Riviera Maya tops the charts

Travelers put the Riviera Maya area among the best places to be in Mexico.

The Riviera Maya continues to be among the best destinations, according to the popularity rankings generated by travelers on TripAdvisor.

Source: Aquaworld

Four of the top six most popular destinations in Mexico are in the Riviera Maya, in a list of 25 cities. The reviews are filled with praise of its beautiful white sand beaches, dazzling diving places filled with sea life, incredibly well-preserved archaeological sites, dynamic nightlife and lively cultural activities (not to mention the lush, year-round tropical climate of the Caribbean sea!)

Source: playadelcarmen.com

Like that is not good enough, the Traveler’s Choice Awards, which lists the 25 best-rated beaches in the world, puts Playa Norte in 7th place. This beautiful beach has also been named one of Mexico’s best beaches for two years in a row. It is located in Isla Mujeres, an island less than 10 miles off the coast of Cancún. Senior contributor IslaMujeres1 writes: “When I first saw photos of this beach, I thought they had to be touched up. […] Calm turquoise waters, beach clubs, pure white powdery sand, and much more. […] Water so blue, it makes the sky look pale”

Source: Bahia Divers

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit these incredible destinations on your next vacation!

Curious about investing in Riviera Maya real estate? View our listings here.

An Insider’s Guide to the Top 10 Beaches in the Riviera Maya

Map of Riviera Maya

Map of the Riviera Maya from sac-be.com

No trip to the Riviera Maya is complete without a visit to one or more of the idyllic beaches in this tropical paradise. But where to go? Surely most beaches in this popular destination are filled to capacity with resorts, sunbathers, and tourists.

Not so. The Riviera Maya still has a few undiscovered gems that have yet to be claimed by developers. Believe it or not, you can still find uncrowded and unsullied beaches in the Riviera Maya.

Whether it’s seclusion you seek or a rocking beach party, these top 10 beaches are worth checking out during your stay:

  1. Maroma Beach. Known as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Maroma Beach is just 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen. If you want a luxury resort or hotel vacation where you can enjoy stunning views of the Caribbean, Maroma Beach may just be what you’re looking for. Many of the resorts and hotels on this beach make respecting the natural environment of the area a priority.   

    whitjeeee-instagram

    From @whitjeeee on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ0oOmFhY9o/?tagged=maromabeach

  2. Akumal. Translated to mean, “the land of the turtle”, sea turtles love to lay their eggs in this small Mexican village. Located 60 miles south of Cancun, the clear water and reefs of Akumal beach make for a perfect day of snorkeling and diving.

    flannerybloom-instagram.com

    From @flannerybloom on Instagram

  3. Mamitas Beach. If it’s a party you want, look no further than Mamitas Beach. It boasts the best nightlife in the area and hosts a number of concerts including the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival and the BPM Festival. Enjoy great music and company overlooking a stunning beach backdrop.

    moritarules.jpg

    From @moritarules on Instagram

  1. WahWah Beach. For the older crowd, check out WahWah Beach Bar. A sort of gringo bar located on the beach, they play a lot of 70’s and 80’s rock.

    melcokersc

    From @melcokersc on Instagram

  2. Canibal Royal (aka The Reef Coco Beach). A little harder to get to, but worth checking out if you want a gorgeous, less crowded beach in Playa del Carmen. But bring your own amenities- you won’t find too many shops or restaurants nearby. Located around 48th Street.

    From @canibalroyal on Instagram

    From @canibalroyal on Instagram

  3. Playacar Phase 1. If you’re staying in Playa del Carmen, be sure to check out the beach at the Playacar Phase 1 residential development. You’ll find a wide, expansive and relatively quiet beach with fine white sand.

    mamiontour-playacar-beach

    From @mamiontour on Instagram

  4. Paradiso Beach. Located in the bohemian town of Tulum is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. On a trip to Tulum’s Mayan ruins, be sure to stop by Paradiso Beach to enjoy its brilliant turquoise water, soft white sand and tranquil waves.

    From @stellabombella on Instagram

    From @stellabombella on Instagram

  5. Xpu-Ha. If it’s solitude you seek, be sure to visit the Xpu-Ha beach in the Riviera Maya. Located just 15 or 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, this beach typifies the ultimate remote, tropical paradise. Its calm, shallow waters are perfect for a day spent kayaking, swimming or just lying under the sun.

    From @mlleperrier on Instagram

    From @mlleperrier on Instagram

  6. Puerto Morelos. Halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, you’ll find the small fishing and residential village of Puerto Morelos. The town’s quiet white sand beaches are set inside an offshore reef, creating calm waves for swimmers and snorkelers to enjoy.

    From @camspal on Instagram, Puerto-Morelos

    From @camspal on Instagram, Puerto-Morelos

  7. Punto Bete/ Xcalacoco. Travel just north of Playa del Carmen for yet another isolated beach. Its white sand, swaying palm trees, rustic beachfront housing, and breathtaking views are definitively worth the visit.

    From @ jhonagtz on Instagram

    From @jhonagtz on Instagram

 

Eating Healthy in Playa del Carmen:

Fruits and vegetables on rustic background

An increasing number of people have made it a point to live healthier lifestyles and consume more nutritious food. Often hailing from western countries like Canada, the United States, and Europe, they are eager to find solutions to eat and live in harmony with their environment while simultaneously protecting and promoting it. These people want to continue to live this kind of lifestyle even when traveling or after relocating to a new country like Mexico despite the fact that living and eating healthy often becomes more of a challenge in less developed regions of the world.

Fortunately in the popular holiday destination of Playa del Carmen, that’s home to thousands of expats, you won’t have that kind of problem…only solutions!

Not only does the city offer many outdoor activities to keep you fit and healthy, you’ll also find state of the art gym facilities and yoga centers that combine fitness and spirituality! Playa del Carmen is a walking city where you can get wherever you need to go either by foot or bicycle. It’s easy to stay healthy and pollution-free in this little bit of paradise.

Playa del Carmen also has many vendors that sell organic, local, homemade, vegetarian, vegan and even gluten-free food. And in recent years, the number of these healthy options has only increased.

Visiting Playa del Carmen anytime soon? Be sure to check out our top choice of stores, markets, restaurants, bakeries and juice bars in the area:

 

Markets:

  • Coco Beach Eco Market: A very small market with10 vendors selling food, handmade jewelry and bags, organic soaps, and upcycled art. It’s located in Condo Les Alixes, Calle 46 & Flamingos (Centro). Just follow the «market» signs. Open on Fridays from 9:00am – 11:00am.

 

  • KavaKasa: Situated right in the center of Playa Del Carmen, you’ll always find something going on in KavaKasa- whether it’s yoga classes or the weekly farmers market selling locally made breads and sweets (including vegan), healthy snacks, salsas and more. Located on 22nd Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. Open on Tuesdays 11:00am-1:00pm.

 

  • Ecotianguis y Desayuno: This beautiful outdoor community center is located a little further out if you’re living or staying in Centro but it’s well worth the visit. On market day, the beautiful garden fills with vendors selling everything from handmade spoons from locally reclaimed wood to organic, cruelty-free soaps, handcrafts, food, and more. Located in Jardin de Todas Centro Comunitario, Avenida 80 & Calle 3 Sur (Ejido). Open on Friday from 9:00am – 12:00am.

www.facebook.com/events/202563580102459/

 

  • Parque la Ceiba: The grounds of Parque La Ceiba are so beautiful that even if you don´t buy anything from the many vendors there, you’ll enjoy walking through its park. The shaded pathways provides a comfortable environment for browsing the farmer’s market on hot days. Located on the corner of Calle 1 Sur and Avenida 60. Open Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00pm.

 

  • Mayakoba farmer’s market: With 30 to 40 vendors featuring local farmers you’ll find a huge variety of goods, including craft beers, mezcal, organic food, crafts and plants. Located at Mayakoba Resort, north of Playa del Carmen. Open Sunday 11:00am to 3:00pm (every Sunday in April, once a month after April)

Stores:

  • Bio Organics: A new store in Playa with vegan and vegetarian food, you’ll find Bio Organics on 26th Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

 

  • Bio-Natural: For the largest organic and health food store in Playa, check out Bio-Natural on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd. Selling rice, almond, soy and coconut milk, they also have a small cafe serving up organic and even gluten-free dishes like veggie pita sandwiches, salads, hummus, curry, quinoa, falafel, lentils and smoothies.

 

  • OrganiK Boutique: An organic mercado located in Plaza Paseo Playacar stocking vegan and raw food ingredients as well as gluten-free items.

 

  • Dac Supermarket: Located on 30th Ave. and Constituyentes, Dac Supermarket has been a Playa del Carmen health foodie godsend for years. You can buy food in bulk like grains, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, organic produce, spices, fresh cheeses. They even sell gluten-free bread and pasta!

 

  • Pacsadeli: Not necessarily a health food store but a small restaurant supply market that’s open to the public, Pacsadeli has a whole rack of gluten free products for sell. You’ll also find a larger variety of Asian sauces to help make your vegetarian cooking even more savory. Located on Avenue Andres Quintana Roo (Av. 34) between 70th and 75th Avenues.

 

  • Somos del Maiz: Translated from Spanish to mean “we are from corn”, Somos del Maiz is a health food store that sells veggie, organic and ecological food products. They also serve delicious vegan dishes in the back of their store. Located on 46th Street between 5th & 10th Avenue.

 

Restaurants:

  • 100% Natural: A restaurant chain found in Playa del Carmen and Cancun, 100% Natural prides itself on their healthy menu featuring delicious, gluten-free dishes. Most Mexican dishes are made with corn and rice which are naturally gluten-free! Enjoy nachos, guacamole, tacos with corn tortillas, rice and beans, pico de gallo, salads and fresh fruit juices.

 

  • Los Aguachiles: Los Aquachiles is THE place if you love seafood. Located well outside the tourist zone on Calle 34 and Ave. 25. Try the fresh tuna in a lettuce wrap for a low cal, gluten-free treat or one of their healthy and fresh ceviches or tostadas!

 

  • Green 373: Chef Rocio Norzagaray’s healthy haven is on 5th Ave between Calles 34 y 38. This sweet little breakfast spot will encourage you to get out of bed early on your vacation.

 

  • The Green Box: The perfect spot to grab a healthy lunch on the go, the Green Box serves fresh fruit juices guaranteed to rejuvenate after a long stroll through town on a hot day. Located on 5th Avenue and 38th Street.

 

  • Kaxapa Factory: Owned and operated by a Venezuelan family who understands the meaning of vegan, the Kaxapa Factory has lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Try the traditional Venezuelan corn pancakes. Located on Constituyentes between 10th and 15th.

 

  • La Ceiba de la 30: We bet you‘ll find yourself at La Ceiba de la 30 more than once during your vacation. Located on 30th Ave. norte, between Constituyentes and 20, they serve authentic Mexican cuisine done healthy. Don’t believe it? Check it out for yourself.
  • La Senda Vegana: An all natural, vegetarian (and vegan), homemade restaurant, you’ll be delighted with its ever changing, creative menu. Round out the meal with a superfood truffle or cookie. Find it at 10th Avenue between 10th and 10th bis.

 

  • Clorofila restaurant: A vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a vast and creative menu, Clorofila restaurant serves delicious and socially conscious food. An open air dining experience on 30th Avenue and the corner of 20th Street, this restaurant will certainly become one of your favorite places in Playa Del Carmen.

 

  • Salade: Famous for its build-it-yourself salads, Salade is the perfect spot to grab a sandwich or quick lunch. Considered reasonably priced by most, you can check them out at the corner of 15th Avenue and 10th St. (corner of the park in front of the Palacio Municipal (City Hall)).
  • Bio Organicos: This vegan/ vegetarian restaurant and health food store is a newcomer on the health scene in Playa. A very affordable and tasty option for breakfast and lunch, their store has a wide variety of organic, vegan and vegetarian products. Located on 26th Street.
  • Balche Playa: A true vegetarian restaurant offering about 18 menu options with a small organic store. Located on 10th Street between 10th Avenue and 15th Avenue. Check out their specialty infused drinks.

 

  • El Sangha-Rito: On the north end of downtown, El Sangha-Rito offers a large selection of juices, salads, vegetarian options and healthy menu items. A nice open air restaurant with trees in front, you’ll find it located on Avenue CTM between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.
  • El Hongo Restaurant: A funky, artsy restaurant right in the outskirts of Playa, this colorfully decorated place offers affordable meat as well as vegetarian meals. As a perk for traveling outside the city you can check out some of the murals on the walls nearby. This restaurant is located on Calle 19 Sur between 80th and 85th Avenues.

 

  • El Jardin Restaurant: Connected to Dac Market, you’ll always find a hubbub of activity at el Jardin Restaurant. A large menu with vegetarian options and the best fresh juices and smoothies around! DAC Market and el Jardin Restaurant are located on 30th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th St.

 

  • La Jungla de la Riviera: Located outside the city in Colosio neighborhood, this small restaurant offers juices as well as many vegetarian and healthy options. Located on 10th Avenue between 68th Street and 70th Street.

 

  • Frutiyogurth: A healthy restaurant offering smoothies, whole wheat sandwiches, juices and salads. A little more commercial, this restaurant prides itself on healthy eating and drinking. Frutiyogurth is located on the corner of 40th Avenue and 34th Street.

 

  • Las Quekas: A restaurant serving a variety of Mexican quesadillas including vegetarian options (e.g. squash blossom with cheese). Everything made to order. A restaurant chain with multiple locations in Playa, the easiest to find is on 10th Avenue between 10th Street and 12th Street.

 

Juicebars:

  • Pangea Roots: A serious juice bar that uses a cold press to make their drinks. They even offer a detox plan with daily juices. They also provide a small menu of vegan and vegetarian food items. This juice bar/cafe is on 34th Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

 

  • Campo Real: Another juice bar offering a small selection of food. Customize your fruit and vegetable juice or smoothie with added grains or nuts. Campo Real is on 45th Avenue between 16th Street and 18th Street.

 

  • Jugos y Antojitos “El Huerto”: On the corner of 30th Avenue and 28th Street, this local restaurant makes a wide range of fruit juices and smoothies. A perfect pit stop if you happen to be in this part of town. You’ll want to avoid the food as it can be a little on the greasy side.

Bakeries:

  • Rollito Dulce: Rollito Dulce makes European sweet rolls with different toppings, all of which are vegan!!! This tiny bakery is located on 2nd Street near 15th Avenue.

 

  • The pitted date vegan bakery and café: The only vegan bakery in Playa Del Carmen, they come up with a number of tasty cakes and tarts for their customers to enjoy. Check them out on 26th Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

 

 

Riviera Maya Film Festival Returns for Fifth Edition

Riviera Maya Film Festival Returns for Fifth Edition

Photo courtesy of Riviera Maya Film Festival on Facebook

Last week the Riviera Maya Film Festival returned for its fifth annual showing in Playa del Carmen. One of the area’s most anticipated yearly events, RMFF brings the people of the Riviera Maya the best in independent cinema, at absolutely no cost to the public.

As if the Riviera Maya didn’t offer enough with its beautiful weather, ocean views and warm people, you can now add world class cultural events to the area’s list of attractions. Along with the Jazz Festival in November, the electronic music festival in January, the RMFF is yet one more activity bringing art and diversity to the Playa del Carmen public. Imagine spending your summer nights viewing the latest international films, out in the open air with your toes buried deep in the Playa del Carmen sand.

With a history of 980 showings to 81,000 spectators, this year the RMFF delivers 59 more films, 43 national premieres and one world premiere, promising something of interest for nearly everyone to enjoy. Some of the films are just works in progress, others are national premieres on the cusp of international acclaim.

This year the festival worked with the Goethe Institute which sponsored the showings of 2 German films: 24 Weeks and Who is Oda Jaune? The RMFF also treated viewers with a screening of the latest Pedro Almodovar film, Julietta. The festival closed with Don Cheadle’s new movie Miles Ahead in which he both acted and directed. The movie chronicles the turbulent life of the groundbreaking musician, Miles Davis. Both Miles Davis’ son and nephew planned to attend the screening.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

Photo Courtesy of Riviera Maya Film Festival Facebook Page

But the RMFF doesn’t forget to include films made in its own country. Along with international films, included on the roster are 13 films made in Mexico.

Over the past five years the RMFF has grown to distinguish itself as one of the finest cultural events in the Mexico Caribbean. Not only providing quality films that otherwise would not be shown in the community, the festival gives a much needed platform for independent film directors to showcase their work. As Italian director Asia Argento explained, “Independent cinema would die if it weren’t for this type of initiatives.”

While the RMFF ran from June 24-30 in Playa del Carmen, it moved onto Isla Mujeres, Tulum, and Puerto Morelos as of July 2. So if you’re in town, be sure to check out what this premiere cultural event has to offer.

Turtles in Akumal

Caroline S. Rogers, available through NOAA

Turtles have been swimming in the oceans of the world since dinosaur times. Only during nesting season do they come on shore, and then just for a few hours in the middle of the night.

The Yucatan Peninsula beaches along the Caribbean coast (known as the Mayan Riviera) are historic nesting sites for sea turtles. (From Punta Venado to the Sian ka’an Biosphere).

Akumal in particular, which means “place of the turtles” in Mayan language, is a privileged spot. That’s why Akumal is also a great place to go snorkelling and diving with these large sea turtles.

The nesting season for sea turtles in Mexico is May to October.

One of the amazing things about sea turtles is that when they are ready to mate and lay eggs, they return to the beach where they were hatched. Apparently sea turtles can recognize their natal beach by its smell. Mating is done in the ocean. Only the females come on shore. When a female turtle is ready to lay eggs, she swims to shore, sniffs the sand, and, if it smells right, pulls herself up the beach with her large front flippers. Once above the tide line, she uses her front flippers to dig a shallow pit for her body. Then, using her back feet, she digs a hole about 18 inches deep. Then, lowering her tail, she begins to drop her leathery, ping pong sized eggs. A female turtle may nest several times a season, laying about 100 eggs.

Baby-Sea-Turtle-Creative-Commons

About two months after eggs are laid, the baby turtles, which are the size of a silver dollar, hatch and scramble to the sea.

All seven sea turtles species around the world are classified as endangered due to pollution, human activity and global warming. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. In Mexico, they have launched various initiatives as well as a preservation program to save the Green sea turtles. For more info you can check on: http://florafaunaycultura.org and http://www.ceakumal.org/.

 

What to do in Playa del Carmen & Riviera Maya

 

Taken from Flickr. Photographer David Stanley

Taken from Flickr. Photographer David Stanley

I don’t know if you’ve been told but Playa del Carmen is a fantastic holiday spot! There are activities for everyone…from scuba diving to golf, from fishing to visiting Mayan ruins and so much more !

Here are some of our favorite links to organize your next adventure in paradise!

 

 

Golf

Playa del Carmen has become a top choice for golf enthusiasts as it is strategically located in close proximity to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

The most popular among these is the Hard Rock Golf Club Riviera Maya at the Playacar Spa & Golf Club, right in the heart of the tourist zone. This magnificent 18-hole, par 72 golf course was designed by renowned architect Robert Van Hagge. It is highly acclaimed as being one of the best golf courses in the world and probably one of the toughest and most challenging as well. A definite must for the golfer who loves a good challenge. More info

The Puerto Aventura’s Golf Course is located nearby at Puerto Aventuras. Just 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It is a 9-hole, par 36 beauty designed by Thomas Leeman in 1991. It is surrounded by palm trees and lush foliage and is still one of the best-kept secrets in the area.

The Moon Palace golf course (at the Moon Palace Spa and Golf Club in Cancun) is located just 10 minutes from the Cancun airport. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is a 18-hole, par 72 course. It currently ranks as one of the best if not the best golf course in the Riviera Maya.

More info and more golf courses can be found here

Watersports

Taken from Flick. Photographer 16:9clue

Taken from Flick. Photographer 16:9clue

Flick. Photographer dMap Travel Guide

Flick. Photographer dMap Travel Guide

 

 

 

 

Aside from scuba diving, there are various water activities you can take advantage of while staying in Playa del Carmen. These include activities above the water, such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, kitesurfing and boating, and underwater activities, such as snorkeling.

Kayaking

 The calm waters of Playa del Carmen make it an excellent place to go kayaking. You can tour the mangroves in the area, and explore ecological parks. Most hotels offer free use of kayaking equipment. For information regarding which routes to take when kayaking, and where to rent the kayaks, you can check with tour companies.

Paddle-board/Yoga paddle-board

 A rising trend and a new experience in in water sports! You will find stand up paddle boarding tours which will have you slowly flowing down the Mexican Mayan Rivera.

Kite surfing

Not for the weak-hearted! An amazing work-out and so much sensations in one sport!

For more info on those sports check this link: http://www.playaboardsports.com/

 

Boating

 A great boat tour is at the heart of a vacation in Playa del Carmen. You can choose from catamarans, glass bottom boats, speedboats, snorkeling tours, and fishing trips!

More info on: http://www.playadelcarmentours.com/boat-tours-playa.htm and http://www.h2ohcruises.com/

Diving and Snorkeling

 If you are going to scuba dive in the Riviera Maya in the beautiful Caribbean reefs you must come in Playa Del Carmen. You will not forget this experience of a lifetime! Playa Del Carmen has beautiful ocean reefs and caverns / cenotes to offer. A dream for beginners as well as more advanced divers. More info here: http://www.divingplayadelcarmen.com/ and http://www.scubaplaya.com/en/

Fishing

Deep sea fishing is extremely good along the coast of the Riviera Maya. The always flowing currents in the channel between the coast of the Peninsula Yucatan and the Island of Cozumel create a perfect habitat for all kinds of game fish. More info here: http://www.sportfishingplayadelcarmen.com/ and http://www.captricksfishing.com/ and http://therustyhook.com/

If you are more into cultural or nature activities, here is a list of sites you can visit that will transport you into ancient history or in the middle of the natural treasures of the Riviera Maya!

 

Robert Pittman Tulum Ruins 6. Beach

Robert Pittman Tulum Ruins 6. Beach from Flickr

Tulum

Tulum, where some of the most remarkable Mayan ruins can be found, is one of Quintana Roo’s most famous archaeological sites. The archaeological zone is one of the most amazing sights that you will ever lay your eyes on. The ruins are exquisitely poised on top of 15-meter high cliffs rising above the Caribbean Sea. Apart from its picturesque setting, there are also about sixty preserved buildings in the ruins in Tulum.

More info: http://www.tulumruins.net/

Xcaret Ecopark: It is one of the most beautiful parks in the whole of Mexico. This Mayan inspired Eco-archaeological theme park is located just 10 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Xcaret is often considered a paradise, particularly by nature lovers. One whole day is simply not enough to truly enjoy all the wonderful things to see and do.

Si’an Ka’an biosphere: It is a biosphere reserve located in the southern part of the state of Quintana Roo. It was established as a reserve in 1982, awarded full status as a biosphere reserve in 1986 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is approximately 1.3 million acres in size and comprises almost one-third of Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

More info: http://www.visitsiankaan.com/

If you still can’t find an activity for you here, well you might want to try volunteer work for a charity.

Here is a list of places that will never refuse your help or a donation:

Sos El Arca- Playa del Carmen Dog shelter

SOS El Arca: It is run by a woman named Sylvie who is the Mother Theresa of animals in Playa. She and her loyal volunteers have rescued and found homes for hundred of dogs over the years.

More info: www.soselarca.org.

Cocos Animal Welfare: Since 2012, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been partnering with Coco’s to improve the lives of cats and dogs in Playa del Carmen.

More info: http://cocosanimalwelfare.org/

PAR – Playa Animal Rescue: It is registered non-profit, organization that assists in fundraising for the no-kill animal shelter located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Playa Animal Rescue A.C. is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating injured and abandoned dogs, and to finding permanent, loving homes for each of them.

More info: http://playaanimalrescue.org/

Akumal and it’s many secrets. Turtle season is here

Turtles have been swimming in the oceans of the world since dinosaur times. Only during nesting season do they come on shore, and then just for a few hours in the middle of the night.

Photo credit Allen McGregor

Photo credit Allen McGregor

The Yucatan Peninsula beaches along the Caribbean coast (known as the Mayan Riviera) are historic nesting sites for sea turtles. (From Punta Venado to the Sian ka’an Biosphere).

Akumal in particular, which means “place of the turtles” in Mayan language, is a privileged spot. That’s why Akumal is also a great place to go diving with turtles.

The nesting season for sea turtles in Mexico is May to October.

One of the amazing things about sea turtles is that when they are ready to mate and lay eggs, they return to the beach where they were hatched. Apparently sea turtles can recognize their natal beach by its smell. Mating is done in the ocean. Only the females come on shore. When a female turtle is ready to lay eggs, she swims to shore, sniffs the sand, and, if it smells right, pulls herself up the beach with her large front flippers. Once above the tide line, she uses her front flippers to dig a shallow pit for her body. Then, using her back feet, she digs a hole about 18 inches deep. Then, lowering her tail, she begins to drop her leathery, ping pong sized eggs. A female turtle may nest several times a season, laying about 100 eggs.

About two months after eggs are laid, the baby turtles, which are the size of a silver dollar, hatch and scramble to the sea.

All seven sea turtles species around the world are classified as endangered due to pollution, human activity and global warming. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. In Mexico, they have launched various initiatives as well as a preservation program to save the Green sea turtles. For more info you can check on:  Flora Fauna y Cultura de Mexico  and Centro Ecologico de Akumal

*Photo from Allen McGregor– titled “Sea Turtle at Akumal Beach Mexico” on Flickr