Between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is a beautiful, low-key beach and cafe. To get there you have to go along an unpaved road that runs along the north wall of the Copacabana resort off the main highway. The cafe food is really good, but a bit expensive. The beach is priceless.
Xpu-Ha Beach, Mexico, X-4
April, 2010 update: Unfortunately the cafe isn't in business now. The building is still there, and the beautiful beach of course, but to get your food and drink, you'll have to bring your own or try another place.
It may seem strange, but in Playa del Carmen there are very few tourists that use the public transportation. And that is a shame because at the ADO Bus terminal in playa del carmen, right at the 5 th avenue and near the ferry terminal, you can catch a luxury bus to Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba and all the opther places that are availbale in excursions.
You pay a quarter of the price, and get the chance to visit all the archeological site at your own pace.
If you speak some words of Spanish or are willing to get out of expensive tourists tour when you are in a resort, instead of paying a lot for AC buses taking you at specific hours and days, take the little white van that takes people (Mexican, like tourists) along the main road between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. They pass many times per hour and will stop if you're waiting near the road. The price was 1 peso per person when we were there.
Make sure to signup for the ATV jungle tour. Just ask your concierge to sign you up. It cost about $40 per person and is well worth it. They lead you and a small caravan of fellow travelers through a well worn jungle path, which at times is quite harrowing. Highlights include Mayan ruins and a refreshing dip in a cenote.
I don't recommend anyone to go "off the beaten path" in Mexico. Especially since the couple was murdered in an all-inclusive hotel in Playa del Carmen, followed by a young man being hit by a car after he got drunk in a night club in Peurto Vallarta. People are frequently mugged in broad daylight if they are on secluded beaches. Make sure you are never alone on a beach or walking anywhere in Mexico alone unless you are within a resort or in an area where there are others.
Now's your chance to play, frolick and swim with these docile and loving creatures. Right next door to the Adventura Place is Puerto Aventura, a 10 minute walk from your hotel door to the Dolphins playground. During your 45 minute stint with the dolphins you'll learn how to handle them and where and where not to hang when the Dolphins pull you through the water or you use them as water ski's. Now that's fun. The Dolphins will come up and give you a hug and a kiss and if they take a liking to you will give you an extra long kiss. After the various stunts that you perform with the Dolphins, you have 15 minutes to just play with them. They will come up beside you & rub you, let you kiss them again and if your lucky enough get the opportunity to grab their dorsel fin and go for another ride. The Dolphin swim is the memory of a lifetime and 1 you should not miss. In order to keep your memories alive at the end of your 45 mins with the Dolphins you will have a chance to purchase the video made of you and your cohorts or purchase the still photos. I highly recommend buying the Video/DVD....these people put it together like a movie, credits and everything! So while your down Playa Del Carmen's way...go play with the Dolphins. The cost is nominal for one of the most thrilling 45 minutes of your life. $99.00
I just want to show some pics taken directly after the Hurricane, as you can see Playa is still standing, it is better prepared for a Hurricane than Cancun, its quite a new town and I looked at the building that they are buiding right now ,and they sure know how to build it hurricanesafe.
Wilma ripped of most of the leafes on the trees around Playa, and from Cancun down to Tulum we could see that the phonelines and trees was in a pretty bad condition, but when we went back from Belize, south of Mexico the Mexicans had almoust fixed everything - fantastic people!
It's a beautiful lagoon, in the north end of Akumel and is much smaller than Xel-Ha, and much cheaper. About 6 bucks a person. Don't expect food and lockers to store your things. The only place to lounge is on the rocks, although there are a few benches too. What a bad time to be without a water camera.
Lots of fish, especially around the staircases to the water There are a few islands too. We were watching an Egret on one of the small islands, when my boyfriend noticed, and pointed out to me, what he believed to be an iguana. UM, it wasn't an iguana...it was a 4 foot long CROCODILE. The bird made a slow exit and we were transfixed, with awe and with trepidation. How could there be a CROCODILE not 15 feet away from us?? Not wanting to turn our backs, we told the few other swimmers about it, and no one wanted to get as close as we did. The croc sometimes bared his teeth, sometimes closed his mouth, but never moved. Lucky for us. We just have to believe that this is not an every day event at Yal-Ku but please be aware of it. Upon telling the managers, they spoke among themselves, asked its size and then told us that he never bothered anybody. I have a hard time believing anyone has trained a croc...this is no way ruined my day, it was quite exiting, but we did get out of the water after another 10 minutes of nervous snorkeling.
Update August 2005..
We have heard of one other person who saw a croc right around the same time as we did.
It has been reported that it was relocated
Get off of the plaza and walk around some of the side streets.
It is best to explore on foot, as the narrow dirt roads, run in a confusinmg one way pattern and parking is nonexistant.
Stroll down to the lighthouse, which is now a hotel. There are also some small budget hotels in this area.
This is, I'm sure, not an every day event, but it was when we visited. Joe was born in a wildlife refuge where his mother abandoned him. Mauricio brought him to the beach every day next to Xaman-Ha. Sometimes on the beach, sometimes in the little jugle area above the beach and sometimes to the ruins just across the road. Joe is now 2 and as Mauricio,who has no children, says, it's like having three kids.
A spanish ship sank in this area over a hundred years ago and some people still search for beads and gems and find them. Do not go expecting to discover a bounty. I found one bead and one gem.
This beach is directly across the highway from the Aktun Chen Cenote but is hard to get to due to the HUGE hotel that wants you to buy a day pass to walk though the lobby. You can walk around it, but it's quite a walk.
Here's the stair case you climb to the top, and with more difficulty to the bottom. With a little bit more difficulty if you have a fear of heights or falling. I have both! Yet with the help of that rope down the middle, I made it.
Chances are excellent you can too!
Everyone goes to Chichen Itza and climbs the Castillo. How about Coba, where you can climb an even TALLER one?
Coba has not been as fully restored as Chichen Itza nor has it been cleared of all jungle yet so you take paths (oh please rent a bike to do this) to each area. In the end you can climb the tallest castle in the Yucatan.
Take a walk through the wild jungle... I'm just kidding. This is a little path in the holiday village where I've been. The jungle can be dangerous... there are many venomous snakes and spiders ( I hate spiders!!).
In the new Playacar additon there is an aviary.
Lots of native birds. You forget that there is a net overhead. This is well worth the trouble of finding it.
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