Telchac Puerto is a charming little beach town in the Northern Yucatan. It can be found along the “Ruta Esmerelda” emerald coast that runs from Progreso in the West, to Dzilam de Bravo and El Cuyo in the East.
The town, just over an hour’s drive from the city of Merida, escapes the attention of most international tourists. Unless you live in the Yucatan or have spent any amount of time here, you probably haven’t even heard of it.
For those willing to venture off the beaten path, Telchac Puerto offers paradisical beaches framed by coconut groves, with soft, powdery white sand coasts and translucent azure waters. The town’s main beach is a beauty in itself.
But venture a little further down the coast, and you will be greeted with private beaches that you can have virtually all to yourself. In particular, there are few Yucatan beaches more beautiful than those at the Antalea beach club and the nearby Grand Marina Hotel.
Telchac Puerto makes a great destination for a long weekend break, and 2-3 days spent relaxing by the Gulf of Mexico. It is also a nice spot to stop for a rest day as part of a wider Yucatan itinerary.
Telchac Puerto Yucatan: Your 2023 Travel Guide
Telchac Puerto is only a small town and you can explore the center in its entirety in less than 10-15 minutes. The Palacio Municipal and the little square that surrounds it mark the town center.
There are constantly a sea of vendors that set up their stalls here selling all kinds of regional and Mexican delicacies. Look out for the marquesitas – a Yucatecan crepe that is fried on a skillet in front of you before being stuffed with queso de bola cheese (Dutch cheese) and then rolled into a cigar shape.
Elotes and esquites (fresh corn topped with mayo, chili, lime, and other toppings) are a must-try. And when the sun goes down, consider ordering yourself a Michelada.
A michelada is a type of Mexican beer cocktail that is made by mixing beer with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and chili. Some of the vendors in Telchac Puerto sell fruity alternatives (e.g. Mango or Tamarind micheladas), and you can buy some really funky homemade mugs in different designs and shapes to go with your drink.
There is some interesting street art and sculptures to be found around the town square. Just in front of the Malecon, you will see the town’s name “Telchac Puerto” written out in huge letters where you can snap some great photos.
Kayak or take a boat through the nature reserves
Just outside of Telchac Puerto, you will find the Sayachaltun nature reserve. The reserve is a new project, operated by a collective of 26 fishermen from Telchac Puerto, who want to show visitors the natural beauty of the region.
It is possible to kayak or take a boat tour through the mangroves here, as your local guide tells you about the various endangered species of flora, fauna, birds, and crocodiles that call the area home. Many of the animals that live here are native to the Yucatan.
Your guide will lead you to hidden springs and areas where you can find mineralized mud and give yourself an all-natural face mask. (In the same way that the Ancient Mayans would!)
If you are looking for more adrenaline, you can consider renting a mountain bike and whizzing through the dirt trails that surround the mangroves. It’s a good idea to contact the reserve in advance if you want to organize any activities as there doesn’t seem to always be people around.
Sample local seafood delicacies
Most of the restaurants in Telchac Puerto specialize in selling seafood dishes. They serve up large portions of mouthwatering pescado frito (fried fish), ceviche, and shrimp aguachile using the latest catches of the day.
As you wait, you are presented with complimentary botanos or light bites like potato chips with sikil pak (a Yucatecan pumpkin dip) and spicy potato sauce. If you have dietary restrictions or you don’t eat seafood, you will be able to find meat (arrachera, grilled chicken, etc) and vegetarian options at Lolas (Calle 20 x19 #104 Malecon) and a few other spots around town.
The Xcambo ruins are the remains of an Ancient Mayan city that sits just 12km away from Telchac Puerto. Centuries ago, the city was an important place for trade, and the Ancient Maya would harvest the salt from the nearby lakes to trade across the peninsula.
Little is known about the city and when you visit, you will note that there are no tour guides and very few information plaques explaining the things you see. It is believed that Xcambo dates back to around 250-600 A.D. and was eventually abandoned between 600-900 A.D.
It is possible to climb to the top of the various pyramids and structures here and enjoy the view over the jungle canopy. There is a small church in the center of the complex with an ornate little carving of Jesus at its center.
Before Xcambo was excavated and opened to the public, locals gathered the rocks from the various temples and structures and used them to build a catholic church. Today, the church makes for an interesting contrast between the ancient site and the modern ways of religion.
Cenote Sayá Bak is a gorgeous cenote (sinkhole) that awaits just across from the Xcambo archeological site. As of April 2023, it is currently temporarily closed to the public but it is worth having on your radar in case it happens to reopen during your visit.
En route to Xcambo archeological site, you will pass by the pink lake of Laguna Rosada. The pink lakes of the Yucatan have started to gain a lot of attention in recent years thanks to social media.
However, while droves of people flock to Los Coloradas, Laguna Rosada is a lesser-known alternative that flies largely under the radar. The lake is often a gorgeous shade of cotton candy pink, although the water conditions, the lighting, the time of day, and various other factors can affect how pink the lake looks on any given day.
You can easily stop here to take some photos when driving to Xcambo. If you happen to be traveling in the Yucatan between December and April, you might be lucky enough to see flocks of flamingoes in the water or flying overhead as they migrate from Celestun to El Cuyo.
The water is actually pink because of the red brine shrimp and algae that live here. You can take photos at the side of the road but most of the water is actually inside a private salt mining complex.
The owners now charge 20 pesos per person (circa $1) if you want to enter. It’s also interesting to see the local men at work as they extract the salt from the water.
The little wooden kiosk at the entrance sells gourmet rock salt for a few pesos. This could make a nice Mexican souvenir for the foodies/aspiring chefs in your life.
Museo Del Mar Telchac Puerto
If you have a little time to spare or if perhaps you want to escape the heat and humidity for a few minutes, you can visit the Museo Del Mar (“Museum of the Sea”) in Telchac Puerto. The museum showcases a large collection of marine fossils, sea snails, and shells that have been found in the region.
In addition, there are photographs of what the area looked like after hurricanes Gilberto and Isidoro passed through the area.
Other beaches near Telchac Puerto
Telchac Puerto sits along a 98km stretch of coastline in the Northern Yucatan known as the “Ruta Esmerelda”. Although the beaches in the immediate vicinity of Telchac Puerto are gorgeous, there are some other breathtaking options a short drive away too.
San Crisanto Beach is a gorgeous, largely undeveloped spot that is encompassed by coconut groves. Every year, this little community hosts an annual coconut festival that sees locals prepare and enjoy coconut pies, ice creams, and other treats.
Heading west back towards Merida, San Bruno is another gorgeous little beach town that is home to just ten permanent residents. Its Kokomo beach club is a great place to hang out by the coast, enjoy Yucatecan food, and sip pina coladas.
Where to Stay in Telchac Puerto Yucatan
Telchac Puerto is still an emerging travel destination and so there are a limited number of accommodation options here. Still, since the town is largely unknown, you can easily get away with booking your hotel/Airbnb right before you intend to travel and still find that there are plenty of options available.
Most of the hotels in this area are more oriented toward luxury travelers with nightly rates of $150 upwards. However, they are gorgeous and well worth the price tag if you are hoping to relax in nature.
If you are on a budget, there are an increasing number of Airbnbs in the area where you can rent a spacious, modern apartment with all the amenities for around $60-$80 USD a night.
Some of the best accommodation options in Telchac Puerto are detailed below for your consideration.
Hotel Marina Kinuh
Hotel Marina Kinuh is a gorgeous five-star property on the outskirts of Telchac Puerto. The exclusive hotel has just eight rooms which each come equipped with private kitchen and living areas, an en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries, and a balcony with scenic views.
On the south side of the property, you are overlooking the Sayachaltun eco reserve where you can see herons feeding and flamingos flying overhead. On the north side, you have views of the Gulf of Mexico.
There are three pools on the property, as well as an excellent restaurant serving elevated Mexican and international fare at reasonable prices. A short woodland trail leads you to the property’s own private beach and thatched palapa huts you can relax beneath.
If you don’t fancy walking, have a golf cart take you there and pick you up when you’re done. Rooms at the Hotel Marina Kinuh start from $150 a night.
Hotel Reef Yucatan
The Hotel Reef Yucatan is a five-star resort situated right on the beachfront of the Telchac Sea, just outside of Telchac Puerto proper. Guests can enjoy all-inclusive or bed-and-breakfast packages depending on their preferences.
The hotel boasts a private beach, swimming pools, tennis courts, and an on-site theater that hosts various different shows and performances each night. Even if you are not a hotel guest, you can opt to purchase a day pass so that you can enjoy the beach, the pools, and other amenities.
The rooms are spacious and modern. All come complete with balconies, a coffee machine, complimentary water and toiletries, and beach towel rentals.
Final thoughts on visiting Telchac Puerto Yucatan in 2023
Telchac Puerto offers a great opportunity to travel off the beaten path in Mexico. The beaches here are a tropical paradise, and when you combine them with the excellent spas, restaurants, and service offered by some of the local boutique hotels, you have everything you need for a luxurious beach escape.
Do you have any further questions about planning your trip to Mexico? I live in the Yucatan capital of Merida and I am happy to help where I can.
If you are traveling to the Yucatan for the first time, you might also find the below travel guides to be useful.
- When is the best time to visit the Yucatan?
- Is the Yucatan safe to travel to?
- Best places to visit in the Yucatan
- Gorgeous Yucatan haciendas to consider staying in
- Renting a car in Merida, Mexico
Safe travels and enjoy Mexico! Buen Viaje! Xo