Let’s Move North to Tulum and Xpu-Ha: The World’s Most Perfect Beaches

I really don’t know what could make the beaches south of Playa Del Carmen down to Tulum more beautiful.  The sand is pinkish white, perfect…it never gets hot.  The water is aqua blue, softly sloping and incredibly clear.  I mean, seriously.  Look at our view from our campsite.

But, as usual, we need to back this up.  Sunday morning we packed up the truck and my little tent from Mahajual, Mexico to move northward.  I been bragging about how great the beaches are in Tulum (honestly…I can’t get enough of them) so we decided to drive up there.   We headed out of Mahahual to the main road (Route 307 North) and about 2.5 hours later, we pulled into Tulum.

Our trip so far has been one of campsite cooking and local taco stands…for about $50 pesos, you can get a huge, filling and delicious authentic meal.  Do not be scared of street food!  We had some shrimp and fish tacos at a small local restaurant (look for the one that seems to attract the local crowd) and they could not have been better.

If you can find El Camello a few blocks south of Tulum town, I promise, you will be very very happy.  I’m not sure what a camel has to do with seafood…ask them for me if you get a chance.

Get this…apparently their signature drink is a Shrimp Cocktail Michelada.  A beer Bloody Mary (sans vodka) in a huge glass packed with shrimp and avocado.  I didn’t try one since I was gorging myself on fried shrimp tacos, but I can only imagine that it is delicious.  I’ve always wanted to meld the michelada with ceviche.  Seems like El Camello was one step ahead of me.  Beer, shrimp and avocado?  It’s my heart’s fondest wish.

For those who don’t know the michelada, it is a popular drink (and hangover remedy) in Belize as well as Mexico.  In Belize, it is delicious.  Here is the Mata Rock’s Squirrel’s Nest recipe from a previous post:  Michelada, Yum.  In Mexico, it is very similar but they add tomato juice or even clamato as well as a mystery sauce called Maggi. (I brought a bottle back for experimentation.)   These three liquids are standard at Mexican bars.

We thought about camping on the beach in Tulum but there were no real designated sites…and though I was LOVING my new lifestyle, I wasn’t exactly ready for a bathroom-less night so we moved north about 30kms towards Playa Del Carmen.

We arrived at the beach called Xpu-Ha (km marker 265) late Sunday afternoon.  It’s actually a turn that is easy to cruise right past.  The bar and restaurant was PACKED with a huge Mexican weekend crowd.  There was a live salsa/Latin band playing and they were pretty much out of beer.  We ordered the only brand left:  Bud Light (it tasted delicious to me) and sat down at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen.

Here are my friends, hosts and awesome cooks, Dani and Cesar, hanging out at the swing bar.
We waited for the crowds to disperse as the sun went down, pulled the truck right up on the beach, I pitched my tent…and we settled in.  It cost $250 pesos per night (for all of us) for the best view I’ve ever had.  It really was straight out of a Corona commercial.
This beach is sandwiched between two points, almost a cove, that (unlike Tulum) is filled with coral about 25 feet offshore.  There are two bigger resorts but for most part, the beach is relatively empty.  There was an active dive shop right next to us that seemed to be teaching lots of people to dive and spear fish.  On our other side was a kite surfing shop.

Camping is conducive to waking up very early.

Dani and Cesar have been travelling with these inflatable stand-up paddle boards.  And morning seemed to be the perfect time to start paddling.  The breeze (Easter winds) really picked up in the afternoons.

They are surprisingly sturdy…almost as hard as surfboards once pumped up.

I tried it for a few minutes…stood up for about 30 seconds before I toppled.  I can see where this board could be an incredible workout.

We ended up spending four nights on this beach.

Bottom line:  This whole stretch of shore line is amazing.  And a really great location to camp out.  There are lots of cenotes (fresh water sinkholes and caves) in the area (that’s for another post) and Playa Del Carmen and Tulum are both within half an hour driving.

After a few days in Mexico, I’d been to Bacalar, Mahahual, Tulum and Xpu-Ha and I honestly can not pick my favorite.  All are amazing in their own way and all a pretty easy commute from San Pedro.

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