One of the main attractions of Cancun is the sea… that crystalline sea that resembles a color palette in shades of blue-green that nature shaped in the Mexican southeast.
To enjoy this sea, we present you the 12 best beaches in Cancun, this jewel of the Riviera Maya that you have to visit.
1. Pearl Beach
The route to the best beaches begins here, as it is located at kilometer 2.5 of Boulevard Kukulkan, just 1 kilometer from the city center, so it is surrounded by establishments to eat and drink.
It is recommended to spend a pleasant family day due to the tranquility of its waves and the various activities that are carried out, it also has parking, showers and bathrooms in very good condition.
It is very close to the Plaza Nautilius Shopping Center and the closest hotels to this beach are: Hotel Imperial Las Perlas, Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas, Cancun Bay Resort, Temptation Resort & Spa, Barceló Costa Cancún, among others.
See photos of Pearl Beach
2. Nice Beach
Its name says it all, it is a beautiful beach and ideal to spend a day with the family due to its calm waves and shallow waters.
It is located at kilometer 4 of the hotel zone (very close to the center) and from its pier you can go on an excursion to Isla Mujeres or to the wide variety of water activities offered by the different tourist service operators in the area.
If you don’t like swimming in the sea, you can do it on this beach, as it seems that you are in a swimming pool due to its crystal clear waters and the softness of its waves.
The hotels that are close to Playa Linda are: Sotavento, Grand Oasis Palm Beach, Gran Oasis Caribbean Beach and Royal Cancun Club International.
See photos of Playa Linda
3. Lobster Beach
It is located at kilometer 5 of the hotel zone, right in front of the Bahía de Mujeres and offers tour services to swim with friendly dolphins.
On the sand you can spend a pleasant day enjoying the sun, playing soccer or beach volleyball without worrying about children (if you go with your family), as its waters have very calm waves and are shallow.
You can also watch the ferry leaving the pier for Isla Mujeres or take a kayak ride.
The beach also has parking and Parque Langosta was recently inaugurated.
If you like the idea of staying near this beautiful beach, you can book at the Casa Maya, Riu Caribe, Riu Palace Península and Real Inn hotels.
See photos of Playa Langosta
4. Turtle Beach
On this beach the party does not end, it is one of the busiest in Cancun due to the lively atmosphere and the number of activities you can do, such as snorkeling , bungee jumping or swimming.
Another advantage of this beach is the wide variety of bars and restaurants that are in the surroundings and where you can enjoy anything from a cocktail to an elegant dinner.
It is located at kilometer 6.5 of the hotel zone, very close to hotels such as Casa Maya, Riu Caribe, Dos Playas and Ríu Playa Península.
See photos of Playa Tortugas
5. Snail Beach
This beach is one of the quietest to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel zone, it also has a pier where you can walk while you observe the blue-green landscape that the Cancun sea offers you.
It is located at kilometer 8.5 of Boulevard Kukulkan and —like most of the beaches in Cancun— its waves are calm and not deep, ideal to enjoy with the family.
You can get to this beach if you locate the Xcaret bus terminal and the closest hotels are Coral Beach, Riu Cancun and Riu Palace América.
See photos of Playa Caracol
6. Gaviota Azul Beach or Forúm Beach
Unlike the other beaches, if you like extreme water sports you can enjoy its intense waves with your surfboard or you can rent lounge chairs, umbrellas and tables at affordable prices, if what you want is to relax and enjoy the sun and the sand.
It is located just behind the Plaza Forum Shopping Center, at kilometer 9.5 of the hotel zone and very close to hotels such as the Krystal Grand Punta Cancun.
See photos of Forum Beach
7. Chac Mool Beach
Located at kilometer 10 of the hotel zone, this beach is in an area of open sea, which is why it is highly influx of local and national tourists who like to practice water sports, as the waves are quite intense.
It has lifeguard services, showers, parking, bathrooms and showers. To get there you have to locate the entrance that is next to Mr. Frogs.
Due to its location you can have easy access to a wide range of restaurants, bars and hotels such as the Ocean Dream, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Royal Sunset Resort and Cancun Caribe Gran Park Royal.
See photos of Chac Mool Beach
8. Marlin Beach
For better reference, this beach is located just behind Plaza Kukulkan and has incredible views of the Caribbean Sea from its loungers or simply lying on the sand.
It has parking, wooden benches, umbrellas and a wide variety of restaurants, bars and convenience stores where you can buy what you need to enjoy a pleasant picnic.
The closest hotels to this beach are the Barceló Tucan Beach, Museo Casa Turquesa, The Royal Stands and The Beach Carlton.
On this beach the waves are a little more intense, so you can practice sports with your sky board .
9. Whale Beach
It is located at kilometer 14 of the hotel zone between Playa Cancún and Punta Nizuc, it is also another alternative to spend an excellent day enjoying the sun and sand or water sports.
The currents are usually a bit strong due to being in an area of open sea, so it is important to be careful when swimming in the sea.
Very close to this place are the hotels JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Casa Marriott Cancun Resort, Paradisus Cancun, Fiesta Americana and Gran Oasis Cancun.
See photos of Playa Ballenas
10. Dolphin Beach
It is located at kilometer 14 of the Cancun hotel zone, between the Crown Paradise Club, Grand Royal Solaris Cancun, Oasis Sens del Mar and Solimar Beach & Resort hotels.
It is a peaceful beach a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel zone, with intense waves where you can practice surfing and hire tours to swim with dolphins.
Although there is not much offer of restaurants or bars in the surroundings, there are street stalls where you can find typical dishes of traditional Mexican food and refreshing drinks.
See photos of Playa Delfines
Below I leave you a video of a drone where you can appreciate how beautiful the beaches of Cancun are:
Where to stay near the beaches of Cancun
In Cancun, all the hotels are on the beach or very close to it, and there are hotels for all budgets, from high-cost accommodation to more accessible establishments. Among the best 5-star hotels in Cancun are Casa Tortugas Boutique Hotel, Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina, Tower Luxury Suites & Apartments, The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun and Hyatt Ziva Cancun.
In the 4-star category, Emporio Cancun, Marriott Cancun Resort, Hotel Kavia, Stay Tropical Downtown Studios and Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites stand out. In the 3-star range, Hotel Bonampak, Real Inn Cancun, Oh Cancun! – The Urban Oasis, Hotel Caribe Internacional Cancun and Hotel Parador.
If you want to read our mega guide on Cancun , click here .
Beaches near Cancun (Rivera Maya)
On your trip to Cancun you don’t have to just enjoy the fantastic beaches of the Hotel Zone. Open a space in your itinerary to get to know these spectacular beaches near Cancun and you will not regret it.
11. Isla Mujeres
Where is Islas Mujeres?
Boarding a ferry in Puerto Juárez, 20 km north of Cancun, in just 20 minutes you will be on the paradisiacal Isla Mujeres.
This island of only 4.2 km 2 is surrounded by beaches with crystal clear waters and beautiful turquoise blue tones that bathe magnificent white sands to lie down and sunbathe forgetting the rest of the world.
It is located right in front of the bay of Cancun and to get there you just have to take the ferry that sails from different docks in the hotel zone.
This beach is a true paradise, it has a sanctuary for sea turtles and in its crystal clear waters you can practice snorkeling or diving, while you walk through its coral reef or admire wonderful specimens such as turtles and dolphins.
There are various activities that you can do on its beaches, since the island is closely linked to the Mayan culture thanks to the ruins of a temple that is located on the southern tip.
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres?
If you want to stay on this beautiful island, you can consider: Hotel Bahía Chac Chi, Hotel Villa Kiin, Hotel Posada del Mar, among many others.
Among the beaches of Isla Mujeres, Playa Norte stands out, one of the best in Mexico, as well as Playa Garrafon, located in the beautiful Natural Park of Garrafon Reefs, Playa del Caracol, Punta Sur, Playa Lancheros and Na Balam.
The Garrafon reefs are great for diving and snorkeling, and in this park you can interact with dolphins and go on zip-line and bike tours.
See photos of Isla Mujeres
12. Isla Mujeres- North Beach
Almost all the rankings that are made to indicate the best beaches in Mexico put Playa Norte in the top 3 and many place it at the top of the list.
It is a beach approximately 1 km long and so flat that you can walk several tens of meters with water up to your waist. In Playa Norte you will feel as if you were in a huge natural pool of calm waters with spectacular turquoise blue tones.
When you get off the ferry, you don’t have to travel far to find it, as it is only 700 meters from the island’s pier.
The service of drinks, snacks and dishes in the sand is excellent and nearby are comfortable accommodations, such as Nautibeach Condos Playa Norte, Ixchel Beach Hotel, Hotel Mia Reef, Privelege Aluxes Hotel and Cabañas María del Mar.
See photos of North Beach
13. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, located 69 km south of Cancun, is the most important city in the Riviera Maya due to the quality of its tourist infrastructure, the beauty of its beaches and the spectacular nature of its ecological and adventure parks.
The most frequented beach is the one that bears the name of the city, with fine sand, crystal clear waters and always very clean.
Another sandy area of Playa del Carmen that is worth visiting is Playa Mamitas, where you can spend a lovely time swimming, sunbathing, eating and drinking at Mamita’s Beach Club.
The beautiful Playa Maroma is positioned by many people among the best in the Riviera Maya, with excellent facilities at the foot of the sand to have a great time.
Xcacel Xcacelito is an almost virgin beach, with a turtle sanctuary and a cenote nearby. Its clear waters and soft sand will make you feel like you are in paradise on earth.
See photos of Playa del Carmen
14. Beaches of Tulum
Tulum is well known for the imposing archaeological site located in front of the sea, 130 km south of Cancun, but its beaches have nothing to envy to the best of the Riviera Maya.
Walking a few meters from the promontory where the Mayan archaeological site is located, you arrive at Playa Las Ruinas, where you will surely be greeted by several iguanas.
Playa Paraíso, 1 km from the pre-Hispanic ruins, is a public beach dotted with palm trees and with options for diving and snorkeling excursions to the nearby Great Mayan Reef.
In Playa Santa Fe, also very close to the ruins, there is a camping area and it has restaurants and food stalls where you can enjoy a marquesita, the delicious ice cream sandwich with cheese popular in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Other charming beaches in and around Tulum are Los Pescadores, Chemuyil, Xpu-Ha and Bahía Solimán.
See photos of the beaches of Tulum
This island has white sand, volcanic and golden sand beaches; Throughout its coastline you can appreciate the different species of marine fauna that inhabit this Caribbean paradise.
How to get to Cozumel?
To get to this island you can take the ferry from the pier in Playa del Carmen.
The main tourist island of Mexico, located 62 km from Cancun and 45 minutes by ferry from the mainland in Playa del Carmen, has splendid beaches and the best reefs for diving in the country.
What to do in Cozumel?
Cozumel has different beaches with warm and crystal clear waters, where you can venture diving and delight yourself with the marine species that inhabit these incredible ecosystems. You can also practice sports such as kitesurfing , surfing and swimming with the dolphins.
You can visit the Ecopark or Punta Sur, where they shelter a large number of exotic birds and fish; but if excursions and hiking are your thing, you can visit the archaeological zone of San Gervacio.
Where to stay in Cozumel?
To reserve a place on this beautiful island, you can consider the Hotel Casa Mexicana, Casa del Mar, Secrets Aura Cozumel or the Hotel Park Royal Cozumel.
The capital of the island is San Miguel de Cozumel and 20 minutes south of the city is Palancar, a beach with water sports and entertainment and restaurants where you can enjoy the local specialty, Palancar shrimp.
A few minutes by boat is the Palancar Reef, 12 meters deep, with clear visibility and a varied multicolored marine fauna to enjoy diving and snorkeling.
Playa San Francisco has large coral reefs, making it very attractive for underwater sports. Its gentle waves make it a family beach, comfortable for swimming and relaxing.
San Juan is another Cozumel beach to lie on its smooth sand to sunbathe with the calm lullaby of the waves as background music.
16. Holbox Island
145 from Cancun, in the extreme north of Quintana Roo, is this beautiful island of 56 km 2 . It is part of Yum Balam, a Biosphere Reserve and Flora and Fauna Protection Area of more than 154,000 hectares decreed in 1994.
Holbox Island has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants who live by catching lobsters and by the growing tourist flow that has developed to visit its Edenic beaches and taste the fresh crustaceans.
Holbox beaches present the beautiful natural phenomenon of bioluminescence and at night they look like a starry sky thanks to the lights emitted by the biochemical reactions of millions of microorganisms.
Another attraction of Holbox is Yalahau, a spring of crystal clear and fresh waters that has gained fame as a rejuvenating source.
Very close to the northeastern end of the island is Cabo Catoche, considered the geographical landmark that separates the Sea of the Antilles from the Gulf of Mexico.
See photos of Holbox
When Mexico decided to undertake the project of a large tourism hub in the Caribbean, two location options were considered: Cancun and Akumal. In the end, Cancun was developed and the Bay of Akumal, in the municipality of Tulum, remained a touristic micro-destination that preserves its wild beauty.
Akumal Beach is the main beach in the bay and turtles swim calmly in its transparent waters. Yal-ku is a beautiful cove where there are fresh and salty waters populated by fish of all colors.
Playa al Cielo certainly provides a heavenly journey and is a little corner of clear waters, spectacular views and tranquility, with the possibility of practicing aquatic entertainment, including kitesurfing.
Diving and snorkeling are frequent activities in Akumal, which has coral structures that form canyons and caverns and a rich marine fauna to make these activities more exciting.
See photos of Akumal
18. Puerto Morelos
Just 40 km south of Cancun is Puerto Morelos, the main port center of Quintana Roo.
The Great Mayan Reef is located just 500 meters from the coast, forming a shallow lagoon and attenuating ocean currents, which makes the beaches of Puerto Morelos delicious natural pools.
Diving and snorkeling in the lagoon are incredible activities that allow you to admire the variety of aquatic fauna.
Puerto Morelos is a sleepy fishing village that contrasts with the more activity in Cancun. You can rent a bicycle or an ATV to get to know the town and its surroundings, including some cenotes.
2 km from the town is a 65-hectare botanical garden that is the largest in the region. There you can admire the most representative species of flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula.
See photos of Puerto Morelos
19. Passion Island
Very close to Cozumel is a privately owned island with a passionate name because the Mayans used to make pilgrimages to it to pay tribute to Ixchel, goddess of love and fertility.
Following the pre-Hispanic tradition, some Mexicans and foreigners with economic means carry out exclusive and glamorous weddings on the island, hoping that the Mayan lover of the Sun will provide them with eternal love and healthy offspring.
If your budget is not enough to get married in Mukyaj Peten (the island’s Mayan name) or you prefer to continue enjoying being single, you don’t have to deprive yourself of visiting this romantic Mexican Garden of Eden with white sand and dazzlingly blue waters. Tours depart from Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen with destination or stopover at Isla de la Pasión.
The island has a church (obviously), cabins and other facilities. There is a project of reforestation and construction of a hotel well integrated into the environment.
See photos of Puerto Morelos
20. Nizuc Point
It is the southern end of Isla Cancun, located 13 km from the Hotel Zone and 25 km from the city center.
It is an area with coral reefs and an abundance of marine fauna, so its beaches are ideal for diving and snorkeling.
Punta Nizuc marks the beginning of the barrier reef that is one of the main hallmarks of the Riviera Maya and its most important marine ecosystem.
The famous Club Med, with its all-inclusive Premium, chose Punta Nizuc for its location in Cancun.
After visiting these beaches you will be able to say that you have finished your Cancun drink to the last drop and you will return with a wonderful tan and with the desire to return very soon to the Mexican Caribbean in Quintana Roo.
See photos of Punta Nizuc
What is the Cancun beach that shines at night?
Holbox is a 56 km 2 island in Quintana Roo located in the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve and Flora and Fauna Protection Area. The island is located 145 km north of Cancun, has paradisiacal beaches with turquoise blue waters and is a paradise to taste the lobsters caught by local fishermen.
A beautiful peculiarity of the island’s beaches is their bioluminescence, which turns them into a light show at night, thanks to millions of microorganisms that produce light through biochemical reactions. The sands also shine in a fantastic representation that is totally safe. If you want to catch the stars with your hand, you have to go to the beaches of Holbox.
What are the best beaches in Cancun?
A list of the best beaches in Cancun should include Playa Tortugas (high crowds and lots of water sports), Playa Langosta (calm waters and sand sports, such as soccer and beach volleyball) and Playa Delfines (wide and with good waves for surfing). ).
Other excellent beaches in or very close to the Cancun Hotel Zone are Playa Linda, Playa Caracol, Playa Forum, Playa Ballenas, Playa Chac Mool, Playa Las Perlas and Playa Nizuc.
On the nearby Isla Mujeres is the fantastic Playa Norte.
Hotels in Cancun with beach without waves
The hotels with a beach without waves in Cancun are mainly found in Playa Tortugas, Playa Caracol, Playa Langosta and other sandy areas located on the North side.
In Playa Tortugas there is the Hotel Riu Palace Península (km 5.5 of Bulevar Kukulkan), Hotel Sunset Marina Resort & Yacht Club (km 5.8), Hotel Maya Caribe Beach House (km 6) and Hotel Dos Playas Beach House (km 6.5).
In Playa Langosta there are Hotel Oasis Palm, Hotel Gran Oasis Palm, Hotel Casa Maya Cancun, Hotel Riu Caribe and Hotel Real Inn Cancun.
What is the hotel with the best beach in Cancun?
The Hyatt Ziva Cancun is an all-inclusive hotel with one of the most privileged locations in the tourist area of Quintana Roo. In this impressive resort you will be completely free to drink, eat and enjoy the most spectacular beaches with crystal clear waters and white sands of the Mexican Caribbean.
The suites at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun have splendid views of the ocean, in its 8 restaurants they serve exclusive regional and international cuisine and in its 6 bars you can taste any drink that provokes you, including the wonderful craft beer of the house.
What are the quietest beaches in Cancun?
The following are 3 Cancun beaches ideal to visit with children and for people who prefer calm waters:
Playa Langosta: it is 5 km from the Hotel Zone and is flat and with almost imperceptible waves. In this immense natural pool you can walk several tens of meters without having to swim.
Playa Tortugas: is a small beach located 6 km from the Hotel Zone. It has restaurants and craft shops and you can take a boat ride.
Playa Las Perlas: it is a small beach that is less than 3 km from the Cancun Hotel Zone and has calm waters and little waves. It has a library that allows you to borrow books free of charge.
Which place is more beautiful Cancun or Playa del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen, the most important city of the Riviera Maya, is dotted with dreamlike beaches and is closer than Cancun to the Tulum site, an important archaeological site of the Mayan culture, and to the most impressive extreme entertainment parks in the Mexican Caribbean, such as Xplor, Rio Secreto, Xcaret and Xel-Ha.
Cancun’s impressive turquoise-blue beach belts and its enormous hotel density have no comparison, making Cancun the preferred Mexican tourist destination for international tourism.
In both Cancun and Playa del Carmen you can fully enjoy all these amazing landscapes and sites of the Mexican Caribbean in Quintana Roo.
What is the name of the beach in Cancun?
Most of the beaches in Cancun are located in the so-called Hotel Zone or very close to it, with access through Bulevar Kukulkan. In this coastal strip there are incredible beaches such as Langosta, Las Perlas, Tortugas, Caracol, Gaviota Azul, Ballenas, Chac Mool, Nizuc and Playa Delfines.
Sargassum on the beaches of Cancun
This macroalgae has increased its presence in the waters and sands of the Caribbean, affecting the image of the beaches. It is believed that part of it comes from the Sargasso Sea, a gigantic extension of the Atlantic Ocean covered with algae, while other hypotheses affirm that its proliferation is due to global warming and the greater amount of nutrients present in the waters due to the waste dumped.
In any case, the presence of too much sargassum is a tourist and environmental problem, since it disfigures the beaches, prevents the passage of sunlight, affecting marine biodiversity and the gases generated by large masses of algae change the balance of ecosystems. .
The main problem is that sargassum moves with sea currents, over which man has no control.
To counteract this problem, in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the beaches are cleaned with manual and mechanical means. It would be ideal to be able to block or collect algae in the sea before it reaches the beaches, but it is difficult and expensive.
You should be concerned about sargassum on the beaches of Cancun
Sargassum is worrying because in large quantities it disfigures the beaches and makes its users uncomfortable, it affects marine life and can be harmful to health by containing toxic microorganisms and releasing potentially allergic gases.
Sharks on the beaches of Cancun
The presence of sharks on the beaches of Cancun is very rare, although every once in a while a shark gets lost and is observed from the coast.
These animals prefer to stay out to sea and excursions leave from Cancun and the Riviera Maya to see them, especially the whale shark, which is harmless.
Public beaches in Cancun
In Cancun there are many public beaches with white sands and turquoise blue waters, both on the Caribbean side and on the North side. The beaches of the so-called Caribbean side (although everything in Cancun is Caribbean) are more definitely turquoise blue, with more intense waves and with a greater influx of people. The beaches on the north side are quieter and less crowded.
Some of these beaches with immediate access through Bulevar Kukulkan are:
North Side: Las Perlas Beach (km 2.5), Linda Beach (km 4), Langosta Beach (km 5), Tortugas Beach (km 6.5), Caracol Beach (km 8).
Caribbean Side: Gaviota Azul Beach (km 9.5), Chac Mool Beach (km 10), Marlín Beach (km 13), Ballenas Beach (km 15.5), Delfines Beach (km 19.5), Punta Nizuc Beach (km 24).
We have a guide to which are the best public beaches in Cancun, click here to read our guide .
Tips to enjoy the beaches of Cancun
To fully enjoy the beaches of Cancun, keep in mind the following:
Best time to travel
Cancun has a warm climate and the coolest season without rain is from December to March. This is also the most expensive period.
If you don’t have a car and only travel by taxi, your trip will be more expensive. In Cancun there is bus service from the city center and the Hotel Zone to most of the beaches. An average trip costs 10 MXN.
Access and services
Before going to a beach, you should find out if it is private or public and what its service infrastructure is. There are some beaches, especially the farthest ones, that are very beautiful but their services are limited, so they may not have restaurants or places to rent sports equipment.
Several beaches in Cancun are used by turtles to spawn, so you must be careful if it is spawning time. You can also participate in the campaigns carried out by environmental organizations to collect the eggs and fertilize them in captivity, later releasing the hatchlings. Use biodegradable sunscreens and sunscreens.
Send this article to your friends on social networks so that they can also have a great time in Cancun and encourage them to take a group trip through this Quintana Roo paradise.
Video of Cancun Beaches
I leave you a video of the best beaches in Cancun:
This is another fun proposal that we offer you so that you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean Sea by visiting its different beaches… yes, if you go for a walk, do not forget to take your garbage bag and thus preserve the clean beaches and not harm the local marine fauna.
Talking about Cancun is talking about fun, ruins, parks, cenotes, culture and many other characteristics that make it unique.
Just by sitting on the sand, feeling the sea breeze and the wind while watching the waves roll, you already experience a sense of peace and tranquility in this paradisiacal tourist destination.
In this article we saw which are the best beaches in Cancun, the most important tips to enjoy them, the best hotels in Cancun and other information of interest so that your vacations in the Mexican Caribbean Sea are optimal.
- The TOP 15 best cheap tours in Cancun
- The 10 best public beaches in Cancun
- The best dates to visit Cancun and avoid hurricane season