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Sixty kilometers is the distance between Tulum and the small fishing village of Punta Allen. In between, there is a narrow peninsula with lagoons in the inside and gorgeous wild beaches in the outside. Perfect place for a hiking adventure. The area is part of the Reserva de la Biosfera de Sian Ka’an. The very few tourists who come here are taken by the tour companies to see crocodiles, fly-fishing or swim in the lagoons. As the tour operators are no the kind of things we enjoy, we decide to organize our own adventure. 

We leave the bicycles in Tulum and we pack food and water for 4 days. The plan is to walk the 60 kms on the beach camping on the way. Over the 4 days and 3 nights that we spent on the area we had encounters with sea turtles,huge crabs, rays, barracudas and even a crocodile!

It was an amazing experience. It’s so little what you really need to be happy. Some food, water, a beautiful place and good company.  

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WHAT WE LIKED THE MOST

  • 60 kms of isolated beaches with nobody around. 
  • Crystal clear, turquoise and warm water. 
  • Skinny dipping!

 

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE THAT MUCH

  • The intense heat, between 12 and 4 in the afternoon, we were either in the water or under a palm tree.

 

 

EQUIPMENT CHECK LIST

MULTI-DAY HIKING GEAR LIST

 

 

Walking barefoot and with wet feet can produce blisters quite easily. So make sure you know how to prevent them and be prepared!

The 60kms can be walked in 3 days, but you will have more time to relax and enjoy the place if you make it in 4.

The rain can ruin your experience. So check the weather forecast and make sure you have sunny days ahead.

Bring enough water and food as there is absolutely nothing on the way. We brought 10 liters of water each for the 4 days.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The beaches in Riviera Maya are truly beautiful. Unfortunately, most of them have been a bit ruined by the mass tourism and “all-included” resorts. Sian Kaan Reserve is one of the few places left in the area where you can enjoy the nature at these spectacular beaches full with palm trees and coconuts!

The 4 days we spent walking from Tulum to Punta Allen have been, without a doubt, the highlight of our journey around the Yucatan Peninsula.  

 

MORE INFORMATION

Location: Punta Allen, Quintana Roo. Mexico

Price: Free.

Useful Notes: You will need to carry at least 10 liters of water per person. There is a army base 9 kms before Punta Allen where you can get more water.

 

32 Responses

  1. Kim

    Hi Antonio,

    Thank you very much for this lovely article! The photos and what you describe is absolutely gorgeous!
    I’m leaving for a trip to Mexico in ten days – I had a similar idea of hiking down the coast and am now totally blown away by your experience. Maybe you can help me out with a few basic questions:
    – apart from the obvious need for water and some food (what kind of food did you bring?), what else do you reckon is essential, or how did you stay safe of the crocodiles for instance?
    – how did you get away from Punta Allen? I don’t assume you made the same way back up…

    I hope you can help me out, I’d really appreciate hearing from you!
    Best wishes from Berlin, keep travelling!

    Kim

  2. Antonio Cala

    Hi Kim,

    We cooked a pot of rice that lasted us the first 2 days and we cooked some pasta on our stove the last night. During the day we had snacks (nuts, canned tuna salad with tortillas…)

    We hitched a ride back to Tulum with the Bimbo Truck. There is a bus in the morning but it wasn´t operating when we were there because the road was flooded in some parts.

    Crocodiles stay on the other side. At the lagoons. Although we spot one at the delta of a river. At this point you have to get back to the road to use a bridge, but we kept walking to the river as there were some fishermen with huge barracudas to chat to them and we spot the croc. It was a small one, and swam away as soon as he saw us.

    All the best in your trip!
    Antonio

  3. Doug Robinson

    I have driven from Tulum to Punta Allen and back several times. In fact, I have a friend that owns Xamach Dos which is a hotel 20 miles from the Tulum arch. I think I can walk that distnce in a single day and then the final 14 miles to Punta Allen.

    My question…I know there is no water along the way so thi is a major concern. How much water did each of you consume?

  4. Antonio Cala

    Hi Doug,
    Each of us carried 10 litres of water and it was just enough. You can get some water at the army base, 9 kms before Punta Allen. Also think that walking on the sand with a heavy bag pack is a lot harder than hiking in the mountains. But you always can walk on the road if you are short of time 😉

  5. David

    Hi , I liked your adventure so much I’m going to do the same walk in the next three weeks.
    Great photos!!!
    Can you please tell me how you went about sleeping on the beach.
    Did you have to pay anyone?
    Can you make a fire?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Cheers, David

  6. Antonio Cala

    Hi David,
    We didn’t have to pay anyone, as there is nobody there. Only some fishermen in some places.
    It’s easy to make a fire there. Plenty of dead wood around and the dry palm leaves burn quite easily.. We didn’t make one as it was already quite warm, but that was back in September.
    Cheers.

  7. Carolyn

    This sounds so great! We are headed to the Yucatan in a couple of weeks. I am wondering what it would be like if we just do an overnight (or 2) starting from Tulum and heading south and camping on the beach for one night, then going back to Tulum – or if the best bits are really farther south? We’re not up for a 4 day excursion but would like to camp on the beach. We could also take the bus to Punta Allen I suppose and hike north if you’d recommend that.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Carolyn,
      Yes, the best bits are in the middle. Close to Tulum there are more houses/people and closer to PA there is no beach, only mangroves (so you want to walk on the road in this section). You could take a taxi to Boca Paila and start hiking south from then (it could take 2 days/1 night to Punta Allen if you start early, or 3days/nights taking it easy). There is a daily bus from PA back to Tulum early in the morning. In PA you can stay in a hostel but we camped on the beach in from of a restaurant for 50 pesos, so we could use their shower, bathroom and kitchen.
      Enjoy the walk!

    • Antonio Cala

      You are welcome 😉 Don’t forget to tell us how it went when you are back!
      Safe travels

  8. Tibor

    Hi Antonio,

    this is great and respect for the hard walk 🙂

    Have you heared anyone taking this route on a seakayak? Do you know if you could rent somewhere in Tulum?

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Tibor,

      I haven’t heard of anyone doing the route on a sea kayak, but it would be a fantastic way to do so. The sea is not very rough and it would be a very enjoyable way to explore the coast.
      I haven’t seen any places to rent kayaks in Tulum. A good place to try would be one of the many lodges situated on the beach. They might rent out some.
      Don’t forget you will need a way to bring the kayak back from Punta Allen, unless you want to paddle both ways.

  9. Jeani Slaymaker

    We went to PUnta Allen, but we really want to do next time is kayak or canoe around the estuary by that one wooden bridge you pass about half way between. There was no one there and it looked really cool for exploring.

    • Antonio Cala

      That would be awesome Jeani. Although, we found a crocodile right on that spot when we were trying to get from the beach to that bridge!

  10. Marco Wohlgemuth

    I just want to say I love your website!!!!!!!!!
    Think I am going to do the beach-hike as well. Many thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  11. Dave

    Hi, thanks for the trip inspiration! Out of interest.. I was thinking of taking my hammock with me rather than a tent. Are there enough trees all along the route to make this viable?

    Thanks very much, Dave

    • Antonio Cala

      Hey Dave,

      Yes, a hammock would be a good option for this trip. Some section might not have many palm trees right on the beach but you always can get into the jungle a bit where there’s plenty of places to hang your hammock.

      Enjoy!

  12. Jeff

    I have been thinking about doing this hike for a few years now. This webpage removed all the doubt I had about it being a good idea! Thanks!

    I am trying work thru some of the logistics…I will probably be taking a rental car to either Tulum or Punta Allen. Is there a safe place to leave it during the 3 or 4 days I will be hiking?

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Jeff,

      Both Tulum and Punta Allen are pretty safe. But if you want to be sure, you can always talk to some hotels and ask them if you could park your car there for a few days and offer to pay something for it. You will have better options in Tulum for that.

      • Jeff

        I just got back and thought I’d follow up.
        The road is bad enough that the only way to get to Punta Allen now is via Jeep or a boat.
        The hike was great! Thank you for the web site that inspired me to try it!

    • Karen

      Hi Jeff,

      Wow, so the road to Punta Allen is so bad that no busses anymore?

  13. Antonio Cala

    Glad you enjoyed the hike, Jeff.

    The road was pretty bad when I was there in 2013, but the tracks could still go through to bring food and supplies to Punta Allen. How did you get back then?

  14. Tatiana

    Just came back from the hike! It was indeed wonderful, beautiful beaches and we got to drink a million coconuts!
    However the beach was so full of trash it was unbearable to even walk after a certain point. Until the puente it was OK, with some clear spots more because the many private lands clean the space. It was really disappointing not just for our hike, but also for the realisation of where does our trash go to…
    Also until the puente, the only clear spots are of hotels as I said and many of them won’t let you camp by the palm trees, just very very close to the beach…

    • george

      Hi Tatiana,
      so unfortunate to hear about the trash. The girlfriend and I are leaving Tulum this Saturday 13th feb. We have a rental car for the week and would like to stay a night or two along the beach towards punta allen. Can we pull over anywhere there and so this? Also during my research I came across pictures of jaguars on the beach. Any chance of this? Also want to perhaps fish. Can anyone suggest if I could or sho .uld and if I can, could I cook and eat some over the camp fire or are the restricted/protected because of the area.
      Thanks,
      George [Canada]

      • Tatiana

        Along punta Allen and even afterwards, there are a few clean spots, But that is if you find entrance spots to the beach from the main road, which is also very hard… We had to struggle with the guards to let us camp or sit around in some places, but in others it was OK. Three km before the ” puente” there is an entrance for the lagoon. There you can fish. And even further, right on the ” puente”.On your own, or ask someone that is around, there are even some small boats… There are a lot of crabs there if you re not lucky fishing!
        PS: jaguars no. But you never know!
        Ps two: I have a lot of pictures and videos from the rubbish, all washed out from the sea. It is the result of tourism and local carelessness but there should be some publicity so that there is something done about it…If anyone has an idea please contact me.

  15. Benjamín

    ¡Hola! Muchas gracias por la información.
    My partner and I are planning to do a hike on bicycle from Cancún to Punta Allen in the middle of July. And I would like to ask you few questions about it.
    First. I read that you left your bikes in Tulum to start the hike… I imagine because you wanted to make it by foot. So, how is the road to do it with a fixed bicycle?
    Also, I think that July is a month where there are chances of monsoon, heavy rain and huracanes you know anything about that?
    And one more question. Is there any other way to reach or leave Punta Allen rather than the 60km coast-road? I was imagine to take a boat or so were we can put our bicycles and start from the highway 307 to Tulum or Bacalar…

    Thank you so much for your attention!

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Benjamin,
      My answers to your questions:
      – You can cycle that section. There’s little traffic and a nice ride.
      – You can also take a small boat from Punta Allen to the other side of the Reserve and cycle from there to the main highway, but I don’t know how the road is and how long it will take you though. But I know people have done it on a bicycle.
      – About the monsoon, yes, it rains a lot. Normally only in the afternoon, but you never know.
      I hope it helps!

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