My experience was unique because I was able to work with fishes and corals on an academic venture. Future travelers should not worry about the area being unsafe, but they should know introductory Spanish if staying for a long amount of time. Additionally, be crafty with your food if you have no reliable, cheap way of going out of town - there is no large grocery store in Akumal. Don't go if you don't care for "beach life" (snorkeling, swimming, nighttime parties, etc.). Everyone in town is nice, but don't pet the dogs.