Family Abroad

2 Ways to Explore the Akamas Peninsula National Park, Cyprus: by ATV and by Boat

The Famous Blue Lagoon of Akamas Peninsula in Cyprus

Introduction

Akamas is a peninsula on the northwest extremity of Cyprus. Akamas Peninsula National Park is approximately 230 square kilometers. The peninsula is named after the Greek Trojan War hero, Akamas.

The peninsula was used for many years by the British military where they practiced drills and missions. Even though the peninsula has not been used as a firing range since the year 2000, you will see some signs that warn people not to pick up anything that looks like it comes from the military as it could still explode.

While you can hike, bike and even take a jeep safari through Akamas Peninsula National Park, we are only covering access by boat or by ATV as that is how we visited the area.

The Polaris Razor we Rented

Akamas by ATV: Our Off-Road Adventure

Inclines, declines, twists, and turns, our Akamas Peninsula off-road adventure had it all! We rented our car from Petrides Rentals – Anything Goes, located in Latchi, Cyprus. We previously rented our car from Petrides Rentals and they were fantastic to deal with, so we also booked a 4-seat Polaris ATV from them and we were not disappointed.

When we arrived, we signed the paperwork, and they had the ATV waiting at the door when we finished. The owner went over the details on how to operate the ATV, provided us with goggles and an ice cooler and then reviewed where we should go on a map they provided. We left Petrides Rentals and headed toward Latchi, a small tourist town on the way to Akamas National Park. There is a supermarket near Latchi Watersports that has premade sandwiches, snacks, ice and drinks and we stopped to get our supplies.

Petrides Rentals

The Route

A short time after you pass through Latchi, there will be a Y intersection. If you go to the right, you will be driving along the coast, but if you go to the left, you will head toward the village of Neo Chorio. You can go either way because it is basically a loop trail, but we chose to travel clockwise (toward Neo Chorio) because when we eventually arrived back at the coastline, we wanted the beautiful views to be in front of us and not behind us.

Akamas Peninsula National Park

We continued on, passing by Smigies Picnic Area, and on the left was a sign welcoming us to Akamas Peninsula National Park. At this point, the road changes from a concrete to a dirt road. We drove along a fairly well-maintained road, through an area with trees, until we got to a T intersection. At this point, you could go left towards Lara Beach and the Sea Caves or you could go toward the right, toward Fontana Amorosa Beach. Lara Beach was about 11 KM away and Fontana Amorosa Beach is around 12 KM away. While we hoped to make it to Lara Beach someday, our priority was to see the famed coastline of Akamas Peninsula from Fontana Amorosa to the Baths of Aphrodite. So, we turned right.

Along the way, there are a few places where you could turn off the main roads – but there are few signs indicating where they went or even what was the correct direction. For the most part, we stayed on the path that looked more worn and this strategy worked for us. However, we did choose to get off the main path on a couple of occasions.

The Viewpoint Overlooking the Blue Lagoon and Fontana Amorosa Beach

The first occasion to get off the main path looked promising as it was covered with the tree canopy, providing shade and with a slight incline. We traveled down that path until the road became so narrow that only a hiker could pass. We had to turn around and head back to the main road. However, our second attempt at finding another road to explore turned out to be a great decision. And, you can find it too because there is a small sign on the main trial that is marked “Viewpoint”!

At the Viewpoint sign, we turned left and headed a short distance down the road. At that point, there is a Y type of intersection where if you veer to the left, you head up the mountainside. We knew to go this way because we saw other people going up and down this path. We almost went to the very top, which really wasn’t difficult at all. We parked the vehicle and looked around, but we didn’t see anything stunning from this location as there was a lot of shrubbery and trees blocking any view. It turns out that we needed to hike a short trail to the side of the mountain with the coastal views to have the fantastic, Instagram-worth views. We found a walking path and followed that path until we saw the incredible views over Blue Lagoon and Fontana Amorosa Beach. We ended up flying the drone from this viewpoint and we have that video in our Vlog posted HERE. Don’t miss the viewpoint because it really was stunning to see the clear, blue water and the many boats on the water.

We continued back the way we came and found ourselves on the main road, heading toward the coast. At this point, the road became extremely rough. Edith drove most of the way and she did a great job navigating through the rocks and slight drop-offs. There was a lot of going back and forth, trying to find the perfect angles to best climb over the rocks. It was a lot of fun! This rough patch of road goes on for a while until you see glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea before you. We traveled until we reached a T type of intersection. But really, it is hard to describe it as an intersection because in reality, there is not much there to indicate roads in either direction. However, you can see tire tracks and you can tell where other people forged the roads before you.

Lunch at a Very Remote Bay

At this point, we should have turned to the right and on to Fontana Amorosa, but we turned to the left as we thought it was further down. At the time, we did not have cellular coverage due to the remoteness of the area (but, be sure to check your phone maps as our phones worked a short distance away). The road then got even rougher, with jagged rocks all over the path. We slowly climbed over these areas until we came close to the edge of the sea. At this point, we decided to take a quick swim and eat some lunch. No one else was even close to us as we began swimming. It was a great experience except for the walk on the jagged rocks into the sea. If I had it to do over, I would not have attempted to walk out into the sea at this spot because there was a lot of risk of falling over while trying to get to the sea. At this point, Nathan was able to get phone service and he pulled up Google Maps, which showed that we had overshot Formosa Amorosa Beach.

A Sign for Fontana Amorosa Beach

We packed up and turned around to head back to Formosa Amorosa Beach. A short time later, we were able to spot a few private boats where people had pulled into the cove to swim. We found a shady place to park and walked down to the beach.

I Highly Recommend Fontana Amorosa Beach!

We found a portion of the beach that was shaded due to the small cliff behind us. It was great to go out into the sun and the water, then be able to retreat and rest in the shade. The beach is also fairly sandy, and Bethany enjoyed making sandcastles. The water was incredibly clear, cool and refreshing.

Private and Tour Boats at the Blue Lagoon in Cyprus

After about an hour of swimming, we drove over to Blue Lagoon. From above, the cove looked incredibly inviting and we could not wait to swim in this famed location. We parked the buggy and walked to the edge of the overhang, which is above the lagoon. At first, we did not see how to get down to the water, but someone else showed us the way. It was not terribly difficult, but we did have to be very careful as we made our way down to the water. If you bring your children, be sure to keep a close eye on them. Also, there may be a better way of getting to the beach as we were just on one side of the cove. The Blue Lagoon was full of big boats carrying people on tours; However, it never felt crowded to us. If I ever go back, I believe I would try to stay on the side of the cove closest to the direction of Fontana Amorosa. We all swam out into the cove, and it truly was beautiful water. We could easily see down through the water all the way to the rock bottom. Small fish were observed, and we all enjoyed spending time at the Blue Lagoon.

I Can Only Imagine the Sunsets from These Benches!

Time was flying at this point, and we had to get back to Petrides Rentals before they closed at 7:30pm, so we headed out. We then passed by St. George’s Island (don’t get too excited as the “island” is really a small rock outcropping) and St. George’s Reef. Nathan and I scuba-dived at both of these locations the week before and they were fantastic places to see unusual geological shapes at the bottom. We even spotted fragmented pottery jars that our dive master said came from the time of Venetian rule during the 1500s. We drove past Manolis Bay and on toward the Baths of Aphrodite. Soon, we could see the towns of Latchi and Polis ahead (and below) us. At this point, the road became twisting and narrow, with a few signs reminding us to be careful driving along a cliff on the edge of the coastline. We passed the Baths of Aphrodite and found ourselves on the edge of town. We headed through Latchi and returned our ATV to Petrides Rentals. When I got my normal rental car back, it was washed and ready to go. That was a fantastic touch and if you ever need a rental in Paphos or Latchi, I highly recommend this family run company.

Blue Lagoon, Akamas Peninsula National Park, Cyprus

Akamas by Boat: Another Perspective

Several days following our ATV adventure, we decided to check out Akamas Peninsula National Park from the water! Our Airbnb host offered to show us the secret spots along the Akamas coastline as only known by locals and we excited agreed. He picked us up and we headed over to Latchi, Cyprus, which is next to Akamas Peninsula National Park.

Latchi was once a sleepy fishing village, but tourism and a good harbor have transformed the village. However, I feel that even in its hustle and bustle, it has retained a great vibe. The harbor is full of restaurants and companies renting boats as well as scuba-diving outfits. We stopped at a small supermarket, grabbing some drinks and premade sandwiches.

Mahimos Boat Rentals

We then drove to the harbor. We rented our boat from Mahimos Boat Rentals, and they explained where we should stop and where we should avoid. They also provided a ring/tube for us to pull the kids behind the boat. They drove the boat outside of the marina/harbor and then another boat picked up their driver. From there, our host, Xenias, drove the boat down the coast towards the Akamas Peninsula National Park.

We drove past the Baths of Aphrodites and a few minutes later we pulled over and into a small cove. There were only a handful of boats parked in the cove when we arrived, and it was a cove that we had not spotted from our ATV adventure. We pulled up and threw out our anchor. You could clearly see the anchor land on the sea bottom below. We jumped out of the boat with our snorkel gear and headed to a small cave. We swam through a narrow passage between some rocks and entered the cave. The water became much cooler, and it felt great. It was not a very deep cave, and you could easily see the entrance from the back of the cave. But, the view when looking back at the entrance and over the calm, blue waters was intoxicating.

We swam back out of the cave and went to the narrow passage between the two rocks. One of the rocks was flat and we could stand on the rock with no problem while remaining partially submerged. We splashed around, searching for the small fish that schooled around us. While we were swimming, another boat pulled into the cove and two young adults jumped into the water and swam to a ledge on the side of a cliff and pulled themselves out of the water. There was a path through the rocks where they climbed to the top. They walked to the edge, looked about, and then jumped into the water below!

They jumped a few more times and, since they seemed unharmed, Nathan and I decided to take our chances. We climbed out of the water, carefully picking the less-jagged rocks onto which we placed our bare feet. We made our way to the top and, after a brief discussion as to whether we really should jump, we jumped! And, it was a fantastic experience!

We left the cove shortly after our invigorating jump and headed over to the Blue Lagoon – the same Blue Lagoon we visited during our ATV trip. Our boat pulled into the lagoon, and we put out our anchor, which landed onto the shallow sand below. We got out of the boat and floated around in the shallow water. We were actually on the side of the Blue Lagoon closest to Fontana Amorosa Beach and we liked this side of the Blue Lagoon better than the other side (where we had stopped during our ATV ride).

Creating Memories

We floated around the lagoon for a while, watching the boats come in and out of the area. Bethany built a sandcastle from the sandy side of the mostly pebble beach. Small fish could be observed darting about. After swimming, we ate some snacks in the boat, listening to music. We then headed out, driving parallel with the coastline. We put the ring/tube into the water and Nathan climbed on. I really enjoyed watching Nathan riding the tube over the crystal blue waters with the Akamas Peninsula mountains in the background. Edith and Bethany doubled-up on the tube and I rounded out the fun with a trip on the tube. It was getting late and we decided we needed to head back to the marina to return the rental boat.

Final Thoughts

As to the ATV, at the beginning of the day, I wasn’t sure that I had made a good decision to rent the ATV to explore the Akamas Peninsula. It was incredibly hot in August, and we were covered in dust. Petrides Rentals did provide goggles and they sell bandanas to cover your mouth and nose. We brought our own bandanas and scarves, so we didn’t buy any, but if you show up without a bandana, I would tell you that it is worth it to get the bandana to lessen the amount of dust you will end up “eating”. Also, don’t underestimate the heat. Make sure that you have plenty of water and that you hydrate often.

The kids started off the trip by complaining that the landscape was “boring” and I have to admit that at the beginning, it just seemed as if we were traveling down a country, dirt road with nothing too exiting around. For me, that perspective changed as we traveled up to the viewpoint. And for the kids, once they had a chance to take a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean Sea, they too were so happy that we took this trip. They actually thanked me repeatedly.

For sure, call Petrides Rentals for both your rental car and for your ATV. Their phones number is +357 26 321578 and their website is https://cyprus-rent-a-car.info.

And for the boat rental, feel confident about renting from Mahimos Boat Rentals. Their website is https://mahimosboathire.com and their phone number is +357 99 445383.

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