote pool has lots of fish and is famous for daring cliff-divers!

Azul Cenote

Azul is a small shallow cenote perfect for a cooling dip amidst lush ferns and vegetation.

Best Cenotes to Visit near Tulum

Gran Cenote

Famous but very crowded! Read our detailed article before considering visiting Gran Cenote.

Casa Cenote

Surrounded by mangroves, Visit early in the day and spot blue crabs, fish and birds that love this natural location. Casa Cenote is amazing in good weather but after rain it has strong currents and poor visibility.

Laguna Kaan Luum

Swim and photograph the surreal turquoise waters at Laguna Kaan Luum but avoid the jam-packed weekends.

So, which cenote in Riviera Maya will you visit?

Is visiting Gran Cenote during your stay in Tulum a good idea?


Is Gran Cenote Worth the Visit?

No. At Absolute Adventure, we have decided not to include this cenote in our cenote tours. Check out the facts about Gran Cenote tours and decide for yourself!

Vacationers staying near Tulum may plan to visit the famous Gran Cenote, but will it be a highlight of your vacation, or will you be disappointed?

Pros and Cons of Gran Cenote

On the plus side:

  • Gran Cenote is one of the most famous cenotes near Riviera Maya as many people went there with big tour companies, it made the place known and got a coverage online and in tourist guides.
  • It is easy to combine with a trip to Tulum, just 3miles (5km) away, and easy to go by car or bike.
  • Gran Cenote has many facilities (bathroom, changing room...)

However, Gran Cenote has many disadvantages, compared to other cenotes:

  • Gran Cenote is a crowded cenote with hundreds of tourists every day
  • It is packed with tour vans, rental cars, taxis and bikes
  • It can be a long wait for the entrance and changing rooms
  • With so many bathers, it is not the peaceful, pristine experience visitors expect
  • It’s difficult to take beautiful photos with so many people around
  • Swimmers who lack confidence may find the deep, crowded waters intimidating


The reality of Gran Cenote
gran cenote worth it
Gran Cenote: crowded place

The Best Cenote Experience in Tulum!

Check out for a private cenote tour, it will allow you to go in some beautiful cenotes less frequented, less known but as beautiful.

A private cenote tour will provide you an unforgettable natural experience and swimming in the clear transparent waters, it will definitely be a highlight of your holiday!

Reasons to visit a cenote

  • Mexico’s Yucatan is one of the few places in the world where you can find natural cenotes.
  • These beautiful geological formations were once a sacred place to the Mayans.
  • Cenotes (sinkholes) form only in limestone karst regions and are filled with crystal clear spring water.
  • The cenote is surrounded by jungle trees making a beautiful picture of unspoiled nature.
  • Swimming in the clear sparkling water of a cenote is a unique and exhilarating experience.
  • It’s something everyone should have on their bucket list!

Is Cenote Ik Kil Worth the Visit?


Is Cenote Ik-Kil Worth the Visit?

Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most visited cenotes in the Yucatan, and it was undoubtedly very beautiful before mass tourism. Before you book a tour to Ik Kil Cenote, here’s what you really need to know…

Reality vs Expectation!

One of the reasons that Ik Kil is so well visited is its location. It is less than 3,7 miles from Chichen Itza on the busy road to Valladolid. Every tour bus passes by and generally includes a stop. This means:

  • Cenote Ik Kil is very crowded with hundreds of visitors every hour
  • You’re unlikely to get photographs without lots of people in them
  • With so many bathers, it is not the peaceful, pristine experience visitors expect
  • It is highly commercialized and has lost some of its natural serenity
  • There are lines for everything – tickets, restrooms, changing rooms, drinks etc.
  • You’ll be swimming in 132 feet-deep water with many other bodies – a frightening experience for less confident bathers
  • For most visitors, tours to Ik Kil Cenote are disappointing due to the commercialism and crowds. It is not at all what they expected.

But there’s a better way…


cenote ik kil worth it
cenote ik kil

© Travis Wise

cenote ik kil crowded

Discover Unspoiled Cenotes

If you want to experience the peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking natural beauty of a cenote, there are thousand cenotes to choose from in the Yucatan alone. These natural limestone sinkholes are fed by clear underwater springs and were once a sacred place for Mayan rituals, gifts and sacrifices.

Private Chichen Itza Tours

Take the time to find an agency that offers a totally different tour experience for visitors to Riviera Maya who want to visit, photograph and swim in a cenote.

Forget the Express tours that offer Ik-Kil Cenote as a brief add-on to a Chichen Itza tour. Experience a tour with a private guide, your guide will take you off-the-beaten-path to some of the most beautiful and peaceful cenotes in the Yucatan, far from mass tourism.

Another advantage with a private tour, you will have plenty of time to swim in the crystal clear water, learn how they are formed, and take beautiful pictures to share on Instagram.

Isn’t that what at tour is really all about?

Cenote Tour: Self-guided vs. Private Tour


Cenote Tour: Self-guided vs. Private Tour

If you want to visit one of the amazing natural cenotes during your Riviera Maya vacation, there are different ways you can choose. Check out the facts and decide whether a self-guided cenote tour or a private guided tour from Playa del Carmen is the best option for you.

Renting a car and visiting a cenote by yourself

If you like independent travel and are keen to save money, you can visit a cenote independently. However, there are some important things to consider:

  • You will need to rent a car as the best cenotes are off-the-beaten-path in scenic but remote areas. Check first about all requirements to rent a car in Mexico and difficulties you might be facing driving in a foreign country.
  • You’ll need a local map to navigate along roads that may be poorly paved and lacking signs. It can be frustrating if you get lost and drive miles out of your way. Jungle no network to check google map.
  • On arrival, you might not be able to communicate in spanish or mayan with the owners of the cenote.not all of them speak fluently English.
  • You will need to provide your own wetsuit and snorkel equipment which is included in guided cenote tours.
  • Some parts of cenotes are only accessible with a guide for safety reasons and or to preserve the place, and these areas are usually the most beautiful ones.
  • You will miss the interesting explanations about what cenotes are and how they were formed.
  • You’ll be visiting with many other people...

Guided cenote snorkeling tour benefits

Book our guided cenote tour from Playa del Carmen, Cancun or Tulum and enjoy:

  • Hotel pick-up from your hotel or rental
  • A relaxed stress-free journey in an air-conditioned vehicle.
  • We know the best, quietest and most beautiful cenotes to visit.
  • The chance to ask questions and learn about cenotes from your English-speaking guide.
  • Personal assistance for non-confident swimmers.
  • Wetsuits, flashlights and masks that fit properly, included in our private cenote tours.
  • All fees included in the tour price.
  • No waiting in line at the entrance.
  • No need to rent lockers: leave your personal belongings safely in the vehicle with the driver.

Now you now the facts you can make an informed choice. Will you choose a self-guided cenote visit or a private guided tour from Playa del Carmen, Cancun or Tulum?