Caribbean Coast: Places to Explore

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Akumal

In Mayan, Akumal (pronounced ah-koo-maal) means "place of the turtle," and this stretch of coast is a storied nesting ground, especially at Half Moon Bay. Akumal first attracted international attention in 1926, when explorers discovered the Mantanceros, a Spanish galleon that sank there in 1741. In the 1960s, diver Pablo Bush Romero established the Akumal Caribe resort as a place for his diving buddies to crash. The rest is history.

Today Akumal is an Americanized beach community, home to divers, fishermen, and laid-back expats from the U.S. and Canada. It's essentially a long string of upscale homes and condos strung along Akumal's three bays. Akumal Bay is the best base for visits; it has the best selection of hotels and restaurants and the best all-around beach for swimming and snorkeling. Half Moon Bay, just beyond, has good snorkeling and more condos for rent, but the beach is narrow and rocky. Laguna Yalku is a protected snorkeling lagoon.

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