Xcalak 101: Everything you need to know

Xcalak 101 sunglasses on dock

On Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, far from the over-developed beaches of the Riviera Maya, you’ll find a small, beachside fishing village called Xcalak. A six hour drive south of Cancun, Xcalak resists mega-tourism and retains its natural beauty.

Welcome to Xcalak 101. Here is where you’ll acquire a wealth of knowledge about Xcalak, in just 6 minutes of reading. You’re welcome.

If you’re an adventurous traveler searching for an authentic Mexican beach experience, look no further – that exactly what you’ll find in Xcalak.

Xcalak 101

This introduction to Xcalak covers the things you’ll want to know before visiting.

  • When is the best time to visit Xcalak?
  • What can I do while I’m there?
  • What are the accommodation options in Xcalak?
  • Where can I eat out?
  • How do I get to Xcalak?

When is the best time to visit Xcalak?

Choose when to visit Xcalak, by deciding what type of vacation you want.

  • If fly fishing is your main objective, visit when the fish are biting. That’s all year in Xcalak, with February to April a bit more fishy.
  • If you love the idea of Xcalak and have a tight budget, try low season. Off-season pricing is in effect June to October.
  • If day after day of bright sunshine and predictably perfect weather is your goal, go to Xcalak during the dry season. November to April are a sun-lover’s favorite months.

Get the full picture of When to Visit Xcalak.

What can I do while I’m there?

What to do kayaks on beach

Touring around Xcalak, you’ll see what Cancun and Playa del Carmen must have looked like 20 years ago. A vacation in Xcalak is what you make it.

  • Xcalak’s translucent blue water, sheltered by the world’s second-largest barrier reef, won’t disappoint. Snorkel, scuba dive, fly fish, kayak, or simply sway in a hammock under the palm trees.
  • Drive or bike up the beach road to check out the jungle wildlife, beachside houses, sea views, a pyramid made of coral stone, and the light-tower.
  • Take a short day trip to La Aguada on the Bay of Chetumal, Bird Island, San Pedro Belize, or the nearby Mayan ruins.

We’ve got the Ultimate List of Things to Do in Xcalak (that’s double the usual amount).

What are the accommodation options in Xcalak?

Where to stay deck chairs over beach

Most of the accommodations in Xcalak are apartment rentals located on Xcalak’s north beach road. These off-grid accommodations rely on solar power, backup generators, and cistern water (don’t expect any AC in Xcalak).

  • Xcalak has 19 accommodations to choose from, ranging from luxurious beachside villas to simple palapa-roofed huts. Discover how comfortable living off-grid can be.
  • If you’re into cooking, you’re in luck because most suites come with their own kitchen. Choose a B&B or a hotel with a restaurant for maximum relaxation, or rent a private house for more seclusion. You’ll need a car to reach most beachside accommodations, or you can stay in town.

See Choosing Where to Stay in Xcalak, Xcalak Beach Hotels: What to Expect, or go to the full Overview of Accommodations in Xcalak.

Where can I eat?

Where to eat beach restaurant

There are five restaurants in Xcalak to choose from. The restaurants in Xcalak specialize in local seafood, and have flexible business hours.

  • The two local eateries in the town are relaxed, specializing in (no-surprise) seafood. Expect them to be open for lunch and dinner, but keep in mind that in Xcalak “opening hours” are more like guidelines.
  • Two hotels on the north beach road have public restaurants. The Reel Inn Restaurant & Bar is open all day, while the Mayan Grill is by reservation only.
  • XTC dive shop, just outside of town, has its own restaurant serving lunch and dinner.

Dig into our reviews of the Restaurants in Xcalak.

How do I get to Xcalak?

How to get here xcalak village pier

Most international visitors fly into Cancun, and from there, the best way to get to Xcalak is to rent a car and drive. The Yucatan Peninsula has well-maintained highways, and on the way you’ll pass through the party-city of Playa del Carmen and the tourist town of Tulum.

  • Xcalak’s remoteness is both alluring and intimidating. Be ready for a six hour drive from Cancun. A small inconvenience considering Xcalak is a practically-untouched beach paradise.
  • Driving to Xcalak at night is dangerous, we recommend spending the night in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum if your flight to Mexico arrives in the afternoon or evening.

Not sold on driving to Xcalak? We have more details and driving tips on Getting to Xcalak.

Conclude with Xcalak 201

Okay, so we didn’t write an Xcalak 201…yet. To discover more about Xcalak try these:

How to Pronounce Xcalak Properly (Video)

Is Xcalak Safe Enough for Your Vacation?

A Peek into the History of Xcalak (infographic)

Grocery Trucks and Buying Food in Xcalak