Cancun, Mexico is a popular travel destination in North America which is famous for its scenic white-sand beaches, deep blue waters, world-class resorts, hotels, museums, Michelin-starred restaurants and a famed partying and nightlife scene. Cancun, Mexico is a part of Mexico’s Caribbean Coast which is also part of Riviera Maya.
This amazing destination lies in Southeast Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its location on the Caribbean Sea makes it one of the best partying and beach vacation destinations in North America. Zona Hotelera is the tourism and commercial hub of Cancun, which is full of hotels, resorts, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs, bars, key attractions, and plenty of shopping stores.
When it comes to scenic beaches, Cancun boasts of some of the world’s most scenic stretches of white sand beaches in its tourism hub of Zona Hotelera and another stretch of calmer and unspoilt beaches north of the city. However, Cancun is not just a beach destination. In fact, the city allows visitors to explore the lost glory and archaeological remains of the Maya Civilization in its museums and archaeological sites including the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza. In this article, TravelUp presents a list of the top 12 beaches to visit in Cancun
Top 12 Beaches to visit in Cancun Holidays
- Playa Delfines
- Playa Norte
- Playa Chac Mool
- Playa Forum
- Playa Langosta
- Playa Akumal
- Playa Maroma
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
- Playa Paraiso
- Playa Xpu-Ha
- Playa X’cacel
- Playa Marlin
1. Playa Delfines
Playa Delfines is one of the largest, most popular, and most beautiful public beaches in Cancun. This scenic beach is picture-perfect with powdery white sand, and deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Playa Delfines is also known as El Mirador as it has a hilltop deck that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding areas and the sea. The beach has plenty of thatched palapas which is a typical Mexican beach structure comprising dried palm leaves.
There are plenty of restrooms, change rooms, umbrellas, playgrounds, lifeguards, and sun beds available for hiring as well. Check out the colourful sign of Cancun, a popular place in Playa Delfines that has become a favourite among locals and travellers for Instagram pictures. The beach also has a facility for car parking and a public bus stop. There is also the option to check out the archaeological site of El Rey which lies across the street from Playa Delfines.
2. Playa Norte
Playa Norte is one of Cancun’s best-kept secrets that lies off the coast of Hotelera Zona in the Isla Mujeres. It is the most beautiful beach in Isla Mujeres that takes a short ferry ride from Cancun to reach. The scenic beach has plenty of hotels and amazing beach restaurants. The beach is legendary and has been extensively featured in several travel magazines and postcards. It has crystal blue shallow waters that is chest deep and are perfect for water play and swimming.
The beach has talcum-white soft sand filled with palm trees, green vegetation, and plenty of thatched palapas, lounge chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, and amazing menus in restaurants that serve delectable food. The parallel running street from the beach is full of shops selling golf equipment, souvenirs, and gifts. Playa Norte is calm and peaceful and is a popular beach destination for book readers. This scenic beach is often voted as one of the best beaches in Mexico.
3. Playa Chac Mool
Playa Chac Mool is a public beach in Cancun which is famous for its white sand beach and bright blue waters. The beach also has plenty of family-friendly facilities and lies on Cancun’s Hotelera Zona’s Kukulcan Boulevard. Playa Chac Mool is easily accessible via bus, taxi or car and has car parking available. The beautiful beach lies next to the highly popular and partying beach of Playa Forum and is much more peaceful.
The beach has plenty of sunbeds, umbrellas, and other facilities which allow visitors to lie down and enjoy the sun or read a good book with cocktails. This beach is also ideal for water sports as the sea is calm and ideal for swimming. Water sports equipment is also available for hire. Playa Chac Mool attracts plenty of locals, families, friends, and couples who love to spend a couple of hours on the beach and relax in the surrounding restaurants and bars.
4. Playa Forum
Playa Forum is a highly popular public beach in Cancun which is extremely popular for its white sand, turquoise blue water and lively atmosphere featuring quality nightlife, entertainment, and a partying atmosphere. The beach lies on the northern side of Cancun’s Hotelera Zona and is within easy walking distance of plenty of top-notch restaurants, bars, hotels, shopping streets and local tourist hotspots.
This beach is extremely popular among the locals as well and can easily be reached by public bus and cars. Playa Forum, also known as Playa Gaviota Azul, attracts plenty of travellers and locals who love to spend some time on this beach, enjoy food and drinks from the many beachside restaurants and bars and have an amazing partying vibe in Cancun. If you are looking for a soothing and relaxing beach, Playa Forum is not suitable. In fact, it’s a partying hotspot beach in Cancun.
5. Playa Langosta
Playa Langosta is one of the best beaches in Cancun and is known for its stunning natural beauty comprising white sand and bright blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The beach is in Cancun’s famous Hotelera Zona and is easy to reach by walking or taking public transport and taxis. The beach is surrounded by high-rise buildings comprising hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping centres. Playa Langosta is also a favourite beach among the locals and families with kids.
There is a playground for kids, public restrooms, beach chairs, sunbeds, and parasols available for rent on the site as well. Visitors can also enjoy plenty of activities like swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling, and windsurfing on this beach. The water in Playa Langosta is calm and shallow because of its long pier. There are plenty of beach restaurants and bars available on the beach that serves delectable Mexican seafood and drinks.
6. Playa Akumal
Playa Akumal is a scenic beach in the quaint beach town of Akumal that lies 60 miles south of Cancun between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. In the Maya language, Akumal means “place of the turtles.” Here the visitors will be stunned by the natural beauty of powdery-soft white sand and sweeping views of the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Playa Akumal is one of the most popular beaches in Cancun and is well-known for its calm, clear waters and sheltered coves which are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and simply relaxing on the beach. Visitors come to Akumal to enjoy snorkelling with sea turtles. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, dive shops and beachfront accommodations at Playa Akumal. During the night in the months of April to October, hundreds of turtles migrate to the beach and lay their eggs on the beach, which makes it one of the most unique beaches in Mexico.
7. Playa Maroma
Playa Maroma is considered among the best beaches in the world due to its size, the incredibly deep blue colour of the Caribbean Sea, talcum white, powdery sand, and its amazing site for snorkelling. This iconic beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Cancun and is home to several exclusive resorts, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars. The southernmost part of the beach is Punta Maroma which is an amazing place to snorkel in the coral reefs and enjoy water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing.
There is a small marina which offers snorkelling and fishing trips. Visitors also check out the EL Dorado Maroma, one of the best resorts on the beach. The resort has overwater bungalows, available only at this beach in the entire Mexico. If you are looking for a more peaceful and relaxing beach, then head to the nearby town of Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village that has a laid-back ambience.
8. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located south of Tulum. The reserve comprises a large area with numerous habitats and around 23 small archaeological sites some of which go back to 2300 years. The reserve has among the most pristine and underdeveloped and unspoilt beaches in the world. To reach these beaches, visitors must take the help of guides and walk through the jungle to an opening that allows access to these raw and scenic beaches. To see the area’s scenic beauty, take a tour or arrange a fishing trip in the biosphere reserve. There are small hotels and homestays available for rent as well. Visitors can also enjoy the chance to spot some wildlife in the biosphere region. This UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve is the home to the last raw and virgin beaches in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico.
9. Playa Paraiso
Playa Paraiso in Tulum is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and certainly one of the best beaches in Cancun. The beach is long in length and gives the impression of a lesser number of people, despite being a popular beach. It is also well-visited by travellers, Instagram influencers, and celebrities from all over the world.
The beach looks like a pristine heaven with plenty of swaying palm trees, white sand, and shacks where visitors can rent a lounge chair, grab a light snack or sip on delicious fruit juices and cocktails while basking under the sun. Playa Paraiso is ideal for enjoying swimming, snorkelling, and simply relaxing on a sun lounger with a good book. The beach is perfect for relaxing, savouring local delicacies and cocktails and sweeping views of the azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
10. Playa Xpu-Ha
Playa Xpu-Ha beach is a favourite for both locals and travellers alike. The beach lies in Puerto Aventuras, just south of Cancun. This peaceful beach is a private one and ask visitors a small entrance fee that is used to maintain the facilities and cleanliness and the environment of the beach. The beach has easy-going and laid-back vibes. The beach is also devoid of crowds and commercial developments.
It is nestled in a cove with calm, blue waters lapping the smooth and soft white sand. There are few restaurants available on the beach that serves local cuisines and cocktails and juices. Here, on the beach, locals and visitors spend the day enjoying beach volleyball, beach football and yoga sessions. There are plenty of umbrellas and lounge chairs that can be rented at Playa Xpu-Ha. Around the afternoons, restaurants feature live musicians belting out local and popular international songs.
11. Playa X’cacel
Playa X’cacel lies a few miles south of Cancun’s hotels and nightlife. This is a small and secluded beach with soft white sand and crystal-clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The beach is also known as a turtle paradise and is one of the best spots to see turtles in the Riviera Maya. Visitors and locals can relax and rejuvenate on the beach which is full of palm trees and several tide pools that are perfect for exploring.
Playa X’cacel is also an amazing spot for snorkelling as there are several coral reefs offshore which are ideal for exploring the underwater world. The beach asks for a small donation that helps the beach run the sea turtle conservation program. It also helps in managing and maintaining the beach’s natural beauty and pristine environment. Make sure to carry your own food and water as there are very few options available on the beach.
12. Playa Marlin
Playa Marlin is a long stretch of sand with lifeguards on duty. This amazing beach is excellent for travellers looking for enjoying sun and sand. There are plenty of vendors with small tents that offer water sports equipment for rent. Marlin Beach has white-soft sand and an endless stretch of azure blue waters. Here, visitors can rent beach chairs, sun lounges, and umbrellas on the beach.
There is also plenty of option for food and drinks available on the beach as well. Swimming is monitored by lifeguards as the beach has powerful waves and a strong undercurrent. Do try parasailing and kitesurfing on the beach as the waters are ideal and wind conditions make it fun to do these activities. There are plenty of surf schools that give lessons as well as allow travellers to try surfing on the beach.
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