A relatively unknown vacation destination in the Mexican Caribbean, Xcalak is the go-to spot for seasoned anglers, divers, and those who want to disconnect and get away from the business of daily life. Tourism is not the main source of income for the people of this town, which means making life easier on tourists is not always a top priority. For this reason, you should spend a little extra time planning your getaway so that everything runs just a little smoother. This includes transportation, as it can take some work to get to this quiet town.
No matter how you're hoping to travel from your home town to your getaway in Xcalak, it will be a time consuming process, and the planning for this should start well in advance of your trip. Options include flying, sailing, or cruising, and although flying will be your fastest choice, the airport you fly into is still so far away that you'll have quite a bit of driving to do.
Ground transportation in Xcalak is limited to say the least with only a handful of taxis roaming the streets and no local bus service. If you'd like to be able to get up and go without having to wait, renting a car will be your best option more so here than anywhere else. In the future, we may see a ferry service become more readily available as well.
Xcalak's remote location means that it is five hours away from the nearest regularly serviced international airport in Cancun. From there, tourists have the option to drive a rental car, hire a transfer service, take several buses, or hire a private charter to get them to the small air strip in town. You can read about all of your options by reading our guide to Xcalak Air Travel.
As a major point of entry for sailors in the Mexican Caribbean, you can always expect to see several small boats at the front of the beach. Those planning to sail here should be warned of the narrow entry at the front of the dock. Before trying to navigate these waters, however, you'll need to go to Majahaul which is an official port of entry and gain clearance by signing and Import Form to confirm you are aware of local sailing laws, plus have every passenger aboard present a passport and obtain a tourist card.
Although there is no cruise port in Xcalak, there is one in Majahual, which is about an hour away from town by taxi. Cruise ships will typically stay docks here between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. before getting underway and heading to their next destination, but that is plenty of time to take a tour of Xcalak. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship before it takes off.
Most tourists who rent a car for their stay in Xcalak actually do so when the first arrive at the international airport in Cancun, but that isn't the only option. There are a few options to choose from in town as well. Tips for drivers in the Mexican Caribbean include to always purchase the personal liability insurance and to make sure to stick to driving as close to the posted speed limit as possible. Find out what you need to know about renting a car here, where you'll find out about the rules and costs associated with renting, as well as learn about driving on local roads.
Taxis are not as common in Xcalak as they are in other busier towns in the country, but they can still be used by tourists hoping to avoid renting a car but also want to avoid the bus. The best thing you can do is keep the phone number of a local taxi company on hand so you can give them a call whenever you are in need of a ride. Find out more here, including the price of getting around by hopping in the back of a cab.
Bus service in Cancun is extremely limited due to its location at the southern tip of the peninsula. There are two daily arrivals from Chetumal aboard Caribe Bus at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., while departures take place at 5:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This means you will first have to take a bus to Chetumal, usually with ADO, then switch lines and continue on from there. The fare is about 40 pesos, or $3(USD) and the trip could take anywhere from four to six hours.
Although there is currently no ferrry service connecting Xcalak to the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula by water, there should be in the very near future. A dock was recently built on the Chetumal Bay side, which is close enough that Xcalak can take advantage of it and sail to Costa Maya in under an hour.
Getting to know about transportation options in Xcalak are perhaps more important than many other locations in the region thanks to the difficulty of traveling to this destination, and the lack of services available in town. The earlier you begin planning, the better off you'll be.
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