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Punta Allen RoadThe Punta Allen road is bumpy

Punta Allen is at the tip of a small peninsula, at the entrance to the Bahía de la Ascensión. It makes a nice night or two stop over after the bumpy ride 2 hour ride through the Sian Ka'an reserve. The town is small and if you continue through on the Punta Allen road you dead end at the lighthouse on the point.

Renting a 4 wheel drive is your best option for getting to Punta Allen. Otherwise you can take a bus to Tulum and get a cab ($70) or combi. The combi service leaves from the main bus station in Tulum (on the South side of town). It leaves every day around 11am or so and costs $5 or so. The service is fairly regular, with return trips leaving Punta Allen early in the morning around 5. Several hotels will drive to Cancun to pick up groups if you reserve in advance. If you are driving, be sure to fill up with gas in Tulum before setting out, and leave early enough to finish the two hour trip with time to spare before dusk.

Punta Allen is quiet and pretty

Punta Allen is a tiny lobster fishing village with just 500 residents, and there really isn't much here but beaches and fishing. It is quiet and small enough to explore on foot. The village is part of the Sian Ka'an reserve, and locals work to preserve the beauty and health of their section of the park. Most of the people living in town are Mayan descendants of residents from thousands of years ago. They make their living fishing, and increasingly, through tourism.

Local fisherman can be hired to take you to nearby bays and lagoons where you might catch a glimpse of the rare manatee. These tours are usually less than $50 and can include snorkeling and swimming on uninhabited white sand islands.

Beach - Punta Allen, MexicoA walk around town will take you past the 4 restaurants on the beach. All serve the same basic fare - lobster or fish fillet served with rice, beans and a salad. Cuzan is the largest, specializing in cheviche, and the chef is wonderful. Xo Ken offers tour information and a TV to watch along with the food. Two more restaurants are a block down towards the entrance of town. The smaller one serves excellent food at good prices ($4 for a fish filet platter) and the larger restaurant next door serves beer and seafood.

There are a handful of mini-supers. If one doesn't have what you are looking for, ask and they will direct you to the store that does. The undersupplied, but helpful clinic is across from the school. The panderia is a block from the clinic. They sell incredible bread, baked over coals in a domed oven. The bread is just 1 1/2 pesos a loaf and makes a satisfying breakfast with jam or honey. The one phone in town is shared by all, and a few industrious souls bring gas down from Tulum to sell for a small premium.

Cabañas on the beach, or a block off

The town is small, so take an hour to inspect the hotels and pick one that you like. The Cuzan Guest House ($110 double with meals) has been open since 1984 Their rooms are clean cabañas that sleep 4, with private bath and large porches. Cuzan has a restaurant and offers fly-fishing, boat tours, ocean views, and relaxing quiet. Call 983 8340358 or fax 983 8340383. Posada Sirena has cabañas with kitchens that sleep 6-8 people for $40. Other hotels are the Let It Be Inn, Casa Tranquila and Posada Sian Ka'an.

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