After several days in Tulum Mexico, we headed south on hwy. 307, into the Sian Ka'an Biosphere reserve. If you want to avoid crowds of tourists, hawkers and barkers, skip Tulum and just keep going from the Cancun airport. If you rent a car, get a good one as the road is a potholed, pitted dirt road, after leaving Tulum a jeep is great but a normal car is fine. We used Hertz at the Cancun airport, and were miffed why it took an hour to get us into our car, and away, then it dawned on us that the time had been dedicated to trying to sell us a lavish breakfast and snorkelling adventure at a great savings, with only an hour and a half presentation? If you want to buy a house or condo or time share just tell someone and you will be escorted via sedan chair to the fleecing station, which by the way is in the only air conditioned building around, and right next to the Hertz counter, wonder why the car was hard to find?
A stone arch denotes the beginning of the Biosphere after driving past hotels, retail fronts and cute eateries to numerous to mention, and the pavement ends. A 27 peso per day, per person donation is expected at the entrance, the conversion rate is around 12-1, but they want pesos. Get some otherwise the rate for things you buy will be around 10-1, if that. There are several banks in Tulum, US cash in hand and a passport will be required, no sunglasses or hats either!
35 kilometers from the Biosphere entrance is Sol Caribe, exactly 35 km, on the left, you will not be dissapointed. The beach front cabana is the best room, we stayed there, but the others are all great and have ocean views and are comfortably appointed. Hot and cold running water, great beds, ceiling fans, no ac, no bugs, cleaned to a sparkle every day. The resturant is small and oceanside, the food was teriffic, the bar well stocked, prices very fair, service and hospitality was especially fine. The fresh ingredients, prep process, and table service were first rate. Every evening different menu items were available. The bar tender was the bomb!
There are no neighbors up and down the beach for some distance, the beach is white sand, beautiful, the water classic caribe aqua to deep blue, swimming is easy, hiking is easy.
Activities available a la carte, guided fishing in the lagoon, bring all your own gear, or Ascention Bay, an hour away in a boat, eco tours via boat for birdwatching, fish looking, etc.. Snorkelling the nearby reef is fantastic. The Sol Caribe website is very informative, read the FAQ. Be sure to book any guided activities ahead of time as the availability of guides is not endless. There are several kayaks on the grounds for use by guests, as well as snorkelling gear, for a fee.
Mauricio and Yvonne Rita run the place and do a great job end to end. The staff is heads up, the grounds kept just right and the vibe is the best. Do not expect to buy anything you might need like sunscreen or toothpaste, bring it with you. Punta Allen is twenty minutes by car to the south, and has several Super Mini's, like a Mexican version of a 711, but far simpiliar. We were told that 500 folks call Punta Allen home, they all seem to drive a boat, or work in the tourist service business in some capacity. Well worth a half day just to see it.
Everyone we came into contact with was more than polite and comfortable to be with. Many of our encounters were with people who had better english than our spanish. There are more than a few places to stay in Punta Allen, but the feeling in town vs at Sol Caribe is like Venus and Mars. At this time, you cannot buy gas for your car in Punta Allen, unless you have a gas can, so fill up before leaving Tulum, but be sure to leave Tulum, unless you like all the noise and traffic.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casual, tranquil, secluded and relaxed, Sol Caribe is a small, exclusive, beachfront resort with private cabanas and suites, on the Caribbean Sea side of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula; in the state of Quintana Roo… it is one of the last untouched corners of the Mayan Riviera with a desert island feel. Just 35 km south of the town of Tulum and 8 km from the village of Punta Allen, Sol Caribe is located within a protected oasis of extraordinary natural beauty, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico’s largest wetland nature reserve and one of the world’s greatest fly fishing spots on Ascension Bay (Bahia de la Ascension). Explore the Mayan ruins dotting the jungle landscape, snorkel in the Great Meso-American Barrier Reef just off the beach, enjoy the fresh seafood in our beachfront restaurant,watch the sea turtles swimming in the waves… or just relax under a palapa on a white sandy beach that you have all to yourself. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sol Caribe Hotel Punta Allen