Located just south of the Chemuyil exit is the government-run Xcacel beach. Preserved for its nature, Xcacel is most famously known for sea turtle nesting. This stunning beach is perfect for those who enjoy remote destinations without hotels and cafes in the backdrop. Early in the morning you maybe the only visitor on the beach. The beach is easy to miss since it's off the main highway. Keep your eyes peeled for a billboard and a tiny wooden sign with an arrow on it.
Visitors are asked to donate 15-25 pesos per person as an entrance fee to the beach. The beach is open between 9:00-5:00pm.
Boca Paila is a remote destination located in the Kian Sa’an biosphere. Guests drive or bike along a dusty pot-holed road to find remote shorelines, untouched by tourism. DO NOT drive fast. These are serious pot holes that you leave you wheel-less in the middle of nature. You can also rent a bike in Tulum and pedal the dusty, windy street.
Beach goers experience solitude, creating a man versus nature exploration. The ocean showcases traditional aqua-green flows of gently rolling waves.
Tulum attracts nature-lovers, yogis and energy healers to explore the magnetic pulse of the ancient Mayan culture. It's not uncommon to find people practicing yoga or worshipping the sand.
Beyond the Ruins, Tulum homes 60 archeological structures. Most beachgoers head to the protected, nature-preserved beach, which is the north end of the Hotel Zone. The beach is filled with open air and beautiful sunrise views. The sun sets over the palm trees, which lights up the sky with effervescent colors. Biking and hitch-hiking are popular modes of transportation to get to and from the beach and Tulum town. It's a great place to catch a rainbow on a cloudy/rainy day.
Akumal is 60-miles south of Cancun and is the ultimate sea turtle destination. Calm blue-green waters wade slowly atop white-sand shores while palm trees flow with the gentle wind. Fish swim in ankle deep water and snorkels swim to over-head-deep water in search for sea turtles grazing on sea grass. Guests can see many “No Tocar La Tortuga,” signs which means, “do not touch the sea turtles.” Touching turtles produces lesions and skin diseases from the oils and suntan lotion from human skin. The locals hope tourists follow these rules to keep the environment intact.
Puerto Morelos is a popular destination welcoming families and a mature crowd. The Puerto Morelos atmosphere is one to experience. Pelicans hangout at the pier, waiting for leftovers from the local fishermen. Stingrays swim between anchored boats and bury themselves underneath the sand. The snorkeling is the best in the area. The protected reef is a short boat ride from the shoreline boasting vibrant colors, fish and marine life. If snorkeling is not an option, there are plenty of nearby cafes and on-beach massage tables to occupy the time.
Playa attracts the younger, backpacker crowd who seek sun, sand, sea and parties. Every January, thousands of edm and shit-bangin' shufflin' techno junkies (aka myself) head to the PDC for the BPM Festival for countless days of nonstop partying.
The main tourist area, along Fifth Avenue, homes cafes, shops, massage parlors, bars, clubs and hotels. The atmosphere is vibrant and eclectic; perfect for those who want to party until sunrise. For those who desire a more-quiet experience, head north of Mamita’s Beach or south towards Playa Car. The yellow sand glows beautifully with the sunrays. Playa offers open-air views, perfect for watching a sunrise at any location in Playa.
The most quintessential Mayan beach is the Tulum Ruins Beach. Clear ocean-blue water washes up on white sandy shores just below the cliff-perched ruins. History and magic comes alive when sun-worshipping the ancient Mayan energy. The beach is smaller and homes plenty of fertile plant life growing along the rocks. Tulum Ruins beach accessible either from the ruins or from a rocky cliff-side trail from the main Tulum beach. It’s a perfect spot for photographers to capture contrast amidst the structure, sky and sea.
What's your favorite beach in the Riviera Maya?!
Keep posted for the link to the gpsmycity.com post where you can download this article to use offline during your trip!