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Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Did someone say Akumal Glamping Mexico? Okay, full disclosure, I love camping. Like, I owned a huge tent and went as many weekends as I could in the Summer and backpacked for most of the last two years with a tent, love camping. So the idea of 2 nights at Akumal Natura Glamping in the Mexican Jungle was a bit of a dream come true. Of all of the types of tourism out there, ecotourism is the future!

I was invited to Akumal Natura Glamping Mexico as their guest. However, as always, my opinions all my own.

QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts

I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.

If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.

Where is Akumal Mexico anyway?

If you are wondering ‘Where is Akumal?’ you aren’t alone. Most people new to the Riviera Maya don’t know where Akumal is either!

Akumal is located on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo. It’s nestled in the heart of the Riviera Maya, a popular tourist region known for its beautiful beaches, resorts, and historical sites.

The town is situated roughly halfway between the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, providing easy access to the region’s various attractions. Akumal itself is renowned for its clear waters, rich marine life, and particularly for its sea turtles, which can often be seen by snorkelers.

To be more precise, Akumal is about:

  • 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the international airport in Cancún.
  • 37 kilometers (23 miles) north of Tulum.
  • 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Playa del Carmen.

This central location makes Akumal a convenient and appealing destination for travelers looking to explore the Riviera Maya, with its proximity to other attractions like the Mayan ruins at Tulum, the eco-parks at Xcaret and Xel-Há, and the many cenotes (natural sinkholes) scattered throughout the region.

Akumal is best known for Akumal Monkey Sanctuary and the Akumal Bay Turtles. But more about that a bit later!

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Akumal vs Tulum

If you are looking to get a bit more connected with the earth while in the Riviera Maya area most people think of Tulum. If you don’t know much about Tulum, it is Mexico’s version of Ubud in Bali but smaller. Tulum is full of vegan food, yoga, temazcas, and Mayan Ceremonies. So if you are wondering if you should visit Akumal or Tulum, it depends on what you want.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Tulum is bigger, there are more people, and although in some places you are close to the Mexican Jungle, you are also close to busy roads and street lights. Akumal, on the other hand, is quieter and more remote. You are completely in the jungle, yet only a few minutes walk from the pueblo where you can buy everything you need or catch a local bus to one of bigger towns.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

So it comes down to:

Akumal = fewer distractions and fully immersed in the jungle
Tulum = in a town with more things to do and less connected to nature

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Is Akumal Mexico Safe

Wondering ‘is Akumal Mexico safe’? The answer is yes, Akumal, Mexico is generally considered safe for tourists. It’s a small beach-front tourist resort community located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on the Yucatán Peninsula. Known for its serene atmosphere and excellent snorkeling opportunities, especially with its resident sea turtles, Akumal has a reputation for being a relaxed and family-friendly destination.

Like many tourist areas in Mexico, local businesses and authorities in Akumal take the safety of visitors seriously. However, it’s always important to exercise common sense safety measures when traveling: keep an eye on personal belongings, stay aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and adhere to local advisories and warnings.

Travelers should also be aware of the general travel advisories for the state of Quintana Roo, where Akumal is located, as conditions can change. Checking with your home country’s travel advisories and obtaining up-to-date information from local sources upon arrival will give you the latest picture of the area’s security situation.

The natural hazards in Akumal, such as strong currents when snorkeling or swimming, should also be respected. Always follow local guidelines and consider the advice of lifeguards and tour operators when engaging in water activities.

For the most part, Akumal is a tranquil spot to enjoy some of Mexico’s most beautiful waters, and with sensible precautions, your trip should be enjoyable and safe.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Akumal ToursClick here to check out the top Akumal tours
Best Akumal Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Akumal
Best Akumal Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Akumal

Glamping in the Riviera Maya. What is Glamping?

Glad you asked! Glamping has all of the good stuff about camping like being close to nature and getting to sleep in a tent without having to put up the tent or pee in a bush. Basically, it’s camping for the glamorous. Haha.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

No, but really, it’s just an incredible concept that brings you closer to nature without having to travel with a load of camping gear or have the stress of pitching tents or sleeping on a deflating air mattress. I’m one of the crazy people who loves this stuff and was a little unsure if the whole glamping thing was for me. Then I arrived at Akumal Natura Glamping Mexico, and I was completely won over!

Why stay at Akumal Glamping Mexico?

There are many places to stay in Akumal, but none of them are like Akumal Natura Glamping! Glamping en Mexico is something everyone should experience. To be able to take a short ride on a bus from my base in Playa del Carmen to the Mexican Jungle and sleep in a beautiful tent on an incredibly comfortable bed is a pretty unique experience. Oh, and did I mention they have running water, wifi, and daily yoga classes.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

I know you may be thinking why would you ever need wifi in the jungle. Well, I did. I work a lot and as a writer, it can be difficult for me to settle and just write without feeling pulled in a million directions.

Taking two days away from home where I could swim in a private cenote, fall asleep with the sounds of the jungle and wake up to a beautiful restorative Yoga class in a jungle shala was exactly what I needed. But I also needed to work for a few hours each day.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

With the glamping experience, I had the best of both worlds. I got to feel more connected to the earth, without having to fully disconnect from work. That said if you did want to fully disconnect you totally can, just don’t hook up to the wifi!

The more I have traveled the more aware I have become of my own impact on the environment and to focus more on ecotourism. I am a much more conscious traveler because of the things I have seen and heard. I worry a lot about what will happen if/ when our natural resources run out. It’s a pretty terrifying idea but seeing the work done by places like Akumal Natura Glamping are doing looking after the bees and rescuing and rehabilitating animals makes me feel better about the whole thing.

What is included in your stay at Akumal Glamping

I was impressed by not only the facilities in the camp itself but also all of the extras you get as a guest.

The tents are spaced out enough to feel private. You have your own little places out front where you can sit and contemplate life.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Inside the tent itself, you have a choice of twin beds or a huge queen-size bed. All beds come with a bug net, or as I like to call it, a ‘princess net.’

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

The tents have great ventilation and a fan. We kept the ‘windows’ closed at night, so we weren’t woken up too early and had no issues sleeping.

Towels, soap, water, and extra blankets are all provided in the tents. They all have electricity and running water. The water is not hot, but it was the perfect temperature for showering in the jungle. However, hot water is provided every morning if you want it and so you can have a warm wash if you prefer.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

The Jungle Glamping Campsite is pretty unique too. There are three private Cenotes on site. One open, one closed and one semi-closed. The only one you can swim in right now is the open one as they are still doing work on the other two to make them safe.

Top Tip: The best time to swim in the cenote is 9am as the light is shining right in and the water looks like saphire! Save yourself some money on a fishspa and take a seat on the steps. The little fish in the Cenote will be quick to get to work cleaning your feet!

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

I’m such a cenote junky so getting this beautiful Cenote all to myself was a real treat. If you have ever tried to take a photo in a cenote without a crowd of people in your shot, you know what I’m talking about!

There is a restaurant, chillout area (with a big hanging bed), and free bike rental from the 24-hour reception.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya
Obviously, this became my favorite Instagram spot…

Breakfast in the restaurant is included but lunch and evening meals are not. The food is excellent and reasonably priced. We both ate pasta and it was cooked perfectly. They cater to both vegetarians and meat eaters.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya
Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Having bike rental included made me happy as this is often not the case. This is the first place I’ve visited where I have 1. Had bike rental included and 2. The bikes have been well maintained. Seriously the last place I stayed at I had to pay for the rental and the bike was in such bad shape I fell off the thing and busted my knee open! You will want to use the bikes to go to the beach or into the town as it is too hot to walk most of the time.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

But the best part for me was the daily Yoga Classes. They were given by local teachers who have beautiful spiritual practices. The class was very basic as it is aimed at people who don’t have a yoga practice. That said as a yoga teacher with my own practice I loved both classes I took. They were slow, grounding and meditative. Exactly what I needed early in the morning.

After the 8 am class the shala is free for your use all day. So naturally, I made the most of this by practicing in the evening and doing a little yoga photoshoot with my partner in crime Karina.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Are there bugs?

You’re in the jungle; you are going to see bugs. If you can’t cope with that go and book a room at one of the resorts on the top floor. I did get a few mosquito bites, which was to be expected but because of the new around the beds I felt well protected and had no bugs sharing a bed with me. This is something I’ve probably become more conscious of since the whole scorpion in my bed in Guatemala thing.

Akumal Animal Sanctuary (Akumal Natura Rescue)

What I didn’t realize though was that as well as all of the above you get a tour of Akumal Natura Rescue was included too! Learning about the work they do there at this “UMA” (Unit for the Management and Conservation of Wildlife) center was an incredible bonus.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

The rescue center focuses on “the three R’s” (rehabilitation, reproduction, and reintegration). Where possible the animals are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. Sadly for many of the animals there, this is not possible mostly as their behavior has been so affected by their human contact they would not survive. Each animal has its own management plan to manage it’s rehabilitation.

Funny story: I nearly refused to go to the Akumal animal sanctuary as I’m very funny about anything involving animals. If I feel like an animal is being mistreated in any way I avoid. The night before the tour Karina and I were talking with this cute German/ Mexican couple in Spanish. They were telling us about the Monkeys in the center.

My Spanish is good enough that I understand most things but often small details or tenses I miss. So I thought I heard them say they the monkey poses for pictures and smokes in the present tense. I was outraged. Anyway turns out I completely miss heard the important fact that this was in the past and the monkey was rescued from the circus who make him do these things.

In fact, at the sanctuary, they weened him off the cigarets which was a very long process. All of the animals here have been rescued, some from the circus or inappropriate homes. Others from airports! As well as the rescued monkeys there are birds, hogs (which they breed and release), snakes and a crocodile! I can safely report everything I saw and experienced here made me comfortable that the animals were all in a good place and well looked after. Many cannot ever be released into the wild again due to injury which is sad, but I’m glad they have found a good home here in the jungle.

Akumal glamping
Pablo
Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya
Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Cenote Tumben-Ha

Another bonus of the rescue center is that it also has a pretty special cenote you can swim in, Cenote Tumben-Ha (meaning water of life). This was my first time swimming in a covered cenote and it was beautifully illuminated and full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya
Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya
Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

If you want to visit an animal sanctuary in Akumal or see monkeys in the Riviera Maya, then I suggest visiting here. You don’t have to be a guest at Akumal Natura Glamping to go. It is open to the public for a small fee, just contact them here to make a reservation.

Mayan Massage Treatments

I’ve saved the best for last! Akumal Natura Glamping has its own therapist Adrián who offers the most incredible Mayan massage and sound healing. I won’t give away the details but what I will say it is one of the best treatments I’ve had and I was so chilled out after I was glowing.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

Akumal Natura Glamping Booking

You can book directly with the company here on their website or through Booking.com.

Things to do in Akumal

If you only have two days, you might be happy just hanging at the campsite, but there are plenty of things to do in the Akumal area most of them involving the Akumal beach turtles. If you want to experience snorkeling in Mexico while in The Riviera Maya then Akumal is a great place to do this. You may not find that many fish but in Akumal, you get to do some turtle snorkeling. There aren’t many places in the world where you can swim for free with Turtles! On Akumal public beach, if you walk down a little, you can enter the water and swim with turtles.

Adventures in Mexico | Akumal Glamping | Glamping in the Riviera Maya

If it sounds too good to be true, it is a little. Although Akumal public beach is just that, public. There are also many people who want your money! I have written all about the beach and swimming with turtles for free which you can read about here.

Quick Tip: You can book Aquatic Turtle Dream in Akumal from Living Dreams Mexico here.

How to get to Akumal

Akumal is very easy to get to by Colectivo, taxi or Rental Car. One of the things I loved about Akumal Glamping is how close it is to the main Pueblo. This makes driving or taking public transport here so easy!

Cancun to Akumal

It is around 100 kilometers from Cancun to Akumal, and it will take around an hour and a half in a car. It’s an easy drive or rides in a Colectivo.

Playa Del Carmen to Akumal

It is just under 40 kilometers to get from Playa to Akumal, and it should take around 40 minutes in a car, a bit longer by Colectivo.

Tulum to Akumal

It is just under 40 kilometers to get from Playa to Akumal, and it should take around 40 minutes in a car, a bit longer by Colectivo.

Traveling to Akumal by car:

Just get on the main highway heading from Cancun to Tulum. If you are in Tulum head towards Cancun. If you are in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen head towards Tulum. When you see signs for Akumal turn off and drive up through the town. When you get to the top of the town where the main road ends follow the dirt road slightly to the left side of you. You will see signs for Akumal Natura Glamping, so you can’t miss it. You will find the camp on your right side and ample parking there.

Traveling to Akumal by Colectivo:

From Cancun take a collective from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen from close to the ADO station (just across the bridge). When you arrive in Playa, you will need to change onto a second Colectivo to Tulum. If you are in Playa Del Carmen just head to Calle 2 and take a colectivo to Tulum. Let the driver know when you get on that you want to go to Akumal. There will be others on the Colectivo stopping there too so just listen out for the driver saying Akumal.

From Tulum take a Colectivo to Playa Del Carmen. You will find the colectivos parked up by Subway just passed the Ado station but on the opposite side of the road. Make sure you let the driver know you want to go to Akumal.

When you arrive in Akumal town just walk up the hill to the top of the town. Once you get to the end look for the sign for Akumal Natura Glamping and walk for about 10 minutes. It is on your right.

Traveling to Akumal by Taxi:

I would not recommend getting a taxi as they are so expensive. Even to just ride from the pueblo to the camp they will try and charge you 80 pesos! Don’t pay it. If you take a taxi from Cancun, Playa, or Tulum book in advance and fix the price before leaving.

To get back from Akumal to Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Cancun just do the reverse! If you are going back to Tulum you can take the colectivo from the town just before you get to the end of the town. If you want to go to Playa or Cancun then you will need to walk down to the main highway and cross the road (there is a footbridge). You will see the colectivo stop, just wait there.

Quick Tip: View my full Mexico packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Mexico Essentials shopping list here.

Mexico Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Mexico?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Mexico which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Mexico on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Mexico?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Mexico?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Mexico tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!

If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Final Thoughts on Glamping in Akumal

Honestly, Akumal Natura Glamping was like the gift that keeps on giving. In a world where you get charged a price and then arrive to be told about a million and one hidden extras to stay somewhere and be genuinely surprised at just how much is included. And then to not be charging me for every glass of water I drink, or bike I use was a breath of fresh air. You get so much here, and the owner Anthony is a wonderful human with a beautiful vision.

My only regret was not being able to stay longer. Two days was not quite long enough, 3-4 days (or longer) would be perfect. If you are a fan of Glamping you will find plenty of incredible options all over Mexico like Camp Cecil Glamping in Baja California.

If you are looking for all kinds of excursions and car rentals in Riviera Maya, take a look at what my friends from Turismo Channel have! You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours).

Akumal glamping

Looking for things to do in the Riviera Maya?

Check out these articles:

Visiting Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino

The Complete Guide to Chichen Itza in Mexico

How to see the Mayan Ruins in Tulum

Visiting Coba Ruins

How to spend a weekend in Merida

Food Tour in Playa Del Carmen

Doing a cooking class in Tulum

Choosing a Scuba Diving Company in Playa Del Carmen

Scuba Diving in Cozumel

Scuba Diving in Puerto Morelos

Cenote Diving in Tulum 

This post was proofread by Grammarly

Adrian

Thursday 13th of September 2018

Claire! I liked a lot your post about Akumal Natura. I deeply thank you for your comments about the massage. I’m so glad to know you appreciated it that much. Looking forward to seeing you again. With love, Adrian Salas Xopan