About 30 minutes drive South from Playa Del Carmen you will find Xpu-ha beach (pronounced Ish Poo Ha). Far enough away from the large resorts, Xpu-ha beach has a more carribean relaxed ambience that attracts mainly locals.
We drove to Xpu-ha beach from Playa Del Carmen and, after doing a U-turn on the main road, just past the beach on our map, we took the first right in hope of finding somewhere to park. Xpu-ha beach has a series of beach clubs all along it, each with its own parking/facilities deal. The one we happened to pull into was a glamping site. We were charged 60 Mexican pesos (around £2.20) per person to park and each given a wristband. This gave us access to the car park and toilet/shower facilities.
The glamping site was right on the beach and had all the rustic charm of my typical dream of a caribbean island. The backdrop consisted of thatched roofed, higgledy piggledy huts, scattered amongst coconut laden palm trees and a colourful junk model scarecrow on a pole to welcome you. A shack selling food and drink was available at the back of the beach and sun beds under thatched, permanent sun shades adorned the sand. The sunbeds were available for an extra 200 pesos per pair of beds.
The Glamping site is the last along the stretch of Xpu-ha beach, giving you views of unspoilt rustic coastline to the right. The soft, white sand of the beach led to the turquoise warm waters of the Caribbean sea lapping gently at the shore. Locals occasionally walked down the beach selling different foods without harassing us for sales. We bought 2 cups of fruit from one man which was honestly fresh and delicious.
After an amazing morning of swimming in the sea, we started to look for lunch. The beach shack at the glamping shack looked a little overpriced so we walked along the beach to La Playa Xpu Ha Beach Club and I’m so pleased we did. This slightly larger beach club had a restaurant with authentic Mexican food, delicious cocktails and a live band playing on the beach. I had the pescadillas – gorgeous fresh fish tacos which I’d eat again in a heartbeat. We also tried the chicken fajitas and fresh homemade guacamole. A meal for four people with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, extra portions of fries and tortillas and sides came to the equivalent of £48.
After a delicious meal we took a walk to find a coconut that was low enough for my son to pick from the tree and then swam in the sea some more. By around 3.30pm, the sea was a little rougher and we had great fun throwing ourselves around in the waves. There are both sandy and rocky areas in the sea and I’ve heard it can also be great for snorkeling.
The sun beds are available until 5pm and beach restaurants shut around 7pm. We spent a whole day at Xhu-pa beach and loved every second of our Caribbean paradise. It was an amazing beach with a relaxed atmosphere that proved a fantastic alternative to the busier resort beaches. The beach seemed safe and we weren’t bothered at all. I have heard reports about each end of the beach being unsafe. This is because they are in fact private property belonging to two large resorts that were destroyed in a hurricane. The areas of sand at both these ends are patrolled occasionally by unfriendly security personnel who may move you on if you happen to stop there. If you stick to the areas of sand in front of the beach clubs and glamping site, it is much safer.
You can watch our adventure at Xhu-pa beach on Youtube here.
Taking an autistic child to Xpu-ha beach?
The sand was clean, soft and good for playing. The sea was warm and not too rough, there were areas where playing in shallow water was possible and areas where it got deep quicker with more currents.
The glamping site at the end of the beach is a good place to base yourself as it seems less busy than the other beach clubs with sun beds more spread out. There are toilets and showers available.
The car park is right by the toilet block at the back of the beach which offers easy access but is also easily accessible if you wander towards the back of the beach.
Children need constant supervision. Aside from the obvious dangers of a beach, it would be easy to wander amongst the glamping site or other beach clubs and get lost.
Food is served from the beach shack to small tables at peoples sunbeds as well as the main eating tables, if your child is likely to help themselves, these small tables are very accessible!
At times, music is played on speakers at the back of the beach and live bands sometimes play at the beach clubs. On the day we visited this was the case after lunch. It didn’t seem overwhelmingly loud near the sea. If you don’t want the music from the live band at lunchtime I would take an earlier lunch or a picnic. You can see the band that was playing the day we visited in my youtube video.
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