Xpu-ha beach is a small and pristine beach between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum in Mexico. It is about 20 minutes away from Playa Del Carmen and one of the best day trips to do from Playa Del Carmen. Xpu-ha was a part of my Yucatan itinerary when I had an accidental trip to Mexico.
My trip to this place is a series of accident. Something I didn’t plan but also among those great surprises that you discover when you’re travelling.
It started with a broken laptop while I was still in Belize for a business project. Given that Belize is a small country with no mall at all, I had to travel for 12 hours by bus to go to neighboring Mexico. I had 2 options – go to Mexico to sort it or wait a month until I get back to the US. Obviously, I chose to travel to Mexico.
There are several Apple service centers in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun but I decided to go to Cancun as I know it’s a bigger city. So I took an evening bus on Friday for 12 hours just to have my laptop fixed. Given that I only had 2 days to sort it out, I went to the closest service center the moment I arrived in Cancun. I had a hard time speaking to the Apple tech support with my limited Spanish to explain that my mac pro crashed. And that I couldn’t turn it on for about a week. But there was a Mexican girl who helped me translate some technical terms to the tech support. When the tech support finally understood what happened, he turned it on. And to my surprise, it worked! So basically I ‘wasted’ travelling to Mexico to fix my computer that was actually working.
But wasting a trip is not really in my vocabulary. So I decided to book a tour to Chichen Itza the next day and leave Cancun on the evening to make sure I’d make it to Belize on Monday morning to work. Before my tour in the morning, I went to bus station to book my bus in the evening but it was all booked out. I informed my employer that I won’t be able to go back to Belize and would work remotely from Cancun on Monday. And would try to book a ticket on Monday evening instead.
Came Monday, I was informed by our site supervisor that there was a strong hurricane coming on Wednesday. Given that I was staying in an apartment by the Caribbean sea, I was advised by our former partner not to go back until the hurricane was over. My company sorted my accommodation for a few days in Cancun and worked remotely while I was there. And what the girl gotta do in Cancun during the evening? Find a Tinder date! Lol.
Before you ask what my Tinder tales got to do with this Xpu-ha beach guide. Hear me out first okay? 😉
It was the first time that I ever used Tinder and I’m glad I did that in Mexico. Because c’mon, who wouldn’t swoon to a Latino hottie who asks you “More margarita, senorita?” Even if I didn’t end up dating a Mexican there, I ended up meeting a funny and handsome American expat. Who did not only give me hope that men in Tinder are actually not a bunch of douchebags, but also brought me to a nice and romantic restaurant in the hotel zone.
I enjoyed the dinner especially the cactus nachos. Yep, they eat cactus in Mexico. Most of all, I enjoyed meeting new people. My date lives in Playa Del Carmen which means he drove for almost an hour to take me out. He told me I should visit him and try the best restaurants that Playa Del Carmen could also offer. And because he is hot, I said yes. I’m shallow, I know.
Anyway, I decided to wait for the hurricane in Playa Del Carmen and I pestered my new friend every day for recommendations. And he told me about Xpu-ha being the best kept secret of Riviera Maya. So you see the connection now? I told you my Tinder life has something to do with this Xpu-ha travel guide! 🙂
Now on a serious note.
HOW TO GET TO XPU-HA FROM PLAYA DEL CARMEN
Xpu-ha beach is about 16 miles south of Playa Del Carmen. There are 3 ways on how to get to Xpu-ha from Playa if you don’t have your own car.
- Colectivo is a shared taxi in Mexico. You can take the colectivo that passes through Xpu-ha between 15th and 20th Avenue in Calle 2. It runs every 10-15 minutes (or when the taxi is full) and until 10pm everyday. The fee is between MX30-40 pesos (US$1.6-$2.2). Just tell the driver that you’re getting off in Xpu-ha (pronounced as Shpoo-Ha). There will be a small sign at the right side of the road. Make sure to watch out for it after you pass by Puerto Aventuras. You can take the colectivo on the way back to Playa as well by flagging one down at the side of the road.
- There are several taxis around Playa that you can ask. But it’s more expensive and expect to pay between MX250-350 (US$13.5-$19) one way.
- Mayab Bus is another option. You can take the bus at ADO Terminal in 5th Avenue. The fare is similar to colectivo and you can ask the driver to drop you at Xpu-ha. Make sure to take the bus that goes South (Tulum, Akumal etc). You can also take the same bus if you want to go straight to Tulum for cenotes snorkeling.
ENTRANCE FEE AT XPU-HA BEACH
Once you reach the entrance of the Xpu-ha Beach, you’ll be asked by someone to pay. The entrance fee is MX50. You can get a refund if you spend over MX120 on food each. From the entrance by the road, you’ll have to walk a bit to get to the beach. The road towards the beach is a good example of road less travelled with great surprises at the end. You’ll see nothing except the trees from both sides. At first, I thought I was lost until I heard the ocean waves. Once you see the KLM sign, you can enter their parking lot to access the beach.
THINGS TO DO IN XPU-HA BEACH
- Beach bumming in Xpu-ha is more relaxing. The lack of commercialism in the area results to less tourists but it gives a more idyllic place to relax and enjoy its privacy. There is no massive hotels in the area but there are few small restaurants and bars. You can also rent chairs and umbrella. Two chairs and an umbrella cost around MX250 and 2 chairs with table and umbrella is around MX350. There’s a locker for MX30 if you want to leave your valuables while taking a swim.
- Adventure water activities are very popular in Xpu-ha beach. The beach is ideal for kiteboarding, paddle boarding and kayaking. The reef in the area is also ideal for snorkeling. You have to bring your own equipments for kiteboarding and paddle boarding. Snorkel rental is MX120 and the kayak for MX120 for 1 hour and MX200 for 2 hours.
- Glamping is another fun thing to do in Xpu-ha. There are few selections of glamping accommodations in Xpu-ha. If you want to stay overnight, you can book one of these luxurious tents by the beach.
Tip: If you want to avoid the crowd totally, go to the farthest right of the beach. You will see an abandoned resort and you will have the beach by yourself.
WHERE TO STAY IN XPU-HA BEACH
- Glamping Xpu-ha is located right by the beach. The cabanas are made of thatched roof with comfortable bed. Although they only have shared bathroom and toilets for guests. They offer basic amenities such as electricity, fan, wifi and breakfast. To check their latest rates, click here.
- Serenity Eco Luxury Tented Camp is another glamping accommodation in Xpu-ha. They offer luxurious tents and a pool. It is surrounded by the jungle but it’s only few meters away from the beach. To check their latest rates, click here.
- El Secreto Xpuha is a cozy accommodation in Xpu-ha beach. They have tents with terrace that offers seaview and a private beach. To check their latest rates, click here.
Have you been to Xpu-ha beach? Let me know your experience below!
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Xpu-ha beach looks gorgeous,like a slice paradise. A broken Apple(I meant laptop) leads you to a great experience. These kind of unexpected surprises and experiences are indeed what makes travel so exciting and durable.
this looks like an awesome article , it was interesting to see how one thing led to the other and finally you a start a holiday that too when it was not actually there on the cards .Thanks for sharing
The beach is beautiful and so are the accommodations. And I am really impressed by your employer. They are so accommodating. Not only did they agree to your working remotely, they even made proper arrangements for you in the face of the hurricane. If I were to work from this kind of beautiful place, my productivity would surge 🙂
Such a nice place. I wish I could visit there in the future. Thanks for this lovely guide. Also, I love your tinder date story. 🙂
Looks like that broken laptop let to something beautiful. Mexico is still in my list (hope to tick it someday!)
I love how your broken laptop led to a glorious beach escapade and pretty nice Tinder date. It’s like discovering penicillin by accident (nerd alert lol). The place looks really nice. Dunno if it was just in the pictures but it looked not too crowded, which is one of the things I really consider when going to the beach.
PS. Love your bio! This part, especially: “And with a serious case of wrong sense of direction”
Haha thank you Drew! And I love the penicillin reference. So apt and yet so far! Pun intended 😀
Wow, the beach looks great! Was the place packed when you visited?
It wasn’t. The small crowd is just from the beach restaurants where most beach goers eat and drink. Otherwise, a big part of the beach is empty. It’s totally different from Playa Del Carmen and Cancun beaches where you can’t even find a spot to lay down your beach towel.
Girl, you know Mexico was part of my plans this year right? However, that might need to wait a bit. But seeing this, it just makes me want to pack up and go. I would definitely go for glamping too,it’s something I want to try. Was this off season? It wasn’t packed! Which is perfect for me.
I think it was already peak season because I couldn’t even get my own spot in Playa Del Carmen. The small crowd you see is from the locals who are chilling out in the small restaurants in Xpu-ha. But the big part of the beach is totally empty. And yes go! I haven’t seen any place that could compete with our beaches except Cape Town and Mexico.
Is it a pet friendly beach ? I would like to take my dog with me.
Yes as far I know.