The best cenotes of Merida
Finding places like Xcacel beach on the coastal strip of the Riviera Maya in the Quintana Roo region is a complicated task. And it is that this sanctuary of turtles remains semi-unknown although little by little it gains followers
The ecological reserve is highly protected (in 1998 the safeguarded area was created), which allows the ecosystem of dunes (dunes ) serves as a natural barrier with its low but strong vegetation sinking into the sand. Palm trees and mangroves follow each other creating a microcosm of fauna and flora in just 350 hectares.
Xcacel beach is still quiet, where people from places and curious tourists come who have done a little research on more isolated areas and not as crowded as Playa del Carmen or Akumal. Despite this, it can be considered one of the most beautiful in the Riviera Maya.
Its waters are usually calm but when the wind picks up they can have a lot of waves and be full of sargassum and other algae that the storm has washed away. Two varieties of turtles, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the white turtle (Chelonia mydas) have their annual spawning and nesting in Xcacel and that is why the authorities have tried to protect them by creating the reserve. The reason they come here is that in the coral reef that runs along the entire east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula (it is the second largest in the world) a gap opens up through which the turtles enter the coast.
Between the months of May to October, at dusk the turtles offer a show that is usually watched by biologists, but open to those who want to enjoy something unique.
If we go outside the spawning season We cannot regret the turtles because off the coast, just fifty meters away is the reef and armed with diving equipment we can snorkel to see fish of all colors in their coral habitat.
Just in case Besides its beautiful white sand beach and turquoise waters, a few hundred meters away hides another of its secrets, the Xcacelito cenote, one of the closest to the beach, hidden among the dense mangrove that protects it. As soon as you enter the right, you continue along a well-indicated path, without getting lost, which ends in a walkway that allows you to cross the mangrove swamp and reach the cenote.
In the waters of the freshwater cenote, hundreds of small fish fight to nibble on our skin for dead cells to glutton. The sensation of swimming without being scared is fantastic, especially if we bring our snorkel goggles, which will help us to appreciate the blue and green tones that melt with the sun's rays, on a background with fossilized corals and the roots of the mangroves.
At the entrance to the beach, which is barely visible from the road that goes from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, there is a dirt road that ends at the beach.
Before In the guard house, we will have to pay an insignificant donation to preserve the Tortuguero sanctuary.
Xcacel has toilets and showers, and there is a small restaurant. The beach has a schedule from 9 in the morning to five in the afternoon, and the cenote from 10 in the morning to 4:15.
To bathe in the cenote you have to do without mosquito repellent or sun creams, so as not to alter and damage the ecosystem, so it is better if we bathe before on the beach.
It is located about 46 km from Playa del Carmen, and about 19 km before arriving in Tulum. The best option is if we have a rental car (it is advisable to be careful because the entrance is not very good from the road), but if we ask at a taxi stop they will take us without problem (always better negotiating the price before). Another option is the combis or peseras that leave from Playa del Carmen or Tulum, notifying where we want to go. When they leave us on the road, we only have to travel a few hundred meters to the beach.
swim, jump for a dive, ba駉s, regaderasdonativo (min. $20)9am a 6pm
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