Akumal Bay is just north of Tulum, half an hour by car. We opted to stop at Akumal Bay on our drive south towards Tulum. We flew a red-eye so had plenty of time before the check-in time for the hotel. If you bring your own goggles you can go without renting anything additional or going without a guide. When you drive in you will see tons of rental shops and guides will be trying to sell you tours. We didn’t go with a guide so I can’t say anything about that. We did have someone talk to us and follow us to the beach, but we decided to check things out before committing to anything. There were snorkelers in groups everywhere! I was surprised just how many people were there. We walked along the beach and sat down at the edge of the private resorts. We jumped in the water with our goggles and almost immediately ran into a sea turtle! We didn’t get to see many turtles that day. Someone we talked to said the day before the sea turtles were everywhere, so I guess it’s random. The guide who tried to sell us a tour previously found us again, but by then we were fine with just goggles so we declined again.