Xcalak (Mexico) Directory
Xcalak (Mexico) Overview
Off the beaten track, but noted for its excellent scuba diving and fishing, Xcalak offers an alternative to the throngs of people and high rise hotels found further north. ‘Xcalak’ means ‘the twins’ in Maya, referring to the 2 cuts in the reef that provide access to Chetumal Bay. Read a history of Xcalak. Though changing slowly it’s mostly divers and sport fishermen who go to the trouble to get to Xcalak. Though cruise ships now visit Mahahual located just north.
Xcalak is located some 250 miles south of Cancun a the southernmost tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. A palm-studded coastal region called Costa Maya. It is a place where the second largest barrier reef in the world and the breathtaking coastline edge a land of ancient forests backed brilliantly by azure waters of the Mexican Caribbean. Time seems to have forgotten this remote, somewhat primitive area. The town of Xcalak, for whatever reasons, appears to have resisted progress, as we know it in the "civilized" world.
It is not far to the border of Belize and a world away from the world most of us live in. Yet it is what many dream about and hope to discover. This natural adventure land boasts a vast array of tropical plant and animal life. Lagoons along the undisturbed shoreline are home to Tarpon, Snook, Bonefish and Permit. Only a short distance from the beach, the most prolific and unspoiled reef beckons the snorkeler, diver and fisherman.
Hikers will enjoy being surrounded by jungle and huge flocks of birds that migrate here. Hidden lagoons, miles and miles of perfect 'flats' with crystal clear waters, protected from the wind offer the fisherman plenty of opportunity to land Tarpon, Bonefish, and Snook. the abundance of fish makes both fly-fishing and spin fishing rewarding. The diving here is truly spectacular.
Fishing: The waters around Xcalak are a haven for fishing. Open-water trolling, snapper fishing on or inside the barrier reef as well as superb flyfishing for bonefish, tarpon and permit in Chetumal Bay.
Divers will find the Belize reef, the largest in the western hemisphere just half a mile from the shore and reefs, caves, canyon, walls, and incredible drop offs that plunge hundreds of feet ensure an adventure for all diving abilities. Chinchorro Banks (Banco Chinchorro):
Nearby Chinchorro Banks, a massive coral atoll that stretches almost 30 miles along the Yucatan coast is considered one of the wonders of the marine world.
Chinchorro Reef is a 30-mile long atoll, as wide as 9 miles at certain points, and surrounded by a barrier reef. Inside Chinchorro's barrier reef, the clear waters average about 10 to 20 feet deep, creating the perfect environment for the maze of coral heads that stretch from the north islands to the southernmost part of the reef. Outside the barrier, the reef starts as shallow as 30 feet, and continues down as a steep wall.
Fresh water, as is common in remote, tropical locations, is a precious commodity and gathered mostly by rain collected on the roofs of individual buildings, channeled into underground cisterns and ultimately pumped into each room. All the Resorts provide bottled drinking water for their guests.
Depending upon where you intend to stay, you may be well advised to purchase some basic provisions on your way to Xcalak, such as in Playa del Carmen or Carillo Puerto.
Car: The best way is to rent a car in Cancun and drive! Get on Highway 307 and keep driving!!
Bus: Long and arduous. To get to Xcalak by bus is not exactly the easiest way since it is time consuming and can be a test of your mental fortitude and patience. At the Cancun bus station you take an ADO first class bus to Carillo Puerto. From there a regular bus headed for Limones. You must not arrive in Limones after three in the afternoon or else you will miss the connection to Xcalak, which originates in Chetumal. Another possibility is to take a first class coach directly to Chetumal, stay there for the night, and catch the 6 am bus to Xcalak.
Taxi: Possible but not recommended. To hire a taxi in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Carillo Puerto is a good idea if you bargain well with a cabdriver who happens to be interested in getting to know the southern part of Quintana Roo. You will get the best results at the Cancun Bus station, certainly not however at the Airport.
Xcalak does in fact have a well-maintained 4000 ft. air strip, some two kilometers west of town, allowing just about any size private aircraft to land and take off safely. Obviously this is the most expensive, but comfortable, mode of transportation to get Xcalak.
You can fly from Cancun to Chetumal, about a half-hour's drive south of Bacalar, for about $135 round-trip on AeroCaribe (run by Mexicana, 1-800-531-7921) or for a bit less on local carriers. But you need to still arrange land transportaion to Xcalak.
Power and Electricity
The town of Xcalak is connected to a power grid. Electricity is generated for several hours each day by a diesel powered plant, but is not extended to any facility located north of the village. Each one of the hotels/resorts is generating its own electricity by virtue of solar panels or wind mills.
Money can be changed in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Felipe Carillo Puerto and Chetumal. However in Felipe Carillo Puerto you won't find a money machine.
In most hotels in Xcalak you can pay with pesos as well as dollars. Not many places accept credit cards.
Fresh water, as is common in remote, tropical locations, is a precious commodity and gathered mostly by rain collected on the roofs of individual buildings, channeled into underground cisterns and ultimately pumped into each room.
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