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Experience the Wonders of the Riviera Maya
The Mexican Caribbean has long been a popular destination for tourists with Cozumel, Cancun and Playa de Carmen booming with tourism and nightlife. While many people enjoy the exciting pace of these popular destinations, they also enjoy paying a visit to the small, laid back town of Akumal, known for its quaint shops and restaurants, the best snorkeling and diving in the region, and its jungles and Mayan ruins that harkens back to the days when Akumal was a major trade route for this ancient civilization.

A day trip to Akumal is only 20 minutes away from Playa de Carmen and offers quieter beaches, unspoiled ecological sights and some of the best diving in the world. Day tours can be arranged from Cancun and other destinations in the region and is the perfect opportunity to escape the overcrowded beaches of the more bustling resort towns. You can explore the lush jungles and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, which is conveniently located just 20 minutes away. Exploring the jungle and the Mayan ruins can give you a taste of the ancient civilization that once thrived here and see a part of Riviera Maya that you can't see in Cancun or Playa de Carmen.

Akumal is a diver and snorkeler paradise and has the world's second largest reef located just off its coast. Cancun does not offer much in the way of diving and snorkeling, but Akumal has many opportunities to explore shipwrecks, caves and the largest number of cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula. Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that dot the landscape surrounding Akumal. The Mayans believed them to be sacred, and they still provide fresh water swimming, diving and snorkeling today. They have many underwater cave diving experiences that hardcore diving enthusiasts or even the novice diver are bound to find fascinating.

A day trip to Akumal offers travelers the opportunity to explore the turtle beaches, the natural habitat of several species of sea turtles who come from the sea in April to nest and leave with their hatchlings in November. Akumal is a town that prides itself of its ecological heritage and preservation of natural marine habitats. It's the perfect day trip excursion for the ecotourist, with a large natural aquarium where you can observe marine life in their natural protected habitat.

The quaint town of Akumal offers shops and restaurants that are sure to please any traveler. With the beaches and bays within walking distance, you can buy Mayan crafts and dine on traditional Mayan cuisine. Spending a day exploring Akumal and its pristine beaches and beautiful jungles may lead the day tripper to consider Akumal as a destination for a longer stay in the future.
About the Author
M Gravlee is a retired newspaper publisher who spends several months a year traveling.
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