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Old 07-19-2011   #1 (permalink)
sandflea
 
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Akumal Question

We are staying at the Riu Tequila and want to take our kids snorkeling down at Akumal. I have a couple questions. First, we plan on taking the colectivos down to Akumal. How far of a walk is the beach from the highway? Second, which bay is the best for snorkeling? Our kids are 6 and 9, so if there is a bay that is maybe a bit shallower or calmer, that would probably be good. Finally, are there places down there to rent snorkel equipment? We'll probably just need lifejackets. Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-19-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Seems to me it was about a ten minute walk. I am not sure which bay is better. We went to the one in fron of Lol-ha restaurant. It was fairly calm and we saw quite a few fish and some tortuga's as well. Yes, there are places to rent equipment.

Last edited by lindalou61; 07-19-2011 at 11:29 AM.. Reason: Forgot something
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Old 07-19-2011   #3 (permalink)
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It's approximately one third mile from the highway to the entrance (arch).
The first bay on the right - Akumal bay is the best for seeing sea life. It's not shallow where you will see the turtles and fish.
There are a couple of shops there that will rent equipment.
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Old 07-19-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Right when you arrive at the beach after the walk, you will be greeted by folks at one dive shop who will try to get you into their shop by saying you have to watch a mandatory video in order to go snorkeling. Walk past them and take a right when you hit the beach, and maybe 100 yards down is another dive shop. Awesome staff in that shop, very helpful and flexible, and no greasy sales tactics.
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Old 07-19-2011   #5 (permalink)
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Right when you arrive at the beach after the walk, you will be greeted by folks at one dive shop who will try to get you into their shop by saying you have to watch a mandatory video in order to go snorkeling. Walk past them and take a right when you hit the beach, and maybe 100 yards down is another dive shop. Awesome staff in that shop, very helpful and flexible, and no greasy sales tactics.
After running into those goof balls in November of last year, we now hang a right and walk along the backside of Lol-Ha and then get onto the beach right next to the Akumal Dive Center. The Akumal Dive Shop is the one with the guys saying you have to watch the video. The prices for renting are almost exactly the same between the two also.
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Old 07-19-2011   #6 (permalink)
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I am a frequent customer of Akumal Dive Shop.

I have never seen any evidence of this mandatory video story. I hang out there a lot, I'm sure I would have seen something if this was an ongoing issue. I highly recommend Akumal Dive Shop. This is the same dive shop that locals like Gynna of Gynn'AK, dive with. If there was any problem, I'm sure residents would not pick out that particular dive shop. They can provide a snorkel guide as well as equipment if needed.

I was diving with them in April (actually got to dive with Gynna and hunt lionfish which was amazing) and I was back again in June. And if I make a quick trip back in August, I'll be back to Akumal Dive shop. Again highly recommended.
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Old 07-19-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Do both

We have taken our son who was 8 to yal-ku lagoon. He loved it.
Take the collectivo. Save the money.
When you walk into town take the taxi down to the lagoon. Short drive but you can't walk that far.
After you do the lagoon taxi back to "downtown" then go under the arch to eat at Lol-ha restaurant on the beach there.
After you eat, swim out and see the turtles.

GREAT DAY. WORTH THE TRIP.. KIDS WILL LOVE IT.

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Old 07-19-2011   #8 (permalink)
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I am a frequent customer of Akumal Dive Shop.

I have never seen any evidence of this mandatory video story. I hang out there a lot, I'm sure I would have seen something if this was an ongoing issue. I highly recommend Akumal Dive Shop. This is the same dive shop that locals like Gynna of Gynn'AK, dive with. If there was any problem, I'm sure residents would not pick out that particular dive shop. They can provide a snorkel guide as well as equipment if needed.

I was diving with them in April (actually got to dive with Gynna and hunt lionfish which was amazing) and I was back again in June. And if I make a quick trip back in August, I'll be back to Akumal Dive shop. Again highly recommended.
The guy was standing just a little ways away from the ADS entrance. He approached my husband and I, asked if we were going to snorkel, we said yes, and he then told us that we had to watch a mandatory video. I asked when they started this "mandatory video" thing and he said it has always been that way. I told him that I was going to go get something to eat and then I'd be back. And... JanuaryGuy and I weren't there at the same time, our visits were months apart, November and January or March depending on which trip JG is talking about.
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Old 07-19-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I am a frequent customer of Akumal Dive Shop.

I have never seen any evidence of this mandatory video story. I hang out there a lot, I'm sure I would have seen something if this was an ongoing issue. I highly recommend Akumal Dive Shop. This is the same dive shop that locals like Gynna of Gynn'AK, dive with. If there was any problem, I'm sure residents would not pick out that particular dive shop. They can provide a snorkel guide as well as equipment if needed.

I was diving with them in April (actually got to dive with Gynna and hunt lionfish which was amazing) and I was back again in June. And if I make a quick trip back in August, I'll be back to Akumal Dive shop. Again highly recommended.
I have no idea which dive shop it was, but we were talked into going in and watching the video about the turtles and snorkeling safely with the turtles our last trip to Akumal.

I would not call it browbeaten but I would say we were 'nicely cajoled' into it.

But....I am not sure how that makes them 'greasy'? We did not rent snorkel gear from them, we had our own, and told them so from the start.
They did request donations but said it goes to protecting the turtles...is this a lie??

We threw in 50 pesos each and thanked them kindly and went on our way.

Not a big deal, IMO, in fact I think it is a good thing they try to educate newbies on how to properly snorkel with the turtles and not harass them, warn people not to step on the coral, watch out for sea urchins, etc. This is a negative?
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Old 07-19-2011   #10 (permalink)
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I have no idea which dive shop it was, but we were talked into going in and watching the video about the turtles and snorkeling safely with the turtles our last trip to Akumal.

I would not call it browbeaten but I would say we were 'nicely cajoled' into it.

But....I am not sure how that makes them 'greasy'? We did not rent snorkel gear from them, we had our own, and told them so from the start.
They did request donations but said it goes to protecting the turtles...is this a lie??

We threw in 50 pesos each and thanked them kindly and went on our way.

Not a big deal, IMO, in fact I think it is a good thing they try to educate newbies on how to properly snorkel with the turtles and not harass them, warn people not to step on the coral, watch out for sea urchins, etc. This is a negative?

I agree. I've seen too many snorkelers who could stand to watch a short educational video or two. Followed by a smack upside the head for standing on coral or other stupid shite like that.
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Old 07-19-2011   #11 (permalink)
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I agree. I've seen too many snorkelers who could stand to watch a short educational video or two. Followed by a smack upside the head for standing on coral or other stupid shite like that.

Absolutely. It's too bad Akumal isn't protected like Puerto Morelos is.

The guy pushing the video lied to me and was fairly pushy. I felt like I was dealing with a shop keeper on 5th Ave. So yeah, I guess I'd call that greasy. JMO tho.


On the topic the OP posted... I agree that the main Akumal bay is where you want to take the kids. Yal Ku would be good too. Get an early start on the day you decide to go to Akumal. I would start at Yal Ku (before the tours come in) and then go to the main bay. Just make sure you get there before noon. As the afternoon wears on the main bay gets really stirred up and the visibility gets pretty bad. There is a bay between the main Akumal bay and Yal Ku, that is Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay is for experienced snorkelers, not good for the kiddos.
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Old 07-19-2011   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kallileigh1 View Post
The guy was standing just a little ways away from the ADS entrance. He approached my husband and I, asked if we were going to snorkel, we said yes, and he then told us that we had to watch a mandatory video. I asked when they started this "mandatory video" thing and he said it has always been that way. I told him that I was going to go get something to eat and then I'd be back. And... JanuaryGuy and I weren't there at the same time, our visits were months apart, November and January or March depending on which trip JG is talking about.
Happened to me both times I went there. First in March 2010 and then again in January 2011.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rissask View Post
I have no idea which dive shop it was, but we were talked into going in and watching the video about the turtles and snorkeling safely with the turtles our last trip to Akumal.

I would not call it browbeaten but I would say we were 'nicely cajoled' into it.

But....I am not sure how that makes them 'greasy'? We did not rent snorkel gear from them, we had our own, and told them so from the start.
They did request donations but said it goes to protecting the turtles...is this a lie??

We threw in 50 pesos each and thanked them kindly and went on our way.

Not a big deal, IMO, in fact I think it is a good thing they try to educate newbies on how to properly snorkel with the turtles and not harass them, warn people not to step on the coral, watch out for sea urchins, etc. This is a negative?
Both times, they told me that if I wanted to go snorkeling in the bay, it was mandatory that I watch one of their videos. Best I can tell, that is a lie. And I sometimes refer to liars as "greasy." I could rephrase my original post to say no "unethical or dishonest sales tactics" instead of no "greasy" sales tactics, but I think I'll just leave it as is.
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Old 07-19-2011   #13 (permalink)
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Honestly, I think watching an educational video SHOULD be mandatory, unless you can demonstrate that you know how to snorkel safely and not tear the place up (and even then, do it anyway). Like someone mentioned, Puerto Morelos is protected and has lots of rules and regs...and the coral there is in a much healthier state than Akumal.

Akumal is a treasure, and we're all used to having free run of it. I agree, it may be a bit insulting to experienced snorkelers to have to sit through a video. And maybe the guys are pushy about it...or maybe, they're just trying to protect this wonderful habitat from ignorant people to insure it will be there for all to enjoy. I once told a tourist that I caught trying to ride a turtle that the turtle would bite his arm off! (We had a language barrier, and my patomine for that was excellent!). Does that make me a greasy liar? Maybe...but he won't be jacking with the tortugas ever again. If they aren't charging to watch the video, then I'm all for it. Kudos to ADS. If it slows down the damn turtle petters, then it's a very good thing.

That being said...Yal-Ku is a great place for kids (and adults) to get used to what they're doing if they're new to snorkeling. I agree, go in the AM though. But there's tons of tropical fish all off in your face and plenty of places to stand/grab on to if you need to clear a mask or catch your breath (or squee to everyone with you that you just saw "THE MOST AMAZING FISH!!!!!!" that looks like all the other fish.) I still love Yal-Ku and hit it up every time I go to Akumal (partially because I can stop at Gynn'Aks for an amazing lunch!).
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Old 07-19-2011   #14 (permalink)
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Happened to me both times I went there. First in March 2010 and then again in January 2011.



Both times, they told me that if I wanted to go snorkeling in the bay, it was mandatory that I watch one of their videos. Best I can tell, that is a lie. And I sometimes refer to liars as "greasy." I could rephrase my original post to say no "unethical or dishonest sales tactics" instead of no "greasy" sales tactics, but I think I'll just leave it as is.

CEA (Centro Ecologico Akumal) is the name of the non-profit/volunteer group that does these talks (and many other great things) in the Akumal bays and beaches area.


Centro Ecológico Akumal | Ecology Center CEA | Quintana Roo | Mexico



Calling one of the volunteers 'greasy' is pretty darned insulting, IMO.

It's unfortunate that you felt strong armed into viewing the video. As beaches are public, I don't think they can force people to watch it, but I imagine they try to strongly encourage visitors after seeing so many do things they should not be doing when snorkeling. I guess we thought it was the least we could do to try to be as informed as possible about what not to do in the bay.
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Old 07-19-2011   #15 (permalink)
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clarification

I've been working as a dive instructor at The Akumal Dive Shop for over a year. We're the ones at the end of the beach, not the ones you will find in the middle of the beach if you hang a right (The Akumal Dive Center). We're also the ones who have the slightly greasy "pirates" as we call them that hang around outside of our shop. I watch them everyday aggressively approach tourists with "Hey how are you?" and "Going snorkeling...?" as the tourists grudgingly submit to talk.

Even though they take business away from us, The Akumal Dive Shop since forever has allowed the pirates to bring their customers into our shop to use our bathrooms and heated showers for a 10% commission of their tours. They are not Dive Shop employees.

As for the 10 minute video, I believe (but I am not sure) that it is in fact required by the Ecological Center of Akumal (CEA) that is right next door to us, although a lot of people including us sometimes don't show it. I imagine that they require it because there are too many snorkelers who swim vertically in the middle of the boat channel, kicking up sand, smothering and destroying the coral and the visibility for everyone. They are just trying to protect the reef and thus the turtles.

The best idea is to go directly into the Dive Shop before getting intercepted by the pirates. Or go past them and hang a right to the Dive Center, who I am sure have the same prices and quality of guides.

A collectivo from Playa to Akumal should cost you 25 pesos. The walk to the beach from there is about 15 minutes. When you get dropped off by the collectivo at the bridge, you can go around the corner into the pueblo and there is a taxi stand where there are taxis who will take you to the beach for another 25 pesos if you prefer.

There are 3 bays to snorkel in in Akumal. Akumal bay which is directly in front of The Akumal Dive Shop. This is where the turtles and some reef are. It's very protected and has a maximum of about 10 feet of depth. Half moom bay is rockier and not as clear, and does not have turtles. Then there is the Yal Ku lagoon ($10US entrance) which is mixed fresh and salt water with mangrove and some reef and fish. No turtles.

Hope this helps,
Priya
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