Akyaka is a small beach city located in Southwestern Turkey in the province of Muğla. It is along what is aptly known as the Turquoise Coast. The Aegean Sea is one of the most beautiful seas with clear blue, turquoise water. Akyaka is one of those places that not many people know about, and even Turkish people themselves have barely discovered it within the last 15 years as a premier location to vacation with family.
There are many things to do in Akyaka, but one of the best activities is to go on a boat tour in Akyaka. Some important things you should know about boat tours in Turkey is that they typically run between the months of May to October. During November to April, tourism in Southwestern Turkey comes to a halt because the weather cools down so much. There are a few options for renting your spot on a boat tour.
BOAT TOUR OPTIONS
If you are going solo or with a few close friends, your best plan of action will be to walk directly to the harbor to meet the boat tour guides personally. There are often stands open in front of the boats well into the evening, so you can go the night before and put your name down to reserve your spot.
In the past, these prices have ranged from 40-60 Turkish Liras, but with the recent economic crisis and terrible inflation in Turkey (as of Fall 2018), the prices in 2019 could go up quite a bit. Regardless, you can expect to spend anywhere from $10.00-$20.00 for your spot on the boat. There can often be anywhere from 50-100+ people on your boat, depending on its size.
If you are arriving with a large group (10+ people) you may be able to get your own private boat for a negotiated price. I did this on my most recent trip with friends. We were a group of 12 and we were able to get our boat for the day for 1,000 TL ($167.00 at time of purchase). This is comparable to what you might pay for the large boat tour, but you get the added benefit of more privacy!
LUNCH IS PROVIDED
The boat tours always come with your lunch included. Most often they offer you the choice of fish or chicken, with salad and pasta on the side. Drinks are NOT included on the boat tour and it will cost about twice as much to purchase them on the boat as it would be to purchase them at a market before boarding. I highly recommend buying several liters of water and your favorite snacks that morning before getting on the boat, because you will save money and stay hydrated all day.
They sell alcohol on the boat as well. It is pretty nice enjoying a beer and Ruffles potato chips on the top deck under the sun. My inner mother instincts want to warn you again, though, drink plenty of water if you are going to consume alcohol! Turkey is very hot during peak summer months and that dehydration will hit you around 4:00 pm if you aren’t careful. You will enjoy the ride back to the harbor much more if you’re not dizzy or nauseous.
BOAT TOUR SCHEDULE
The boat tour usually leaves the harbor around 10:00 a.m. and returns around 5:30 p.m. This is why I highly stress drinking plenty of water. The sea is very salty and swimming will dehydrate you. You will get one meal and perhaps some fruit on the way back, but other than that, everything on the boat costs money. If you are entering with foreign currency like pounds, dollars or euros, its likely nothing will seem expensive to you. However, please be sensitive to Turks that are around. In their currency, items for them are quite pricey.
The boat will go for about an hour to an hour and a half before making its first stop, so you have plenty of time to hang out. I encourage you to meet new people and chat with the locals. Turks are very friendly and everyone else who is there is on holiday, so nobody is “too busy” for a nice conversation. I think making new connections while traveling always makes trips more memorable.
STOP I: LOVER’S COVE
Our boat tour made several stops throughout the day at small coves for us to swim. Our first stop was Lover’s Cove (Aşıklar Köyü) and this name warmed my heart so much that I immediately kissed my husband on the cheek and said, “This is our new place!” It is easy to see why they’d call it that.
The cove is so serene and blue; the colors give you all the happy feels. Who could fight with a view and atmosphere like that? We swam here for over an hour before moving on to the next stop. If you like adrenaline, I recommend finding a safe, yet high point from the boat to jump off of into the water. It makes the trip a lot more fun!
We rode for about 20 minutes before coming to Lacivert Köyü, which means Navy-Blue Cove. This water is a little bit darker blue than the other coves. You will see so many shades of blue from looking at the water and sky all day, with hints of green from the trees and mountains. Almost everything gives this impression of being untouched. We ate our lunch at this cove and it was around 1:00 p.m.
STOP III: RABBIT ISLAND & UNDERWATER CAVE
After we visited the Navy-Blue Cove, we moved on to the Rabbit Island with underwater caves. It is not as “untouched” looking as the other locations, because it is very easy to swim to the island and walk around. In the past, we’ve seen rabbits and wild goats wandering on it! You will know they were there by their droppings. You can tell where the underwater cave is because there will be a very dark blue spot, where the rest of the water is very light blue. That is because the cave goes several meters down.
STOP IV: CLEOPATRA ISLAND (SEDIR ADASI)
The final stop on our boat tour was the grandest of them all: Cleopatra Island, or Sedir Adası in Turkish. This island has a fascinating legend associated with it. People say this island was the meeting place for Cleopatra and her lover, Marc Anthony. He brought her special white sand from Egypt that is softer than any other sand in the world. People also say the sand is able to reproduce itself. It is actually forbidden to take any of it with you! If the coast guard catches you, you may be fined or arrested.
If you do not already have a special museum pass for Turkey, entering Cleopatra Island is not free. The entrance fee is not terribly high, it is around 10 TL. Just be prepared to pay the fee and it is certainly worth the price. When you enter the island, there is a pathway and before reaching the beach there is a dirt path that leads to some old church ruins. You’ll be at the island for over an hour, so it is worth stopping by to see.
ANCIENT AMPHITHEATER ON CLEOPATRA ISLAND
After checking out the church, you’ll head back to the main path and then you will see the entrance to the beach. The sand is white, and the water is clear and turquoise. If you don’t want to swim immediately, you can follow the wooden pathway that veers off to the left from the beach to some ruins on the island.
There is an old amphitheater about a 5 or 10-minute walk in. It is a great spot for a picture and definitely for those who love history and ruins. If you continue on the path past the amphitheater, you will see some more ruins at the back of the island. This is the end of the road, then you will have to turn back.
Swimming at the beach at Cleopatra Island is definitely worthwhile. The water feels a smidge bit colder than other parts in Akyaka, but the sand is incredibly soft. You will most likely spot some fish in the water, but no need to be afraid of them, they are harmless! On our most recent trip, we saw some mother chickens and her chicks walking around the beach, too.
BOAT RIDE BACK
After about an hour or so at the island, you’ll return to the boat. This is when we left to return to the harbor and it took about 45 minutes to an hour to get back. Not every boat tour uses the same route so your day may look different, but they often visit the same coves. Once you return to the harbor, you’ll most likely be tired and ready for a hot shower. But you will feel refreshed from a relaxing day of swimming and sunshine.
BAR 1 AKYAKA
For a cool place to hang out in the evening, I recommend Bar 1 Akyaka right by the public beach. I went there for the first time on my last trip and they had great live music, great drinks and the option to sit at a table in the sand. I ordered a margarita and it was delicious! You can find them on Facebook at Bar 1 Akyaka.
I hope this article inspired you to rent a boat for the day visit this lesser known destination in Akyaka, Turkey!
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