Nestled right between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is an oasis most tourist 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 3 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 spending 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 and especially those in another country, but Xpu Ha commonly pronounced “shpoo ha.” It’s a tricky one to figure it out when looking at the spelling, but the “x” makes an “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 the picturesque turquoises 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
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. 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, visit beaches like Xpu Ha, and eat at some of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
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 there will be taxis in the parking lot waiting to bring people back to the resorts. Make sure to negotiate a price with them before getting in the taxi.
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 going 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.
Xpu Ha Beach Hotels
If you are looking 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.
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.
The grounds at Serenity are super zen and the decor is gorgeous. After a day at the beach club make sure to 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 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.
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 in case you need to a break from the sun. There are chairs in the front for those working on their tan. Ladies I highly suggest bring a bottle of Maui Babe Browning lotion, I swear by this stuff!
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.
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 awhile 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!
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 tourist 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. Make sure to 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.
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.
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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.This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure