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Xpu Ha Beach – The Best Kept Secret in the Yucatan

Xpu Ha Beach – The Best Kept Secret in the Yucatan

Nestled right between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is an oasis most tourists drive right by Xpu Ha is the quintessential white sandy beach and turquoise waters we all think of planning a Mexico vacation.

We are guilty of staying in the popular towns Playa del Carmen and Tulum (which we love them both), but on our recent trip, we added on three nights of glamping at Serenity Camp, which is now one of our favorite hotels in the Yucatan.

Whether you are coming just to spend the day on Xpu Ha beach or a few nights at one of the hotels on the beach – here’s everything you need to know about Xpu Ha Mexico.


How Do You Say “Xpu Ha”

We are no experts in pronunciation, especially in another country, but Xpu Ha is commonly pronounced “shpoo ha.” It’s tricky to figure it out when looking at the spelling, but the “x” makes a “sh” sound in the Mayan language.


Where is Xpu Ha Beach

Xpu Ha is in the Yucatan Penisula of Mexico, right on the Caribbean Sea, with picturesque turquoise waters and white sandy beaches.

It’s located right off of Federal Highway 307, which is the main highway from Cancun all the way down the Riviera Maya and ending in Punta Gorda Belize. The highway goes by Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Xpu Ha, Tulum, Chetumal, and Belize City.

Driving Distance to Xpu Ha:

  • Cancun Airport: 50 miles / 1 hour
  • Cancun Hotel Zone: 62 miles / 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Playa del Carmen: 17 miles / 24 minutes
  • Tulum: 23 miles / 31 minutes
  • Merida: 195 miles/ 3 hour 20 minutes

How to Get to Xpu Ha

Drive To Xpu Ha

The easiest and fastest way is to drive yourself to Xpu Ha Beach. Renting a car is super cheap. We’ve paid $1-$20 a day but make sure to book online in advance to get these rates.

We always rent a car when visiting the Yucatan, and before you ask, “Is that safe?” please read our renting a car in Cancun article. This will answer all those questions and fears. Make sure to read Drive from Cancun to Tulum; you will take this exact route.

Not only is it super easy to drive in Mexico, but you’ll have the freedom to visit as many cenotes in Tulum, take your time visiting the Mayan ruins and all the best places in Riviera Maya, visit beaches like Xpu Ha, and eat at some of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen.

Private Transfer

The easiest and fastest way to Xpu Ha is with a private transfer. If you are looking for transportation from Cancun to Xpu Ha book online here for only $70. You’ll go straight from the airport to Xpu Ha and be there in under 90 minutes. They also offer transport from Playa del Carmen and Tulum hotels if you split your time into different areas.

Taxi

However, if renting a car in Mexico isn’t your thing, a taxi can easily bring you to Xpu Ha. They all will know right where to drop you off. When you’re done at the beach, taxis in the parking lot will be waiting to bring people back to the resorts. Make sure to negotiate a price with them before getting in the taxi.

Colectivo

Another cheap option is to take a Colectivo, which is a shared taxi that runs up and down the highway. You can catch a Colectivo to Xpu Ha from Playa del Carmen for 30 pesos (less than $2).

To catch a Colectivo in Playa del Carmen, go to Calle 2 Norte between Av. 15 and 20. Here you can catch a collectivo anywhere along Federal Hwy 307, like Xpu Ha, Akumal (swimming with the sea turtles), and Tulum.

If you are staying in a hotel along the highway, ask the reception where you can catch a Colectivo. Head to the road and flag down a van heading in the direction you’re going. If they have room, they’ll pull over.


a couple sitting on the roof of a rental jeep in Aruba during a honeymoon
Explore on your own
#1 Tip – Rent a car in Mexico
Have ultimate freedom and save tons of money on tours with your own rental car! Don’t worry – It’s safe (we’ve rented 20+ times), the roads are good, and it’s easier than you think! We always rent from Discover Cars, it’s easy & they have the best prices.

Xpu Ha Beach Hotels

If you want to stay in Xpu Ha instead of just coming for the day, there are a few hotels to choose from. The best Xpu Ha hotel, hands down, is Serenity Eco Luxury Tented Camp.

If glamping is on your bucket list, this is in an amazing location. These eco-luxury tents are everything you could ask for. If you don’t know what glamping is, it’s luxurious camping with all the bells & whistles.

*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*

Xpu Ha beach glamping tents

The tents are massive with air conditioning, hot showers, wifi, king size bed, minifridge, and hammocks on your patio. Our tent even had an outdoor jetted tub, which was a great spot to enjoy a glass of wine at night looking at the stars.

A quick walk down the beach path, and you’re on the beach where there is Serenity Beach Club. Guests of the hotel have free use of the beach chairs all day. We spent two full days hanging out here working on our tan. We highly suggest getting some guacamole and ceviche.

Woman by the pool in Xpu Ha Mexico

The grounds at Serenity are super zen, and the decor is gorgeous. After a day at the beach club, head to the pool and grab a drink at the main bar. Happy hour runs until 5 pm with 2 for 1 mojitos & daiquiris.

The restaurant onsite includes breakfast for all guests and also serves lunch & dinner for those not wanting to leave. The lunch menu has Mexican and American food options, and the dinner menu is Asian-themed and includes grilled fish/steaks.


Things To Do in Xpu Ha

There are tons of things to do right on Xpu Ha beach, and even some of the best cenotes in the Yucatan are right across the street.

Xpu Ha Beach Club from above - White sand beach with lounge chairs

1. Lounge at a Serenity Beach Club

Spend the entire day relaxing on the beach at Serenity Beach Club. If you’re staying at the hotel, beach chairs are free; otherwise, it’s 500 pesos per person in consumption. The prices are good – 105 pesos cocktail, 40/45 pesos beer,  105 guacamole, 200+ ceviche, and sandwichs/nachos/burritos 180-200.

There are plenty of chairs with umbrellas if you need a break from the sun. There are chairs in the front for those working on their tan. Ladies, I highly suggest bringing a bottle of Maui Babe Browning Lotion. I swear by this stuff!

Boat in Negril Parasailing with a colorful parachute

2. Soar above the ocean parasailing

Xpu Ha Beach looks even more gorgeous from above. Get your adrenaline going as you take to the sky, parasailing above the ocean. If you haven’t done it yet, definitely give it a try. We’ve parasailed before in Negril Jamaica, Langkawi Malaysia, and Labadee Haiti.

3. Strap on a mask and go snorkeling off of Xpu Ha Beach

If you’re spending a week on the beach, it’s best to bring your own snorkel gear from home, like this snorkel set for under $15. You’ll easily spend $10 a day renting gear on the beach and at cenotes.

If you don’t want to bring it with there will be plenty of shops you can purchase a snorkel set from, Walmart in Playa del Carmen will have the best prices. If you’ve never snorkeled before or snorkeling freaks you out, consider trying the new full-face snorkel mask.

drone photo of Xpu Ha Beach and hotel grounds - white sand and clear waters

4. Rent a Jetski

Head off into the ocean on a jet ski. It’s fun playing around with jet skis in the water and flying across the water. There aren’t too many jet skis out in Xpu Ha. We found only two jetski vendors nearby by Serenity Beach Club.

5. Take a kitesurfing lesson

After sitting on the beach for a while watching the kitesurfers, you’ll get the itch to head out there and see what it’s all about. Head over to the kitesurfing school and give it a go!

Woman swimming in Cenote El Jardin near Xpu ha

6. Visit Cenote El Jardin or Cenote Azul

Right across the street from Xpu Ha Beach are a few of the best cenotes in Mexico. If you’re staying at Serenity Camp, we suggest going right when they open, so you have the whole thing to yourself before more tourists arrive.

7. Wake up early for sunrise on Xpu Ha Beach

The Yucatan has some great sunrises, and if you visit in the winter, you don’t have to get up super early to catch them either. Check the weather app the night before to find out when sunrise is and then head to the beach at least 15 minutes before.

On our recent trip, you could find us out on the beach for sunrise from 7:15 am to 8 am, and then we’d head back to camp for breakfast.

Related Post: Bacalar -Hidden Gem in the Yucatan

8. Get a massage on the beach

It’s always a good time for a massage. On our last trip, I got the 50-minute full-body relaxing massage for $40 USD or 600 pesos. The prices are better in pesos. Right next to Serenity Beach Club, there is a beach massage white tent with two ladies and two tables.

They have a few massage options with both 30 minutes and 50 minutes. If you want a more quiet location, there is a spa at the Serenity Eco Camp as well. Don’t forget to read our tipping in Mexico guide.


Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Xpu Ha

If you’ve got more time to explore Mexico, there are some amazing places in Mexico nearby you should check out. If you can’t make it on this trip, consider them on your next trip. Make sure to check out some of our other Mexico articles to fuel your wanderlust.

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pinterest pin for Xpu Ha Beach Mexico - Aerial photo of the beach and beach club

Have you been to Xpu Ha? We’d love to hear below in the comments why you love it and some of your favorite places to visit. We know we’ll be back again soon.

NEEM

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

We went here for years and found it by accident when the only sign was X 4. 1984. I drove down a desolate overgrown by jungle rudimentary road to a large sand dune. Got out, walked to the top of the dune and there were 4 palapa huts, some trailers in the jungle folks from new orleans, 6 large hull open fishing boats, a circular very small restaurant called Hilarios after the land owner with great grilled conch and a fishing boat sawn in half lengthwise that was the beach bar. That was it besides the Cenote. That was a yearly trip. I stopped going when I saw them moving sand. I knew Playa when it was a 1500 person year round fishing village and that it was all coming towards Hilarios so we didn't go back. Nothing like it is now but it was and I am sure remains a diamond in the rough.

isabella Biava

Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Me tooo! It was in 2000 or so, I lost count! and there was only a shack that was serving the best guacamole ever! No beach clubs no hotels, it was my Sunday secret place to rest after an intense working week. I miss those days!!

Adam

Monday 24th of February 2020

I would have loved to see this area back then. I still love it now, but I am sure it was amazing then.

R

Friday 10th of January 2020

I love Xpu-Ha-ha beach! Haven’t been in years. Not since Club Maeva/Robinson Club was there. Their beach was limited to just their guests.It was the most incredibly clear water and smooth sand! I stayed at Secrets Akumal last year. It was nice enough, but there were way to many people on the beach and in the water, so the sand was always stirred up causing the water to be cloudy. Any recommendations for a good place on Xpu-Ha these days?

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Xpu Ha is an amazing place, and you should go back. We suggest Serenity luxury glamping, this is where we stayed and had a great time. The price is great and the location can't be beaten.

Zita

Saturday 6th of July 2019

Do you know how much the para sailing cost?

Adam

Sunday 14th of July 2019

Prices can vary based on season, number of people, and it really comes down to your negotiating skills.

Zita

Saturday 6th of July 2019

How many minutes walk would you say it is from the main road to the beach of Xpu Ha ( not to the camp ) ? I will travel with my 7 year old next year. Just wanting to make sure the hike is not too long. And do they ask for an international drivers licence when you rent a car? ( I'm from the Netherlands )

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Saturday 6th of July 2019

We've personally never been asked to show our international drivers license at the rental car agency. HOWEVER, we always travel with one just in case. The walk is on a gravel road about 5-10 minutes I would estimate.

Vicky

Sunday 16th of September 2018

Hi! I’m also staying at serenity camp. So i I guess the van from playa carmen to xpu ha just pull over near to the hotel. How did you get from there to the hotel? Did you take a taxi or just walk to the hotel? I want to know if where you take off is really near from the hotel. Thanks for your response!

Adam

Monday 17th of September 2018

You can take the collectivo vans to Serenity Camp and they will drop you at the side of the main road. The only trouble with this is that the camp is a little way down a gravel road toward the beach, plus if you are coming from the north they will let you off on the opposite side of the road. Depending on how many bags you have this might be more work than you're up for, but it's going to save you a lot of money over a taxi. Alternatively, you could take a Van to one of the near popular cenotes and then take a taxi from there right to the doors of the camp. Taxis should be available at one of the bigger cenotes like Cenote Azul or Jardin.

We always rent a car while in this part of Mexico. They are pretty cheap and a great way to get around, we have an article on this too https://www.gettingstamped.com/renting-a-car-in-cancun-mexico/

When leaving the camp you can walk out to the main road again and get a van or a taxi too. Hope that helps, safe travels!