Xcalak Fly Fishing Basics

You’re sitting at your computer, dreaming of fly fishing, and wondering what your next destination will be.

Maybe it’s a magical place where you can hook permit all day long, wade mudflats without another fly fisher in sight, or finally hook the Grand Slam you’ve been aching for.

This place is real – and it’s called “Xcalak”.

You might have heard of Xcalak, but because of its remote location it’s a relatively unknown, uncrowded fly fishing destination. And thanks to the protection enforced by the Xcalak National Reef Park, the waters around Xcalak are full of healthy, plentiful pescado just waiting for you to arrive.

Curious about this undiscovered fly fishing mecca? Here’s a rundown of the Xcalak beach, and here are the Xcalak fly fishing basics:

Saltwater flats

The saltwater flats are the biggest deal in Xcalak. The flats all along Xcalak’s coast are fair game for fly fishing, with some of the best found at Chetumal Bay, only 30 minutes away by boat.

Chetumal Bay is at the far southern tip of the Yucatan, near the border with Belize. It’s less developed (and less crowded) than it’s popular northern neighbor Ascension Bay, near Tulum. Traveling a few hours further south you’ll discover Xcalak has bigger flats and more diverse sea life.

Bring your wading gear for hopping out of the boat onto the flats, or for wading out right from your hotel (if you didn’t get enough fishing during your 8-hour tour, that is).


In the Xcalak National Reef Park, fishing is catch-and-release (release comes after you take a photo of your catch, of course). This keeps the populations healthy and means there’s always plenty to catch.

The Park’s daily entrance fee is payable to Park officials and it includes a wristband to show that you’ve paid to use the park.

You also need to purchase a Mexican fishing license, which you can buy weekly, monthly, or yearly. Buy it online or buy it when you arrive, just be sure to buy it before you start fishing.

Famous for permit and bonefish

The most popular fish in Xcalak are permit and bonefish, but there’s a lot more than that for you to hook. Talk your guide about what you want to try for – snook, tarpon, barracuda, or jacks. Grand slams are not uncommon in Xcalak, so set your sights high!

And stay open to opportunity, as you never know what you might come across while looking for something else…

A woman standing waist-deep in clear turquoise water holding her fishing rod and her catch (bonefish)

Local guides

The guides in Xcalak really know their stuff. Some guides have over 25+ years of experience guiding fly fishers in the area. Hop in a panga, explain to your guide what you want to catch, and off you go. Your guide knows where to find the fish – he spots them, and you hook them.

Xcalak fly fishing services:


This fly fishing service can book your tour and accommodations, and has access to a network of Xcalak guides. They’re partnered with Hotel Tierra Maya. https://www.thexflats.com/

Captain José

Another local, José is an experienced Xcalak fly fishing guide, and he loves the local area. Besides fishing he organizes tours of the reef and nearby Bird Island. https://www.josexcalaktours.com/index.html

If you book a fly fishing package with one of Xcalak’s accommodations, they can hook you up with a guide, or you book an accommodation and a guide separately.


Speaking of accommodations, here are the most popular accommodations for fly fishers in Xcalak:

Acocote Eco Inn

Home of the Fxcalak (“fish-ka-lak”, get it?) Fly Fishing shop, the owner of this B&B is a fly fishing enthusiast. You know you’re at a fly fishing-friendly place when there’s a rod wash station. Acocote Eco Inn

Casa Cangrejo

Located right in town, Casa Cangrejo is a straight up fly fishing lodge. Stay in a cabaña or a small casa, and spend the rest of your time on land in the palapa-topped lodge preparing for the next day and boasting about your triumphs. Casa Cangrejo

Costa de Cocos

One of the first accommodations to open in Xcalak, at Coco’s your room is a palapa hut. You won’t be roughing it though – this palapa hut comes with it’s own private bathroom. The restaurant at Coco’s is a popular place to cool off with one of their microbrews and trade stories with other fishers. Costa de Cocos

Tierra Maya Lodge

Only 2 km’s from town, this accommodation is the closest thing to a resort you’ll find in Xcalak. Get picked up right from the dock in front of the beach and enjoy supper at the on-site restaurant. Associated with Xflats fly fishing. Tierra Maya Lodge

Coral Garden Inn (Casa de Coral)

At 9 km’s north of town, this secluded accommodation is a fantastic destination for DIY fly fishing. Walk out from the private beach to fish for barracuda, permit, and bonefish. Two suites complete with kitchens sleep 6 people each. Coral Garden Inn


In Xcalak, fly fishing is a treat – it isn’t crowded and has healthy marine life and excellent guides. Choose your accommodation, pack your gear, and head to what might be the last undiscovered fly fishing paradise in the Yucatan.

There’s more to Xcalak than fly fishing, here’s our Ultimate List of Things to do in Xcalak