Best Places to Spot Sea Turtles in Cancun and Riviera Maya

One of the best places to Spot Sea Turtles in Cancun and Riviera Maya is, of course, in our gorgeous Caribbean Waters. Learn about some great places where you can spot or swim with these beautiful animals.

You can snorkel with them and sometimes they just appear randomly as you’re scuba diving or snorkeling in Cancun or wherever in the Riviera Maya.

Some times of the year you can watch them at night lay their eggs on the beach and you can guard and protect these nests or even help collect the eggs to take part in the release of baby turtles!

Spot Sea Turtles in Cancun or Riviera Maya

They are a protected species here in Mexico, so its actually illegal to hunt and capture them or steal their eggs. The green turtle, hawksbill turtle and loggerhead turtle inhabit the oceans near Cancun.
Their life cycle begins when they all gather to mate, this happens near the South Point of Isla Mujeres where, during May, June and July, you’ll find a lot of them. An easy way to spot sea turtles in Cancun is to ask around locals!

Night diving at local coral reefs offer the perfect opportunity to spot dozens if not hundreds of sea turtles in Cancun swimming around as they get ready to settle down and get some rest.
At night, between May and October, female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand on any beach, from the most popular blue flag beaches in Cancun to random sandy spots hidden throughout the Riviera Maya.

Volunteers mark in the sand where the nests are so eggs aren’t disturbed and they’re usually around guards that take care of them while they hatch and have a chance to spot sea turtles in Cancun.
In Akumal, night time Turtle walks for visitors are very common, after all ‘Akumal’ literally means ‘Turtle Nest’. This is one of the most popular places to spot sea turtles! You can practice snorkeling with sea turtles here at Akumal almost every day of the year.


It’s very important not to disturb them while they are nesting, so always try to go with an official guide and keep your distance. We also recommend not using torches or flash photography for it might disturb them too.

From July until October, once all the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are ready to be set out into their journey to the ocean! Turtle release events are very popular among children who line up on the beaches with buckets full of wriggling baby turtle hatchlings, they cannot wait to run down the beach and into the ocean.

Isla Mujeres Tortugranja (a turtle farm) organizes turtle releases in August and September, they draw huge crowds of local families and tourists.

If you wish to view these sea turtles up close, we recommend turtle snorkeling in Akumal or a visit to the Tortugranja.


Some hotels in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, specially bigger resorts, have turtle protection programs
. You can ask your concierge about this. Lots of hotels patrol their beaches and collect the eggs so they stay safe from poachers and other dangers. Later on, events are arranged to release the hatchlings and the hotel’s guests are welcome to participate.

Turtle Snorkeling in Akumal

Akumal is home to some of the most pristine beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters. There are untouched natural areas where hundreds of turtles stay. These areas are protected by national authorities hence going with an official guide.

Akumal is located just 120 km south of Cancun and Aquaworld offers a tour in which we take you to a cenote called Chikin-Ha so you can explore about and enjoy over 400ft of visibility and stalactites and stalagmites. After this adventure, you’ll have time to relax, soak up some sun and charge your batteries with drinks and snacks.

After the chill, we’re off to Akumal Bay so you can snorkel with the turtles calmly. You’ll snorkel up close and very personal with sea turtles of all sizes! And of course, other members of the local marine life such as fish, rays and coral reefs. An unforgettable experience for anyone who wishes to spot sea turtles in Cancun or Riviera Maya.

This also happens to be one of the best tours for kids in the Riviera Maya, since the waters are very shallow and the currents are minimal.