Do you think you have just found another generic article about the TOP 10 beaches in Cancun?
We don't want it to be like that in Odigoo Travel…
What if we give you a more useful article this time? An article with a detailed selection of beaches in Cancun and the rest of the Riviera Maya. An article that can fulfill your need to know with precision where is best to spend the priceless time of your vacation.
How are we going to accomplish that? We will start by telling you which are the best party beaches, those that are better suited to rest and relax, those that are better for sports and those that will give you the best chance to contemplate nature and maybe watch wild life.
Of course, we will also mention what beaches are the most suitable for families, those for a group of friends and those for a romantic outing. We are aware that when it comes to your vacation, you just want to know where to find the best experiences, those that can become lifetime memories.
This article is more about practical and useful information, the one that you will REALLY need when you are visiting the beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
Are you already wondering about the facilities, services and activities available on the beaches in Cancun? At what time is their opening and closing time? No worries, we got you covered, Odigoo has this information for you!
With patience, we at Odiggo have reviewed blogs and specialized sites as well as done some research on field to get all this valuable information. In addition, we have also take a looke at hundreds of tourist reviews and opinions TO KNOW EVEN THE SMALLEST DETAIL about the beaches in Cancun.
The cherry on top: we are summarizing this information with emojis so that you can understand and read it faster.
That's right, dear reader, we did all of this for you!
The best article about the beaches in Cancun and Riviera Maya! 😉 🌴 🌞
The beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya are among the most beautiful in the world. The warm weather, white sand and the stunning colors of the Caribbean Sea make them the main attraction of these tourist destinations.
You will find images of these beaches everywhere in social media (#MexicanCaribbean) as well as in your coworker’s computer screens. They are the perfect escape to reality. And once you are in these beaches, you will never forget what you saw.
If you only had the chance to visit a handful of beaches through dozens of miles of coastline in the Mexican Caribbean Riviera, where would you go? We’ll save you some time with our list of the five must-visit beaches in Cancun.
📷 Playa Delfines' viewpoint is the perfect place for a landscape photo. There, you will also find the famous Cancun sign (the one with the colorful letters).
Small palapas are available for free on this beach. If you want one, try to get there early, they are very popular!
Thinking about adding a cultural dimension to complete your day at the beach? The archealogial site known as “El Rey” is within walking distance from Playa Delfines.
Regarding the parking lot, the one at Playa Delfines has a large capacity. However, we recommend you to arrive early in the morning if you are driving to this beach. Don't forget to consider the tip for the people watching for your car (around 30-50 pesos is enough).
Take care of your belongings! Several tourist report thefts (of laptop, wallet). You can rent a locker to keep your belongings safe while enjoying the beach.
Beware of tourist scams! Especially when it comes to beach equipment rentals (chairs, umbrellas, etc.). Try to compare prices among all the people offering this service. The average price is 200 - 300 MXN for two lounge chairs or two chairs and a table.
Where is Playa Delfines? At kilometer 18 of the Hotel Zone (Kukulkan boulevard).
🚏 Bus stop: Playa Delfines
You can easily reach this great beach in Playa del Carmen from Fifth Avenue. It is also known as Playa Caribe.
Playa Caribe is right next to the “Los Fundadores” Park where the famous Mayan Portal stands, a very famous item in social media. This is a popular spot for instagramers.
“Los Fundadores” Park is perfect for a walk while discovering small local restaurants and watching street performances such as the "Voladores".
You will also find the Playa del Carmen sign there!.
If you want to swim in this beach, reviewers in several webforums recommend the right side of the beach because the sea there is a bit calmer. However, be careful with the rocks if you swim in this beach. Wearing water shoes can be a good idea.
Just a few feet south from this beach, you will also find the ferry terminal to Cozumel island.
Beware of thefts! Tourist recommend that you always keep an eye on your belongings.
Where is Playa Caribe? It is between “Los Fundadores” Park and Calle 10 Nte. It can also be reached through the streets 2 Nte - 4 Nte - 6 Nte - 8 Nte.
Akumal is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the beach and its surroundings have all the facilities and amenities that any tourist could ask for. You will find restaurants, a pharmacy, a small supermarket, souvenir shops, diving schools and beach bars. All this so that you can spend a pleasant day at the beach and if you wish also do one of the many water activities offered at the beach.
Akumal is the perfect beach to swim with wild animals such as turtles, manta rays and tropical fish. Most of these animals are under conservation programs. Make sure you don’t disturb them. Remember that an ecotourism best practice is watching without disturbing. In order to get close the area where the turtles swim and eat the seagrass, you have to go with one of the guided groups (up to four people). It is a very safe and easy activity even for children. This activity is always done wearing a life vest.
🌿 ECO ADVICE! If you are planning to swim with animals do not wear sunscreen! It contains toxic substances for these animals and their ecosystem. If you want to protect yourself from the sun, wear a t-shirt!
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Try not to buy tours or activities from the people who are on the street or outside the parking lot. It is safer for you to buy them from the certified operators who usually are right on the beach
Where is Playa Akumal? Carretera Tulum, Yokdzonot, Cancún, Q.R., Mexique
🚏 Bus stop: Akumal. 🚌 $30 MXN from Playa del Carmen by bus
Description: also called Playa Maya is located right at the base of the Archaeological site of Tulum. It is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.
It has a sight of the sea that will make you sigh every time. This amazing landscape altogether with the ruins makes this beach a special one even among the must-visit beaches in the Riviera Maya.
This beach can only be reached through the ruins. Therefore, you must pay the ticket to the archaeological site.
For your information: The beach is not always open due to situations such as the change of tide or the turtle nesting season.
Do not trust the people who offer you tour packages or any other product before entering the site. Go straight to the official ticket office and avoid scams!
For more information 👉 Tulum archeological site.
Where is Playa de Las Ruinas? It is at km. 230 of the federal highway Chetumal - Cancun (307) then follow the direction of the hotel zone of Tulum.
🚏 Some other transportation alternatives: ADO buses ($ 54 - $ 62 MXN), Colectivos ($ 40 MXN), taxi cabs ($ 60 - $ 90 MXN) from Tulum town. The bus stop is located near the entrance to the site.
Located to the north of Cozumel Island, this beach resembles a paradise. Make no mistake, the visit is totally worth of your priceless vacation time.
When you arrive at the ferry terminal in Cozumel, you will find jeeps that will take you to this part of the island (the road is rough full with potholes). At the end of this road, you will have to take a short boat trip to reach “Isla de la Pasión”. The round trip is around $ 200 MXN.
It is also possible to get to “Isla de la Pasión” straight from Playa del Carmen by a catamaran tour.
To learn more about nautical activities of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, click 👉 here.
The island is perfect for nature tourism activities::
How to get to Cozumel?
⛴ Ferries leave from Playa del Carmen every hour. Round trip prices: adult $ 500 MXN - child $ 400 MXN - For more information: Rates.
Picture yourself enjoying the beach while moving your feet in the sand to the rhythm of the best DJ sets. Then taking a well-deserved break with a cocktail in hand on a lounge chair, just looking at the horizon while contemplating the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. This is the magic of the beach clubs in Cancun and the Riviera Maya!
If you also want to live the best parties in the beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, here are our top beaches on that regard. A special selection for those who really enjoy going wild while partying! If you are looking for quiet places, skip to the next section.
Description: Playa Gaviota Azul is one of the beaches in Cancun where there is always something going on. If you want to party, you must go there.
It is ideally located in the center of the hotel zone and is very close (less than 2 minutes on foot) to Plaza Forum by the Sea Mall.
It is well known for its party atmosphere. There you will find some of the beach clubs in Cancun. Most of these venues open at 11 am! Besides, this beach is very close to different restaurants and bars.
If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere or somewhere to spend the day with your family, it is better to consider other beaches in Cancun. Sometimes the people who goes to Playa Gaviota Azul can be a little “happier” and willing to share their happiness with strangers due to all the alcohol available in most of the places in this beach. We guess people with their family would not want to have an encounter with the partying tourists.
ODIGOO TIP: Beware of scams!
N°1 People in charge of the beach equipment rentals (umbrellas, lounge chairs) sometimes try to take advantage of inexperienced tourists or those who are intoxicated. Do not be fooled if they ask you outrageous amounts of money for the rental of the beach equipment.
N°2 Beware of the police! Police officers in Cancun can be kind and help you at times, but if you give them any excuse, they might also fine you under false accusations or just exaggerating a public misbehavior. They pay special attention to the young people that is intoxicated.
Description: Located North of Isla Mujeres, as its name implies, this beach is perfect for tourists looking for fun and party.
However, keep in mind that many boats and yachts also docked close to this beach. These can be both a visual and a sound annoyance.
The appearance of Playa Norte is no less idyllic than other previously mentioned beaches: white sand, turquoise waters, palm trees, fishmongers and restaurants. Playa Norte is a beautiful place to walk or watch a beautiful sunset.
Be careful and always pay attention to your personal belongings. There are many tourist reviews on forums about thieves looking for wallets and phones. Do not leave your personal belongings unattended.
Odigoo advice: If you are going to spend time in a beach club always ask the waiters (or the manager) about accepted payment methods before ordering! Sometimes waiters pretend they can not to accept credit cards in order to receive cash. It is easier to collect their tip in that way.
Don’t let them surprise you, especially if you are short on cash. Tips can also be charged to the credit card (In Mexico is common to tip as follows: ok service 10% - good service 15% - excellent service 20%).
How to get to Isla Mujeres? Where is Playa Norte?
⛴️ It is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Puerto Juárez or Playa Tortugas in Cancun ($ 300 MXN round trip
Once, you are at the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal, you just have to go left towards Playa Norte. It will be a 10-minute walk. You can also rent a golf cart to explore the whole island.
Punta Maroma is an exotic beach located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It is a bit more exclusive than others.
In this beach you will find beach clubs. The party atmosphere is well alive. Besides, there are many other activities available, especially those related to adventure tourism. It is perfect if you are thinking about splitting your day between parties and adventure activities (ATVs, Jet Ski, etc.)
Tourist reviews are almost unanimous about the beauty of Punta Maroma, it is described as a true paradise.
In this beach, you will also find nice restaurants. There are also cabin rentals available.
Where is Punta Maroma? From Playa del Carmen to Cancun it is a car drive of about 30 minutes on route 307. 30 minutes on route 307.
Description: Mamita’s Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Playa del Carmen. If you’re you are looking for parties, this is THE BEACH.
Beach clubs are the main attraction at Playa Mamita’s. Those looking to party wild will be delighted with its atmosphere and will find happiness in the loud music coming from every venue.
This beach is not the beach that we would recommend for families or people who is looking for a quiet place.
If you don’t want to be inside the beach clubs, you still can enjoy the music while being on the beach. Even though, must of the space in this beach is taken by these venues, there still areas where you can lay with your towel.
Given its proximity to Fifth Avenue, you will find convenience stores around Mamita’s Beach to buy sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks.
🌿 ECO ADVICE: Remember to bring a bag to collect your garbage!
ODIGOO ADVICE: If you really want to enjoy the atmosphere and facilities of a beach club, take a look to each venue and wait until you find the one that really fits to what you are looking for. Do not order until you are really sure. Many tourists complain about the questionable behavior of some waiters (sometimes they are too pushy with customers). Be careful not to pay too much for something that doesn't satisfy you.
Where is Playa Mamitas?
You can access the beach from calle 26 Nte y Calle 28 Nte.
You will find this beach to the south of the Archeological Site of Tulum in the extension of Playa Las Ruinas.
It is a very beautiful white sand beach with calm sea and turquoise waters. Playa Paraíso is popular among tourists, although some believe that the government could make a better effort to keep the beach clean of seaweed.
There are several food stalls near the beach where you can enjoy delicious seafood and fresh fish. There are also other places such as a mini-market located at the main access to the beach.
Exploring Tulum's National Park could be a good complement to your visit to Playa Paraiso if you do not want to spend the whole day at the beach.
For those who do not enjoy sitting still on the sand for more than 5 minutes and need to work out even on vacation, we have chosen the best beaches where you will be able to exercise.
If you are a surf and water activities enthusiast or if you are eager to show your volleyball skills, get ready!
Description:An ideal beach for athletes, especially for good swimmers! However, don't forget about doing it always with caution.
Playa Ballenas is the beach with the most intense waves in Cancun as it is totally exposed to the open sea.
This beach is perfect if you want to practice any water sport. Although, it is not recommended for children and inexperienced swimmers.
Palapas are available for free on this beach.
Playa Ballenas’ main downside is that many tourists complain about the public space invasion by the hotels. There are many reviews pointing out that hotels’ beach equipment is placed way outside the hotels’ facilities.
Where is Playa Ballenas? At kilometer 14 of the hotel zone (Kukulkan Boulevard), just in front of the Marriott
🚏 Bus Stop: Playa Ballenas
Description: Playa Chac Mool is one of the most popular beaches in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, This beach is named after the Mayan god of the underworld.
It is one of the most sought-after places by surf enthusiasts due to the strong currents. Therefore, recreative swimming is strongly discouraged at this beach, especially for children. Many tourists point out the intensity of the currents in this beach.
You will find convenience stores such as Oxxo or 7-Eleven close to this beach.
Warning! As in many other beaches in Cancun, you should always keep an eye on your belongings.
Remember to bring your ID or, even better, a copy. It is common they ask for it when you want to rent umbrellas or lounge chairs.
Where is Chac Mool beach? Esta playa se encuentra en At kilometer 10 of the hotel zone (Kukulkan Boulevard). The access is near the Royalton Hotel.
🚏 Bus stops: Línea Azul # 60 - Línea Verde # 57 Playa Chac Mool
Description: Playa Marlin is a sports beach in Cancun’s hotel zone. It is a beach where many water and nautical activities can be done.
This beach is well known for its rough sea. In fact, people who have visited this beach always highlight the strong currents on its left end, even with eddies on that area. Therefore, if you decide to swim in this beach, you must be very cautious. Swimming is not recommended for children here.
Playa Marlin is a favorite among tourist, mostly because it is big compared to other beaches and, of course, its white sand. It is also described as quite windy.
There is a convenience store close to Playa Marlin so don't worry too much about your snacks or drinks, you can buy them there.
Always try to negotiate the rental price for umbrellas and lounge chairs. They are usually offered at high prices for tourist, however, it is possible you can get a lower price with some negotiation effort.
Where is Playa Marlin? At kilometer 12 of Boulevard Kukulkan.
🚏 Bus Stop: close to the fire station # 46 blue line (R1) # 41 green line (R2) Playa Marlín
Parking at Playa las Palmas is quite scarce. According to the reviews of several tourist on the internet, it is highly recommended to get there by any other mean of transportation rather than car: buses ($ 30 MXN from Tulum downtown), by bicycle or just walk.
In this beach you will find some small restaurants and stores.
Playa Las Palmas is a small beach but it has a true outdoor gym with weights and other equipment to exercise while having the Caribbean Sea as background. It is located near the public beach called "valley of the mamados" (in Mexico “mamado” refers to those who have a body builder appearance).
The beaches in the Riviera Maya are a perfect destination for a family vacation. However, not all of them are adequate for children; especially due to the strong currents and intense waves. These conditions can be extremely dangerous for unsupervised kids.
In this section, we offer you a selection of safe beaches to enjoy the pleasures of the sea with all your family. As a plus, we will also tell where you can find water parks and activities focused on children entertainment.
Description: Playa Langosta is another popular beach in Cancun's hotel zone. It is qualified as an ultra-tourist beach. Sounds a bit redundant, we know. This means that If you don't like crowds, maybe you'd better avoid this one.
Here, you will find a true family atmosphere that brings together both locals and tourist.
Facilities and infrastructure in Playa Langosta are more than sufficient. You can spend all the time you want there without worrying about anything.
The sea in this area is calm and shallow, so it is perfect for families with toddlers. You will also find some other activities for your kids.
The beach is located right next to Torre Escenica 360° (Scenic Tower). There you can witness one of the most amazing views of the Hotel Zone. (open Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
For the brave morning persons or even for the night owls whose night turned into morning, this is one of the best places to watch the sunrise.
Where is Playa Langosta? At kilometer 5 of the Kukulkan boulevard in the Hotel Zone near the Hotel Temptation and Occidental Costa.
🚏 Bus stop: Playa Langosta, 1st stop after the bridge, just in front of Scuba Cancun.
Description: Playa Tortuga is one of the closest beaches to downtown Cancun. One of its main attractions is the bungee jump!
This beach is popular among locals and tourists alike. It is usually crowded despite its small size and its rocky areas that resemble a small cove.
It is a good place if you are looking to spend some time with locals. The access to this beach is just at the back of the parking lot. There, you will also find a convenience store if you want to buy some snacks or drinks.
You can walk away from the most crowded areas if you head to the eastern end of this beach.
Where is Playa Tortugas? At kilometer 6.5 of Cancun’s hotel zone, right in front of Aqua Tours and the Oxxo.
Watch out! Tourist reviewers report that Playa Tortugas is poorly indicated on Google Maps. Don't trust this app. Better look for Hotel Dos Playas as a reference.
🚏 Bus Stop: Playa Tortugas
Description: This is the first beach in Cancun’s hotel zone going from downtown.
It has a thin strip of sand and calm sea. It is a family beach with several activities for children and all the amenities required by a family. You will find palapas for free.
Snorkel is a popular activity in this beach.
The public services of Playa Las Perlas (bathroom, showers) close around 5:00 p.m. There are several garbage bins, remember always to use them.
The are several boat tours available at Marina Las Perlas. If you are interested on sport fishing, you can find specialized tours over there. This is one of the main departure docks for catamarans and yachts in Cancun.
For your information: Some tourists review that the appearance of the sea in this beach is not the best and that there is also an unpleasant smell (diesel) due to the proximity to the marina.
Where is Playa las Perlas? It is at kilometer 2 of Boulevard Kukulkan in the hotel zone, next to the Imperial Las Perlas hotel and the Holiday Inn.
🚏 Bus Stop: Playa las Perlas
Punta Esmeralda beach is a hidden gem located north of Playa del Carmen. It is not the most popular beach so it is usually quite peaceful.
This is the last true public beach in Playa del Carmen. After this one, the hotels and resorts make the access to the beaches more difficult for non-guests.
The main features of Punta Esmeralda are its tranquility, beauty and family atmosphere. Most of its visitors are local people.
Here you will not find restaurants or any other place to buy food or snacks. So, if you plan a long stay at the beach make sure to bring food and water. There isn’t beach equipment (umbrellas, lounge chairs) rentals either. Therefore, palm trees will be your best ally to protect you from the sun.
A special feature of this beach is a small hidden cenote that connects to the sea through a river.
From this beach, it is possible to have a closer look to sea life since it is near to Francisco I. Madero reef, a section of Cancun’s Great Coral Reef.
Playa Santa Fe is the alternate access to the archaeological site of Tulum. This beach is very nice so it is popular with tourists.
If you have rented a car, driving there is not recommended as you will find all the tourists trying to get to the archeological site and the road has just two lanes.
There are no public bathrooms on this beach. If you need one, you must go to a beach club and pay a fee (average of $ 10 MXN) to use the bathroom.
There are several food outlets near this beach where you can buy sandwiches and snacks (fries, beers, etc.).
Beware of the people selling tours in this area. Sometimes they offer you services that they will not be able to deliver. Always be ready to ask the how’s and where’s.
Most of the boat tours available in the surroundings of this beach have the ruins of Tulum and the coral reef as main destinations.
If you choose to drive to this area, always look for the authorized parking spots. Parking lots usually have a clear sign with their prices.
Some tourists enjoy the crowds, the activities, the facilities and the parties at the beaches that have made Cancun and the rest of the Mexican Caribbean world class destinations. Other tourists prefer to explore and enjoy the calm of lesser known beaches in this region. In this section, we will talk about the latter.
Description: One of the best beaches in Cancun. it is located in the “corner” of the hotel zone, right in the part where the “7” (aerial view of the hotel zone) turns around.
This beach has an amazing advantage for those who seek a peaceful atmosphere, it is almost unknown to the public!
A curious fact about this beach is that it is the easternmost location of Mexico’s mainland.
This place belongs to Isla Mujeres’ Occidental Coast National Park. Therefore, it is a protected area.
Accessing Punta Cancun beach is not very easy mostly because of the rocks. However, the effort is well worth it. An amazing and beautiful sight awaits you at the base of the lighthouse. It is the perfect spot to watch the sunset, ideal for photography enthusiasts. Keep in mind that the access to the lighthouse is not allowed.
If you want to swim the best area on this beach is just in front the hotels. On the other side of the beach, the current is much stronger and there are too many rocks.
Where is Punta Cancun? In the central area of the hotel zone, at kilometer 9 of Boulevard Kukulkan. To get there you have to go through Caracol beach which is very close to Chedraui Selecto Mall.
Description: Playa Nizuc is possibly the least known of the beaches in Cancun’s hotel zone. It is located on the south end, almost at the exit of the hotel zone towards the airport.
This beach is very quiet which is one of its main advantages. Its location is perfect for tourist looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Cancun.
It is also a pet friendly beach. You will see people with dogs playing around.
Punta Nizuc Beach is located near one of MUSA, (Underwater Museum of Art) diving sites. Near the beach you can admire about fifteen underwater statues. Also, part of Cancun's coral reef, known as “La Boya de los Locos”, is just a few feet from the beach. Therefore, Playa Nizuc is ideal for snorkeling or diving.
To learn all about the coral reefs of the Riviera Maya: 👉 Discover Reef.
Where is Playa Nizuc? It is at the exit from the Hotel Zone to the airport, close to Ventura Park 👉 Playa Nizuc.
Playacar is the quietest beach in Playa del Carmen. Local people have managed to preserve its authenticity and its wilderness.
It is appreciated by tourists for its tranquility. However, since it is much less crowded, Playacar has less maintenance than the tourist beaches.
Depending on the weather conditions, especially if it is windy, the sea can quickly become rough and dangerous. Look out for your kids.
Playacar is a natural beach! You will not find any equipment or infrastructure there. Make sure you bring everything you need (water, food and umbrella) for your stay as there are no restaurants on the beach.
Things to do near Playacar: You can explore the Archaeological Site of Xaman - Ha in Playa del Carmen. The best thing is that it is free and can be reached from the beach.
Where is Playacar? You can get there walking from Fifth Avenue like if you were going to Senor Frog’s, just right to the Ferry terminal.
Playa Xcacel is one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches in the Riviera Maya. It is very close to Xel-Há theme park.
It is a beach under a conservation program: there are no buildings, no vendors, no restaurants and no showers.
Like Akumal, the fee paid to access Playa Xcacel is used to preserve the ecosystem.
Good news! Good news! The entrance fee also includes the access to the cenote located on the other side of the road.
Attention! It is forbidden to bring food to the beach, you will have to have your picnic in the parking lot. There are some tables available and only fruits are allowed.
¿Where is Playa Xcacel? 👉 here.
We have saved the best for last, dear readers. An untouched beach at the end of the world! Cozumel island is home to a beautiful eco-park at its southern end.
There you will be able to discover the wild flora and fauna with professional guides who are experts of the local biodiversity.
The admission to the park includes a boat tour in which you can do birdwatching and find crocodiles in the mangroves. In addition, an extraordinary view point awaits you at the top of the lighthouse.
In this beach you will find some basic facilities. However, it is more a wild beach very well preserved, meeting the regulations of conservation programs. So, don't expect to be extremely comfortable.
How to get to Cozumel? ⛴️ Through the ferry terminal close to Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Prices: adult $500 MXN - child $400 MXN - For more information: Rates
So, did you like our article? Isn't this the best article about beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya that you've ever read?
Can you see, dear readers? how we do everything for you!
Now that you know all this, we can only hope that you find the beach that suits you best and that you have the best time on the beaches of Cancun!
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