went to Xcalak in the summer of 2006. It was our first time that far
south of Tulum. The highway south of there and for sure south of Felipe
Carrillo Puerto is very much the way we remembered the way it was south
of Cancun in 1987. Xcalak is the last stop before Belize but if you are
going to Belize from there you must go by boat. We were not sure what
to expect when we turned off Highway 307 at Limones but , if anything,
the road from there to Mahahual is better than the main road. It is
wider and except for one turn at about the halfway mark, it is straight
as an arrow. I have been told that it was designed to double as an
airstrip. When you arrive at the Army check point you turn to the right
and follow a dirt road to Xcalak. It is another 30 minutes to an hour
to the town and then most of the places to stay are north of town on
the other road back to Mahahual. You should plan on 5 hours to get
there from the Cancun Airport. I'm sure it has been done in less time
but if you do not want darkness to overtake you then plan on 5 hours.
We stayed 2 nights in Playa del Carmen first so we got an early start.
We stayed at Casa Carolina http://www.casacarolina.net/, a bed and breakfast place north of the town. Electricity is by solar and wind power there , as in most places along this beach, so AC is out of the question and hair dryers should remain at home. Maureen loved this place. The property. She felt that the area was a bit too remote for her tastes. There are only 4 units plus the owners and we were the only ones there. There was a nice breeze even though it was summer so there were no issues for Maureen. She is the first to miss the AC if the nights are hot. We did some diving with XTC. The dive guide that we had was , we thought, good enough to work on Cozumel. That is our yardstick. The diving has promise. There are just about enough good sites to fill 6 days of diving if you go to Chinchorro on one of the days. We did! XTC claims that Xcalak sees as many divers in a year as Cozumel sees in a day and they are probably correct. Chinchorro is expensive but , if the weather is good it should not be missed. There are still big sea fans, sponges the size of Volkswagens, and some black coral. It is a haven for fishing so some species are limited. Xcalak is really out of the loop. There is a grocery truck that comes from Chetumal but we saw few stores or eateries in the town. There were a few good places to eat at some of the other little hotels along the beach. Most of the piers go out 300 feet into the ocean to get to a depth of 4 feet.
All in all a good trip could be planned for a week if the divers had prior experience. It might not be the best choice for your first dive travel experience. I have thought of trying to put a trip together perhaps or just make myself available to 7 divers who just needed the extra security of having someone along who had "been there and done that".The interesting comment that we got from, our host, Caroline, who is herself from the Mid-Atlantic...PA or Delaware, was that they , she and Bob,see few people from the east coast. People from mountain time in the US are used to driving 2 hours to fetch groceries, she pointed out, so 5 hours south of Cancun doesn't seem as far. Maybe she has something there!
I would consider returning and , I think, Maureen might as well. Maybe we aren't true easterners!
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