Haven't been there personally,but have read about it. Admission/chairs/umbrellas are free....of course, they'll want to to buy some food/drink. If you want to use any of the water toys, you will need to buy a $5 wristband, good for all "toys", all day. They have kayaks, snorkeling equipment (although snorkeling is not that good), floats, water trampoline and an "iceberg" in the water (like a climbing wall). For kayaks and/or snorkeling equipment, you will need to either leave an id or a deposit.
Just there a couple of weeks ago. Were told that the chairs and umbrellas were free at the entrance, then told by our waiter that if we did not order food or drinks we would be charged five dollars per person. It's not that I mind paying for the chairs, but I was peeved that things were misrepresented in the beginning. I would pass on going there again just because it irritated me.
bcollins.........I think this is true of any "free" beach; although some staff are more aggressive than others. I was, and am, still debating on whether to spend my day there. I know my teens would enjoy the water activities, but between the $5 writstband and the food (which, although some people say is cheap.......the menu doesn't look very cheap to me when you are multiplying everything by 4), I think the free beach is going to be a bit expensive. My other choices are Chankanaab (been there, loved it!!!) and, Nachi Cocum??? I've got time to research though so I'll be checking these boards frequently.
Do you think this was just an over aggresive waiter and not the policy of the beach. If there is a cover or minimum it should be clearly stated. Most people coming from the cruise ships dont buy food because they have food on the ship.
It might have just been the waiter, but I'm sure they are encouraged to ask people to eat/drink. While access to the beach is free, any beach "club" that offers "free" chairs/umbrellas or other facilities will expect you to purchase something. Some will state or tell you a minimum, others just leave it up to you. There was another experience posted, by a mother who brought her family, stating that she was told to buy the $5 wristband upon entering the property. As she had planned for this anyway, she went ahead and paid. After settling in the for day, she found out it was too windy for the water tramp and iceberg to be placed in the water, so she felt she wasted her $$ on the wristbands. There were still floats, kayaks and snorkeling equipment, but the main things her kids wanted to play on, and the reason for their visit to the beach, were the iceberg and tramp. What I learned from her experience, is to ask what is available before buying the wristband. Unless you go to a stretch of beach and just lay out on your towels, there really isn't a truely free beach.