The Yucatn's rustic seaside

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 12-18, 1996

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Hiking in Red River Gorge, Kentucky
The Dominican Republic for a budget vacation
The Yucatán's rustic seaside
Training for Mt. Kilimanjaro
The Grand Canyon in a day... or two

The Yucatán's rustic seaside
Q: Of all the beachside and seaside areas in Mexico, which is currently the best one? I am looking for a rustic, quiet place to celebrate 20 years of marriage.
Gerry Van Ackeren
Butte, MT
[email protected]

A: With more than 6,000 miles of coastline, Mexico certainly has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches. So while it's hard to say for sure which one is best, I can recommend a couple of my favorites.

For a welcome respite from touristy Cancun or Baja's Cabo San Lucas, head down to the Yucatán peninsula and drive south along Highway 307--the main coastal road--until you see a stretch of deserted, white-sand Caribbean beach that catches your eye.

Or, if you want to do your planning in advance, consider the following laid-back alternatives. Opt for the simple life at KaiLuum, a low-key tent village on a virgin stretch of coastline about 35 miles south of Cancun, just off the Posada del Capitan Lafitte turnoff on Highway 307. Swim with parrot fish and yellowtails out on the offshore reef, rent snorkeling gear at nearby Buccaneer's Landing, or just laze around in one of your two private hammocks. However you choose to exert yourself, you'll sleep well at night in your rustic beachfront tent--equipped with a canvas floor, windows on each side, and a thatched roof. It's easy to forego electricity and private baths for open-fire meals and ocean breezes. Daily rates at KaiLuum start at $44-$55 per person/double occupancy, including breakfast and dinner. For reservations and information, call 800-538-6802.

About 20 miles south of KaiLuum is a quiet little stretch of sand called Xpu-ha, a nearly pristine Tahiti clone that I think might be the most beautiful beach in the Yucatán. A handful of Mayan families sequestered under palm trees offer camping facilities and a few newly built concrete-and-tile rooms that rent for $25 a night. But the best spot to camp is toward the southern end of Xpu-ha at Bonanza Beach, a small facility with showers, toilets, and basic thatch-roof cabanas with hammocks. To get there, watch for a small sign for Bonanza Beach at the kilometer 94 marker on Highway 307. Before you go, be sure to check out "At Play in the Fields of Maya" in the Destinations section of our October 1994 issue.

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