We took a trip in January for 11 days to Xcalak, with Stops in Tulum going down and returning.
We flew nonstop out of Ohare on Mexicana, and had great service both ways. However, with a 2:45 arrival in Cancun, there was no way we wanted to try to drive all the way to Xcalak. We rented a Jeep from Continental in Cancun and except for waiting for around 25 minutes outside Cancun airport for a shuttle to there office, we were very happy with the service we recieved.
It was dark when we reached Tulum, and we had a little bit of trouble finding our lodging. Don Diego De la Selva was our first nights stop, and was a great one night stopping place in Tulum. It is just south of Tulum Pueblo(not the beach area), and the next morning when we left we realized that there were signs pointing the way off of 307, just hard to see in the dark. Our room was very comfortable, and we had supper right there at the hotel, and also breakfast the next morning. Both were very good and also reasonable.
The next morning we were off to Xcalak and Playa Sonrisa.
We woke up the next morning to 60 degree temps. The night watchman looked like he was dressed to go to football game in Iowa in November instead of Tulum, Mexico. It got very cool every night we were in Mexico, and we were glad for every blanket provided.
Uneventful trip to Playa Sonrisa with gas stops in Felipe Carillo Pueblo and Mahajual. The federales were taking Saturday off at the checkpoints, however we did get checked later in the trip. No big deal, just don't carry anything with you that you shouldn't. The one time we were checked, they were very thorough.
This was our third trip to Playa Sonrisa. It won't be our last. We quite frankly found Playa Sonrisa 6 years ago because they advertised as CO. We continue to return because Murph and Cindy are excellent hosts, and we love the area. Is Xcalak, or Playa Sonrisa for everyone? NO! There website is excellent in describing what you might experience once you get there, and if you have any ?'s please feel free. The food at Loco Nutz is excellent, and reasonable. We had Coconut Shrimp, Bisteak Arrechera, Flan, Homemade soups and desserts, and wonderful complimentary breakfasts. We also dined at Leaky Palapa in Xcalak one night and it was excellent. Also, Lobster and Mango Pizza at Costa de Cocos. As remote as Xcalak is, there is no way to go hungry, and we think the quality and freshness of the food is excellent.
During the days at Playa Sonrisa, the First attraction is the beach. They have 6 rooms that each can sleep 2, so if clear full, you will share around 300 meters of beach, plus a dock with shade and loungers, to share with 12 people. There is ALWAYS ample choices for shade, full sun, loungers, chairs, hammocks, etc. I kayaked out to the reef twice to snorkel, and it was as good as you will find anywhere in the Caribbean. The reef is about a 10-15 minute paddle, but if you would prefer to have a motorboat and guide, there a couple options in the area. In the afternoons, there is usually a boccie ball "tournament", usually followed by "Hot Tub Time", which amounts to happy hour in a waste deep pool just off the beach that is warmed by the sun(some days more than others).
We took one day trip while we were there. We awoke one morning to a cold cloudy windy sea. Most days we were there, it would have been comfortable to take a dip in the sea by 10:00. But Wednesday wasn't like that. So we jumped in the Jeep and headed to Chacchoben. A very interesting group of Mayan ruins, and much different than both the Tulum and Coba ruins. We were lucky enough to get there in between cruise ship bus tours. We had the whole site to ourselves for about 45 minutes, and when we got back to the parking lot there were 2 tour buses unloading. By the time we got to the highway, we had met 3 more buses on their way. I would go back to Chacchoben again, but would try to know what the Mahajual port cruise ship schedule is before I left for Mexico, as our time there was much different than it would have been had we been sharing the site with 300-400 cruise ship daytrippers.
On our way back to Xcalak, we decided to head South at Pedro A. Santos and check out the North end of Laguna Bacalar. We found a little campground with a bar and restaurant for a little refreshment and a light snack. Lake Bacalar is a beautiful spot, and was a great peaceful spot to spend a little time on our way back.
On our way back we also decided to take a drive thru Mahajaul to see first hand what cruise ship day is like. After getting all the way thru, we decided we probably aren't cut out to be cruise ship customers.
Friday eventually rolled around, and even though were weren't ready to leave Xcalak, we had made reservations for 3 nights at Hamaca Loca on the beach in Tulum on the way back to Cancun. Hamaca Loca was a beautiful setting, and Cabana Tortuga was very nice. We didn't spend a lot of time there, as there is so much to do in the Tulum area. However, the sunrises from our cabana were spectacular. Our first full day after arriving, we decided to head to Punta Allen. We had tried a few years ago, and given up when we got to Xamach Dos. However, the road is MUCH better now and a beautiful drive. We reached Xamach Dos in around an hour with a stop at the bridge for pictures. We stopped in for a cervesa , and walked the beach for a while before heading on to Punta Allen for lunch. Between Tulum and Punta Allen, there are many places to pull off and find beautiful deserted beaches. It's a great day, and won't be as quiet and secluded as it is for long.
Our last full day I asked Tammy what she would li9ke to do, and she said she would like a massage. So we headed down the road to Mayan Spa to see if we could get her a reservation. No Problema. Come back around 2:00. It worked out great. I hung out at Cabana Copals beach for a couple hours and Tammy got a massage that she still raves about. Our last night we settled on Don Cafetos for supper, and when we were seated, our waiter asked if we liked Lobster. Well, duh. They had a tail that was more than we could eat, so we kept it in the cooler and still didn't finish it for lunch the next day on the way back to the Airport. I have no idea how big it was, but I had never seen a lobster that big in the Caribbean. Delicious, and the perfect ending to a great trip. Randy