After a days of exploring Merida and Valladolid we were finally heading for the famous Riviera Maya coast to laze on the beach and discover the beauty of this part of the Yucatan Peninsular. There were parts of our stay in Merida that we had loved, the bustling market and Day of the Dead celebrations especially. On the other hand, we felt Merida was rather too busy and hectic for a relaxing holiday. We much preferred our time in the more laidback town of Valladolid.
Lunch in Valladolid
We drove towards our last stop on our autumn holiday, Playa Del Carmen, where we would stay for three nights before heading back home to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the drive was uneventful; we stopped in Valladolid at our favourite restaurant there, Yerbabuena for a delicious healthy lunch in their back garden. The rest of the drive to Tulum we did not see much, apart from the odd village along the long straight road through the jungle.
Souvenir Stalls in Tulum
As we neared the hippie town of Tulum we saw many colourful souvenir and craft shops on the roadside. Giant dream catchers and blankets seemed to be the most popular items here. I now regret not having stopped to buy one of the dream catchers; one would have been the perfect accessory for our bedroom.
Finding a Deserted Beach between Tulum and Playa del Carmen
Our plan for the afternoon was to go to a beach along the coast between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Once we had turned onto the coastal highway, we realised that it would not be as easy as we had thought to find a suitable beach. Most of the roads with access to the beach along the stretch of coast either belong to hotels or are private roads with security guards blocking the access. According to my research before our trip we should have been able to access the coast at Xcacel. The exit off the main road was not easy to spot though and we missed the first road luckily turning into the second one. For about 100 meters we drove down a bumpy dirt track and ended up at a hut where we had to pay a fee of 50 pesos so we could enter and park our car. There were a few caravans and mobile homes dotted around the car park, obviously a popular place with the hippie crowd and casual travellers.
Xcacel, a Peaceful Stretch of Sandy Beach
The beach was almost deserted, apart from a few couples in the beach bar and a kite surfer braving the waves. We found a shady spot, where we laid out our blanket and towels. The sand was very fine and white, bringing out the turquoise colour in the water. The boys hit the sea first, Jerome was especially happy to be jumping in the waves, completely immersed in his favourite element. I am more for lazing on the beach and enjoying the sun on my white skin (always protected by suntan cream of course), especially when the sea is rough. I do recommend coming to this amazing hidden piece of Caribbean coast, away from the tourist mayhem and a great spot for building sandcastles with the little ones if you are in the area and looking to avoid the big tourist complexes.
Our Arrival at Playa del Carmen
After several dips in the surf, the sun started to drop behind the palms and we started to feel the wind chill making it the perfect time to move on to Playa del Carmen and to check into our hotel. First we had to queue the last kilometre into town, even here rush hour holds up the traffic at certain times a day. As soon as we stepped into hotel HM Playa del Carmen we felt at home.
The Stylish HM Playa del Carmen
The building surrounds the pool area on all four sides and the interior of the hotel was just to my taste. The style of HM Playa del Carmen was modern but with Mexican traditional influence. I immediately fell in love with the Acapulco hanging chairs to either side of the pool and the giant mobiles and dream catchers made of driftwood and shells hanging around the poolside and bar. Our room was more than spacious enough, Jerome had his own little corner and the best part was the generous terrace along the length of our room. After dropping our luggage we went straight to the pool, Jerome occupying one of the hanging chairs and Chris and I enjoyed a cocktail before going out for dinner.
Venezuelan Dinner at Kaxapa Factory
That evening was the first time for us to try Venezuelan food. We had found restaurant Kaxapa Factory almost by accident when seeking a local place on the web and we enjoyed our dinner there so much that we came back the next evening too. That evening we went to bed fairly early in order to get up in time for an early breakfast to beat the crowds at the Mayan ruins at Tulum.
Recommended Hotels on the Yucatan Peninsular
A beautiful ecological boutique hotel set in lush surroundings on the outskirts of Valladolid with a mystic underground cave pool.
This charming design hotel set around a small courtyard pool has a great central location for exploring Merida.
Playa del Carmen
HM Playa del Carmen offers a cool pool and spacious rooms within walking distance of restaurants, shops and the beach.
Splurge and treat yourself to pure luxury at this stunning beachfront property.
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