A Week in Paradise: Family Vacation Guide to Akumal – Top Activities and Tips

Akumal, a small town on the east coast of Mexico, about 65 miles south of Cancun, is a hidden gem perfect for your next family vacation. Known for its beautiful beaches, friendly atmosphere, and ample opportunities to explore the underwater world, this destination offers an enticing mix of relaxation and adventure for the whole family. With its central location on the Riviera Maya, Akumal serves as an ideal base for exploring the region and discovering all that it has to offer.

The heart of Akumal lies in its pristine central beach, lined with charming shops, delicious restaurants, and dive centers, attracting visitors eager to explore the underwater marvels. One of the main attractions in Akumal is snorkeling with sea turtles, a unique experience that will create unforgettable memories for the entire family. In addition to its aquatic attractions, Akumal also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, welcoming visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and traditions of the Yucatan Peninsula.

When selecting accommodations for your family vacation in Akumal, consider options like the Bahia Principe Luxury Sian Ka’an, a smaller resort which offers a more intimate atmosphere and amazing staff. Alternatively, the TAO community boasts access to beautiful beaches and coves, making it a popular choice among tourists. No matter where you choose to stay, rest assured that your family’s week in paradise will be filled with lasting memories, adventures, and relaxation.

Why Choose Akumal

Akumal is an ideal destination for a family vacation due to its stunning natural beauty and proximity to top attractions in the region. Families can enjoy the beautiful beaches with clear, calm waters, protected by a nearby reef. This makes the shoreline an excellent spot for swimming and relaxing.

One of the primary reasons visitors flock to Akumal is to experience the snorkeling opportunities with sea turtles. The area is home to a diverse marine life, including these majestic creatures. You can easily snorkel on your own or join a guided tour for a unique and memorable experience.

Besides its natural wonders, Akumal provides easy access to nearby attractions, ensuring a fun-filled vacation for the entire family. You can explore the Yal-ku Lagoon, known for its snorkeling spots and lush green spaces. The lagoon offers an excellent opportunity for families to bond while admiring the colorful marine life and surrounding natural beauty.

In addition to these outdoor activities, Akumal boasts a variety of family-friendly resorts and accommodations. For instance, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya is a popular choice for its beautiful beachfront location, enticing pools, and comfortable amenities.

In conclusion, Akumal offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences, making it an excellent choice for a family vacation. With its inviting beaches, unique sea turtle encounters, and proximity to must-see attractions, a trip to this paradise is sure to create lasting memories.

Getting to Akumal

Akumal is a beautiful and popular vacation destination in Mexico that many families enjoy visiting. This guide will provide tips on air travel and land transport options to ensure a smooth journey to Akumal for a fantastic family vacation.

Air Travel Tips

Flying into Akumal generally involves landing at the Cancun International Airport, which is the closest major airport to the area. To make your air travel experience as enjoyable as possible, follow these tips:

  • Book in advance: To find the best deals on flights, start looking for tickets a few months before your trip and compare prices from different airlines.
  • Check layovers: If you’re flying long distance, consider layover duration and use it as an opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy some downtime during the journey.
  • Prepare for customs: Keep your passports, flight information, and travel documents easily accessible to expedite the customs process upon arrival in Cancun.

Land Transport Options

Once you’ve arrived in Cancun, there are several ways to reach Akumal:

  • Car rental: Renting a car is a convenient way to travel from Cancun to Akumal. It gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding areas at your own pace. Island Life Mexico offers helpful information on car rental options and driving tips in the Akumal area.
  • Shuttle services: Several companies provide shuttle services from Cancun International Airport to Akumal. Booking a shared shuttle can be a cost-effective option, while a private shuttle offers more comfort and flexibility.
  • Taxi: Taxis are widely available at the airport and can take you directly to Akumal. Be sure to negotiate the fare before starting your ride, as taxis in Mexico might not always run on fixed rates.

By considering these air travel tips and land transport options, you’ll be well-prepared for a stress-free journey to Akumal, where a memorable family vacation awaits.

Accommodation Recommendations

Akumal offers a variety of accommodation options to ensure a comfortable and unforgettable family vacation. In this guide, we have narrowed down some of the top resorts for families and several budget-friendly choices to make your stay enjoyable and wallet-friendly.

Resorts for Families

  1. Grand Oasis Tulum: This luxurious resort provides numerous family-oriented amenities, including a kid’s club, multiple pools, and beach access. The resort offers a balance of relaxation and adventure for the entire family.
  2. Sunscape Akumal Beach Hotel and Spa: Located near the famous Akumal Beach, this family-friendly resort features engaging activities for children and adults alike. Guests can participate in pool games, snorkeling lessons, and beach volleyball.
  3. Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal: Ideal for families seeking a touch of extravagance, this resort boasts spacious rooms, exemplary service, and numerous activities suitable for all ages.

Budget-Friendly Options

  1. Oasis Tulum Lite: As a more cost-effective alternative to Grand Oasis Tulum, Oasis Tulum Lite offers comfortable rooms and family-friendly entertainment, ensuring a pleasant vacation without breaking the bank.
  2. Akumal Natura Glamping: For families seeking a unique and affordable experience, this eco-friendly accommodation offers a harmonious blend of nature and comfort. With charmingly designed glamping tents and communal spaces, guests can enjoy the surrounding jungle landscape while still having access to essential amenities.
  3. Vacation Rentals in Bahia Principe: Offering a homely and budget-conscious option, these rentals provide access to resort facilities and activities. Ideal for families wanting the flexibility of self-catering while still enjoying resort perks.

Kid-Friendly Activities in Akumal

Water Sports Adventure

Akumal offers a variety of exciting and enjoyable water sports activities for kids and families. Some popular options include snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The calm waters of Akumal Bay are ideal for these activities, allowing children of all ages to safely participate and enjoy the stunning underwater world. Snorkeling in Akumal provides the opportunity to encounter marine life, such as sea turtles in their natural habitat.

For those looking for a more thrilling adventure, there are also guided jet ski tours and parasailing experiences. These activities can provide a memorable and exhilarating time on the water for the whole family.

Exploring the Wildlife

Akumal offers several opportunities to experience and interact with the region’s rich diversity of wildlife. A must-visit is the Aktun Chen Parque Natural, a natural park set within a lush tropical rainforest. Families can explore the park’s walking trails, discover hidden underground caves, and encounter various species of local fauna, including colorful birds, monkeys, and reptiles.

Additionally, a short drive from Akumal, families can visit the Xel-Ha eco-park, which offers a wealth of animal encounters and nature-based experiences. With its array of lagoons, natural pools, and underground rivers, the park encourages visitors to learn about and appreciate the region’s unique ecosystems. Activities at Xel-Ha range from swimming with dolphins and manatees to observing and feeding tropical birds.

When planning a family vacation to Akumal, it is important to consider the many kid-friendly activities available. Through engaging water sports adventures and opportunities to explore the area’s rich natural environment, families can create lasting memories while experiencing the beauty and wonder of Akumal.

Dining in Akumal

Akumal is home to a variety of dining options that cater to families and food enthusiasts alike. The town offers numerous family-friendly restaurants and local delicacies, making it a perfect spot for enjoying delicious meals while on vacation.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

There are several family-friendly restaurants in Akumal that offer exceptional food and warm, welcoming environments for the entire family. Imelda’s Ecocina Akumal is a popular local find well known for its amazing Mexican cuisine. Another must-visit eatery is Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery, where quality food and desserts are served, and the atmosphere is perfectly suited for young kids. For those craving Italian dishes, Taverna Akumal offers an excellent menu, including delicious lasagne and California pizza, amid great service.

Local Delicacies to Try

When in Akumal, it’s essential to experience the local flavors and dishes unique to the region. A visit to the famous Autor restaurant is highly recommended for its contemporary Mexican delicacies like the succulent pig and lamb, lime curd, and sweet ceviche. Explore the remarkable cuisine at Lol Ha, where you can savor mouth-watering beef, chicken, fish, and Mexican and Yucatecan specialties. Don’t miss out on their tableside prepared Caesar Salad and bananas flambe.

In summary, Akumal offers an exciting array of dining options for families, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary culture of the region.

Practical Information

Safety Tips

Akumal is a relatively safe destination for travelers; however, it’s essential to exercise caution while on vacation. To ensure your family’s safety, follow these tips:

  • Avoid swimming after dusk or in secluded areas to reduce the risk of encounters with marine life.
  • Be aware of your belongings at all times and use hotel safes to store valuable items.
  • When exploring the area, follow posted signs and stay on designated paths to prevent accidents.
  • Purchase travel insurance before your trip to cover any unexpected incidents.

Packing Essentials

To make your family vacation in Akumal enjoyable and comfortable, consider packing the following essentials:

  • Sun protection: Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hats to guard against strong sun rays.
  • Swimwear and beach gear: Akumal is renowned for its beautiful beaches, so pack swimsuits, beach towels, and flip-flops.
  • Informal clothing: Pack casual, lightweight clothing for daytime activities and slightly more formal attire for dinners out.
  • Reef-safe snorkeling gear: Akumal is adjacent to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, so pack environmentally-friendly snorkeling gear for underwater explorations.
  • Insect repellent: Protect your family from bug bites with insect repellent, particularly during the evening.
  • Medication and first-aid essentials: Include essential medications, a small first-aid kit, and remedies for minor illnesses (e.g., pain relievers, antihistamines, etc.).
  • Travel documents: Bring your passports, driver’s license, travel insurance, and copies of hotel bookings.


Akumal offers a delightful combination of natural beauty and family-friendly activities, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing family vacation. With its pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life, visitors can enjoy various water sports, such as snorkeling with sea turtles and exploring vibrant coral reefs.

Accommodation options in Akumal are plenty, with family resorts offering a range of entertainment and leisure facilities. Visitors can enjoy swimming pools, water parks, and dolphin experiences, ensuring a memorable vacation for the entire family.

The rich Mayan history of the region adds a touch of adventure to your family trip. Exploring ancient ruins, taking jungle hikes, or learning about the local culture at nearby attractions will provide your family with unique experiences and an understanding of the region’s past.

In summary, a family vacation in Akumal provides the perfect blend of relaxation, fun, and adventure. As a picturesque beach town in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, visitors can create lifelong memories while experiencing the best this tropical paradise has to offer.

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Akumal Beach