A few months ago, I was living in Tulum as a digital nomad and wanted to get to Akumal from Tulum to go scuba diving to complete my PADI training. I searched for how to get from Tulum to Akumal but came up short on practical info.
Akumal is a great choice as a day trip from Tulum. There, you can swim and snorkel with turtles, go scuba diving (as I did), or just relax on the beach.
Luckily, Tulum and Akumal are not so far apart from each other (takes 25 minutes driving). But instead of taking an expensive taxi to get there, the best way to get to Akumal from Tulum is by colectivo (shared minivan).
In this guide, I share how to get from Tulum to Akumal and back, what you can do there, and why you should visit!
ALSO READ: 9 Awesome Things to Do in Tulum, Mexico
Getting From Tulum to Akumal
Where Is Akumal?
Akumal, meaning “Land of Turtles” in Mayan, is one of the most underrated coastal destinations in the Riviera Maya in the diverse and lovely state of Quintana Roo. It is located about 2 hours south of Cancun and 25 minutes north of Tulum and about 35 minutes from Playa del Carmen.
That said, it is an ideal place to visit on any vacation, especially if you want to see magnificent green sea turtles in their natural habitat.
There are a few ways you could technically get to Akumal from Tulum: bus, rental car, taxi, van. But the best way (i.e. the most convenient and affordable) is by taking a colectivo, also known as a shared white van.
Taking a Shared Van (Colectivo) From Tulum to Akumal
Colectivos are shared white minivans that can haul approximately 12-15 people between the towns along the Riviera Maya coast.
While you can flag down colectivos along the main road or Highway 307 Tulum-Cancun to go just about anywhere, the main “pick up point” in Tulum is located on the Main Ave at the small bus stops.
For example, you can head down Calle Centauro or Calle Satéllite Sur to where it meets with the Main Avenue. You will see stopped white vans and all you need to do is ask for Akumal.
Colectivos depart from Tulum’s Main Ave about once every 10 minutes from virtually 7 AM to 9 PM or later. So you shouldn’t have to wait long before snagging one.
The cost to get from Tulum to Akumal by colectivo is around 35 MXN pesos. Pay the fare, hop in, and about 20 minutes later, when you hear the driver say “Akumal” make sure to gather your belongings to make a quick exit.
You will get dropped off at the green bus stop along the side of the highway, just before the pedestrian bridge.
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Backtrack a few steps to follow the paved road that veers off to the left behind you. You will see street art murals alongside the ramp on your right, as you walk down this road.
This sidewalk will connect you from the highway all the way through Akumal town to the beach. It takes about 10-12 minutes walking to get to the Akumal Dive Shop and beach.
Renting a Car
Another option to get from Tulum to Akumal (and surrounding areas) is by simply renting a car in Tulum and then driving the 20 minutes to get there yourself. I usually use DiscoverCars.com to find my rentals in Mexico for rates as little as $10-15/day.
Renting a car, depending on what’s included in your Tulum itinerary, would be ideal especially if you don’t like the idea of having to walk from the highway into Akumal town (it’s safe, it’s just not as convenient if you’re carrying a lot of stuff for a beach or dive day).
If you have a car to go to Akumal, I would also recommend – either on your way there or your way back – that you stop by for a swim, snorkel, or dive at Casa Cenote.
Getting there in a car is so much easier since this road is bumpy and not ideal for getting there via public transport. The cenote is amazing, tucked away in the mangroves, and also is home to the star of the show – Pancho the swimmer-friendly crocodile.
Renting a Scooter
You may also consider getting to Akumal by renting a scooter in Tulum and then driving there. Scooters cost a bit more or the same as a car rental in Tulum. But you get the added benefit that it’s a tad more fun and the cost of insurance is usually included.
With a scooter, you can easily zip between Tulum’s hotel zone, the Tulum Ruins, and the town with ease (and without getting stuck in traffic). Not to mention, having a scooter or even renting a bike is ideal for reaching some of the best cenotes near Tulum.
Taking a Mayab/ADO Bus
Alternatively, instead of taking a shared van or renting a car/scooter, you could also book a spot on the Mayab bus departing from the ADO Bus terminal in Tulum.
This option requires a bit more planning, however, as buses only leave Tulum direction Playa del Carmen (stopping at Akumal) about once every 4 hours. The price is also a little bit more expensive, at $40-60 MXN pesos.
Note: The ADO buses run directly between major towns (i.e. Tulum-Cancun), whereas the Mayab buses can drop you off at the smaller towns in between (Tulum-Akumal).
Lastly, you could always fall back on the option of taking a taxi. This will be the most expensive option, setting you back around $30 USD one-way, but it’s an option nevertheless.
Getting Around Akumal
Once in Akumal, there are a few ways to get around. Walking is ideal, as the town is not very big. But for a bit more fun, you could also consider renting a bike or a golf cart to explore around with a bit more speed.
There are three main areas in Akumal to discover, including the main Akumal Bay, Yalku Lagoon, and the Half Moon Bay. Beyond the bays, there are plenty of delicious restaurants to try, shops to browse, and colorful murals to spot around town.
Scuba diving in Akumal is one of my favorite experiences of living in nearby Tulum. I trained in cenotes first (Casa Cenote) and on the Tulum reef before coming to dive at the Cuevitas reef in Akumal with all the sea turtles.
Getting Back to Tulum From Akumal
Once you’re ready to leave Akumal and head back to Tulum, you can do so by walking back to the highway, crossing the bridge, and flagging down a white colectivo from the other side of Highway 307 at the bus stop.
From what I know, there aren’t colectivos that come inside the town and then exit back onto the highway, so you need to either take a taxi back to the highway or walk.
All in all, getting to Tulum from Akumal and back is fairly straightforward. The only inconvenience might be having to walk, but considering it’s a pleasant 10-15 minutes, it’s not that bad and should be ok unless if you have lots to carry.
I hope this brief guide helps plan your trip to Akumal and Tulum! If you have any questions about traveling in and around Tulum, feel free to comment below!
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