Akumal (in the Mayan language: Akumal , 'Place of the turtles') was historically the first tourist destination on the coastal strip of the Yucatan peninsula, bordered by the Caribbean Sea.
It was originally an enormous coconut tree plantation belonging to Don Argimiro Argüelles until 1958, when it was discovered by the CEDAM (Mexican Exploration and Water Sports Club), an exclusive scuba diving club. Akumal was the headquarters of this association, which was dedicated to searching for underwater treasures.
Akumal is still a mini-tourist destination which has conserved its natural beauty.
Swimming and snorkelling are excellent options in its coves, such as Kantena, Xaac and Half Moon Bay, with the most famous being known as Yalku, located 2 km north of the town. In Yalku there is a fresh water spring in the rocky area, which offers the perfect environment for young, colourful tropical fish to grow far from predators.
Scuba diving off the coast of Akumal is unique since the morphology of its corals result in formations which are typical of caves and canyons, creating “mountains” and structures inhabited by a great variety of marine life, and where you can frequently find turtles which permanently swim in these parts of the Mexican Caribbean.
A Mayan shrine can be found on a rocky island in the Xaac cove, a clear sign that the Maya lived here.
There is a small museum in the town which was founded by the CEA (Akumal Ecological Centre), a non-profit organization whose main objective is to create an ecological consciousness among both inhabitants and visitors.