Exploring Punta Allen, Mexico’s Best-Kept Secret in 2024

punta allen mexico
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Exploring Punta Allen, Mexico’s Best-Kept Secret in 2024

Punta Allen is one of the best-kept secrets in the Yucatan Peninsula. A small paradise in the Riviera Maya where it is possible to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature.

Just over 50 km from Tulum, Punta Allen could not be more different from its super-modern neighbor, a magical place, an enigmatic piece of land to escape from everything and everyone.

Despite its small size, Punta Allen offers a unique blend of adventure, culture, and nature for visitors to explore.

From snorkeling in the crystal clear waters to exploring the lush mangrove forests, there is something for everyone.

In this blog post, I’ll highlight the best things to do in Punta Allen, Mexico, to make the most out of your trip.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich culture of this stunning destination. Let’s begin!

How to get to Punta Allen

This small fishing village sits in the state of Quintana Roo, near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea.

To get to Punta Allen, you can do the following:

  1. Fly to Cancun International Airport
  2. Rent a car and drive south towards Tulum (around a 2-hour drive) on the coastal highway known as “Carretera Federal 307” until you reach the small fishing village of Punta Allen

Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Tulum to Punta Allen, but the service is somewhat slow.

8 Top things to do and see in Punta Allen, Mexico

punta allen
Source: Puliti Rachel / flickr.com

As soon as you enter the village, you will see mostly local people, mini stores to buy basic things, one or two ATMs, and a few hotels/hostels.

This small town is exactly what explorers dream of, no noise, no traffic, away from it all, and crystal clear waters for swimming and snorkeling.

Tour operators will also offer boat trips at good prices, snorkeling, and fishing excursions.

Electricity is limited and so is cell phone signal. For the most part, everything is fairly cheap; food, transportation, and entertainment.

There are not many bars, but most offer live music and affordable drinks.

The highlights of Punta Allen are the wonderful flora and fauna of the place. When swimming/diving you can see dolphins, manatees, and turtles.

Bird-watching is also one of the main activities offered by local fishermen.

1. Take a tour of the Sian Ka’an biosphere

punta allen
Source: Warp Factor / flickr.com

Punta Allen is a base for exploring the ocean side of the reserve, so wildlife found in the area includes dolphins, turtles, and if you’re lucky, manatees.

When strolling around the village, locals will approach you and ask if you are interested in taking a tour.

For most visitors, this will be the main activity to experience while in town.

The tour starts out on a speedboat out to the coastal side of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve to see dolphins, snorkel and visit an impressive natural pool.

The adventure ends at El Blanquizal, an area of calm waters protected by the surrounding reefs.

It is a beautiful place to end the day in crystal-clear water, where you can continue looking for rays and turtles, or just hang out in the warm waters.

The tour lasts about 3 hours, usually starting at 9 a.m. or 12 p.m., depending on the weather, ocean conditions, and your preference.

The wildlife of Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka'an
Yellow Crowned Night Heron – Source: elhawk / flickr.com

The main thing to do in Sian Ka’an is to discover the animals that live in this wonderful reserve.

Sian Ka’an is home to impressive wildlife with turtles, wailers, birds, crocodiles, and, of course, the reason for many visits: dolphins.

To observe these animals you will have to take a boat ride to the lagoons and the reef.

Some tours are available directly from the hotel for a more convenient and comfortable experience.

It is difficult to get there alone. But if you are adventurous and have a 4×4 vehicle, you can drive to Punta Allen and take a boat tour through one of the cooperatives on site.

Exploring mangroves and lagoons in search of animals in a boat is a must-do activity in Sian Ka’an. Not to be missed during your visit to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

2. Enjoy the beach in Punta Allen

punta allen beach
Source: Olivier / flickr.com

This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun and sea breeze.

Bring your towel, lay down on the sand, and enjoy its semi-virgin beaches.

It’s a fantastic way to get in touch with nature and become aware of the beauty of this corner of the Riviera Maya.

3. Admire the stars in the darkness of Punta Allen

punta allen
Starry night – Source: Carlos Garcia / flickr.com

One of the best things about having the lights out in Punta Allen is the total absence of light pollution.

And no light pollution means that the stars shine much brighter.

Take advantage of your remote surroundings and go out to see one of the most epic night skies you’ve ever seen.

The best way to experience Punta Allen’s epic night sky is to head to the beach or pier.

Enjoy the incredible opportunity to stargaze while listening to the crashing waves and feeling the cool ocean breeze.

4. Visit El Blanquizal for snorkeling

blanquizal
This beach is known as “the pool” – Source: Marcos Lana / flickr.com

El Blanquizal is a calm water area sheltered by the surrounding reef also visited on the famous Punta Allen tour I mentioned before.

Many refer to this place as the Punta Allen pool, and you can definitely see why, with the perfectly clear and calm waters.

Getting to El Blanquizal by land is quite an adventure. You can bike for about 40 minutes over the bumpy road.

Visiting El Blanquizal from the shore gives you excellent access to the reefs that protect the natural pool from the surf.

5. Experience world-class fly fishing

This unspoiled paradise is a haven for catch-and-release fishing. Several lodges cater to fly-fishing fanatics from Punta Allen and visitors.

Most of the lodges in town sell package deals. The most popular species to fish for are permit, bonefish, tarpon, and snook.

6. Explore the Punta Allen lighthouse

punta allen
Source: Miguel Vera / flickr.com

Biking along the sandy roads is one of the best things to do in Punta Allen.

It’s a great way to get a feel for the small community as you bike past the small school, church, police station, and friendly dogs.

To get to the lighthouse, you will pass by beautiful beaches and see some thatched huts where the locals live.

There are several places to rent bicycles around Punta Allen, but all would be described as “unofficial businesses.”

The lighthouse is abandoned, so there are no opening hours. But apparently, crocodiles can be found on the road to the lighthouse at night. So don’t go at night.

7. Venture into the jungle on a bird-watching tour

wild birds
Yucatan Woodpecker – Source: Ricardo Bitran -Birds of the World / flickr.com

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is home to an incredible number of bird species.

On a birding tour in Punta Allen, you will travel by motorboat through the mangrove estuaries to observe the diverse species of birds that thrive in this area.

Note that the focus of this tour is on waterfowl such as frigate birds and spoonbills.

Birding tours are not as commonly promoted as the popular ocean adventure and snorkeling.

Luckily, the cooperatives that manage the ocean tour also offer a sunset birding excursion.

8. Other outdoor activities

Fishing is probably the most sought-after activity in Punta Allen. You can enjoy your catch and experience a delicious and unforgettable dinner.

This fantastic place also offers other recreational activities and water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat rides on the neighboring beaches.

Visit the Ben Ha natural cenote, a natural open-air sinkhole known as the Sian Ka’an cenote, often mistaken for a lagoon.

Explore Boca Paila, where the sea meets the cool waters of the neighboring lagoon.

Swim in Blanquizal, an authentic natural pool in the middle of the sea. Coral reefs surround it and its floor is covered with fine white sand.

Relaxing in Punta Allen, Mexico – Conclusion

Remember, Punta Allen is all about disconnecting from outside distractions.

Enjoy a two-hour breakfast while watching the waves wash ashore.

Find a sandy spot in the shade and count how many turtles you see coming up for air. Or grab a couple of beers and just stroll around town.

Unless you’re going on a fly-fishing excursion, the truth is there are not a lot of organized things to do in Punta Allen.

So visit with the right mindset, turn off the alarm, and go with the flow for a few days.

Useful tips when traveling to Punta Allen

Keep in mind that there is no good phone signal in this area, so your cell phone will only be useful for taking pictures or as a flashlight.

Bring a map of the area (remember there is no cell phone signal), binoculars, sunscreen, lunch, and plenty of water.

If you decide to rent a car (which I highly recommend), consider a Jeep or 4×4 All Terrain vehicle, and remember to fill up the tank.

Punta Allen is a protected area and runs on solar energy.

Electricity is available from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm during the day and from 6:30 pm to midnight, so you can rest and sleep peacefully accompanied only by the sounds of nature.

However, the hotels in the area do have their power plants without interruption.

This town is small, but it is beautiful and quiet. If you want to relax and take a break during your trip, you can spend a night or two there.

Punta Allen is perfect and charming for everything it doesn’t have. Life moves very slowly here. And that is precisely why it is worth a visit.

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