Natural History

Akumal is a Maya word meaning place of the turtle.

Akumal's most famous visitors are the turtles. The nesting season begins in May with the last hatchings at the end of October, but you will see turtles in the bays and lagoon all yearlong.
We would like to encourage our guests to enjoy the turtles without causing them any stress. Hopefully, we can answer your questions and pass on worthwhile information here.
How can I tell the difference between the Hawksbill and the Green turtles in the bays? 
What do turtles eat? 
Is it OK to feed turtles? 
Why do bright lights and camera flashes bother turtles? 
What is a turtle release like? 
What can we do to protect the marine environment?  
What is biodegradable sunscreen and why should we use it? 

Please never touch a turtle or hover above it for long periods of time. And, of course, you never want to stand on or touch the coral. Always keep your fins up! Fins can really kick up sand that smothers the coral.


Castaways and Sunken Ships

Did you know that before 1970, when the Mexican government began developing an east coast tourist area to be able to compete with Acapulco and other cities in the west, the only access to Akumal was by boat?

Akumal, a quiet seaside town, is located in the youngest Mexican state of Quintana Roo (keen-TAH-nah ROH-oh). Akumal is perfectly located as your homebase for adventures exploring the interior and the Riviera Maya and/or for just relaxing on the beautiful beaches.
Akumal, which means "place of the turtle" in Mayan, was originally a seaport and trading center for the Maya.

A Spanish shipwreck off the shore of Akumal in 1511 had a great impact on the area. One of the two survivors, Gonzalo Guerrero became the father of the first Mestizos. 

Another shipwreck, about 200 years later, brought about another interesting historical twist. A Spanish merchant ship, Nuestra Señora de Matanceros, sank in Akumal Bay after hitting the coral reef during a storm.

Pablo Bush Romero was one of a team of WWII Mexican divers that began salvaging the the Matanceros wreck in 1959. Pablo later brought thousands of acres of land in the area and founded the town of Akumal. For more links about Pablo Bush:

The History of Akumal

Great video of salvaging the wreck

These two interesting men who altered the history of the area, Gonzolo Guerrero and Pablo Bush Romero, are honored by statues in Akumal.


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