Located in the Riviera Maya, Akumal Beach is 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Cancún on Mexico's Caribbean Coast. Relax on the beach’s powdery white sand and swim in the clear, tranquil water protected by an offshore reef. In the Mayan language, Akumal means “The Place of the Turtle,” called so for the turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches here once a year. The warm, shallow waters and palm tree-lined bay make the beach an ideal destination for human families too!In this quiet swimming bay far from the partying crowds, relaxation comes easy. Find a deck chair under one of the many cabanas and unwind with a good book and an ice cold cerveza (beer) or freshly made fruit juice. Sail, fish, kite surf, visit the ruins and swim in the nearby cenotes (sinkholes). Pull on some flippers and swim with barracuda, stingrays, manta rays, and green and loggerhead turtles. The waters are usually crystal clear, making the area ideal for exploring with an underwater camera.The turtles are a special feature at Akumal Beach. Less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) to the north is the Centro Ecologico de Akumal (CEA) where researchers work to protect the marine environment and the turtle population. Many of the local hotels, diving organizations and independent marine tour operators are working with the CEA to ensure the protection of these magnificent sea creatures that come to the shores once a year to lay their eggs.Akumal Beach is a great base to explore the Riviera Maya but, with its laid-back resorts, restaurants, bars and dive shops, there’s little need to venture away. If you do decide to explore the nearby ruins, cenotes or nightlife of Playa del Carmen, simply hail a taxi or colectivo, or rent a car.