Daytrips from Xcalak – El Palmar Balneario
Palmar is an interesting little place that is not in your normal tourist literature. This is not sparkling white elegance on the beach. It is way off the beaten track, but if you are going to Kohunlich or Dzibanche it is a great place to go to cool off after playing Indiana Jones at the ruins. Palmar is little Mexican “resort” where crystal clear cool water comes gushing out of a hill and flows into the Rio Hondo. The Rio Hondo is the border with Belize.
The water is cool when you first get in but feels great after you adjust. And did I mention it is crystal clear? There are a couple of places where is comes right out of the hill creating a natural lazy river. Palmar also has a restaurant, and several palapas around the water and on the hill to hang out on. Seems like they charge for everything there, $3 pesos for the toilet (bring your own toilet paper), $10 pesos for parking, etc. but all the prices are pretty reasonable.
Getting there is a bit of an adventure. Google maps will get you there But from 307 you take the 186 towards Escarcega and Kohunlich and its only about 15 KM from that turn. Make the left towards Alvaro Obregon in the town of Ucum. You will go through Sacxan, a small Mayan village, then you need to make a left in Palmar. It’s easy to miss the sign, so look out for it. Once you make the turn just follow the road to the end.
The day I went it was overcast, but there were a few Mexican families there, and the restaurant and bar were open. I had already eaten lunch so didn’t have anything, but reports are the ceviche can be good. There is a canoe you can rent to go to the Rio Hondo that flows into Chetumal bay. Otherwise, just splashing around in the cool crystal-clear water is nice on a hot day. Just something a little different for those that want a little adventure.