Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Lighthouse Beach

Beach #6 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Lighthouse Beach

For those looking for a beautiful beach, Playa El Faro (Lighthouse Beach) is one of the best places to be. Not only does it have the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, a winning combo of the Caribbean Sea, but also it is located in the heart of Playa del Carmen.

Lighthouse Beach is just off the famous 5th Avenue, and close to many bars, restaurants and beach clubs. Why bother visiting deserted beaches and having to carry so much stuff? Lighthouse Beach has everything you need for a fantastic day at the beach.

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Lighthouse Beach: General Information

Lighthouse beach is a popular spot for those looking to spend a day at the beach without the hassle of driving, carrying supplies and struggling to find a bathroom. Find a comfortable place where you would like to spend the day either on at bar, a beach club or just grab a spot on the sand and enjoy.

If your budget is tight, do not worry as the access to the beach is free and you can bring your own food and beverages, as Lighthouse Beach is also a good option. Another advantage is that several convenience stores are not very far away, so if you need an extra drink or a tasty snack, they are easily accessible.

Lighthouse Beach: Getting There
Lighthouse / El Faro Beach
10 street between 5th avenue and the beach
Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo CP 77710

Walking: If you are on 5th avenue, walk to 10th street and towards the beach. When you reach the lighthouse you know you have arrived.
Driving: From the Federal Highway 307 take the Constituyentes Avenue Exit and turn towards the beach (east). It is really difficult to find a parking place on constituyentes, there is a parking lot under Plaza Alegria on 5th avenue but it also has limited spaces, so if you see a parking space take it and walk to the beach.

Lighthouse Beach: Things To do

  • There is diving centers and sailing Catamaran tours leaving from this area, you might inquire about costs for these activities.
  • Enjoying a nice cold drink and your favorite Mexican snacks: Guacamole, Chips and Salsa, Nachos, etc.
  • Lighthouse Beach is a perfect place to get in some people watching, suntan and relax.
  • If you are into relaxation, there are masseuses offering massages on the beach.
  • The beach in this area is very calm, it is an ideal to snorkel, and go paddle boarding or kayaking.

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Lighthouse Beach: Recommendations

  • Arriving early will let you get the best lounge chair or maybe a nice shaded area under a palm tree or palapa. Some bars and beach clubs have specials early in the day as there are fewer customers.
  • If you decide to hire a tour or partake in a relaxing beach massage, shop around and do not take the first rate offered to you. This will insure that you receive a fair price for the service provided.
  • Bring a bag to carry your trash with you, as there are no trash cans on the beach. Make sure to leave the area cleaner than when you got there.

Learn about the different beaches throughout the Riviera Maya, and count down with us to the Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya every Friday.

If you are looking for the perfect beach, you can follow our blog and learn about other local popular spots. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

There are many luxury real estate properties located on or near Lighthouse Beach. If you are interested in Playa del Carmen real estate please contact one of the Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. We have the credentials and expertise and we are here to help you find your dream home in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We make it happen! 

10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. Despite their name, the whale shark is neither a whale nor a mammal; it is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known fish species. The whale part of the name comes from its sheer size. The whale shark is an Ovoviviparous species, this means that it keeps its eggs inside her body and once they are mature; tiny whale sharks emerge alive from the mother’s body.

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  1. The whale shark has an extremely thick skin, in some cases up to four inches thick. In addition, their skin has a much darker tone than the rest of the fish with white patterns comprising dots, vertical and horizontal lines; making really interesting patterns.
  1. The whale sharks huge mouth can be as big as five feet long, but swimming alongside a whale shark is 100% safe as they have no interest in consuming humans. They also have a filtration system that does not allow the passage of anything bigger than small fish like sardines and their many rows of tiny teeth are located in the back of their mouth; so they can not really harm anyone.

 photo whalesharkteeth_zps9pmy2akf.jpg Whale Shark Teeth

  1. These majestic animals have an advanced filtration system that allows them to eat without having to swim, compared to other animals that require them to move forward to push water inside their mouth. The whale shark is able to use their gills to pull water into their mouth, where it accumulates plankton, krill and other small seafood like sardines or anchovies.
  1. These fish live in tropical waters at an average 700 meters deep. They are generally solitary animals, but are grouped when they find an area rich in food.
  1. The whale shark is known to be the world’s largest fish, with verified specimens as long as 40 feet; that is as long as a trailer. There are many reported sightings of much bigger whale sharks, over 65 feet long; but they have not been documented and therefore are considered a myth.
  1. Despite its imposing size, whale sharks are completely harmless and peaceful creatures. Tourists can swim very close them, and in the past visitors were even allowed to even touch them but this is no longer permitted.

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  1. Summer is the best season to observe these magnificent creatures, especially the months from June to September. The Riviera Maya has many tour companies that organize whale shark tours, which includes everything you need to enjoy this experience.
  1. If you live in the Riviera Maya or are vacationing here, the best places to find whale sharks are in the area between Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox Island.
  1. Each year an estimated 1,400 whale shark reach the coasts of the peninsula, and about 200 approach the islands of Holbox and Contoy in the state of Quintana Roo.

Swimming with the whale sharks is a once in a lifetime experience, remember this is a peaceful creature but there have been reports of them attacking boats; after being harassed. If you are going on a whale shark tour, respect the whale sharks and follow the indications given by your tour guide.

Would you like to partake in unique experiences like this all the time? Consider retiring or purchasing a vacation home in Mexico there are so many things to do here, you will never run out of once in a lifetime experiences.

From dreaming to owning your dream home in Mexico, Top Mexico Real Estate has a decade team of Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives with the experience in helping foreigners become homeowners in Mexico.

Top Mexico Real Estate…

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The Miracle of Life: Akumal Sea Turtle Nesting Season

The miracle of life is an amazing thing. For millions of years life on our planet has been the sole pillar of everything we know and love. It all really comes down to creating life, and keeping it that way for millions upon millions of years to come. And to be able to witness the miracle of life – be it human or otherwise – is a unique experience that not very many people get to live in their lifetime.

Amongst the many amazing species that call the Riviera Maya home is the sea turtle. In the world, there are eight existing sea turtle species – and most of them are critically endangered. Of these eight species, seven of them live and nest in Mexican beaches. We are a privileged country! And out of those, four nest in the gorgeous, pristine beaches of Quintana Roo.

However, due to heavy tourist congestion, sea turtles start migrating south to find isolated beaches that less humans transit through. And if that seems impossible, they settle for those where there are sea turtle protection programs that (try to) control the traffic of people. One of those places, and the most popular for both swimming with these majestic animals and witnessing sea turtle nesting season, is Akumal.

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Akumal means “Place of the Turtles” in Mayan (‘Ak’ means turtle; ‘Umal’ means place). The name is, of course, justified, as this is not only one of the most important nesting beaches in the region, but it is also one of the biggest natural homes to juvenile sea turtles in the area. This tranquil bay area – very popular amongst tourists – is home to approximately 40 juvenile sea turtles. This is their natural habitat, as it is a popular feeding area for them due to the amounts of sea grass that the bay possesses.

While these juvenile turtles come and go on a daily basis, the phenomenon known as “sea turtle season” refers strictly to the nesting season, which takes place between May and September every year. Now, this season is not a general rule for all eight species, but to the three that nest in Akumal: caretta caretta (loggerhead), chelonia mydas (green turtle), and the occasional eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill turtle) – hey, now you know three scientific names to impress your friends!

Life Cycle

The most common species to nest in the region are the loggerhead and the green sea turtles, with record over 900 nests in 2013 (in Akumal) throughout the whole season, for both species. However, there are also leatherbacks and hawksbill nests found throughout the state. The life cycle of a sea turtle is fairly simple:

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  • Mating – adult female sea turtles come out to the beach to nest between May and September. They can lay anywhere between 80 and 120 eggs, depending on species.
  • Incubation – this period lasts approximately 45 to 55 days.
  • Hatching – after the incubation period, hatchlings pop out of their shells and make their way out to the ocean*.
  • The Lost Years – the first three years of a sea turtle are referred to as “the lost years” because they migrate to different feeding areas and are hard to keep track of.
  • Juvenile Years – for the next 15 years they migrate around the world to feeding areas until they reach adulthood.
  • Adulthood – this is when they reach their breeding age, which goes from 15 to 50 years old.
  • Mating – adult male turtles court females in order for the cycle to continue.
  • Lifespan – sea turtles can live up to 100 years old, depending on species.

*Unfortunately, only one out of 1,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood for different reasons:

  • Natural reasons – during incubation, raccoons and crabs dig the nests and feed on the eggs. After hatching, seagulls target turtles, as they are soft-shelled and easy to digest. Through their first years, sharks and whales can eat them, too.
  • Human Interaction – ocean pollution, garbage, obstacles on the beaches, accidental fishing, ‘hit and run’ (when boats hit turtles), and more, are the major cause of death in sea turtles.

How You Can Help and Experience Nesting Season

There are many ways to get involved in the conservation process:

  • Volunteering – sea turtle camps rely 100% on volunteer work. Here they teach you the proper way to patrol and monitor sea turtles throughout nesting season (working with both adults and hatchlings). Volunteer work costs both financially and physically, but it is worth experiencing.
  • Eco-touring – the beaches on which these turtles nest are open to the public (places such as Xpu-Ha close the access at night, but you can stay at a hotel there), so the best way to help with conservation is by education yourself as to what you can and cannot do on the beach (such as leaving garbage or obstacles for the turtles). You can contact a sea turtle camp and find out if they offer educational night walks where you get to witness the nesting process, or if they will have hatchling releases for you to see. Donating to these programs is a huge contribution, as they are NGOs and do not profit from their work.

While Akumal is certainly not the only nesting beach in the Riviera Maya, it is the most popular one – specially because there are juvenile sea turtles swimming in the bay every day of the year. It’s their home, after all. However, you can witness the nesting season at other beaches such as Xpu-Ha, Xcacel, Sian Ka’an, Tulum and Cancun.

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Don’t miss the opportunity of experiencing this unique and life-changing event. Sea turtles are beautiful creatures and they depend on you to continue gracing the oceans we all visit the Riviera Maya for.

If you wish their home will someday be your home, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you in the process of relocating and finding your dream home in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Xpu-Ha Beach

Beach #9 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Xpu-Ha Beach

Xpu-Ha Beach: General Information
One of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya, Xpu-Ha beach is a little known gem on the Mexican Caribbean. Located only 15 miles south of Playa del Carmen, Xpu-Ha beach awaits for those looking for a quiet beach to enjoy.

If you want to do more than a day trip to Xpu-Ha, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area. Hotel Esencia, Barcelo Maya Xpu-Ha palace and Catalonia Royal Tulum, among others and Club La Playa Xpu-Ha offers delicious food and live music on the weekends.

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Xpu-Ha Beach: Getting there
Xpu- Ha is located between Puerto Aventuras and Akumal, approximately 54 miles south of the Cancun International Airport and 21 miles north of Tulum. There are not road signs, so you have to look for the La Playa Xpu-Ha Beach club to know you have arrived at your destination.

By Car: If you are leaving from Cancun, head south on the 307 Federal Highway and drive for about an hour, from Playa del Carmen it will take you 30 minutes to get there. You will see signs for the big hotels like Esencia and Catalonia, but a good idea is to go to La Playa Xpu-Ha; as you can have a drink, lounge in the chairs and enjoy the beach.

By Van: If you are on a budget, Colectivos are a good way to get to Akumal. These white vans fit 10-14 passengers, and cover the route between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. To stop them wave your hand and tell the driver where you want to go, make sure to ask for the price to your destination. The fare from Playa del Carmen to Xpu-Ha costs approximately $2 US.

Xpu-Ha Beach: Things to do
Do not be deceived by the small size of this destination, there is plenty of things to do in Xpu-Ha. Here is a list of things you can do at Xpu-Ha Beach.

  1. Relax: Because enjoying the beach and a cold drink might not been enough; why not take advantage of the beautiful view and have one of the local masseuses give you a relaxing massage on the beach?
  1. Diving: It doesn’t matter if you have never dived in your life or if you are an expert, these pristine waters will be the best place to practice this sport. Xpu-Ha is the home of Bahia Divers, one of the best rated diving company’s in the Riviera Maya.
  1. Ride: What better way to get around the Riviera Maya than on a Harley Davidson motorcycle? That is possible, if you visit Harley Adventures, this local business rents motorcycles to tourists. So take in the sights on your hog and enjoy the Caribbean breeze.
  1. Fly: Stay fit and learn how to kiteboarding. Kiteboarding is a different way to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Xpu-Ha. Morph Kiteboarding offers individual, group or refresher classes for everyone interested in flying on the waves of the ocean.

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Xpu-Ha is such a beautiful destination, it will take your breath away! This beautiful beach is ideal for a day trip, as you can enjoy all the fun activities, delicious food and get in a bit of relaxation.

We hope you enjoy Xpu-Ha beach. Keep up to date with the best beaches in paradise by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday and watch all of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya Videos! If you are in search for the perfect beach to spend the day at, make sure you check out all the options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate…

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5 of Mexico’s Best Kept Secrets – Travel Tips for Expats and Vacationers

Now, if you’ve been reading our blogs or otherwise making use of the Top Mexico website, 3 of the 5 of these will be no secret to you, but this is a nice overview of 5 mostly undiscovered locations in Mexico.  These locations are ideal for your own discovery road trips – which are a great way to spend retirement years or vacations in this beautiful country – or you can even choose them as your home away from home!



So, from Fodor’s, here are excerpts from “Undiscovered Mexico: 5 Places You Haven’t Been”:




Costalegre (from Costa Alegre, “Coast of Joy”), also known as the “Virgin Coast,” is a series of beaches, capes, and bays set like pearly brooches along the Pacific coast, just south of Puerto Vallarta. If travelers know Costalegre at all, it’s for the fabulous eco-centric jetsetting celebrity haunt, El Careyes, with its polo fields, golf courses, turtle recovery program, and spectacular multi-million-dollar cliff-side villas exploding with color. But you don’t have to be Heidi Klum (who owns), or Uma Thurman and Francis Ford Coppola (who rent), to enjoy its wonders. …





The vision of cobblestone streets lined with craft markets and cafes, street vendors selling authentic foods, magnificent museums, and splendid colonial architecture lives in Morelia, tucked away in the central mountains. The capital of the state of Michoacan was founded in 1541 under the name Valladolid, and its original layout comprises a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 17th-century aqueduct, notable for 253 stately arches, still supplies water to the city. Most of the grandest structures date back to the 18th century, encompassing the various architectural styles that have been fashionable in Mexico, but most magnificent is the Cathedral, with its twin 200-foot bell towers. Nearly all are constructed of cantera (pink stone), really more ecru, which is particularly stunning at dusk. …



Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada


Tequila, tacos and… Tempranillo? Not to mention Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and more? Surprise: the Western Hemisphere’s first winery was established in 1597 in Coahuila. And the better-known Argentine and Chilean vineyards literally stemmed from Mexican grafts. Today, Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe, just northeast of Ensenada and 75 miles south of San Diego, is wine central, with cool Pacific breezes and morning fogs mimicking the climatic conditions of the Napa or Rhône Valleys. Despite medals at international competitions and raves from such influential industry icons as Robert Mondavi, it remains undiscovered—meaning lower prices and a warm welcome, often from the vintners themselves. …





If you believe all the Yucatan has to offer aside from Mayan ruins is pre-fab Cancun and Riviera Maya all-inclusives, think again. Two hundred miles west of Cancun, cosmopolitan Merida remains virtually unknown to American tourists despite its reputation as one of Mexico’s safest and most gracious cities. Merida is nicknamed “The White City:” some claim for the gleaming limestone of the buildings, others for the residents’ cleanliness bordering on fetish. The Sunday market here jams with live bands and locals selling traditional crafts. The Paseo de Montejo, often called Mexico’s Champs-Elysées, offers chic boutiques, art galleries, and sidewalk cafes. You can also tour Mérida’s boulevards and plazas by horse-drawn calesa. …



Mazunte/San Agustinillo


Dubbed both the Costa Chica (“Little Coast,” despite Pacific swells that lure surfers) and the Riviera Oaxaqueña (despite its poverty), the 75-mile stretch between Puerto Escondido and the failed Cancun-wannabe Huatalco features gorgeous, unspoiled beaches the color of champagne and just as apt to make you feel giddy. The Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, percolating with resurgent coffee plantations, practically tumble down to the Pacific, forming a glorious backdrop. …



You can read the entire article there.  Of course, there are many other well-kept secrets in Mexico, such as Campeche, but this list is good one.



-by Thomas Lloyd
Mexico Real Estate Investment Kit

Today, Playa del Carmen’s Deep Sea Fishing Tournament Starts! – Video

If you love fishing, then Playa del Carmen really would be your cup of tea!


This morning, Playa del Carmen’s annual fishing tournament was kicked off.  Take a look at this video from Mexico Travel News:



This is one of the winners from last year’s tournament, I believe:


Here’s a shot of “the big catch” on a boat. (This is not in the tournament, but gives you a taste of what fishing in Playa del Carmen is like:)


If you’re around, it’d be great to head out and see some of the prize catches. If not, well you know what you can plan for the next time you’re here in Playa!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Insurance Kit

See a Whole New World; Diving in The Coral Reef

Living in MexicoThere are many places to go diving all over the world. But I don’t have to go very far. Living in Mexico gives me a great chance to keep my diving skills sharp, and my mind clear.


Off the coast of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel is the second largest reef in the world. It’s full of all kinds of colorful animals. Fish, squid, octopus, eels, stingrays and all the extras like coral formations and structures. Its like an underwater museum that never closes, it just changes and becomes more amazing.


Take night diving for example. I few weeks ago we went for a night dive. I must admit I was pretty scared to jump into the ocean at 7pm at night, but I was also so excited to see a different kind of coral reef. The animals that you see during the day are amazing; don’t get me wrong, but at night the atmosphere changes completely.


You can see different fish and some animals that I have never seen before. The water seems so much calmer and quiet with the hustle and bustle of the day gone. The animals seem to relax back into their natural routine, like they are not on display anymore. Its almost like they are off the clock.


And don’t freak out about not being able to see, you are armed with a flashlight that helps you eyes focus on what is in front of you. During a day dive, you eyes tend to wander around, but on a night dive you are focus and everything is a new surprise.; Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely


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