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Brooklyn, New York
December 17, 2004
Get away from the tourists—or at least try to. Drive to Akumal and take a left after the entrance. Drive a mile or 2 down the road passing houses and a restaurant. At the end, you'll see a small sign pointing left to Yalku Lagoon. There’s a dirt parking lot where a few guys working there charge people to enter the lagoon area. They are supernice and actually helped us when we stupidly locked our keys in the trunk. I really love those Mayans... they're amazing!
Try to arrive there early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid the tour groups. Bring your own snorkel gear, towel, and lunch, and you'll be set to go.
The calm lagoon invites you in the water, even if just to swim. And for a few dollars, this whole park is open to you all day. There are many little areas with benches and stairs leading into the water—find your own nook, and you'll be in paradise. There are bathrooms, but no place to eat. You'll have to drive a few miles back to Akumal for that.
It's so relaxing to swim in a lagoon because the water is calm and you don't have to worry about seeing anything remotely dangerous. You'll see all sorts of tropical fish and swim by huge rocks. It's kind of like swimming in a huge aquarium. If you're lucky, you might even see a sea turtle!
The closer you get to the ocean, the less clear the water gets and the less you'll see. I like to go close to the beginning of the lagoon, where the fresh water meets with the salt water, because you can get out and jump right in at any time. It's more convenient than ocean snorkeling. I have found, however, that if you have an underwater camera, you'd be better off taking photos in the ocean. The mix of waters in the lagoon causes a lot of blurriness.
Don't forget to wear a T-shirt so that you don't sunburn, and buy biodegradable suntan lotion so you don't hurt the ecosystem.
From journal Mayan Riviera: Things to do!
Bethpage, New York
March 8, 2002
My research definitely paid off with this find! We brought a "folding" cooler from home,stocked it with drinks and ice from the resort we stayed at,added a few bagged snacks and we were set! We paid the $6 'admission at the parking lot. The good news was that there were bathrooms(bring your own toilet paper, none was to be seen). We took the short path thru some plantings and rocks and found our own little spot on the rocks. It was even partially shaded. We arrived on the early side so as to miss any bus tours that may have stopped here.
The water was a magnificent color of blue and totally calm at the innermost location(which is where we started from). It is rocky close the water,perfect for the fish, but not quite as good for you feet. Just proceed slowly and all will be fine. This was very easy for the kids-just jump off the large rocks and immediate sightings of some beautiful fish. You will be more successful at locating schools of fish if you stay near the rocks. Once we felt comfortable here we were ready to move on towards the ocean. The center part of the lagoon was mostly sand and not a fish to be seen....but .....we did see and follow a young sea turtle, until he "lost" us. How exciting!! As we continued towards the ocean, the sea life became more and more interesting: coral, fans and sea urchins. With this came a much stronger current and deeper water. The kids were scared off after a strong warning about the dangers of the beautiful sea urchins and the difficulty with the rougher water... however my husband continued for a bit and was rewarded with seeing a very large sea turtle...we only saw the pictures... good thing he had proof.
There were no crowds here....although more people came as the time progressed. My daughters even became friendly with a boy who was visiting his family. You can easily spend a day in this area-between the snorkeling in the lagoon and the gorgeous beach at Akumal(we didn't have time to do this, but we heard great things about it). We were off to our next destination... a cenote... a what? ...that's cenote (see no teh)...another unforgettable memory!
From journal The Many Faces of the Mexican Riviera
February 22, 2013