Past the Garbage Dump and Through the Jungle…to Paradise


Punta Bete in MexicoSome vacationers want paradise. Some want adventure. You can have both on the road to Punta Bete.

But let me warn you … you might not want to leave.

A mere 36 miles (58 km) south of Cancun, Mexico’s busy tourism capital, Punta Bete is an out-of-the-way beach worthy of a side trip. Be prepared, though, for a literally off-the-beaten path adventure. Finding where to turn off the main road is the first adventure. The small weathered sign is easy to miss. And even harder to read! You might drive by more than once trying to find it.

When you do find it the narrow road is actually more like a rugged trail. Green jungle walls, an occasional garbage dump and rain-filled potholes that could hide small cars are the only scenery. Not exactly a Kodak moment, but keep going.

You will wonder if you’re on the right path. You are. You will wonder if this really will be worth it. It will, trust me. You will also wonder what you are going to do in case of oncoming traffic on this single lane track with no turn-out point. Don’t worry — the likelihood of meeting others is slim. This is a secluded area.

Brightly colored jungle parrots screech as they fly overhead. If you’re lucky, a tiny jungle monkey will make an appearance. You swear you hear waves, but see nothing but the dense jungle as it tries to close in on the road.

Just about the time you think you need to give up and go back to the main road, you see another small weathered sign. This one indicates a bar and hotel around the bend. It also warns you to go slow. As if you could do anything but.

True to its claim, as you round the corner you see the perfect setting of Mexican beach life. Palm trees frame glistening white sand leading to brilliant turquoise water. No hustle and bustle here.

Park under the trees and take a look around. RV’s sporting Canadian license plates carve out their spots with hammocks strung between palm trees. A couple of small houses and a shrine complete with crosses are in the clearing behind one RV. It all looks peaceful yet deserted.

Then you hear music. Upbeat Mexican music from a brilliant blue building beckons you inside. This is the bar and restaurant advertised on the sign.

Palapas, Mexican shelter-like canopies, stand guard at the beach. They provide the perfect place to sit with your beverage of choice and watch the waves or the birds. Or, to do absolutely nothing. After all, this is your paradise.

Grab a drink and head to the beach. You can walk for miles in either direction on crushed limestone white sand. Since it never gets hot to the touch, you can walk barefoot. Gentle surf in clear water entices you to take a dip. The offshore reef breaks down the big waves. It’s a perfect way to cool off.

Punta Bete boasts a hotel. It belongs in the minimalist category, each unit having its own hammock for sleeping — inside or outside. Bugs don’t seem to be a problem.

Food and beer are reasonable — in fact downright inexpensive. Service is typical Mexican: efficient yet laid back. No need to hurry. After all, no one is competing for your spot on the beach. And probably won’t until the road is upgraded.

This slice of Paradise is yours to enjoy!

If You Go

Punta Bete is located 36 miles (58 km) south of the Cancun airport on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Most maps do show where it is.

Travel Information for the Yucatan Peninsula