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Playa Sonrisa
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    Reviews (85)
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    28 - 33 of 85 reviews
    Reviewed 15 March 2013

    We liked this place a lot. It is the opposite of a noisy, opulent, shiny, all-inclusive, in-your-face resort.

    Playa Sonrisa was very comfortable and no-pressure. We had never been to a clothing-optional resort, though we have spontaneously picked spots to be privately nude together on beaches on St. Bart's and in the south of France, remote islands of Georgian Bay, mountain trails close to Banff, etc. It really is "optional", and for the most part my partner chose to keep her kaftan on when others were around.

    The food prepared here is very good, and reasonably priced, and you really should get into Xcalak to try the Leaky Palapa.

    It is a truly lovely setting, and Murph and Cindy are terrific, low key hosts. It's a really long way from just about everything, and you better enjoy one or several of reading, diving, snorkeling and swim among beautiful reefs, kayaking, or fishing because, frankly, there is little else to do.

    But for those seeking solitude and sun, and particularly for those who want to try taking off their clothes under a soothing and nourishing sun without concern of being ogled or photographed or hustled or having their intentions misunderstood, this is the spot.

    At this small resort we also found ourselves with an interesting and diverse group of 3 or 4 couples with whom we ate most nights and shared stories. (I see Katie's review below and echo her thoughts.) All-in-all a pleasant experience.

    In the interest of full disclosure: be advised that when you are walking the beach away from the groomed resort you will encounter copious garbage that has been washed ashore. Also, we did run into biting insects (rare for January, I was told, perhaps because it rained, which was also rare) so you might want to play it safe and bring a repellent with DEET.

    But despite those negatives this a wonderful place to get away from it all and relax.
    Thank you, Cindy & Murph.

    Room Tip: We stayed in a beach bungalow. Lovely to be able to step right out on the sand. Saw all the other rooms and they were equally nice.
    • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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    12  Thank Northwaters
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 21 February 2013

    Playa Sonrisa is a wonderful tropcal retreat and just the place for us to spend several days chilling during our otherwise hectic tour of the Yucatan peninsular. We had a beachfront villa which was spacious, comfortable and with a view to die for. Our fellow guests were delightful and our hosts, Playa Sonrisa's owners Murph and Cindy, were genuinely welcoming and helpful - thoroughly nice people.

    Being so far "off the grid" we were pleased at the quality of the food available in Xcalak, both at Playa Sonrisa and in other local establishments, Breakfasts (included) were very nice with freshly-baked baked bread and muffins plus fruits, coffee and juice. We dined at the hotel twice and both meals were delicious and good value for this quality of cuisine. In the town of Xcalak, Toby's restaurant was a bit indifferent but the Leaky Palapa lived up to its excellent billing. Almost all the restaurants in the area close for a few days a week, including Playa Sonrisa, but Murph and Cindy are happy to give recommendations and arrange bookings so you won't starve.

    The beach is of fine sand with lots of mature palm trees for shade and plenty of loungers. It's kept very clean by the Playa Sonrisa team - washed up debris is a real problem all along this coast. There is a very nice walk northwards along the beach with plenty of marine life to be seen. This area of the coast does have turtle grass close inshore but there are some small clear patches for (shallow) swimming. The snorkelling off the dock is excellent but the best marine life is seen in the coral garden a few hundred yards offshore, accessed via kayaks which can be rented for about M$50 per week.

    We loved Playa Sonrisa but it won't suit everyone and those wanting 24 hour room service and the like would be much better served by the myriad of big resort hotels around Cancun. I'd advise everyone to look at Playa Sonrisa's website before going - this will give you a very good idea of what to expect but here are a few of the main issues to consder:

    You are 5 or 6 miles from Xcalak, the nearest town, and the road from it is unmade and a bit bumpy but negotiable in a regular car - you don't need a 4x4. There is no mains electricity or mains water which means that everyone has to play their part in conserving both these commodities. You can charge phones and laptops (satellite wifi avaialable) but hairdryers are a no-no. No mobile signals here or for 40 km either!

    Guests also need to be sensible about water usage (rainwater collection and tanker delivery are the only sources) but again, it's no hardship. And yes, the resort is clothing optional so you'll see naked people but no-one is obliged to strip off if they don't want to. Playa Sonrisa is a genuine naturist resort which means its safe and you won't be gawped at or subjected to others' libertine behaviour. All guests are clothed at mealtimes.

    Driving back to Cancun to catch the flight to the UK we passed a seemingly endless succession of huge rersort hotels where I'm sure you can shower all day long and plug in as many appliances as you want but none of them could give you an experience like Playa Sonrisa. It genuinely is an "away from it all" location - something very special.

    • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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    8  Thank Leo T
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 29 January 2013

    We have just returned from our 8 day stay at Playa Sonrisa in Xcalak, Mexico. Coming from Montana the drive to get to Xcalak did not bother us. Highway 307 is easy though make sure you slow for the "topos -speed bumps" Here is our full review.
    We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Playa Sonrisa. The atmosphere is very relaxing. I like to to say that half the fun of going on a trip is getting there and going home even though it was raining the morning we left we do not want to leave. Cindy and Murph are excellent hosts. They are very knowledgeable of the area, are very courteous,  they cook excellent meals, and definitely know the game of naked bocce ball. 
    Our trip here was relatively easy, we have never been to Mexico before.  Once we got out of the big towns we began to relax immensely. We were able to take in "Chicken Night at Toby's" our first night here in Xcalak and that set the stage for fun and being able to relax. Our time snorkeling, fishing,  walking the beach and catching sunshine rays were fabulous. 
    This was our first time to a clothing optional resort and we were comfortable from the get go. All the other guests were great people to be with and we felt very comfortable being nude here.
    Playa Sonrisa has everything a person needs to have  fun and relax. It is remote for some folks but it is all that we were looking for. Remember it is Remote so if you are looking for bright lights music and dancing you will only find the light of the moon, the sound of the surf, and slow dancing to the breeze on your skin!

    • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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    11  Thank Kathryn C
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 8 January 2013

    We have just returned from 6 days at Playa Sonrisa. It is exactly as their website describes: Paradise. It is 5 hours from Cancun by car and quite isolated. We saw no one for the first three days except the owners and staff of two. Clothing is optional. The rooms are 150 feet from the sea. The beach is cleaned of Caribbean trash every day. Dinners are great, and breakfast and lunch passable. Food and drink is generous and inexpensive, but if you want to go into town there is one great place to eat called Leaky Palapa. No other services except a great dive center called XTC Dive Center. The sea is warm but you have, (get) to use a Kayak to go out to great snorkeling in the protected reef offshore. Wind was hard part of the time, but it is a tropical beach.

    Playa Sonrisa is not luxurious, but it has everything we wanted or needed in a perfect, honest, glitz free, and economical setting.

    Room Tip: All rooms are good, the bungalows are very romantic. All are quiet as the place is off the grid with no amplified music or motor hum. Fans in all rooms that we saw. Water and energy conservation is encouraged and expected
    • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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    4  Thank JerimiahJ223
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 5 January 2013

    My husband and I spent five glorious days at Playa Sonrisa from December 28 to Jan 2nd and just have to say that this was an excellent place to visit.
    This is a smaller resort and the ultimate place to just "chill out". It is unplugged at its best. There are no crowds, no gawkers, no selling of things on the beach and no big resort atmosphere. If you are looking for a lovely quet place to relax with someone special this is the ticket. Murph and Ciny do an excellent job of taking care of their guests and Cindy's cooking is great and Murph's drinks are awesome! The winds were up so it made for choppy seas so we cant comment on the snorkelling but we will be back as it is supposed to be touted as excellent. This is a remote area with lots of vegetation and the birdlife is very good on the water, it was our entertainment. We stayed in a beachfront bungalow that was very clean and comfortable and we listened to the waves every night. This resort is a true testament that the road less travelled is sometimes the very best with added value you would never get elsewhere. Thank you Murph and Cindy for a great time and we hope to get down there again with some friends!

    Room Tip: The beachfront bungalow is very nice and closer to the restaurant.
    • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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    6  Thank Lynn S
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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