Stay in Tulum or Akumal?

Old Jan 10th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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Stay in Tulum or Akumal?

We have decided to vacation in Riviera Maya in March or April of this year and I know similar questions regarding this have been posted before, but my question is a little different. We have narrowed it down to staying in either Tulum or Akumal area due to being closer to the sites and things we want to do.

My question is regarding which has the better swimmable beaches? I know Akumal is better for snorkeling, and I've heard people say they prefer Tulum beaches to Akumal beaches. What I'm wondering is how rough is the surf at Tulum? Is it rougher or just as rough as the Mexico Pacific and California coast? Does it ever have days it stays calmer and more swimmable? Or would you say Akumal is better for that. I'm assuming the reason most people prefer Tulum beaches is the bigger stretch of sand?

Where do you think would be better for nice sandy beach and swimmable water?
Kristy88 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 11:18 AM
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The reef is much closer to shore at Akumal and this makes for better snorkeling unless there is high winds (not usual). Tulum is lovely for swimming and boogie boarding, I have also seen kite boarding on the north end of the beach.
jamie99 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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We fell in love with Akumal. The bay is calm, the beach is picturesque and quiet, and there is a great little restaurant/bar (Lol Ha) right on the beach. As far as snorkeling goes, we never even made it to the reef as we were content swimming with the turtles over the sea grass. The larger turtles were in maybe 6-8 feet of water but in waist high water, we saw baby turtles, a few colorful fish, and a barracuda!

We only spent a short time at Tulum, and the beach is definitely picturesque, but has a totally different feel.
john127 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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Go to this site for more info and advice on the area:
schmerl is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 03:13 PM
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Tulum the waves were pretty rough. We dared to venture and were pushed around pretty hard. Akumal was very calm and the water clear. Excellent snorkeling since their is a reef right off shore.

Here's a couple of pics for reference:


KVR is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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We will be in Tulum in April ... wondering about sea lice. From what I'm hearing, it can be a problem for swimmers that time of year. Anyone know about this?
scdreamer is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2011, 07:12 PM
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I wouldn't swim at Tulum, the surf is too rough. Akumal is very calm, and of course having the snorkeling so close is fabulous. Tulum is definitely more of a couples place than Akumal, which may be a factor for you. We felt a bit out of place with our two young girls.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 07:38 AM
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Kristy The nice thing about Akumal and Tulum is that they are only about a 15 minute drive apart, so you could enjoy both areas, by staying in one, and doing a day trip or two to the other! For more info please visit http://www/ and if you have questions let me know I would be happy to help.
locogringo is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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The beach is Tulum can change within a day from calm as glass to rough waves - it is unpredictable. So you should choose an area that would be most comfortable you - and since Tulum is off the grid, it may/not suit your needs.
My 7 yr old loves boogie boarding along Tulum's beach. And the rest of us enjoy swimming out past the breaking waves and floating in the swells.
pepper131 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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Akumal and Tulum are both great, but have totally different vibes. Akumal is a quiet enclave of condos and small hotels clustered around a beautiful, clam bay - great for kids, great for snorkeling. Tulum is on the open ocean, has miles of wide sandy beach, and is lined with funky, wind powered cabanas and small hotels. The surf is often rough, but usually no worse than typical ocean beaches in Jersey, Virginia, etc. For walking around town, Tulum is far more interesting. Tulum's downtown is actually several miles inland, on the highway.
zootsi is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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Is Xpu-Ha beach calmer than Tulum? Can you snorkel there?

And will I see any better beaches/clearer water going over to Isla Mujeres than at Akumal/Xpu-Ha/Tulum?
Kristy88 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 09:17 AM
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The beach in Xpu Ha is nice. There is less to do there, though. Not many restaurants for going out to eat, etc.
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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I should probably clarify that better. I plan to stay either the whole time in Akumal/Tulum or Xpu-Ha region or a few nights there and then a couple in Cancun (near airport) so I can make a day trip to Isla Mujeres. However, I'm wondering if that is all worth it for Isla Mujeres? Am I going to see any better beaches on Playa Norte and clearer water than at Akumal/Tulum/Xpu-Ha? Or should I just spend the whole time down there?

Just to clarify I'm looking for beautiful calm, crystal clear water like I would find at the Bahamas or 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Is Isla Mujeres, Xpu-Ha and Akumal like this?
Kristy88 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Kristy88~ Maybe I missed it if you already said above, but how long is the trip total time (as far as considering adding Isla Mujeres or not)?
suze is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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It would be 5-6 days. But I'm willing to make a tight squeeze if I want to see Isla Mujeres too.
Kristy88 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Frankly the snorkeling is not that great off Isla Mujeres although it is a great place to stay (I have stayed there six times) unless you go out on a boat. The beach at Playa Norte is fabulous, not sure if they still have sand whales now.

Have not been to Xpuha yet but as far as I know the only non AI there is the Al Cielo.
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 06:57 AM
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Kristy, pretty much the entire coast has beautiful clear water. For calm, I would pick Akumal. For snorkeling from the beach, again Akumal. Haven't been to Xpu-Ha or Isla Mujeres however. Another thing to consider - many of the beaches require foot protection to go in the water due to rocks, sea urchins, etc. Akumal Beach doesn't, however Akumal's Half Moon Bay (and possibly Xpu-Ha) do. Another town with fairly calm water and a wide sandy beach is Puerto Morelos. A little more of a fishing village vibe, and some eel grass in the water however.
zootsi is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Hola! Akumal is a wonderful beach with calm waters and amazing snorkeling with turtles. Tulum also has calm waters and of course you have the mayan ruins.

I would suggest staying a Akumal as you are nearly half way from Playa del Carmen, ferry to Cozumel, Dolphings in Puerto Aventuras and then just 15 mins from Tulum.

I would 110% suggest visiting isla mujeres! My idea of pure pardise, check this link out on what to do on Isla Mujeres :

If you get a chance, visit Xcacel, similar to Akumal but with less people!

Happy Traveling!
Mayanexplore is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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I have been to the beach at Xpu-ha 3 times in the past 6 months. We have a condo in Playa del Carmen and we drive down to Xhu-pa on Sundays, as Cocp beach at our condo is really busy with Mexican families on Sundays.

Xpu-ha is accessed by a bumpy dirt road from Hwy 307 down to the beach. There is a small hut at the entrance to the rd. and there is a rope up across the entrance to the rd. A woman is there taking payment to allow you access to the road.
At the end of the rd., at the beach entrance, is a restaurant and bar. They have live music in the afternoons on the weekend, so-so food, good drinks, and nice beach club. Further down the beach to the left is a hotel/beach club and nicer looking restaurant. Down to the right on the beach you can see some abandoned houses and hotels that are remnants of Hurricaine Wilma.

The water is very calm at Xpu-ha. It is like a big turquoise swimming pool, you can swim in it, float in it, and rarely have me than a ripple around you unless someone is slpashing by you. Sand is pure white. However, we did notice quite a bit of trash on the beach these last 3 visits, which you do not see at Akumal.

There is more to do at Akumal, the great snorkeling right off the beach, nice restaurants on the beach, some shopping in the little huts. But there has been seaweed at the shoreline in Akumal the last year every time we have gone there (8 to 10 times).
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