Top 10 things to bring to Acocote Eco Inn
Written by Rob Mukai on Dec. 29, 2015
A question that often comes up when people are coming down to Xcalak for the first time is “what should I bring?” I’ll try to answer that question here.
- Passport (of course) but also bring your driver’s license. You can use your US driver’s license as ID for driving a car. Bring photocopies of both your passport picture page and your driver's license. A quick note on driving here in Mexico. The roads from Cancun down to Xcalak are for the most part well maintained (there is the occasional pothole) and safe. As are the roads from Chetumal. When you are driving just take your time. You are in the Caribbean, no need to rush .
- Debit card
- In Xcalak there is only one place that takes credit cards (XTC Dive Center) everyone else from the fishing guides, to the restaurants and even us, take cash. Most places will take US dollars though the exchange rate is somewhat unpredictable and everyone takes Mexican Pesos. That is where the debit card comes in. Although Xcalak doesn’t have an ATM, on the drive from Cancun or Chetumal there are a number of banks that you can use your US or European debit card to withdraw cash in Pesos from your home bank account. As of this writing, most ATM’s will allow you to withdraw up to about $8,000 pesos (or approx. $500 USD) per day per card. It is usually cheaper from a bank charge perspective to use a bank, though ATM’s at grocery stores etc. work just fine. Also, if you do run low on cash while you are here, you can make the hour long run to Mahahual where they do have a few ATM’s, some of which usually are working, but I wouldn’t depend on that. The ATM on the way from Cancun that is easiest to hit is the HSBC right on the main drag in Tulum, and there are ATM’s in the Chedraui just off the main drag on the Boca Paila road. There is also an HSBC just off the main drag by the downtown Pemex station in Philipe Carrillo Puerto. In Mahahual, the most consistently good ATM is in the lobby of the Costa Maya Hotel in the Casitas.
- Sun Protection
- Sunscreen, Big hats, long sleeve shirts and pants. So yes this is a beach vacation so you obviously want to bring your bathing suits, shorts, etc., but we do get a lot of sun here, and it is always a good idea to be able to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. The last thing you want is to get sun burned the first day and spend the rest of your vacation in pain. Another thing to think about, cotton is not the best material here, once it gets wet, it takes forever to dry, so technical fabrics that breath and dry quickly are a better choice.
- Snorkel Mask
- Consider bringing your own snorkel/dive mask. We do have snorkels, fins and masks available here for use by our guests. But masks in particular, are better if you get one that fits your face. And they are pretty compact so are easy to pack
- Buy some groceries on the drive down. At Acocote Eco Inn, all of our accommodations have a full kitchen, so you can cook as much or as little as you would like. We supply rice, beans, milk, coffee, tea, cereal, breakfast bars, drinking water and some fruit, when available, in your kitchens. We do recommend at least picking some items on your drive down to have available for light meals or snacks. Here is a good list to get you started. An easy thing to do is to get the makings for a pico de gallo. So tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, pineapple, cilantro, garlic and limes, makes an easy and delicious Pico. Get fresh made corn tortillas, and Oaxaca cheese for quesadillas. Bacon and or Chorizo and eggs for breakfast burritos. All these items are best purchased at grocery stores on the way down. From Cancun, the Chedraui in Tulum is an easy in and out (They have ATM’s in the store as well). From Chetumal, go to the Chedraui in the Mall of the Americas on Avenida Insurgentes.
- You can buy beer in Xcalak, but you have to go to Mahahual (an hour drive away) to get any hard liquor (tequila, rum, whiskey, etc.) The best bet, is to buy it at duty free at the airport. If you weren’t able to do that, you can always pick some up at the grocery stores here. E.g. the Chedraui in Tulum or Chetumal.
- Offline Google Maps
- If you have a smartphone, get maps for your gps (e.g. google maps) downloaded for use off line. Google maps does a pretty good job of getting you down here, however once you go south of Tulum cell service is a bit spotty. You will get some connectivity around towns but not on the road. Click here for directions to get offline maps for Google Maps (They only save the maps for a limited time so check it before you leave.)
- Good mosquito repellent
- As long as the winds are blowing from the east (which is normal), we usually don’t have a problem with mosquitos on the beach. But if you want to try exploring the lagoons or if you want to hit some of the nearby ruins, you will need a good mosquito repellent. We do have some available here if you forget, but we recommend a good long lasting mosquito repellent like 3M’s Ultrathon.
- Water Shoes/Wading Boots/Dive Boots
- Although not required (we have a hard bottomed sandy beach).Water shoes are good if you want to take longer walks down the beach beyond the areas that are taken care of by the hotels. Also helpful if you want to go explore the lagoons out back.
- Xcalak doesn’t have a pharmacy and the closest one is in Mahahual which is an hour drive away. If you have any special medications please bring them with you. There are a number of medications that you can get without a prescription here but all pharmacies don’t carry all items so play it safe. One example is benedryl, epi-pens or allergy medications. If you have food allergies or could react to plants or insect bites, it might be a good idea to bring those along as well
You don’t need to bring a ton of stuff to enjoy yourself at our little hotel in Xcalak. No need for formal wear. Keep it simple and enjoy yourself.