The best beach in the world has just been crowned by the Ibero-American Beach Management and Certification Network, an international organization that includes countries throughout the Americas. The lucky winner is a beach in the Mexican Caribbean's jaw-dropping Riviera Maya region.
They made their choice based on the scenic beauty of the beach landscape, the rich variety of flora and fauna visitors can find here, the unspoiled nature of the coast free of restaurants and other development, and the overall tranquility of the destination. The beach in question? Xcacel Area Natural Protegida Estatal in Riviera Mayalogró, also known as Xcacel Beach. It's a quiet paradise in Mexico that won the organization's "Class 1" badge, making it the world's best. Tucked between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this natural protected area is one of the region's best-kept secrets.
So just what makes this particular beach so special? Well, it's definitely gorgeous. It's absolutely relaxing. And it's awesomely pristine. But it is also more than just a beach. Follow a winding trail cut through a short stretch of this dense green jungle, and you'll find Xcacel's hidden cenote...a natural pool tucked and hidden away in the lush greenery. The cenote water is clear, crisp, and cool, providing a comparitively colder soak than the warm caribbean waters of the shoreline. It's the perfect way to refresh and cool off from the Mexican sun!
After you arrive at this paradise, just make sure to tread lightly...this pristine area is a sea turtle conservation area, and every year, mama turtles bury their fragile eggs into puts dug into the sand with their fins. You probably won't see any turtles unless you're a conservation volunteer, but you may see signs marking their locations and asking passers-by to walk carefully. Taking care of this beach ensures that none of the nests are disturbed, and the sensitive ecosystem can be maintained in harmony. An entry fee of 88 pesos (under $3.82 in US dollars, as of this writing) helps fund conservation efforts, trash pickup, and other necessities. That way you and other couples will be able to enjoy this beach for years to come.
Since the area is so fragile, keep in mind that you won't be able to bring in any food or drinks other than water. Remember, it's all to protect the stunning beauty of this beach for more generations of humans -- and turtles -- to come! After all, it can't be the best beach in the world if we don't treat it with the respect it deserves. Keep it beautiful so that you and other couples can relax on the uncrowded white-sand shore, soak in the cenote, snorkel the northern part of the beach's coral reefs, and explore the lazy mangroves in all their natural splendor!
Do yourselves a favor and carve out a couple of hours on your way to or from Tulum to kick back and to relax here. You'll be glad you did.