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Introducing Xcalak

The rickety wooden houses, beached fishing launches and lazy gliding pelicans make this tiny town plopped in the middle of nowhere a perfect escape. And by virtue of its remoteness and the Chinchorro atoll, Xcalak may yet escape the development boom.

If diving isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do. Come here to walk along dusty streets and sip frozen drinks while frigates soar above translucent green lagoons. Explore a mangrove swamp by kayak, or just doze in a hammock and soak up some sun. And, though tiny, Xcalak has a few nice restaurants and an easygoing mix of foreigners and local fishers.

The mangrove swamps stretching inland from the coastal road hide some large lagoons and form tunnels that invite kayakers to explore. They and the drier forest teem with wildlife; in addition to the usual herons, egrets and other waterfowl, you can see agoutis, jabirus (storks), iguanas, javelinas (peccaries), parakeets, kingfishers, alligators and more. Unfortunately, the mangrove also breeds mosquitoes and some vicious jejenes (sand flies).

Xcalak was an important port during the Caste War, and the town even had a cinema until a series of hurricanes wiped everything away. Today, the town shows no signs of getting a bank, grocery store or gas station anytime soon, so stock up before you come.