Swim, snorkel, kayak and explore the bay.
By Maire B Estar
matter what age, or whether one is a novice or an expert, the
pristine waters of Soliman Bay offer fabulous snorkeling opportunities
for our guests. Protected from the surging seas of the Caribbean by the
second largest coral reef in the world, Soliman Bay is dotted with its
own colorful coral formations that are home to a wide variety of fish
and marine life. The calm and relatively shallow water in the bay make
viewing easy and spectacular! The brightly hued fish are not the only
thing that attract the eye. The vivid colors of the coral, with its unique
configurations, give one the sense of looking into a sacred world that
has been undisturbed since the beginning of time.
Sightings of starfish, sea turtles and manta rays are
not uncommon. One alert party got to watch a manta ray lay her eggs in
the nutrient rich sea grass that is just inside the water line of the
bay. This grass is an important part of the ecosystem of the bay as fish,
rays, conches and other sea life use it as a feeding ground and a place
of protection while away from the safety of the coral clusters. This grass
isn't a seaweed or anything slimy like one would find in an inland freshwater
lake. It is more like prairie grass, a little stiff but deeply rooted
into the soil below the surface. Slipping through it is like passing across
an underwater meadow. It is a very delightful experience.
great place for fantastic snorkeling is at Yalku which is about
a 15 minute drive north of Soliman Bay. For years the only way to reach
Yalku was by boat, but now it can be reached by road off of Highway 307
by turning at the exit marked Akumal Caribe. Yalku is the perfect hideaway
being quite large and shaped like a “Y” with horns reaching
up into the jungle and the stem pointing out to sea.
waters of Yalku are very clear and calm, with little or no wave
action, giving one great viewing opportunities in depths of water no greater
than six feet. Underneath the surface are submerged rock formations which
create an ideal habitat for a variety of brightly colored creatures that
snorkelers love to see.
and urchins, damselfish, sergeant majors, hamlets, parrotfish,
blue tangs and queen triggerfish are quite abundant in the bay. Not only
are the parrotfish quite large and colorful, they can also be heard as
they peck away at the coral and rock, churning it into fine white sand.
In the area where Yalku enters out into the sea, it is possible to sight
large sea turtles as they come in to feed on the grass at the bottom of
this sandy part of the bay. A young loggerhead turtle was seen by this
author as it grazed, aware of me and my companion as we hovered several
feet above, at a distance where we would not disturb its movements.
is like all other places where diving and snorkeling occur; it
is best to stay at least 3 feet away from the coral so it can’t
be broken off by hand or an errant fin. Please give the sea creatures
enough room so that their feeding and movement patterns are not interrupted.
Inadvertently kicking the sand with ones fins smothers the coral and it
Yalku has a $5.00 entrance fee which pays for the removal
of litter from the area. There is a restaurant on the road that leads
to the cove. You will want to bring snorkel gear, a towel, drinking water
and something to eat. Be sure to pack out all that you carry in. Wear
a t-shirt and shorts instead of using sunscreen as it will kill the coral
and is hazardous to creatures living in the bay. (Please scroll photos
for additional views.)
additional information about Yalku and other swimming, diving
and sea kayaking locations easily accessible from your vacation beach
home in Soliman Bay-
Please return to Area Attractions.
Info Akumal Free Tourist Information, 1999
Cancun Tips Magazine, Fall 1999
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