Traveling is a passion many of us share. The need to experience different places, customs and lifestyles is becoming an important part of our lives. The thing is, traveling is different for everyone. While some people enjoy the comfort of a resort and it’s amenities, some of us prefer the connection with nature and the outdoor activities.
Mexican Caribbean backgrounds
The Mexican Caribbean became one of the world’s hottest destinations back in the 80’s, and since then the infrastructure has evolved to offer world-class accommodations.
When Cancun became famous, tourists from all over the globe came to experience the Caribbean, but some of them wanted something more than just a beautiful resort by the beach.
So, as many adventurers do, tourists asked around for nearby places to visit. You know, those places you can only find if someone spreads the word.
Believe it or not, Playa del Carmen started out as one of those places that only some adventurers dared to visit and believe me it was worth it. Now that fishermen’s town became another world-class destination with its very own identity.
Where to go now?
Although the Riviera Maya is getting much more attention every passing year, there are still many well-preserved spots that remain rustic yet gorgeous destinations.
Most of these places are scattered through the Riviera Maya and are not well known destinations. I recommend renting a car or even a 4×4 for the most natural places.
Here are some of the destinations that have become a slightly popular for adventurers:
Xcacel beach is located about 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. This stunning turtle sanctuary is also home to an amazing cenote.
The beach is just as any other beach you’ll find around here: stunning, with bright blue and turquoise colors and bright white sandy beaches.
What makes Xcacel special is the combination of a gorgeous beach with a turtle sanctuary and a cenote. All of this combined with a rustic natural feel, as there is nothing else nearby just nature.
Each year, from April to October, hundreds of green sea turtles and loggerhead turtles make their seaward journey to nest along the Xcacel beach.
The local association in charge of protecting the species cordon off the area and Biologists will patrol the beach, ensuring the safety of any sea turtle that beaches to deposit her eggs.
Luckily for us, it’s possible to be present during the hatching season and experience this beautiful act of nature.
Kaan Luum Lagoon
Has there been a day when you get sick of schedules, emails and constant smartphone notifications? Imagine that you would like to go somewhere to disconnect and just hear anything but the sounds of nature, well that place exists and is here in paradise.
Kaan Luum Lagoon is one of those places you daydream about while at work. It is a gorgeous sandy lagoon with a huge cenote in the middle.
Located south of Tulum, this place is completely natural.
A small-improvised parking lot will lead you to an entrance where you pay a small fee. A couple of minutes in you’ll get to the mangle where a small pier will take you into the jungle.
A couple of meters ahead you’ll see the trees open to turquoise water and the pier just ending over it, as if it was telling you to just jump and take a swim.
If you plan to visit this place take into account that there is no beach or much space to spread other than a small palapa and the pier. So just pick a spot in the pier to leave your stuff and go for a swim.
The most beautiful thing about this place is the feel of being surrounded completely by nature.
Soliman Bay has remained one of Riviera Maya’s best-kept secrets for a long time now. You won’t find anything about it on any touristic brochures or guides.
This is the perfect secluded beach to just be away from it all. You can take a swim and snorkel, walk down the beach or just pick a palm tree and lie down.
Being semiprivate in a gated community this beach is never crowded, which makes it perfect for a relaxation day away from all the fuss of touristic beaches.
This secluded beach beauty is located in the very heart of Riviera Maya, making it easy to get to and even easier to enjoy – Soliman Bay beach is nestled just 15 minutes north of Tulum, 20 minutes south of Akumal, and 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.
Yet another beautiful spot located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It is similar to Xcacel, a natural and semi-secluded beach.
If what you are looking is to just enjoy a beautiful day at the beach this is the perfect place.
Xpu-ha offers several basic services and small activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. There are a couple of small restaurants and bars but that’s it. No big hotels or beach clubs.
You’ll have everything you need to spend a nice day at the beach with the perfect touch of Caribbean feel.
Sian Ka’an is a biosphere reserve in the municipality of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It was established in 1986 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
In the Mayan language, Sian Ka’an means ‘where the sky is born’, or ‘gift from the sky’. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a 1.3 million acre nature reserve just south of Tulum in the Riviera Maya.
This protected reserve is inhabited by countless plant species, bird and animals. Add 23 known archaeological sites to the list of attractions and you are bound to have an adventure.
The reserve contains three large core zones where human activity is limited to permission for scientific research only.
Low-impact human activities and sustainable development occur in the area of the reserve known as ‘the Buffer Zone’. This area is comprised of lagoons, the Caribbean coast and jungle. With the assistance of local guides, visitors can travel by boat or kayak and learn about the flora and fauna indigenous to the area and observe over 300 species of birds, both migratory and local.
This is perhaps one of the best destinations for any adventurous soul out there that wants to get real close with nature and experience one of the most beautiful destinations in México.