Punta Nizuc

Quintana Roo, Cancún


There is only one spot accessible by public at this coast point but it offers a different experience: it is perfect for boat spotting.


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This broad, white crescent of beach in Cancún hotel zone is bordered by mangrove jungle. But this beach has no public access any more. However, there are a few ways to enjoy the spot. Getting here is an adventure in itself so please bear with me and read on.

 
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The bay round the corner, with a cluster of hotels.
 

One way to enjoy this beach is the most obvious one: as a hotel guest of Club Med or the Westin resort. You can't get into either of those hotels as a pedestrian; the hotel security will simply not allow access to the beach (we tried, believe me).

If you just want a day of scuba diving and snorkelling, you will have to use agencies from those hotels or yacht clubs located in Nichupté and Bojorquez lagoons. This way you will access the sea through the Sigfrido channel in the north end of the hotel zone, by the Calinda Bridge, or Nizuc channel at the south end, at Punta Nizuc.

 
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A little bit of fresh seaweed on the beach but they do clean it all the time.
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The name Nizuc comes from the Yucatec Maya language and ni su uk means 'promontory', or 'point of grass'. The ancient Maya considered Punta Nizuc a revered area and used it as a gathering place to worship their gods. I must say that I felt spiritual and physical rejuvenation here, just sitting about in the sea breeze and 'sucking in' the power of nature.

 
With my friend Amanda.
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If you want to swim here, opt for wild swimming in the Río Nizuc. Take the first turning right just before the Río Nizuc bridge (and park straight away). The river comes out of the Nichupté Lagoon here, to join the sea. Swimming and fishing here are popular with the locals. The water is turquoise and transparent and it is a rare experience, to swim in the wild. There are picnic tables along the river, a great place to spend a day. I am very tempted to do so one of these days.

 
With my friend Amanda.
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Or you can go to the restaurant Río Nizuc, just past the picnic tables, at the point where the river Nizuc joins the sea (the other side from the hotels). This is a perfect spot for boat spotting. This beach is only accessible if you are a guest at the restaurant. However, while the waters are shallow and placid, most of the sea bottom is covered with seagrass, making walking less inviting. You can paddle in places though. Children love it here. For adults, a great place to sit and enjoy the beauty, with a salty breeze in your face!

 
Access pier to the restaurant.

Access pier to the restaurant.

A sea canal with mangroves.

A sea canal with mangroves.

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I came here with my husband in the summer of 2018 and we enjoyed this spot very much. For me this place was a memory maker. Not for its swimming options as there are none of those. But you can surely spend an afternoon with a difference here. We waded in the warm and shallow seawater. While paddling, we observed a number of small fishes, of different colours, as if we were snorkelling at the coral reef. They did not seem timid at all; they kept coming to me as if they wanted to nibble me. And a cormorant was fishing for them right next to us. We were also fascinated by little holes in the sand, some of them being created as we watched, perhaps by sand crabs and roly polies. We could not see the sand dwellers, only their work, as the sand was being shifted away, creating small holes.

 
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We also observed the mangroves, coming right out of the shallow water. I was able to identify two types: white and black mangroves. At close encounter, the shrubs are pretty, full of flowers. Mangroves are one of Mexico's true coastal natives. They are valuable in the coastal zone as a buffer against erosion and provide nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish. 

 
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We also loved watching the speedboats and waverunners passing by, in some numbers. It was fun to see the excitement of the people on the boats, as they were entering the open sea at this point, pleased at their own driving skills. A boat with a glass bottom (Aquaworld) also passed a few times. That is a tour for the underwater sculptures at Punta Nizuc that encourage coral growth to preserve the Palancar Reef System. The sculptures vary in motifs as they were constructed by different international artists. Sculptures are fixed to the seabed (at a depth of 5m), made of special material, which promotes coral life to turn the area into an artificial reef. Pretty special!

 
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The restaurant is rustic, nothing fancy, yet the sea views and the tranquillity of the spot will make your day. We had a problem to get service to start with. We arrived at 11am and they just went shopping! Then we found out that they open at 12.00. We parked by the river as the restaurant car park was not open so that should have gives us a hint. So they were kind to let us in, in the first place, and serve us a cold drink before opening times. Food was available from midday onwards and the staff were pleasant. The restaurant is run by a local fishermen's co-operative and the seafood is very fresh as they catch their own fish here. Ceviche and fish is the order of the day although we opted for prawns, in my case prawns Mayan style (photo below on the left): Tikin Xic, with achiote (annatto seeds) and sour oranges, cooked in an earth oven beneath a wood fire.

 
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How to get there:

The public access to Punta Nizuc is now only at Km 24 at the hotel zone. If driving from the direction of Playa del Carmen, turn right just before the bridge: follow a small white road sign Río Nizuc. There is a small car park there or you can park at the Río Nizuc restaurant after about 100m (from 12am).

Getting there by bus: Blue Line Stop #4, Green Line Stop #3.

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