Do you ever just want to get away from it all? Find a location that is seemingly untouched and hidden from annoying tourists? When thinking about the Caribbean and Mexico, pristine beaches laden with soft sands and crystal clear water quickly comes to mind. Peace and solitude as you lay along the shore drinking a Piña Colada or Margarita. It all sounds like a dream, but is it truly possible? For the most part, no.
The Caribbean may have some of the World’s best beaches, but they are often covered with tourists visiting from their cruise ship for the day. A lot of the Caribbean, and especially the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, can be overcrowded at times and peace may be hard to find. However, there is one very special place. A tiny point at the end of a long road, on a tiny Peninsula within a nature reserve. A spot where one can truly get away from it all and find private beaches opening up to sunrises and sunsets during the day whilst being blanketed with billions of stars at night. A place where you can enjoy your privacy and not have to spend a fortune to do so. Do I have your attention yet? Punta Allen, an unheard of town by most, is the hidden gem of Mexico.
Punta Allen: What to Know
Punta Allen is so tiny and remote that it is not even visible on a typical map. I have never actually met anyone that knew about Punta Allen until I visited myself. The only people I found that knew about Punta Allen were tour groups that offered day trips and boat tours to visit the area. I found the town from doing research on the satellite view of Google maps.
I could see how stunning the water was around the tiny Peninsula that sat just south of Tulum, and I knew I had to explore it. Little did I know, I discovered one of the most remarkable places I have ever traveled to and the hidden gem of Mexico.
Punta Allen, or often known as Javier Rojo Gomez, is a very tiny fishing village that sits a 2 hour drive away from the famous Mayan Ruins of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The town of only 470 people is so hidden that it only generates power from 10am-2pm and 7pm-Midnight. There is no service here, so don’t expect to post a bunch of selfies online during your stay. Don’t worry about those cocktails and delicious food either, the town has a couple of restaurants and markets that have plenty of food and alcohol to satisfy everyone. And oh yeah, it’s really cheap…
The town itself is very tiny and contains only 10 blocks or so of unpaved, sand roads that stretch from jungle to sea. Being so far away from civilization and located at the end of a very narrow dirt path, most might think that this place has nothing to do.
Sure, there is not a movie theatre or a mall to go to, but the town is surrounded with nature. Why would you need a movie theatre when you can sit on the beach at night and listen to the waves crash while looking up at a clear view of the Milky Way?
Punta Allen is basically the only town within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, an area that many people take day trips to from Tulum or Cancun. This reserve is loaded with wildlife including sea turtles, dolphins, fish, crocodiles, hundreds of birds, and even jaguars. On top of that, it displays some of the most stunning water in the Caribbean. Not only known by few for its remote location in an incredible nature reserve, Punta Allen is popular for its flats fishing. It has been said that this destination is one of the best locations in the world for bone and fly fishing within the surrounding flats.
What To Do:
Although Punta Allen is a very small town and hidden from the map, there is a lot more to do than you would think.
This is the most difficult, but possibly most fun part about visiting Punta Allen. The road to Punta Allen from Tulum takes you along a very tiny Peninsula where you have a reserve on one side, and the Caribbean Sea on the other. There are plenty of spots to stop and get out of your car and hit the beach for a break.
The middle point of the road trip takes you across the Boca Paila Bridge which is a very nice spot to stop for some pictures. Although the road can feel treacherous at times with its deep pot holes, it is worth exploring. Usually a 2 hour ride, it can quickly turn into 6 hours with the many places to stop and take in the scenery.
The best way to explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is definitely by water. There are only a few tour groups in town, and a tour should cost you no more than $25/person. A three to four hour boat trip will take you deep into the reserve and its stunning waters.
On a trip, it is easy to encounter dolphins at play, beautiful sea birds and some very large sea turtles. Many boat tours offer scuba diving as well and will take you to a one of a kind beach, the Sian Ka’an Pool.
Sian Ka’an Pool:
Incredibly, this place is not a pool, it is in fact the Caribbean Sea. The Sian Ka’an Pool is so transparent that it doesn’t feel real.
The waters surrounding Punta Allen are many shades of blues and greens until you hit this “natural pool” and the brightness immediately hits your eyes. The bright white sand and the shallow waters come together to create an incredible scene.
If more people knew about this place, it would probably become a tourist hot spot known as, “One of the biggest natural swimming pools in the World”. Shhhhh, don’t tell too many people about it!
Faro Punta Allen Light House:
If you know me well, then you know I am a huge fan of light houses, and this one does not disappoint.
Getting to the Faro Punta Allen Light House is an adventure in itself as it can only be reached by boat or trekking through some jungle.
The most adventurous way to visit the light house that sits at the very southern tip of the peninsula is by renting some bikes in town, and riding through some dirt paths into a jungle.
After about 15 minutes of an Indian Jones like bike ride, you will find yourself on a private beach surrounded by palm trees swaying in the breeze with some warm, crystal clear Caribbean waters at the foot of a light house. Good luck finding that anywhere else.
Forget electricity, cell phones, internet, movies and anything else for that matter. Punta Allen is hidden in a natural reserve next to the ocean, the stars steal the show here. The electricity goes out everywhere at midnight and the town opens up to billions of stars. It is very easy to walk outside and look up to see the Milky Way Galaxy. Add in a bottle of wine and the sound of waves crashing on the beach and you have yourself perfection.
Sunrise and Sunset:
Sunrise and Sunset are always at the top of my list anywhere I go and they are especially good here. In a peninsula town, you can make sure that you always have a sunrise or sunset over the water.
Throw in some palm trees, old boats and wooden docks and you have yourself a masterpiece. No one else around makes these two times of day even better.
How To Get There:
Directions to get there are easy, accessibility and weather is the problem. To get there, you drive South through the beach resorts along the coast of Tulum until you reach the entrance of the Sian Ka’an Reserve. From there on, it is straight and all dirt. The first half of the drive down to Punta Allen is not too bad, but there are still a fair share of holes in the road. This portion of the drive you will see some other cars as people drive into this part of the reserve to see the beaches and wildlife.
Once you cross the Boca Paila Bridge, things start to get messy. Holes are about 3 feet deep and take up the entire width of the road. Unless you rent a jeep, you better be moving slow because I doubt your insurance will cover it. If it rains, you won’t make it.
Where to Stay:
There are only a few hotels to stay in Punta Allen, but Airbnb is your best bet. Stay with Juan and Marta in their gorgeous bed and breakfast. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met and their accommodations are amazing. One of my favorite things about Juan is the gigantic email he sent me with recommendations a few days before my arrival.
Only a few steps from the beaches and restaurants, the house it is the perfect location. Not to mention, Marta makes the best Key Lime Pie, or any dessert for that matter, I have ever had.
Here is the link to their listing!
Your Next Trip?
As much as I want Punta Allen to remain hidden, it is impossible for me to not spread the word. Whereas many people travel to the Caribbean to get away from it all, they often find themselves overcrowded on beaches and cruise ships while spending way too much money. This could be the one place where you can truly hide in a remote location and enjoy complete peace and relaxation as well as save money at the same time. With a town of only 470 inhabitants located deep into a natural reserve at the end of a beat up road, you can count on this place remaining as remote as possible for the foreseeable future. For your next trip, maybe avoid the tourist traps and travel to the Hidden Gem of Mexico.
Have you ever been to Punta Allen or anywhere else in the Yucatán Peninsula? Have any questions or suggestions about a visit to Punta Allen? Please reply and comment below! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me on Instagram @travelingle and @egtrotters . Gracias!!!