Valentine’s Day 2018 in the Riviera Maya

Valentine’s Day is here! And we prepared a list of cool activities to enjoy this special day with your partner and your friends. Valentine’s day is an extremely popular celebration, so make your plans early and reserve ASAP.

Do not worry if your budget is limited! Our options include an affordable, a medium range and a more expensive plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here are some ideas to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day:

Picnic at Xcacel-Xcacelito


Bring your own food and beverage and enjoy the best beach in the Riviera Maya, Xcacel. This is a favorite destination among locals and visitors alike. Also, its chilled atmosphere and beautiful natural surroundings will let you and your companion feel connected.

Keep in mind that the amenities are quite basic, so you need to bring everything you need: food, drinks, chairs or blankets, and umbrella, etc. as there is not a shop or restaurant in the area. This natural reserve is ideal for a romantic brunch or lunchs, as they close the beach at 5 pm.

Romantic dinner in a Romantic Restaurant


There are so many options to have a romantic Valentine’s day dinner in the Riviera Maya, it is really a matter of budget and personal taste. However, we picked the most popular Romantic restaurant in the Riviera Maya: Pavo Real by the Sea.

This beachfront restaurant has excellent reviews, and a good mix of international, vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant has put on a special menu for Valentine’s day, with a cost of 55 USD + 15% tip per person.

Fun day at a Catamaran in Puerto Aventuras


Surprise your loved one with a catamaran and snorkel tour, that includes an open bar, food and all the fun you can have. This service is provided by Catamaya and it departs from Puerto Aventuras, for a 4 hour tour full of fun and sun.

The tour is rated as one of the best things to do in Puerto Aventuras, so we are sure you’ll love the views to the Caribbean, the swaying of the boat and everything else! The price for this tour is $100 USD per person, and this include a national open bar and food.

So, which option would you pick? Do you have big plans for Valentine’s day? Please let us know about your Valentine’s, or if we are missing a cool restaurant or an extremely romantic experience in the Riviera Maya.

 Happy Valentine’s! From our friends at Let’s retire in Mexico!

Getting around Xcacel – Xcacelito

What a wonderful day to be at the beach! What about visitingXcacel- Xcacelito?

Close to the small town of Chemuyil, this beach is well known among locals, far away from the crowds and closer to the way mother nature intended beaches to be. Sand, sun and coconut trees welcome you to one of the most secluded beaches in the Mayan Riviera.

Immerse yourself in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, sunbath in the soft white sand and enjoy the sound of the waves and the breeze swaying the coconut trees.

Xcacel-Xcacelito is a nature reserve, it is protected by the federal government since it is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in Mexico and a vast area of mangroves. This reserve is about 362 hectares of pristine jungle, and one of the few beaches without major constructions.

If you go to Xcacel-Xcacelito, it is important to take your own drink and food, as well as chairs, umbrella, icebox or whatever you need. The place is quite basic and it only has a few toilets and showers available, there is no shops nearby so this is a trip you have to plan ahead of time.

Getting to Xcacel can be a little be tricky, it is not signaled on the road. It is located between Pueblo Chemuyil and Xel-Ha. There is a small sign but it is about 3 square feet, so keep your eyes open for a dirt road going to the beach.

There is plenty of things to do: from sunbathing to snorkeling in the nearby reef. Go for a short walk in the jungle and find a cenote with pristine waters or just enjoy the view and nature and relax. We are sure it is going to become one of your favorite places!!

It is important to get there early, since the closing time is enforced by 4:00 p.m. to make sure the turtles feel safe to make their nests on the beach. There is a voluntary donation of 10-20 pesos per person, this money is used to keep the place running.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and have fun at Xcacel-Xcacelito.

-By Bea Lozano

Beach Thursday in Riviera Maya– We are all Xcacel Lovers!

The Riviera Maya is a place best known for its incredibly clear waters; in some places it is almost impossible to determine how many shades of blue are visible! The Riviera Maya sand is so soft and powdery that it stirs through your toes almost like water.

One of those Riviera Maya beaches is Xcacel; which is not only breathtakingly beautiful but also one of the most important nesting spots for sea turtles.

I can’t help but go almost every I time can, after some 35 minutes driving south from Playa del Carmen, in a kind of “hidden” entrance between mangroves. After entering you drive for about 3 more minutes until you reach a security stand where the keepers will come and meet you and tell you some basic facts about Xcacel.

TOP Facts you need to know about Xcacel-Xcacelito!

In case you didn´t know, these are the TOP 4 facts you will learn as soon as you enter Xcacel-Xcacelito Sanctuary:

  1. It was designated as the Xcacel-Xcacelito Sea Turtle Sanctuary in 1998.
  2. Its total area is about 365 hectares that combine 3 different ecosystems; which are beach, mangrove and cenote (sinkhole).
  3. The Xcacel-Xcacelito sanctuary has a wide and long beach, sand dunes, an open cenote, mangroves and great wildlife diversity.
  4. There´s a “Turtle Camp” with volunteers run by the ecological organization Flora, Fauna y Cultura that´s been operating for the last 10 years on site.

Once you pass the entrance and park your car, take a walk on top a sand dune and what you will find will astound you; everywhere you look is a wide and white sandy beach, filled vegetation, indescribable shades of turquoise and blue, a few families or groups of young people setting up their umbrellas or looking for a shade underneath a palm tree, walking along the beach, swimming, jumping from wave to wave, taking pictures… and many endless and wonderful beach scenes.

The purity of diving in a Cenote next to the beach

After you set your camp and go for a swim, it is worth to take a short walk to the cenote; you will cross a wooden bridge and pass throughout the mangrove until you get to the cool and clear waters of this sinkhole. For those who are not fond of that salty sticky feeling on the skin, take a dip here to cool off, these waters will make your skin feel softer than ever, trust me!

There are also a few spots within the cenote where you can just sit on a mangrove branch or the wooden dock and let the fish do their job, a way of pedicure which you can find at spas in Playa del Carmen and other cities of the world but in its natural environment! If you are the kind of person who is very ticklish, then try to stay out the fishes way, if not, you´re in for a treat and it won´t cost you a thing!

I wish I could stay longer but sometimes it’s just time to leave!

After a long day of sun bathing, swimming, taking long walks to explore, having fun with the kids and taking pictures with your waterproof camera, around 4:30 to 5 in the afternoon it is time to leave! The beach closes around 5:30 to public and all that remains is a few keepers and the Sea Turtle Conservation program volunteers.

It is extremely important that you bring with you the following items: organic sunscreen and mosquito repellent, enough water, snacks, fruits or sandwiches, and last but not least, garbage bags so you can leave the place as clean as you found it; remember, this is a place where for a few months every year, 2 species of sea turtles come to lay their eggs; so let´s keep it safe for these amazing creatures.

So, if you –like me- live close enough, take a short drive from Playa del Carmen or Tulum and you are ready for a full day of pure fun, feeling blessed and thankful for the life you´ve got, come on over and become a Xcacel Lover yourself.

-By Bea Lozano