The Riviera Maya is basically a 120-km ( about 90 miles) long stretch of beach that you cannot see from the road, since it is hidden by thick, lush vegetation. Besides, they have built, and are still building, more and more hotels which ultimately make the path to the beach their own private access.
However, there are multiple ways you can still enjoy this precious gift that we have been blessed with. There are a good number of beaches you can enjoy on the way from Playa del Carmen to Tulum which have public access. You just need to know where they are and how to get there, and that’s where we come in handy.
If you follow us, then you must know by now about Akumal, the famous beach where you can swim with he friendly turtle at no cost to you or to them, as they are free in the water, just hanging out close to the shore for you to watch them while, as we fondly suggest, keeping a respectful distance away from them. We have talked about it extensively in this blog.
So, where else can you go and enjoy the beautiful transparent water? Our recommendation are as follows:
Paamul – it is a fun, cosy spot with a long white-sand beach even though access to the water is a bit rocky. However, it is still very easy to get in and very shallow for a good while. The beach here, although free, is managed by a small hotel that offers use of beach chairs at a cost, and a restaurant if you wish to stay all day and have all the comfort and facilities. You can also chose not to use the hotel facilities and lay out anywhere along the beach, as It’s free. I would suggest bringing a mask and snorkelling gear, because the conformation of the sea bottom makes it a beautiful playground to watch while snorkelling.
Punta Venado – This is for the lovers of activities such as jet skis, ATV, horseback riding; otherwise you can just lay down on the beach and enjoy the beautiful water. The Punta Venado adventure park can organise the activity of your choice and you can book it through your concierge, or, you can just enjoy the beach using the beach chairs there which are offered at a cost by the lovely restaurant, the only one there in fact. The restaurant offers delicious meals including the typical ceviche, made using many different recipes. Last and definitely not least, the beach is the classical white soft sand type, that we all dream of. ( the cost of the beach chairs can be discounted from the restaurant bill.)
Xpu-ha – We left it till last because it is our favourite. Further up the road, towards Tulum. You can find the entrance right after the hotel Catalonia, where you see a large sign of “La Playa” restaurant, which is precisely where you have to enter the road through the jungle. You will be asked to pay a fee of 120 pesos ( 6 USD) which they will refund on the way out if you show them the bill from the same restaurant, located right on the beach. It is actually a great deal because they serve the best ceviche ever! you cannot miss it. And if you are not a ceviche lover they have a rich menu of different Mexican delicacies where you can chose from.
The beach is one of a kind: a 3 km long, whit soft sand and pristine water, with a mild access to the sea, like a natural open swimming pool. You can either lay your towel on the sand or rent a palapa and chair for a few dollars anywhere along the coast. It is not necessarily connected to the restaurant. For the addicted to water sports, a few meters from the restaurant on the right, you can check out for paddle boarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
One more suggestion if you don’t like the crowd you should go on a weekday and enjoy having the beach almost all to yourself.
How to get there: from Playa del Carmen, you can get a combo ( shared taxi) – they leave on calle 2 and av. 15 – just ask for the combi to Tulum. In this case you need to keep in mind that they will leave you on the main road ( carretera federal) and that you will have a bit of a walk to the beach. It can be done! Otherwise, if you want to be more comfortable, you can ask your concierge to organise a taxi for you and they will take you right to the beach. You will also need to arrange the pick up for your return. It is wise to arrange the price before boarding.
Well, we have given you a few options to get out of the busy and exciting Playa Del Carmen for a day. Now it is your turn to enjoy it!!