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Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

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Nova Scotia
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Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

My husband and I just got back from Mexico. We rented a car and went snorkeling at Yal-Ku. We were really excited about it.

The snorkeling was awful. The water wasn't very clear and there were few fish, even around the rock formations where they are usually found. All of the coral was dead.

I am at a loss to reconcile our experience with what others have said about snorkeling at Akumal.

We didn't go with a guide - was it that we didn't go out far enough? My husband is not a strong swimmer and he was uncomfortable going out past the mouth of the lagoon.

We went snorkeling off Cozumel a few days later and there were many more fish, but most of the coral was dead there, too.

What gives?

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

Yes, there have been many complaints about the clarity of the water there recently, I think its a hit and miss thing. The water seems to be clearer in the summer months. Maybe its the large influx of tourists in the winter that clouds the water, I don't know.

Thanks for the tip, I'm sure lots of people would want to know this for planning purposes.

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

We enjoyed it a month and a half ago in mid January - and from what you've said - I'm almost wondering if you were out too far. I find there's a lot more fish at the back in the narrow fingers, in the small coves and around the entrance ways - then, from the mid point out to the coral near the mouth, there isn't much to see at all. We went early in the am before the tours arrived.

Since it's a lagoon with fresh water and salt water mixing there isn't any coral in the lagoon - near the entrance to the ocean you get a lot of broken coral pushed in from previous storms - then live coral out past that.

So - though my answer seems silly - you didn't go out far enough and you went too far - and found the worst areas!

Vancouver
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
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3. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

Yes, when you enter the water go to the left (inland) and not out to the ocean

If you want Coral and large fish, best to go to Akumal Bay

WV
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4. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

agreed. If one is not a strong swimmer though the comfort level may not be too good. There are large sea turtles in the bay as well as some big barracudas and school fish. The coral in Coz isn't dead- we were there last month and there were plenty of areas that are really coming back after the 2005 hurricane (Wilma). Sorry you didn't enjoy snorkeling, but don't give up- it is definitely beautiful down there.

Stony Plain, AB
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5. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

Our family snorkelled at Yal-ku as part of a local tour group. Yes, if you go out into the bay, the coral is alive with moving fan coral and real colour in the coral. We encountered sea turtles, stingrays and many varieties of fish. The water was much choppier and you need to be a better swimmer or at least have a lifejacket on. The water wasn't as clear due to turbulence from the waves but still quite visible.

Middletown, Rhode...
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6. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

My husband and I were also disappointed in Yal-ku, not what we were expecting. I think we covered the entire area, back to front, side to side, we snorkeled for a good 2 hours. Mind you, I saw fish, I was just expecting more I guess. I accidentily swallowed a big gulp of water while snorkeling. I was verrry stomach-sick the next day, and I never get sick in Mexico, and I can't think of anything I ate in the 2 days prior that could have caused it. While chatting with some locals at Lol-Ha, they said the land to the North of Yal-ku was sold a while ago, and they had started some construction and there was some controversy about sewage run-off from the construction, and they felt like Yal-ku hasn't been the same since then. Does anyone out there know anything about this? Anyone else get sick after snorkeling there (that were dumb enough to swallow water while snorkeling? :)~

Vancouver
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
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7. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

To the north

That would be the Grand Sirenis hotel expansion

Hopefully they will not build a golf course - very bad for all of the nitrogens going into the water

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

The first week of March I stayed in one of the houses on the bay just outside of the Yal-Ku lagoon. Depending on the day, the water clarity in Yal-Ku was either pretty good (keeping in mind the constant mix of saltwater and freshwater) or dreadful. My wife and I swam in the bay and the lagoon almost every morning, before the gates to Yal-Ku opened. Most of the time the clarity was good and there was quite a variety of fish in the lagoon. A couple of mornings the clarity was poor, largely because of a storm the previous evening or fairly strong winds. On the other hand, when we snorkelled into Yal-Ku in the late afternoon (something we did most days), the water was almost always less clear--simply due to the presence of people in the water throughout the day. The bottom line is that if you are going to Yal-Ku, go early in the morning. Also, if the water is murky, the attendant at the gate will let you know and let you check the water before you pay.

For people who are comfortable swimming with a bit of a current, I would highly recommend going out into the bay. In the shallow area between the mouth of the lagoon and the bay proper, we often saw stingrays, barracuda, and eagle rays. One day we saw a sea turtle snacking on the rather sparse turtle grass. In the bay itself, there are many very healthy outcrops of coral. Lots of different varieties of coral, fish, and, again, rays.

From staying on the bay for a week, I came away feeling sorry for some of the people who had paid for a snorkel trip and hit a bad day. Yal-Ku can be murky and the bay can be choppy at times. However, if you hit a good day, both places really are very special.

Middletown, Rhode...
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9. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

Hunch,

I agree with you about the bay, we saw a rays, swam with a large turtle, and the reef was great. Yal-ku was clear the day we were there, I just felt that there wasn't a lot to see. Have you been going over the years? If so, have you seen a decline in marine life there? Have you heard anything about problems with the neighbors? And did you or your wife suffer any tummy troubles after snorkeling there? Just curious, thanks.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Snorkeling at Yal-Ku

Wanttogo:

We visited Yal-Ku 3 years ago. My recollection is that there were more fish in the lagoon than this year, although it could have been just a good day. That being said, I did think that there was lots to see this year, although many of the varieties of fish only seemed to be evident early in the morning before the lagoon filled up with people (certainly some of the more colourful angels, larger parrot fish, barracuda, and even the blennies were less evident starting around late morning). Even in the mornings, though, I don't think the water was as clear as it was 3 years ago.

To answer your other question--no stomach problems. My wife did get an ear infection, but we were in the water about 4-5 hours every day. Next time we will be sure to take the drops for swimmers' ear, just as a precaution.