Updated: Sep 28
Yal Ku Lagoon offers perfect snorkelling conditions for anyone wanting to see an assortmet of fresh water and salt water fish. In the Yal Ku Lagoon the salty waters of the Carribean mix together with the fresh water of the lagoon allowing for a wide variety of fish life to exist.
Yal Ku Lagoon is quiet large with very little plant life making it very easy to spot fish and swim along side them.
Yal Ku is located in the ocean village of Akumal in the Riviera Maya in Mexico along the only road in and out of the area so you won't get lost finding this snorkelling wonder.
Taxis are available from Akumal for about 200 Pesos, or $10 USD. Some people walk, but it is quiet far especially if it is hot out. You could take a public bus called the Colletivo for around 75 Pesos or $4 from many of the surrounding Hotels and All Inclusive Resorts. If you do encounter anyone offering you a tour, simply decline. There are many "tour operators" here telling you they are officially the only ones allowed to take you places such as Akumal Beach to see the Turtles or to Yal Ku Lagoon. Simply decline and carry on.
The Lagoon is surrounded by private property and rental houses and although some people have suggested to walk into people's yards and into their backyard to reach the Lagoon for free, we do not recommend this for obvious reasons. Paying off a gardener to enter private property can still get you in a lot of trouble.
There are two main entrances to the Lagoon, the first is smaller and the cost is 375 Pesos or $20 USD each. At this location, the entrance-way to get into the Lagoon is small and if there are more than a few people or a tour bus pulls up, it gets very crowded fast. There are washrooms and a rustic changing area and locals to rent you snorkelling gear and life-vests for an additional 200-500 Pesos each.
The second entrance which is further into the Lagoon is much more preferred. Here the cost is 260 Pesos or $14 USD and the life-jackets and snorkelling equipment are 100 Pesos combined to rent. In addition to the lower cost, there are clean restrooms, a showering area and change area. They also sell souvenirs, snacks and drinks. The parking lot here is also much larger and there is security. The second entrance also has a much larger prep area where even though if crowds appear, you can safety get in and out of the water.
Yal Ku is a great place to snorkel for beginners, children and families. The water is 4 to 18 feet deep with rocks and valley-ways hiding the treasures of the ocean. For children they can remain in the shallow part and still see a wide variety of fish and on some days even a sea turtle.
Yal Ku Lagoon is a very popular spot to snorkel in Akumal and a lot of tour groups now use the Lagoon as a point of interest. The best time to go to the Lagoon is early in the morning around 8 to 9am. You will find that you are the only one in the Lagoon as tour buses do not start to appear until about 10-11am. But even so, the tour buses come and usually give about 30 minutes of swim time so most people get in the water, swim about, and exit pretty quickly.
One tour company that we recommend is Mayan Adventures or Adventuras Mayas because they will get you to the Lagoon as soon as it opens in the morning on a small Toyota Mini-bus. The tour they provide includes all snorkel equipment, transportation, locker rental, beverages and a full buffet lunch. They also take you to two other snorkelling locations including a private Cenote and a Cenote Cave!
If you follow the link below or click here you will automatically get a discount on this tour because of our relationship with tour operators in the Riviera Maya.
Tips For Visiting Yal Ku Lagoon
1. The area around the lagoon is rocky and pathways are pebble rough, so it is wise to grab some sandels or water shoes if you plan on exploring the small islands in the Lagoon.
2. If you go to the mouth of the Lagoon you will see larger fish, but remember there is a current here and only very good swimmers should venture that far.
3. If you are on your own, you do not need a life jacket, but tour operators are mandated to equip you with one. You will have two options, however. One that is inflatable and small or a regular sized life jacket. If you are a good swimmer, go with the inflatable one, because you are not obligated to blow it up.
4. Under the mangrove roots you will see small fish taking shelter.
5. Make sure to look up into the Mangrove Trees to see exotic birds.
6.The further you go into the Lagoon the clearer the water will be. In the middle, there is a fog of sorts, and that is where the salty ocean water is mixing with the fresh water.
7. In some spots the rocks nearly touch the surface and if you need a rest you can stand on the rocks as no coral is in the Lagoon to be damaged.
8. Keep an eye out for the resident Barracudas hiding in the rocks.
9. Don't bring any valuables, even if you place them in the lockers. There is good security and security cameras, but many of the keys that are provided open up other lockers as well.
10. Use biodegradable sunscreen as to protect the natural environment.