Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Road 15 is a journey to the end of the Earth. It’s one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. No cars, no smog, no noise at all. Lots of birds and animals around.
The road is a rough 53.6 km track. It starts in Tulum along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea and ends in Punta Allen, the largest village in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, at the tip of a small peninsula, at the entrance to the Bahía de la Ascensión. There are no ATMs or internet cafes in town. Electricity generally works between 10am and 2pm, and 7pm and midnight.
The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities here. Don’t forget your camera! Don't be in a hurry to get to Punta Allen. Along the road are numerous pull-offs where you can stroll long stretches of virgin beach or watch waves crash against beautiful razor rock formations. There is a narrow peninsula with lagoons in the inside and gorgeous wild beaches in the outside. Due its unique location and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. If you rent a car to drive be sure you fill up your tank in Tulum. There are no gas stations in Punta Allen. And leave early enough to finish the two hour trip with time to spare before dusk.
Due to the remoteness of the area, take special care to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the trip. Much of the drive winds through extremely dense jungle. If the road is dry, there are some potholes, but they will be easy to navigate. Overall, it is no problem at all, but watch out for these notorious topes (speed bumps): some of them are nasty. Try to get a glimpse of the crocodiles when you stop on the bridge over the first lagoon. The road can be a real muffler-buster between gradings, especially when holes are filled with water from recent rains, making it impossible to gauge their depth. The southern half, south of the bridge at Boca Paila, is the worst stretch – some spots require experienced off-road handling or you’ll sink into a meter of sand. It is doable even in a non-4WD vehicle.
If you dare to take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. This bumpy ride only takes a little over an hour by car; however reports of taking this road in a very bad shape in 4 hours is not unheard of—if it happens to rain, odds are you will not make it through the pot holes in a rental car. If you keep your eyes on the road you will not have any problem avoiding the potholes. If the road is wet from recent rain, however, the situation might be quite different.
During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can easily get muddy if it rains making it challenging to get through. There is a brief stretch most of the way south where the road goes right along the beach, and the road seems to become part of the beach. You may see cars stuck in the sand, or your car may be stuck in the sand without 4WD. While you driving you can see lots of animals crossing the road, lizards, crabs, birds etc. The speed limit of this road is 40 km, driving this way you can avoid killing the animals that are trying in their tempo, to cross the road.