Xcalak ’s most appealing accommodations are on the beach road heading north out of town. Few places accept credit cards on-site, but many have payment systems on their websites.
Right at the entrance of town, Cabañas Tío Bon (cell. tel. 983/836-6954, US$24 s/d) is a very basic but reasonably clean option in town. Three pink wood cabins right alongside the owners’ home—you share a front gate—have tiny private bathrooms, fan, and 24-hour electricity. A queen bed and a hammock mean up to three people can squeeze into each cabin. The plywood interior and lack of hot water will prevent any confusion between Uncle Bon’s and the Westin.
Hotel Tierra Maya (2.1 kilometers/1.3 miles north of town, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/216-1902, www.tierramaya.net , US$85–95 s/d, US$85 studio, US$150 apartment) is a pleasant hotel on a well-tended stretch of beach. Its rooms are ample and decorated with simple furnishings, Mexican tile accents, and bright blankets. All have private terraces and balconies with views of the Caribbean. The studio and apartment also have fully equipped kitchens. Continental breakfast is included in the rate and is served in the hotel’s excellent beachfront restaurant. Fly-fishing packages also are available.
Xcalak’s first hotel and oldest fishing and diving lodge, Costa de Cocos (3 kilometers/2 miles north of town, no phone, www.costadecocos.com , US$78 s, US$90 d) eschews fluff and formality for a laid-back sportsman’s atmosphere that’s perfectly suited to its clientele. Simple wood-paneled cabañas are comfortable enough, with tile floors and hot water, and surround a well-kept sandy lot. Travelers looking for “cute” or “charming” won’t find it here, and that seems to be just how it’s preferred. Breakfast is included in the rate.
It’s hard not to feel at home at Sin Duda (8 kilometers/5 miles north of town, U.S. tel. 415/868-9925, www.sindudavillas.com , US$84 s/d, US$110 studio, US$120 apartment). The three standard rooms, one studio, and two apartments are all charmers: beautifully furnished, whimsically decorated, most with breathtaking views of the turquoise Caribbean. Two roof decks offer an even better vista: uninterrupted 360-degree views of the jungle, lagoon, and sea. Evening time brings cocktail hour, when guests can join the friendly American hosts for margaritas in the cozy lounge that doubles as a common kitchen and library. Continental breakfast, brought to your room, is included in the rate.
Four cheerful units with fully equipped kitchenettes make Casa Carolina (2.5 kilometers/1.6 miles north of town, U.S. tel. 610/616-3862, www.casacarolina.net , US$100 s/d) a fine choice. Add perfect ocean views from the private balconies and a wide beach with palm trees, and you’ve got a relaxing beach vacation. Co-owner Bob Villier is also an experienced NAUI dive instructor trainer and offers personalized certification classes plus diving and snorkeling trips. Continental breakfast, with divine homemade muffins, is included.
Run by friendly Minnesota retirees, Sandwood Villas (7.9 kilometers/4.9 miles north of town, tel. 983/839-5428, www.sandwood.com , US$139 2-bdrm apt) has four comfortable, though nondescript, apartments, each with two bedrooms, two small bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and gorgeous sea views. Snorkel gear, kayaks, and canoes are available for exploring the reef or the lagoon, and there are bikes for getting in and around town. There is also a restaurant on-site, Mama Ruth’s Restaurant (US$5–18), which offers basic Mexican and American fare.
A hotel where “all you need is your smile,” Playa Sonrisa (6.9 kilometers/4.3 miles north of town, U.S. tel. 719/966-4309, www.playasonrisa.com , US$130–160 s/d, US$160–190 suite) is a clothing-optional resort on a palm-tree-laden beach. Units are clean and comfortable, though they lack the charm that you’d expect for the rate—think bright Mexican blankets and kitschy clay fish as decor. What you pay for here is the view—all rooms are oceanfront—and the freedom to enjoy the Caribbean in the buff without being ogled or disrespecting local mores. Continental breakfast is included in the rate. Only couples and naturist families are welcome. Day passes also are available for naturist couples only (US$20 per couple).