AAA Editor Notes
Xcacel (ISH-ca-sell) is about a quarter mile e. of Mex. 307 between Playa Chemuyil and Xel-Ha, about 19 km (12 mi.) n. of the town of Tulum; watch for the signed turn-off if approaching from the south. Access to the beach is via a short access road to a gate with a welcome sign in Spanish; a security guard is usually on duty. The long stretch of beach is beautiful and rarely crowded. There is good snorkeling at the north end, but be mindful of the currents and stay close to shore.
Toward the south end of the beach is a path into the jungle; a 5-minute walk leads to a cenote (freshwater sinkhole) where you can swim and snorkel. The small fish living in the sinkhole will nibble your toes.
Xcacel has long been a protected refuge and nesting site for endangered loggerhead and green turtles. From May through October, female turtles laboriously leave the sea at night to build nests on the beach and lay their eggs in the sand. Many turtle nesting sites are threatened by ongoing tourism-related development.
Note: Park within sight of the security guard shack, do not leave valuables in your car and avoid disturbing the raised mounds of sand that indicate turtle nesting areas. There are restrooms at the entrance. Bring your own food, water and snorkel gear.