Budget Travelling 101: Akumal, Mexico

Akumal Beach

Akumal is located within the tourist hotbed of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It’s warm weather and sandy beaches invite people to flock here from all over the world to enjoy a piece of paradise. We recently visited Akumal this January and were surprised to find how inexpensive vacationing there was. The laid back lifestyle of Akumal was exactly what we needed to recharge for the New Year.

Be flexible on your airfare

                Before I get into the details let’s start from the beginning, because we were taking both our children with us we had to be picky while booking our flights. Instead of taking a direct flight from Toronto to Cancun we found an inexpensive alternative was going from Toronto to Houston then to Cancun after a 4hr layover. Since we were able to be flexible on our flights it saved us approximately $150 on each ticket so about $600 total on our airfare. Was a 4hr layover ideal with two children? No, but after you factor in approximately 1hr to get through security and customs then boarding your connecting flight starts 30mins before takeoff it’s, you are really only waiting 2.5hrs. The Houston airport can be a disaster to get from one gate to another so the more time you have the better.

Take the ADO and Colectivo to Akumal

This was the hardest part of our trip to organize, we wanted to save money by taking public transit instead of paying a taxi $100+ to go from Cancun to Akumal.  We ended up taking the ADO bus from the bus depot in Cancun to Playa Del Carmen for under 400 pesos, because the ADO does not stop in Akumal we took the Colectivo from Playa Del Carmen to Akumal for 140 pesos. The distance from Cancun to Akumal is about a 90 minute drive so being smart and planning our transportation saved us a lot of money.

akumal condo

Location, Location, Location

                We booked our accommodations through Airbnb and booked a condo on Half Moon Bay for $650, which is $50 more than the total amount saved on our airfare. Half Moon Bay is a little community of condominiums about a 20 minute walk from the town of Akumal. The nice part about having a condo is that you also have use of a kitchenette, which also means you can cook and save money by not eating out. Half Moon Bay has two corner stores, restaurants, shops and cenote close by making it easy to never have to leave.

Did Someone Say Turtles?

                Most tourists come to Akumal to swim with the sea turtles, so it didn’t surprise us that Akumal means “place of the Turtle”. The turtles are the main attraction here but we also saw stingrays and numerous other fish while snorkeling 10 feet off shore. The beach is beautiful and can get quite crowed later in the day with many tour groups snorkeling around, so we made sure to go early to get a good spot.

Tip: If you phone to book a tour it will be very expensive but what you should know is that you can bring your own snorkel gear (like we did) and swim out 20-25 feet from shore and see the sea turtles for free! The beach is public access and as you walk towards the beach they will tell you that you need a life jacket and a guide to see the turtles. Ignore them and walk down the beach, setup your area and enjoy for free.

Food for Thought

Groceries in Akumal are fairly inexpensive and we used that to our advantage by cooking breakfast every day and packing a lunch for the beach. There are 2 corner stores located in Half Moon Bay and Supermarket La Esquinita in the town of Akumal.  Also if you are taking a day trip to Tulum stop in at Super San Francisco de Asis Tulum as we found they had the best prices on groceries and alcohol. The only time we ate out was for supper which save us $80-100 per day.

Akumal is totally a destination for anyone that needs a vacation but has a tight budget. These are just some of the ways to travel smart and have a great vacation.