Playa Xpu Ha is hands down my favorite beach in Playa del Carmen, and I would consider it to be one of the best beaches in Riviera Maya. What makes Xpu Ha so great? Gorgeous white sand, stunningly calm turquoise water, and just the right amount of beach clubs and amenities.
Playa Xpu Ha is not super well known by tourists but rather a favorite among Playa del Carmen locals. It’s your quintessential Caribbean beach and a picture perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy a frozen cocktail during your Mexican vacation. In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know to visit Playa Xpu Ha including how to get there, things to do, and places to stay nearby.
Where is Playa Xpu Ha Mexico?
Playa Xpu Ha (pronounced ISH-PU-HA) is located about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and equal distance north of Tulum. Coming from Playa del Carmen, the entrance is on the left hand side of the main highway 307 just after passing Puerto Aventuras.
How to Get to Xpu Ha
The easiest way to get to Playa Xpu Ha is by renting a car. Take the main highway 307 directly south from Playa del Carmen towards Tulum for about 15 miles. There is a sign marking the entrance on the left hand side of the highway not long after passing Puerto Aventuras. Right after you pass the Pemex gas station on the right side of the highway, you’ll want to make a U-turn to get to the other side of the highway where the entrance is located. Once you arrive, you’ll have to pay the entrance fee at the main gate and then drive down a dirt road to the beach and parking area.
By Public Transportation
You can also reach Playa Xpu Ha by taking a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen. The main bus depot in Playa del Carmen is located at 2nd Avenue and 20th street. There will be a line of vans on the side of the street so make sure you get on one that is headed to Tulum. Tell the driver you are going to Xpu Ha and they will drop you off on the side of the highway. It’s also a good idea to watch the GPS on your phone so you know when you’re getting close. The cost should be less than $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) each way. Once you exit the van, you’ll need to cross the highway to the Xpu Ha gate, where you’ll pay the entrance fee. It’s then a 10-12 minute walk down a dirt road to the beach.
Taxis can easily be hailed almost anywhere in Playa del Carmen and taken to Xpu Ha. The rates will depend on the taxi driver but I would estimate around $400 pesos (~$20 USD) each way. For the return trip, there may be taxis waiting outside the beach club, but if not you will have to flag a taxi down on the highway.
Know Before You Go
The entrance fee for Playa Xpu Ha is $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) per person. There is a parking attendant at the entrance not far from the highway who will collect your money and give you a wristband for admission to the beach. Make sure to have enough cash on hand as credit cards are not accepted.
Playa Xpu Ha is open daily from 10:00am–6:00pm. I would recommend getting there early to get the best parking and prime spots on the beach.
One resource I’ve found super useful is that La Playa Xpu Ha Beach Club posts pictures of the Xpu Ha beach conditions daily on their Facebook page. This is a great way to check out the weather, waves, seaweed, etc. before you go. You can take a look at the photos everyday on their Facebook page here.
Playa Xpu Ha Beach Clubs
Xpu Ha is a great option because it has a few different beach clubs but there’s also plenty of space where you can set up your own beach blanket and umbrella if you prefer. I’ve visited many times with friends and we’ve brought our own cooler and snacks to enjoy throughout the day. Yet, there are some days when I prefer to be a beach bum and be served frozen margaritas under the shade. If you’re more interested in having chair rentals and some food and beverage, below are a couple beach clubs I would recommend:
Serenity Beach Club
My favorite beach club at Xpu Ha is Serenity Beach Club, which offers comfortable lounge chairs and beach bed rentals, as well as a full service restaurant and bar. I would recommend getting there early so you can score lounge chairs in the first row so you have the best view of the ocean. The menu offers a good variety of Mexican food, American food, and sushi. The food and drinks are decent, not stellar, but hit the spot when you’re craving nachos and a margarita. Depending on the season, there is a minimum consumption charge and credit cards are accepted for payment.
La Playa Xpu Ha Beach Club
Another popular beach club at Xpu Ha is La Playa Xpu Ha Beach Club. It is more of a beachfront restaurant with tables, chairs, and palapas and most of the time they have a band with live music. La Playa Xpu Ha Beach Club offers a pretty standard Mexican/American menu including nachos, tacos, seafood, hamburgers, beer, cocktails, etc. You can find more information on their website here.
Things to Do at Xpu Ha
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Xpu Ha Beach is a great place to try stand up paddleboarding as the waves are generally calm, which will make it much easier and more enjoyable. There are paddleboard rentals located right on the beach.
They are a variety of water sports available for rent at Xpu Ha including kayaks, jet skis, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. It’s easy to spot the sales people on the beach for rates and information.
Xpu Ha is a great place to snorkel as the water is usually calm and the water is clear. You’ll definitely want to bring your own snorkel gear if you want to snorkel off the beach. There are also tour sales on the beach offering a variety of snorkeling and scuba diving tours to locations nearby.
Banana Boat Ride
If you’ve never done the banana boat ride, I would recommend trying it at least once! It’s a yellow banana-shaped raft that is pulled by a motor boat and it’s the driver’s job to give you a wild ride! It’s super exhilarating and quite hysterical as you’ll most likely fall off. I’ve done it in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and my friends and I still talk about how much fun it was. At Xpu Ha, just look for the banana boat in the water and the sales people on the beach nearby will give you the rates and information.
What to Bring
Where to Stay near Xpu Ha
If you’re looking for hotels near Xpu Ha, below are a few recommended hotels that are located nearby. I personally haven’t stayed at them but I would definitely recommend this area as you’ll have access to one of the best beaches in Riviera Maya.
Hotel Esencia is the cutest Mexican boutique hotel located right on Xpu Ha Beach. I discovered it on Instagram when I first moved to Playa del Carmen and have been obsessed with it ever since. It’s a high end boutique luxury hotel and the minimalistic Mexican design elements on the property are just stunning.
Catalonia Royal Tulum Beach is an adults only all-inclusive resort offering over 5 different restaurants and bars. I’ve stayed at Catalonia Maroma (north of Playa del Carmen) and was impressed by the Catalonia brand. The Riviera Maya resorts are not super luxurious, but are well maintained and good value for the money. The quality of food and variety of restaurants was also much better than other all-inclusive resorts that I have stayed at.
Barcelo Riviera Maya is a brand new adults only all-inclusive resort, which is located just north of Playa Xpu Ha. It just opened at the end of 2019 so it’s one of the newest hotels in Riviera Maya. There are also 5 other Barcelo Hotels located on the same complex if you’re interested in comparing options.
Serenity Eco Luxury Tented Camp is a luxury glamping experience right on the grounds of Xpu Ha Beach. The tents are more like furnished cabins and are fully equipped with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. Glamping (“Glamorous + Camping”) is a popular trend right now and something I definitely want to try! Plus the best part is that all guests receive complimentary access to Serenity Beach Club.
Are you ready to visit Xpu Ha? Hopefully you can see now why Playa Xpu Ha is my absolute favorite beach near Playa del Carmen! It’s definitely my go to beach whenever I have visitors in town and it rarely disappoints! Check out my post on Playa Xcacel to learn about another amazing (and secret!) beach in Riviera Maya.
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