BootsnAll Travel Network

My Beloved Xpu-Ha

Of all of the places we’ve visited so far the campsite at Xpu-Ha has to be one of my favorites.  It is also one of the places where I could imagine spending a lot of time each year.  If it had been up to me I would have spent another month there, but Matthias was getting a little antsy and ready to move on, so we did.  We do have a lot of miles to drive so I understand why it was a good idea to leave.  One of Matthias’ favorite sayings is that it is best to leave the party when it’s at its peak.  He does have a good point because now I’m left with great memories and no regrets.

There is a 4-lane highway that goes down the coast of the Yucatan peninsula from Cancun to Tulum.  This area is called the Riviera Maya and it is one resort after another.  About 70 kilometers south of Cancun there is an area called Xpu-Ha.  A little dirt road goes from the main road down to the Bonanza camping grounds – one of the last non-resort and family-run sections of beach.  The campground is right on the beach and when you first drive in you drive onto the most perfect white sand you have ever seen.  There are no lines or barriers or individual campsites anywhere.  There are just a bunch of palm trees, and a few campers nestled in amongst them.  There are 2 full-time campers who have RVs parked there the entire year.  There is another woman who comes down for 6 months out of the year and a handful of others that keep coming and going throughout the year.  The last time we left this campground there were only 4 other people staying their besides us. 

Our campsite at Xpu-Ha

The beach was also amazing: perfect white sand, crystal clear waters and just the perfect temperature.  The first time we had been there we met a Swiss couple and she went out snorkeling every morning.  There are tons of places in the area where you can pay to go snorkeling.  But here all you had to do was walk out there and you had some of the best snorkeling I’ve done in my life.  The last couple of times I went out I got so lucky and we had very clear water and a nice sunny day – perfect conditions for snorkeling.  Just a short ways down the beach there are only rocks, but right out in front of our campsite there were some very nice coral reefs.  I saw all sorts of different fish and some of the most vibrant colors.  The highlight was definitely the 2 manta rays I saw.  They have a triangular shaped body and at the back edge I believe they were about 4-5 feet wide.  They have a disproportionately long tail-like thing behind them that just kept going and going and going.  The first one swam by me about 10 feet away.  The next one was farther away.  I wish I had gotten a better look at each of them, but both times I was so freaked out and scared I bolted for the shore as fast as I could.  All I could think of was the crocodile hunter and how was killed by one of them.  Or was that a sting ray?  Or are manta rays and sting rays the same thing?  I still don’t know, but it was really an amazing experience to see such enormous fish that close.

During our last stay there we also met a great couple – Josh and Anna.  They live in California, he is American and she is German, and they had just begun their road trip.  They are coming through Mexico and heading into Central America next.  They were more like-minded travelers and we had lots of fun and things to talk about.  Somewhere on their trip they started playing Bacchi Ball, but with oranges and one lime.  You throw out a lime and each player gets two oranges and the object is to get your orange to land as close to the lime as possible.  They play this game in Italy and France (there it is called Boules, I think).  We would play with them when the sun was beginning to set, and after the game was over we took the oranges, pressed them, mixed them with tequila and had cocktails.  It was great fun for us and Julian and William also loved playing too.  They read books with William and Julian, went swimming with us and even watched them for a while so Matthias and I could go to the beach by ourselves.   The afternoon after our first night of heavy drinking she had made a huge batch of her specialty “Borracho Nachos” (borracho is Spanish for ‘drunk’) – the perfect hangover cure.  The next couple of days all shared cooking duties and had great dinners together.  They picked stuff up for us from town and we did the same for them.  It was sad to leave them but we are excited to hear how their travels continue and where they end up.

Game of Bacchi Ball with Oranges at Xpu-Ha       William Enjoying a Good Book at Xpu-Ha

The constant sight-seeing and the major lack of a plan these days is getting a bit old, but at Xpu-Ha it didn’t seem to bother me.  I was content to spend a day without any sort of plan.  There is all sorts of stuff to do: go for a swim, dig in the sand, lay in the hammock and read, play soccer with the kids, go into town to do some grocery shopping.  In paradise, that is more than enough to keep me busy.  

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14 Responses to “My Beloved Xpu-Ha”

  1. Wabash says:

    What a great blog! I’ll be sure to mention it soon on my own soon.

    Manta rays are completely harmless, if that’s what you saw. Even regular rays are fairly harmless. The one that took out Steve Irwin was probably scared (they were apparently chasing it), and it’s a totally bizarre fluke that it got him in the heart. Getting stung by a ray is usually very painful, but not deadly.

    Just do a google image search for manta rays and see if that’s what you saw. They’re very distinctive-looking.

  2. Theresa Hetherington says:

    Dear Bay FamilynrWhat an amazing adventure you had! My boyfriend are heading out to chill somewhere around those parts. There is absolutely no accommodation left in tulum and we were thinking of bringing a tee pee out to xpu ha – do you think that is a good idea? and is there anyone we could call to check it out with ?nrTheresa

  3. Griet says:

    Last week, I went to Xpu-ha at camping Bonanza. And is was an amazing place!!!! I went there for two days, after a 23-day trip to Mexico.
    Truely amazing! I hope it will stay that way forever!!!

  4. laura segura says:

    hola me gustaria saber como realizar una reservacion para las cabañas que se dan en renta para los dias 9 10 y 11 de abril del 2009, algun numero de cuenta o telefono para tener informes.
    Por su atencion gracias.

    Laura Segura

  5. gricelda vielma says:

    me acabo de venir a vivir a cancun y me gustaria saber mas acerca de los lugares para acampar.
    help me please.

  6. Beto says:

    Bay family- Or should I say blab family. I have lived the winters on that coast for 25yrs. The last 10 in xpu-ha. For seven yrs before that I backpacked SA and CA. You clowns show up for 2 whole days and tell the wole world about it! How do you ever expect a place like this to ever stay nice. The owner of Bonanza, whom you failed to mention is a personal friend. As a matter of fact, You didn’t mention one Mexican or Mayan. It is Mexico, remember! 2 days. You know nothing of that place. Yet you can’t wait to tell everybody about it. Next piece of paradise you find, keep it to yourself! Your traveling mode is all about how many miles you can cover in x amount of days. Writing all about these places when actually you don’t know shit! I’ve seen too many people like you. Think your cool, and understand so much. What a couple of gringos! Travel is about the expierince, not fodder for some blog.

  7. Denise says:

    Anyhoooo, try keeping places you don’t want to see ruined and over-run to yourself….putting on the internet like this just advertises, exploits, yadda yadda….and now we get to contend with crowds and people who don’t understand that plucking a palm tree to play football with it means no more palm trees, same as people like you posting it on the internet means no more tranquil paradise….something to think about, eh!

  8. rick says:

    beto hit the nail on the head with this one like he said travelling is for your own experience not for blabing out about to the hole world about how wonderfull you are for finding these hidden treasures keep the location of these to yourself or the next time you go, there will be a gringo resort complete with drunken idiots exploiting it. so many naturally buitifull places have been distroyed because of overdevelopment and people that have little respect. even you said that the palm trees are disappearing but what you neglected to mention was why. let me educate you. people take the coco’s and use them for too many stupid reasons like denise said there NOT footballs or toys there seeds for the future please remember that next time you see someone picking them for whatever reason. as for telling the world about your travells thats fine just save the location all to yourself mabee it will be there next time you go

  9. Matty says:

    Definately thinking of checking out… quick question… is there somewhere to lock up your pack during the day?

  10. Julie Cool says:

    can someone give me a number to ensure a camping space for me and my 6 year old during spring break I was at Bonanza twice almost 12 years a ago and ther is nothing like it 720-276-3874

  11. victor says:

    hola soy victor de valladolid yucatan, me gustaria saber cuanto es cobro por habitacion.

  12. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  13. rouja says:

    Hi, do you know it’s still possible to camp on Xpu-Ha?? Or are they any other beach campgrounds in the area? Your help would be greatly appreciated – leaving for Mexico in 2 days and still not sure if we should take all the camping gear…. Please please help!

  14. lotzbay says:

    We haven’t been back to Xpu-ha since 2007 so I don’t know. There was a place up the road where you could camp. It was called Paa Mul. I found this site about the place:
    It says it still has tent spaces, so I think you would be fine. It was a nice place with a small swimming pool, too. A lot of older expat retirees as well. The beach wasn’t as nice as Xpu-Ha, but you’d be close to Xpu-ha. Good luck. It’s a fabulous place.

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