If you are looking for off-the-beaten-path places along the Riviera Maya, Yal Ku Lagoon is probably one of the few left that is still lesser-known and yet a spectacular spot to visit.
In this post, I am going to tell you why and how to get there and many practical tips.
Tucked among luxury villas and the Mexican jungle Yal Ku lagoon is not a place that you would casually find along the way.
There is no sign on the federal highway, so unless you have been reading blogs or other tourism magazines you wouldn’t know about it.
Yal-Ku Lagoon is an extensive freshwater lagoon connected to the ocean.
The combination of fresh and saltwater creates a special marine environment that is suitable for attracting a wealth of marine creatures of all sorts of shapes and colors.
Also, the water is relatively shallow with a maximum depth of 4 meters which makes it a safe place to snorkel even for beginners.
It’s also a great place to relax and enjoy the idyllic surroundings, take a picnic and a drink and enjoy your day there.
So here I am telling you all about it.
Why would you want to visit the Yal Ku lagoon ( or Caleta Yal Ku)?
If you love nature, but especially snorkeling, you shouldn’t miss Yal Ku Lagoon for the world as it’s one of the most beautiful places to snorkel and one of the best cenotes in the Riviera Maya.
You will find snorkeling gear and life jackets (if you need them) on the spot, but it’s advisable to bring your own.
Top tours to the Yalku Lagoon
Although I am always an advocate of do-it-yourself trips, when possible, there are situations when it’s more convenient joining a tour.
One of those is if you are traveling alone and you want to share the experience with other travelers or if you are in a rush and what to make the most of your time.
In fact, these tours normally combine more different sites and they are usually the highlights of the area.
So I have selected the top ones for you here below.
Where is YalKu Lagoon (Caleta Yal Ku) located?
Yal Ku lagoon is located in Akumal at only 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen and 30 minutes from Tulum (approximately). Click here to see it on the map. It is located in the “backyard of Akumal beach”
How to get to Yal Ku Lagoon by car
The best way to get to Yal Ku Lagoon is either by car or by an organized tour. You could ask a taxi to take you and bring you back but It will cost you like renting your car or buying a tour. So it’s not convenient.
If you are concerned about renting a car in Mexico or driving in Mexico, worry not, cause I’ve got you covered as well. I have been driving around the Yucatan Peninsula and it’s the best way to know this beautiful region.
Back to our beautiful snorkeling spot in Mexico, the Caleta Yal Ku. To get there by car it’s very easy.
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Follow the direction to Playa Akumal (Akumal Beach) pass the white arch and continue along the road past the parking lots. You will find a checkpoint in a residential area.
Just tell the security guy (who is usually very nice), that you are going to the Yal-Ku Lagoon and they will just let you go.
No questions asked.
Continue along the road, you will pass by beautiful villas, hotels, apartments, and also the nice restaurant until you find a sign to the Yal Ku Lagoon. Turn left and then left again and you will find a parking lot and entrance.
Two Yal Ku Lagoon entrances – which one should I go
The original Yal-Ku lagoon entrance
When I went to visit the lagoon for the first time there was only one entrance now there are two but I will continue to go to the original one because the prices are lower and a life jacket is not mandatory.
Here are the entrance fees, opening hours, and other prices
Entry fees are 14 USD (300MXN)
Opening hours are 9 am to 4 pm( last entry)
Once you pay the entry fee you can stay the entire day as long as you please. You can also choose to have a guided snorkeling tour with you although it’s not necessary unless you don’t feel confident snorkeling on your own.
Xcaret entrance and fees
If you continue driving along the road you will find the other entrance for the Xcaret park. I am not a fan of them but I went to check it out.
Although they have a nice setting with nice beaches and a small cafe’ in a lovely garden, they are more expensive and they make the use of the life jacket mandatory.
Here below are some pictures where you can check their rates and information.
➢ Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens, I am covered. I have been using Safety Wing, and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet, you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.
Visit Yal Ku Lagoon by tour
Many organized tours include the Yal Ku lagoon and other interesting attractions, such as other cenotes and Mayan ruins. These are very convenient if you are traveling alone and you don’t want to rent a car or if you like to share your experience with other travelers and meet people.
Yal Ku lagoon facilities
The park has all the facilities you need and they include
- Showers (take your shower before entering the water)
- Changing rooms
- Free on-site parking
When is the best time to visit the Yal Ku lagoon?
The best time to visit the lagoon is always. 🙂 However, keep in mind that now more and more tours include this incredible place so you may find that at certain hours on certain days it may be overcrowded.
So the best way is to go early morning when it’s more likely there are fewer people. The good thing is that the lagoon is quite large and with many spots where you can sit and relax before continuing your snorkeling.
These groups normally snorkel for 30 minutes and then go away and they would spread out anyway. So if you are there on your own you can manage your time accordingly.
Final thoughts on visiting Yal Ku lagoon
If you are still undecided about whether to visit Yal Ku Lagoon or not, keep in mind that you will find some of the best snorkeling in Mexico. So I wouldn’t want to miss it. 😜
✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨
👉 Do I Need Travel Insurance to Travel to Mexico?
I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.
🚰 Can I Drink Tap Water in Mexico?
No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.
🚗 Is It Safe to Drive in Mexico?
The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I recommend Discover Cars because the site offers the option to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.
Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.
📱 Will My Phone Work in Mexico?
It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!
🤕 Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?
The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.
Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.
Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:
💉 Do I Need Any Vaccine to Travel to Mexico?
No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico
🇲🇽 Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Mexico?
If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.
Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.
It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa
💸 Where Do I Find the Best Travel Deals for Mexico? 💸
A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:
👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia.
👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals