Hello friends! I know it has been a while since I’ve written about my travels. Lately, I’ve been trying to focus more on ‘helpful’ posts about things like simplifying my life and finding balance … but at the same time, it’s fun to talk about travel – right? After all, I believe in experiences over stuff, so I think sharing and celebrating these experiences is definitely worthwhile.
Especially this one. Seriously, I think that swimming with sea turtles in Mexico easily ranks as one of the top ten things I’ve ever done. Keep reading for all the details on how to organise your own awesome adventure, plus some adorable pics of sea turtles and even a video! ?
(PS: if my travel stories aren’t your thing, don’t fret – a heartfelt post about self acceptance is coming your way Sunday – stay tuned!)
SWIMMING WITH SEA TURTLES IN MEXICO
We swam with sea turtles in Akumal, on the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a tiny town, about 20 minutes north of Tulum or a half hour south of Playa del Carmen.
You can take a collectivo from either town for roughly 20 pesos (a collectivo is like shared maxi cab.) They run constantly between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, all going via Akumal – just let the driver know where you’re going and they will tell you when to get off. You’ll get dropped off on the motorway but it’s only about a 15 minute walk to the coast – just follow the crowds!
If you’re not comfortable getting a collectivo a taxi will cost you roughly 200 pesos.
Walking towards town you’ll be bombarded by ‘helpful’ locals offering to sell you tours or rent snorkel gear. (If you have your own snorkel gear bring it because it’s very expensive to hire there – we paid $15 USD per person to rent it on the beach. I think if we had hired it in town it may have been cheaper.)
If you’d like to do a tour go for it. It’s only a few more dollars than just hiring the snorkel gear … but know you don’t have to do a tour. It’s free to snorkel in the designated area and you don’t need a guide to find the turtles. Also keep in mind that if you do a tour, every time you see a turtle there will be 20 or so people all pushing and shoving to get a closer look; I think it’s much more pleasant (and less intrusive for the turtles) if you decide not to do a tour.
RELATED POST: An Amazing 10 Day Yucatán Mexico Itinerary
So, we arrived, we battled our way through the touts selling tours, and paid for our overpriced snorkel gear. We entered the water and started swimming. (Note that there is a designated area for swimming – it’s clearly marked.) And this is what we saw.
RELATED POST: How I Afford to Travel Long Term
All in all, we spent about 2 hours in the water. It was a magical day and a wonderful reminder that there is much beauty in the world, waiting to be explored.
A FINAL NOTE
I will admit that I did question the ethics of swimming with sea turtles. The logical side of my brain knows that any time I interact with an animal, my presence can be disturbing … so if I’m 100% honest, I know that the very best thing for the animal would be for me not to go.
Having said that, I did do a bit of research ahead of time and I couldn’t find anything that explicitly warned against snorkelling with sea turtles in Akumal. I did find this article in National Geographic and the author works to protect turtles – and he took his family snorkelling with them – so I took this as a good sign.
Ultimately, you’ll need to make your own decision, but if you do decide to go remember to keep your distance and don’t touch the turtles (I look close in these pics but my camera is on a stick!)
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
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We stayed in Tulum at this Airbnb and LOVED it! The photos don’t do it justice and the family are incredible – they went out of our way to make our stay amazing.
All photos were taken with my GoPro HERO4 Silver – this is my first ‘underwater’ camera and I’m so pleased with how the photos turned out. (The still photos were taken from my videos.)
You may want to consider getting a Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel & the Yucatan guidebook – there is SO MUCH to do in the area! Or you can check out this amazing 10 Day Yucatan itinerary for more ideas.
I hope you enjoyed checking out these amazing creatures with me. It’s definitely a great reminder that experiences > things any day! Have you ever swam with sea turtles? Tell me all about it in the comments! xx
photo credit : all by me!