Beach spot on the Yucatan

Old Jun 8th, 2024, 11:32 PM
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Beach spot on the Yucatan

Hi all, I'm planning a 21 day trip to Mexico in January 2025 and would appreciate some suggestions for a laid back beach spot in the Yukatan Peninsula for our final four nights. Our trip will include: Mexico City; Oaxaca; San Christobel; Palenque: Campeche; Merida; and I was thinking Tulum. But it seems like Tulum is quite built up and busy and I wondered if there was a better spot for us to go. Looking to swim, walk on the beach and explore the local area on bikes (if that's possible). We'll be flying out of Cancun.
All suggestions / thoughts much appreciated.

Last edited by Moderator1; Jun 14th, 2024 at 09:38 PM. Reason: corrected date to 2025 and spelling in title
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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 05:56 AM
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Since time travel is not possible, perhaps this trip will take place in January of 2025, not January 2024.
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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 08:55 AM
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Hi mountaindaisy and welcome to Fodors. I am planning a very similar trip later this year and was hoping to get in some beach time and some diving. After much searching around I decided against it as the Carribean coast seems way too built up and commercialised for our tastes and the Gulf Coast is not renowned for great swimming. In the end I settled on some dips in the many cenotes around the Yucatan.


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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 02:57 PM
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Haha yes!
January 2025
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Old Jun 10th, 2024, 01:04 PM
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I thought this was a pretty helpful description of some of the quiet beach areas on the Yucatan.

https://mexicocassie.com/best-yucata...20very%20quiet.
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 12:08 AM
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Thanks for the welcome crellston

Really appreciate the link Tom - these are perfect!

We've decided to change plans and fly straight from Oaxaca to Merida and then rent a car for 10 days to give a bit more freedom to see things along the way. Should be able to visit at least a couple of these lovely quiet spots. I can't wait
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Old Jun 11th, 2024, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindaisy
We've decided to change plans and fly straight from Oaxaca to Merida and then rent a car for 10 days to give a bit more freedom to see things along the way. Should be able to visit at least a couple of these lovely quiet spots. I can't wait
We have pretty much come to the same conclusion though I can only find direct flights from Oaxaca to Merida with Volaris on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Which may not work for us. Otherwise it would be via CDMX. Yestravel, another posted here had a few issues with that airline with cancellations etc. Consequently , I am now looking at travelling by bus to Palenque , explore the ruins for a day or two and then on to Merida.

Last edited by crellston; Jun 11th, 2024 at 05:14 AM.
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Old Jun 12th, 2024, 08:16 AM
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OP MD,
We're planning a trip there for July of 2023 and...
Kidding kidding kidding.
Celestun has a beach area that is much more low key than the Tulums and Playa del Carmens of the region. It has the added attraction of local flamingos.
FWIW, our experience also was that sometimes less-popular ruins weren't as crowded and thus more relaxed, more interesting. For example, we enjoyed Uxmal more than CI.
We haven't been to Palenque yet, but my brother swears it is one of Travel's Great Moments.
I am done. the end.
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Old Jun 14th, 2024, 09:29 AM
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I thought the time travel joke was funny and it's OK to correct the spelling, it's Yucatan.

For beach-front I would want to stick to the Caribbean side so would be looking at Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Akumal, Tulum. But seems you've decided to go the opposite direction ? to Merida (which does not have a beach) instead.
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Old Jun 15th, 2024, 07:52 PM
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OP said: *suggestions for a laid back beach spot in the Yukatan Peninsula for our final four nights*
If that's the primary criteria, then
*Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Akumal, Tulum*
Would hardly fit the bill. I really like Tom's locations in the link he provided.

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Old Jun 17th, 2024, 05:26 AM
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We visited both Celestun and Sisal. I've previously recommended Celestun to crellston. Much quieter and less risk of sargassum than the tourist towns in Quintana Roo. Yucatan state does not have the current cartel/crime issues and overdevelopment (yet). Better go soon before Tren Maya changes all that

Another fun place for swimming was Bacalar (which is a drowned cenote) but check if clarity conditions are good now. It's near the border and really only an option on a longer circuit of the Peninsula (I was on a two-week tour).

Last edited by mlgb; Jun 17th, 2024 at 05:52 AM.
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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 03:51 PM
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Last time in Merida was a few weeks before Covid when we rented a lovely house for about 12 nights.
The ONLY negative for me was the heat, which was so high even in January that I had to visit the markets and do most exploring before noon.

Merida is a wonderful, lively beautiful city with friendly people and great food. (We found a restaurant under an hour out of town which ranks among one of the best I've been to in Mexico; we hired a driver once, there and back, and we invited him to share our lunch. We went a second time by Uber and back by collectivo.)

Never mind..the point here is that I was amazed at how wonderful the swimming in some of the cenotes we visited. Some were easily large enough to swim laps.....
I loved them so much that I thought of planning a visit centered around the cenotes, getting around with a driver which was very reasonable.

I also could not figure out a compelling beach destination. I've been many years ago when Tulum was a barely heard of paradise, but now......nothing draws my interest and many photos show waves too rough for relaxing swimming.

If the cenotes appeal, you might find lovely rural hotels in one or two places and visit other cents from Merida or elsewhere.....
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Old Jun 25th, 2024, 10:51 AM
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Strangely ekscrunchy, I have sort of arrived at the same conclusion re our our trip. Of the remaining days we have to pay with , I am now looking at splitting those between Celestun or Sisal on the coast and the remainder at one or more Haciendas form where we can strike out to various cenotes.

Mountaindaisy, I found this blog very helpful for descriptions of the various Haciendas https://www.mexicotravelsecrets.com/...s-near-merida/
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Old Jun 26th, 2024, 04:00 AM
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Crellston: Also take a look at Bacalar...has anyone been there? Looks like it might be good for swimming and not overdeveloped. Long drive, though...I've never been that far south on that coast.

I'm not sure Celestun is good for a swimming fanatic..I spoke about it with the driver we used in Merida and we decided not to take the trip..who knows. Progreso holds little appeal for me and we did not take the drive there from Merida....surely the atmosphere is good but the beaches...not so much....

There's also Holbox (??)

As I mentioned, unless you want to deal with the goings-on in places like PDC or Tulum, I think your idea of staying on one of the rural haciendas and doing a "denote circuit" would be super...at least I think so..... Please keep us posted on this.....I'd go back in a quick minute, and it's a place a female (me) could go alone with no issues at all.......

Oh, how I wish I could find a place on the coast in Mexico with calm waters for good swimming that is not all built up......I'm not sure anyplace like that exists anymore...... One of my best beach vacations was renting a little shack from a family in a place called Huatulco, which I reached by bus from DF. No one had heard of this place except some surfers in Escondido....no running water, no nothing except the most glorious beaches, and fish.......Paradise. Then Fonatur lasered in and the rest is history.

I do wonder: The bays of Huatulco are glorious (I've been back even after it began to build up).....why do I NEVER read about anyone on Fodor's who visits Huatulco? Even with the hot4ls and alll, it still must have glorious natural beauty.
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Old Jun 26th, 2024, 06:33 AM
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Eks, if we go back to Mexico this winter, the plan has long been: Huatulco, Oaxaca and the BIG CITY. Never been to any of those three.
Mrs Z loves beaches, but is sure that she will get sick there. So far no luck in convincing her otherwise.

Celestun is actually a nice beach, a bit laid back, with nearby time shares and like that. Bring repellant.
*A brief Playa del Carmen story:
An old regular poster on the former Lonely Planet 'Thorn Tree' forum once joined a line of folks waiting for their outdoors beach massage at Playa.
One of the other folks waiting looked familiar.
It was frickin' Robert Plant!

I am done. the shiatsu

Last edited by zebec; Jun 26th, 2024 at 06:34 AM. Reason: whole lotta mexico
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Old Jun 26th, 2024, 09:24 PM
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Ekscrunchy - Bacalar does look amazing and was in my original plan for a more ambitious road trip around Yucatan which would have included Calakamal and possibly Belize. However , for a number of reasons , I decided to scrap that idea in favour of Mérida plus a couple of destinations within easier string distance. I am almost there on a final itinerary and will post on my planning thread for anyone who may be interested
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Old Jun 27th, 2024, 06:05 AM
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The two of you are among my fave posters here! I like your senses of humor!!

Crellston, let me know if your want the name of the driver we used while in Merida. You probably speak Spanish but he IS fluent in English.

You have to promise that when you are in Merida you will take the drive to PUEBLO PIBIL restaurant, hopefully on a weekend when they bury the meat in the pit outside...

https://pueblopibil.mx




So Robert Plant, eh????

Pretty WOW!!!!

By now Zebec knows my obsession with Willy de Ville. I did meet him, once, in a fairly nefarious situation......

Oh..here's one. In the old days, the lowly coach passengers had to walk through first class to get to their seats. I'm walking back along the aisle and who is sitting up in the front seats--John and Yoko. So I ask John for an autograph and he smiles and is about to give me one when Yoko grabs the paper and writesdown her name!! I did get both autographs but have ransacked my house and cannot find them.

Even better....I had the whip that Jorge Velasquez used in one of the Alydar/Affirmed Triple Crown races. (I was a rabid racing fan back then and knew lots of the jocks)
But I can't find the, either!!!!! But my favorite horse of all time was Forego.

How's the for veering off topic?!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jun 27th, 2024 at 06:08 AM.
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Old Jun 27th, 2024, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
But my favorite horse of all time was Forego.
Also a favorite of Frank's, the bartender at the Cedar Tavern back in the day.
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Old Jun 27th, 2024, 09:52 PM
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Thanks Eks, I may well come back to you for that drivers name. I am currently vacillating between hiring drivers as and when and renting a car for part or all of our time in the Yucatan. I do speak reasonable Spanish, enough to get by, though my listening skills leave something to be desired (not restricted to Spanish my wife tells me!) so and English speaking driver may be good for somewhere like the Ruta Puuc. . I kid myself that my Spanish is better that it is , sometimes with hilarious results!

Thanks for the link to the restaurant which looks amazing and is going on the list which I am just starting. Some American friends here in London are treating us to dinner at https://pujol.com.mxl in CDMX which is very exciting. I am beginning to research other places for our trip.

Zebec - Robert Plant! He was a classmate of an old friend of mind and I once got to meet him backstage a gig he was giving with his then band, The Honeydrippers. Sadly, I never got to see Led Zep....

Mountaindaisy - I just found this site which has some ideas for beaches near Merida https://traveltomerida.com/best-meri...es-in-yucatan/
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Old Jun 28th, 2024, 12:25 AM
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I mentioned swimming in Bacalar Lagoon in post 11 above.

We didn't swim at Celestun, but did the flamingo colony visit and had grilled fish lunch at one of the beach palapas. It's a laid back fishing village.
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