Yal-Ku Lagoon: the hidden paradise of the Riviera Maya

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Yal-Ku Lagoon

Sites like the Yal-Ku Lagoon, in Akumal, are evidence of the fact that there are still some hidden treasures left to discover in the Riviera Maya that escape most tourists’ radar.

Akumal is an ecotourism development between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, 65 miles south of Cancun. There, you can find the stunning Yal-Ku Lagoon, right at the point where one of the many underground rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula flows into the Caribbean –this is why the water in it is brackish, which means that it’s a mix between salt and fresh.

Marine daycare

Yal-Ku is a kind of marine daycare. It is inhabited by young individuals from many species, who find in it a place to grow and develop, safe from predators. Before reaching a certain maturity and transitioning into open sea, this species coexist in a spectacular, natural aquarium.

Picture yourself there, mask and snorkel on, exploring the inside of the lagoon. Sea urchins, starfish, parrot fish and triggerfish are just some of the species that surround you.

The beauty of this place is not only underwater. Look up and you’ll see herons, cranes, pelicans and many other birds.

Besides the natural attractions, you’ll see sculptures made by Francisco Zuñiga in several points of the lagoon that are sure to enhance your experience.

Tips for visiting Yal-Ku

Between entrance and rental fees, be prepared to spend about $20 USD. You should know that the biggest share of this money is destined to preserve Yal-Ku.

Speaking of environmental concerns, sunscreen, food and beverages are not allowed. The daily number of visitors is limited, so you will have to plan ahead to ensure a spot.

It is better to take lite clothes and your own towel with you. We also suggest you take a waterproof camera so that you can capture the surreal views.

How to get to Yal Ku

The 307 highway, that takes you from Cancun to Tulum, will lead you to Akumal. If you’re coming from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you’ll find the exit 6 miles after Xpu-Ha.

By the way, we really think the best place to explore the Riviera Maya is to base yourself in Playa del Carmen and move around from there.

Yal-Ku Lagoon: the hidden paradise of the Riviera Maya