Xcacel (pronounced es-ca-shell) Beach is one of the Riviera Maya’s hidden beaches and one which we highly recommend for a fun day trip. Far from the tourist crowd of Playa del Carmen or Cancun, at Xcacel Beach you will discover both pristine white sandy beaches and crystalline waters which are ideal for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. Located just a few miles outside of Akumal on the way to Tulum, Xcacel’s powdery clean beach is a true Mexican gem.
Unspoiled Beaches and Coral Reefs
Xcacel Beach is a beautiful unprotected spot to while away the day. There is a small coral reef located to the north end of the beach which is worth exploring if you have the time. There are no restaurants or stores on this stretch of the Riviera Maya, so make sure you bring everything that you need to make the most of an afternoon in the sun including water and snacks. And don’t forget to take all of your trash with you when you leave.
While there are no stores located near the area, Xcacel Beach does have conveniently located bathrooms and showers to use before you enter and depart the beach area. It also features a small picnic area under the shade of the palm trees for your dining convenience.
Try a pedicure with fish nibbling off the callouses.
The remote beach doubles as a turtle sanctuary that works to protect the nesting areas and the hatching of sea turtles, specifically the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle. The turtle nests are clearly marked by raised mounds of sand and highlighted by wooden posts. These areas are to be avoided by visitors at all times. For this reason, the beach is only open during the hours of 9 am and 5 pm during nesting season (May to October) and any visitors entering the beach will be expected to pay a donation of 10-20 pesos per person to assist with the turtle protection project.
Like many of the sites in Mexico, you will find a great deal of wildlife including threatened species living in the jungle areas. These include skunks, bell snakes, coatis and black eagles. No domestic animals including cats or dogs are allowed access to the beach for the protection of the wildlife.
One of the unique reasons to visit Xcacel Beach is the small mangrove cenote known as Xcacelito which makes for a cool swim on a hot day. Cenotes in Mexico are well worth the visit and highlight the natural beauty this country has to offer. And if you fancy a fish pedicure or a fish spa, the small tropical fish inhabiting the clear waters of the cenote will be only too happy to oblige. Make sure you wash your feet and try to avoid the application of sunscreen before swimming in the cenote. The fresh water cenote is a gentle 10-minute walk on a clearly marked path from the beach.
Xcacel Beach and the nearby cenote are a favorite for both tourists and locals alike. If you aren’t a fan of crowds, then it is best to avoid visiting on a Sunday. However, any other day will ensure you can enjoy the spectacular view of the clear turquoise ocean and the fresh cenote in relative peace.