Playa Del Carmen Sea Turtles – How to Swim With

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playa del carmen sea turtles

Once in a Lifetime

Swimming with the Playa Del Carmen sea turtles is one of those “once in a lifetime” things you must do when in Playa Del Carmen Mexico. It's so simple to do it yourself, at your pace, and for a lot less money than a tour. I'm all for tours when it comes to making things simple, or there's a language barrier or just to have someone teach you about what you're visiting. But to swim with the turtles, none of these things apply.

playa del carmen sea turtles

Do It Yourself

To get to where the turtles are, just hop in a taxi and have them take you to Akumal beach. When you arrive, ask them to take you all the way down to the arches. This way, you'll bypass all those people trying to sell you something including fake entry fees that I've read about multiple times. When he drops you off, head down to the beach. Once at the beach go right until you see the last dive shop (before the beach ends). You can't miss it, and it's about 50′ off the beach.

The Akumal Dive Shop is where you can rent your snorkeling gear. You can rent everything you need. When you ask for snorkeling gear, keep in mind that the fins are extra. My advice would be to get the fins. It makes keeping up with the turtles easier. They even have lockers so you can secure your stuff and a shower to rinse off afterward. Once you have your gear, ask the people at the dive shop where the best place to snorkel is to see the turtles. They will gladly point you in the right direction. The dive shop also rents underwater cameras/GoPro's if you want to get some great footage. There are signs in and just outside the store that tell you about the fish and turtles you will see. That's all there is to it. Now get ready to get wet.

playa del carmen sea turtles

playa del carmen sea turtles

playa del carmen sea turtles

The Turtles

To find the turtles, you need to not be on the reef but rather where there is grass on the bottom. We saw our first turtle after about 10 minutes in the water. You can also watch where others are grouped up snorkeling, most likely, there are turtles there.  The turtles were so cool. They didn't care at all that you were around. They just go about their business which is mostly eating and coming up for air every so often. When you get your fill of turtles, be sure to go out a little further to the reef. You won't see turtles there, but you will see all sorts of colorful fish. The entire experience was fantastic. Since you are behind a reef, the water is calm, and the current is minimal making it easy to float around at your leisure.

playa del carmen sea turtles

playa del carmen sea turtles

Back in the grassy areas are manta rays. You might get lucky enough like we did and see one. The one we saw was small but none the less fabulous.

playa del carmen sea turtles

A Restaurant and Bar Too

What I like about Akumal Beach is that they have a restaurant and bar right on the beach. So when you get tired, you don't have to turn in your gear for the day. Walk over to the restaurant, sit at a table on the sand and order a drink or some food. The beach restaurant is an excellent way to rest up and then head on back out for another snorkel. When you're ready to leave, there are attendants in the parking lot who will get you a taxi.

playa del carmen sea turtles

Playa Del Carmen Sea Turtles

That's it. So simple to do this amazing day on your own. Swim with the Playa Del Carmen sea turtles and you can do it at your pace. Relax on the beach, have a drink and some food and snorkel until your heart's content.

playa del carmen sea turtles

Check out this 2-minute underwater video of these marvelous creatures!

playa del carmen sea turtles

About Keith Paul

I'm an early retiree that now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador. I was an executive in Health Care Information Technology most of my career. My wife and I love to travel and have ventured all over the world. Now that we are retired, more adventures are on the horizon.

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2018-09-19T06:58:43+00:00By |


  1. Sue July 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! The water is so clear! Great shots with the Go Pro! What would you say is the difference in costs between renting your own gear and a tour…What does a tour offer (length of time, different location, snacks etc) that would var

    • Keith July 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Sue. My first time with the GoPro underwater. To rent all equipment including fins was $15. All the research I did to look for tours, I could not find any that just did the swim with sea turtles. All of them were combined with something else like the cenotes. It was so hot that day that we didn’t want to commit to an all-day tour. The cheapest tour I could find was $79 for a half day. Our friends actually did it both ways and they told me that their guide didn’t actually tell them anything but did answer questions. Basically, he showed them where to go to see the turtles and then explained the different fish they would see. All of that is on a sign with pictures right outside the dive center. So for just the sea turtle swim, I didn’t see the value. The turtles were easy to find and you could snorkel on your own timeline. Most of the all day tours did include a lunch but it’s been our experience the lunches were never in the best of restaurants. Our goal was the sea turtle swim. We did the cenotes on another day.

  2. Sebastian May 27, 2018 at 1:25 am - Reply

    I always love to be with mother nature, you can relax, meditate and think clearly…the experience is also incomparable…

    • Keith May 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      We agree with you Sebastian. Thanks so much for the comment.

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