When my friend Michelle, who has lived in Mexico for over 17 years, invited me to her ‘favourite beach on the Mayan Riviera,’ I didn’t hesitate in saying “YES!! Take me!!!” I haven’t been getting out much, and since Tyrhone was six days nicotine-free on Saturday, I figured I deserved a break from chopping celery sticks and distracting him from the urge to smoke with my tap-dancing skills.
Michelle’s invitation for a girl’s beach day could NOT have come at a better time, and after all the gorgeous beaches we have visited in the area I was excited to see her favourite one.
Before long we were hurtling along the highway in her shiny 4×4, heading south from Playa del Carmen to Xpu Ha beach (pronounced Shpoo Ha, yes there is some serious use of the letter ‘X’ around here). We pulled into the colourful ‘La Playa’ beach club and secured our front row seats to the main event, Michelle’s all time favourite beach in the Mayan Riviera:
I could kind of see where she was coming from. We went straight into the cool turquoise waters for swim number one, surveying the funky beach club from the cool Caribbean Sea.
“This reminds me of Mexico fifteen years ago,” Michelle reminisced, “Just palapas and a few chairs, no big hotels.”
I agreed with her that I loved the simple, rustic vibe of the place compared with some of the more upmarket beach clubs along the coast. Most of all, I loved the bright colours of the concrete buildings. The whole place just screamed “Caribbean!” to me (weirdly, in a Jamaican accent), and quite simply, made me happy.
I wondered if I could swim to Cuba…
But decided against it when lunch arrived.
It was THE BEST ceviche I’ve ever had. Accompanied by a frozen limonada and with the sea as my day time programming, it was pure unadulterated BLISS.
After getting to know each other better with a long girly chat and lots of laughs during swim number two, we collapsed onto our sun lounges and retreated to our own private thoughts.
Young kids frolicked in the shallows,
A seasoned fisherman went in search of his next catch,
A small sailboat skittered past on an energetic breeze,
And a reggae band began pumping out old favourites like ‘No Woman No Cry.’
It was a day of crystal clear salt water, a cobalt sky, blazing white sand, great female company and the exquisite flavours of pico de gallo with fresh seafood, set to the sort of live music that makes you grin from ear to ear, tapping the arm rests of your sun lounge to compensate for the fact that you are far too relaxed to get up and dance.
It was the sort of day that makes you happy to be alive, but a little worried that you may never, ever want to go anywhere else.
So many options… think I’ll stay put!
Xpu Ha beach is about halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and can be reached by collectivo (van), taxi or car. Yes, you should go there.