If you’ve ever been swimming in the crystal clear waters of Akumal Bay, you’ve probably spotted some of the area’s incredible sea turtles. The beaches of Akumal represent one of the top sea turtle nesting sites in the Mexican Caribbean, mainly during the spring and summer months. Here, the fragile marine ecosystem cares for these fascinating creatures with the protection of a nearby barrier reef as well as extensive sea grass for feeding. Not only does this ecosystem provide for the turtles – it also protects the beautiful beaches from the effects of the wind and waves. Without the coral and sea grass, we wouldn’t have such stunning scenery for memorable beach days, and more importantly, the sea turtles wouldn’t have the perfect home.
Earlier this year, Akumal was named an official fish refuge covering 2,441 coastal acres of ocean running from Yal Ku to Bahia Principe in the southern Riviera Maya. Now, the region has been declared a marine life refuge to protect several important species:
- 3 species of sea turtle (green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle)
- 4 species of coral (elkhorn coral, staghorn coral, Caribbean sea whip, sea fan)
- 3 species of mangrove (white mangrove, buttonwood, red mangrove)
- 3 species of sea grass (turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass)
The new Akumal marine life refuge covers 4,085 acres and covers the coastal area starting just north of Yal Ku Lagoon and running south until reaching Xel-Ha, including some of the most precious beaches and sea turtle nesting sites of the entire Riviera Maya, like Xcacel beach.
With these new changes, we can hope for a bright and happy future for the sea turtles of Akumal and beyond!