Yal-ku Lagoon is a beautiful lagoon for snorkeling, swimming, and simply hanging out. Located right in the town of Akumal, the lagoon is less-visited than many more popular tourist destinations, especially if you go early in the morning!
What is Yal-Ku?
Yal-Ku is a little lagoon located just north of Half Moon Bay in Akumal. Known for its snorkeling, Yal-Ku is a great place to spend a few hours. Just about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, the lagoon is a small inlet with a mixture of salt and fresh water.
This brackish water is home to many fish, sea turtles, and manta rays. Because the lagoon is relatively protected, the waters are calm and clear. There are two different entrances/companies that offer admission to Yal-Ku from different sides, and multiple tour operators. However, you can also rent a mask (or bring your own) and just go yourself!
Getting to Yal Ku Lagoon
The first step to visiting Yal-Ku is getting there. Unlike many other attractions and tours from Playa del Carmen, you can’t take public transportation easily. Yal-Ku is located a few miles off the 307 highway, so unless you’re in for a walk you will need to arrange transportation.
You can take the colectivo from Tulum or Playa del Carmen directly to the entrance of the town of Akumal. With just a short walk into town, you will quickly be able to find a taxi to take you to Yal-Ku. The driver will know where it is!
You can also take a taxi from wherever you’re staying if it is easier for you. It will be more expensive than taking the colectivo, but you will get there faster and without having to change modes of transportation. Many tours also offer shuttles and rides as well.
Tips for Your Visit
First, keep in mind that there are multiple entrances to Yal-Ku. We’ve been in both entrances, and do not find it useful to really offer a comparison. The prices may vary slightly, but it all comes out about even. Don’t stress too hard about which entrance you go in, as you will have access to same lagoon once you’re in.
As of early 2019, the cost for entrance to Yal-Ku is around 320 pesos for adults and 220 for kids. If you have a residency card, you may qualify for a discount. Rental of masks and snorkel run about another 100 pesos each, and you can pay more for a guided tour if you’d like. Overall, it is a relatively cheap way to swim in a beautiful, clear lagoon full of tropical sea life.
You may also want to know about food, restrooms, and accommodations. The easiest one to get out of the way is the restrooms. There are multiple restrooms at the lagoon, including showers and changing rooms. As far as other amenities goes, they’re pretty slim.
As for food, there are a few limited options on site. You can get some cheap snacks or fresh food, but it may be best to bring your own or head back into town. If you have dietary restrictions or like healthy food, you’ll definitely want to bring your own! You won’t find much more than a snack bar available at the lagoon.
Finally, don’t forget to stop and check out the little town of Akumal. Although it may seem quiet, there are a few little markets and shops you can check out. If you want to spend the day in the area, you can also read our post 7 Amazing Things to do in Akumal.
Snorkeling and Tours at Yal-Ku
To visit and snorkel in Yal-Ku Lagoon, you simply do not need a tour. It may be worth the money if you have a big crew, but it generally doesn’t make much sense. You can bring your own gear or rent snorkeling gear on-site, and guide yourself through the lagoon.
The snorkeling here is generally pretty amazing. We’ve seen quite a few different types of fish (barracuda, parrotfish, etc.), sea turtles, and even some rays. We of course cannot guarantee what type of sea life you will see as they are all wild animals.
There are tours at the lagoon, or you can book one ahead of time. One we have heard good things about is THIS ONE that includes a visit to the Tulum Ruins as well as a guide through the lagoon!