Access to Akumal costs! The End of Swimming with Turtles

Comments 0 Ecology, Excursions
10 July 2016
Access to Akumal costs! The End of Swimming with Turtles

Akumal is located 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and is known for its bay, where you can see sea turtles all year long. When you wear fins, mask, and snorkel, you can swim only a few meters from the shore where the turtles come to eat the algae that they love! Up until July 7th, 2016 access was free, all you had to do was to respect animal life and if you wanted to buy your Akumal costs from a tour agency, you would have had to pay 150 pesos for local guides to take you to snorkel.

For some time now, and since the construction of the hotel Dreams Akumal Bay, landowners are trying to privatize the bay and not let anyone access the turtles. This means that since July 8, 2016, the cooperatives will be able to get 12 people a DAY. Whether you do or do not choose to go via a tour agency, you will not necessarily be able to go with a cooperative to swim with the turtles!
Obviously the price, we’ll say,… slightly increased-”just” 50 dollars for 45 minutes of snorkeling!

The truth

The good thing in this story is that “normally” there will be much less crowds where the turtles are, which is a good for the animals, and snorkeling will be supervised by a guide which will help to enforce safety rules.
A negative point of this is that your 50 dollars will not go towards the protection of the turtles, but rather into the pockets of the various groups that organized this. They are not associations, but just businesses…

What we don’t approve of is that the area is not protected as a nature park, such as in Sian Ka’an, for example. There is no wrist band that permits visitors to have entry into the water and there is no control of how many people get into the water. Bracelets help to allow a portion of the money to go into maintenance of the protected area and especially into the protection of the animals, but in Akumal this isn’t the case at all…
Simply put, the years of freedom to swim in the bay are over, the corruption of state agencies is evident here, and we hope that the turtles change bays or can simply live peacefully here…

Price to access the turtle area is: 50 dollars per a person. The price does not include transport from hotel.

News July 12, 2016: Seeing that the tourists were not willing to pay such an expensive fee, cooperatives agree to take people to swim with the turtles for 300 pesos!! So, we put aside the limited number of tourists on the bay, and there is still “organized” continuous disorder…

News in October 2016:

The municipality of Tulum has finally decided to allow access as it was: open to the public. It is preferable to use a mask and snorkel vest, but for now you will not be asked for money for snorkeling, except if you go through an agency, and they still have more control!

Hopefully it stays this way for the next months and years!…

akumal bay

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