top of page
_DSC0186.jpg

Best Beaches in Cancun, Mexico

Updated: Jan 30

Cancún, Mexico
Cancún, Mexico

Cancun, a gleaming jewel in the crown of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is synonymous with sprawling white sand beaches and crystal-clear Caribbean waters. This coastal haven boasts a plethora of sun-kissed shores, each offering its unique blend of beauty, serenity, and adventure. In this article, we delve into the distinct characteristics and allure of Cancun’s finest of the best beaches. Join us as we uncover these sandy retreats, complete with details on their distinct characteristics, facilities, location, and how to get there.


Index



1. Playa Delfines


Playa Delfines, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Delfines, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Delfines, set against the vibrant hues of the Caribbean Sea, stands out as one of Cancun's most picturesque beaches. Its expansive stretch of soft, white sand and azure waters is a visual treat, free from the shadow of high-rise hotels, preserving its natural appeal. A popular destination for surfers due to its higher waves, it also features a spacious area for sunbathing and beach sports. The beach is equipped with essential amenities, including life guards, restrooms, and showers. Visitors can find shade under thatched palapas and capture memories by the iconic, colorful Cancun sign, making Playa Delfines a quintessential spot for both relaxation and lively beach activities.


Distinct Characteristics:


One of Playa Delfines' most remarkable features is its relative quietude compared to other more commercialized beaches. It is also one of the few beaches in Cancun that is not dominated by hotels, offering an unobstructed view of the horizon. The powerful waves here beckon surfers, while the wide stretches of sand call to those yearning for relaxation or a game of beach volleyball.



Facilities:


Despite its somewhat secluded feel, Playa Delfines is well-equipped with amenities. Visitors have access to public restrooms, showers, and free sun umbrellas, which are a much-needed respite from the sun's intensity. Lifeguards are present, ensuring safety for all beachgoers.


Location:


Located at kilometer 18 of the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera), Playa Delfines sits on the edge of Cancun's bustling center.


How to Get There:


Public transportation is the easiest and most cost-effective way to reach Playa Delfines. Buses R1 and R2 run regularly along Kukulkan Boulevard and will drop you off directly at the beach. There's also ample parking for those who prefer to drive, although it can fill up quickly on busy days.


2. Playa Marlin


Playa Marlin, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Marlin, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Marlin in Cancun is a tranquil oasis boasting soft white sands and azure waters, ideal for those seeking relaxation with a touch of exclusivity. Its open spaces invite sunbathers and beach sports enthusiasts, while the moderate waves provide a playground for water sports. Despite its peaceful vibe, swimmers should heed caution due to potential undercurrents. With essential amenities on hand, Playa Marlin offers a serene beach day in the bustling Hotel Zone.


Distinct Characteristics:


The waves at Playa Marlin are moderate, making it suitable for swimming, though caution is advised as there can be strong undercurrents. The beach is less crowded, offering a sense of seclusion without being too far from the amenities of the Hotel Zone.


Facilities:


The beach has basic facilities such as public restrooms and showers. While there are fewer vendors here than at other beaches, the shops and restaurants of the Hotel Zone are just a short walk away.


Location:


Playa Marlin is located behind Kukulkan Plaza, at kilometer 13 of the Hotel Zone.


How to Get There:


The R1 and R2 buses serve Playa Marlin as well, making stops along the Hotel Zone. If you’re driving, you can find parking at Kukulkan Plaza, though it is limited.


 

Read More:


 

3. Playa Chac Mool


Chac Mool, Cancún, Mexico
Chac Mool, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Chac Mool in Cancun is known for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning Caribbean vistas. This popular beach spot draws both locals and tourists alike, offering golden sands and clear waters perfect for a refreshing swim, albeit occasionally with strong waves. Visitors can enjoy parasailing and jet-skiing, or simply relax under the sun.


Distinct Characteristics:


Playa Chac Mool is known for its accessibility and proximity to local attractions, including shops, bars, and restaurants. The beach has a youthful atmosphere, with a mix of tourists and locals, and is often bustling with activity.


Facilities:


Visitors to Playa Chac Mool can enjoy amenities like lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent, along with access to water sports equipment. The beach is also equipped with public restrooms and showers, making it easy to transition from a day at the beach to a night out on the town.


Location:


This beach is located at kilometer 10 of the Hotel Zone, just a short distance from Cancun's party center.


How to Get There:


The R1 and R2 buses will take you directly to Playa Chac Mool. If you are driving, parking can be a challenge due to the beach's popularity, so arriving early is advisable.



4. Playa Forum (Forum Beach)


Playa Forum, located at the heart of Cancun's Party Zone, is a bustling beach known for its lively ambiance and crystal-clear waters. Just steps away from famous nightclubs and restaurants, its white sands are perfect for beachgoers looking to combine relaxation with entertainment in a vibrant setting.


Distinct Characteristics:


With its close proximity to some of the city's hottest clubs and restaurants, Playa Forum often has a party atmosphere. The beach is a favorite among the younger crowd and is known for its lively beach clubs and music that plays throughout the day.


Facilities:


The beach offers a range of amenities, including chair and umbrella rentals, beachfront restaurants, and bars. There are also water sports facilities where you can rent jet skis or try parasailing. Public restrooms and showers are available for your convenience.


Location:


Playa Forum is located at kilometer 9.5 of the Hotel Zone, right off Boulevard Kukulkan.


How to Get There:


As with the other beaches, the R1 and R2 buses will drop you off near Playa Forum. There's limited parking available if you're driving, and due to its popularity, it’s recommended to arrive early or consider public transportation.


5. Playa Linda


Playa Linda, set in Cancun's vibrant heart, charms with its calm, shallow waters, making it perfect for families and leisurely swims. Known for its picturesque jetty, which serves as a departure point for various aquatic excursions, the beach provides a scenic view of the Nichupté Lagoon. Its central location and tranquil waters offer a delightful mix of relaxation and convenience, complete with essential amenities for a comfortable beach day.


Distinct Characteristics:


A distinctive feature of Playa Linda is the scenic tower, Torre Escenica, where visitors can get a panoramic view of Cancun and the surrounding sea. The beach also has a small marina where you can watch boats come and go throughout the day.


Facilities:


The beach is equipped with lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and a playground for children. There are also several shaded palapas under which families can enjoy a picnic.


Location:


Playa Linda is situated at kilometer 4 of the Hotel Zone, adjacent to the entrance to the Cancun Theater.


How to Get There:


The R1 and R2 buses provide easy access to Playa Linda. If you are driving, there is a parking area nearby, but space can be limited, especially on weekends and holidays.


6. Playa Las Perlas


Playa Las Perlas, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Las Perlas, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Las Perlas, a peaceful gem in Cancun, offers serene waters and a family-friendly atmosphere. Its gentle waves and shallow depth make it an ideal spot for kids to swim and play. The beach is equipped with convenient facilities and palapas for shade, ensuring a comfortable visit. With its relaxed vibe and beautiful setting, Playa Las Perlas is a perfect locale for those looking to escape the hustle of busier beaches.


Distinct Characteristics:


One of the earliest beaches in the Hotel Zone, Playa Las Perlas is distinguished by its relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. It's a great place to enjoy a quiet day, with fewer vendors than other beaches, allowing for uninterrupted leisure time.


Facilities:


The beach provides basic amenities, including public restrooms and showers. There are also areas for beach volleyball and a few casual dining spots where visitors can grab a bite to eat.


Location:


Located at kilometer 2.5 of the Hotel Zone, Playa Las Perlas is one of the first beaches you'll encounter when entering from downtown Cancun.


How to Get There:


The public bus routes R1 and R2 make stops at Playa Las Perlas. There is a parking lot available for those who prefer to drive.


 

Read More:


 

7. Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach)


Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach), Cancún, Mexico
Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach), Cancún, Mexico

Playa Tortugas in Cancun is a bustling beach hotspot with a lively vibe. Known for its soft sands and calm, clear waters, it's suitable for swimmers of all levels. A popular feature is its pier, where ferries depart for Isla Mujeres. Offering a mix of dining options and water activities, Playa Tortugas is a favorite for both relaxation and adventure, with a scenic ocean view that captivates its visitors.


Distinct Characteristics:


True to its name, Playa Tortugas is a nesting ground for sea turtles during the breeding season. The beach is also renowned for its beautiful pier, which is a departure point for ferries heading to Isla Mujeres.



Facilities:


Featuring several beachfront restaurants and bars, Playa Tortugas is a place where one can indulge in fresh seafood while enjoying the sea breeze. Moreover, the beach is equipped with lifeguards, showers, and bathroom facilities.


Location:


This beach can be found at kilometer 6.5 of the Hotel Zone, easily recognizable by its bustling pier.


How to Get There:


The R1 and R2 buses service Playa Tortugas, and there is also a parking area for those traveling by car.


8. Playa Garrafon


Garrafon Reef Park, Cancún, Mexico
Garrafon Reef Park, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Garrafon is the coastal jewel of Garrafon Natural Reef Park, located on the idyllic Isla Mujeres near Cancun. This beach is celebrated for its rich marine ecosystem, inviting snorkelers and divers to explore its vibrant underwater world. The clear waters, abundant with tropical fish and coral formations, make it a paradise for aquatic enthusiasts.


Distinct Characteristics:


The standout feature of Playa Garrafon is its spectacular reef, part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which provides a sanctuary for a diverse range of sea life. The beach itself is framed by dramatic cliffs, offering breathtaking views that contribute to its unique beauty. It's also known for its calm waters, which are protected from strong currents, creating a safe environment for water activities.


Facilities:


As part of a well-maintained park, Playa Garrafon offers an array of facilities, including:


  • Snorkeling and diving gear rental

  • Locker rooms and showers

  • Umbrellas and lounging areas

  • Restaurants and snack bars

  • Adventure activities like zip-lining

  • A scenic infinity pool


Location:


The park is situated on the southern part of Isla Mujeres.


How to Get There:


Visitors can take a ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres and then a taxi or golf cart to Garrafon Park.


9. Playa Punta Nizuc


Playa Punta Nizuc, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Punta Nizuc, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Punta Nizuc, located at the southern end of Cancun's Hotel Zone, is a secluded slice of paradise, renowned for its snorkeling. Its calm, clear waters are home to part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, offering a tranquil underwater haven for marine life. The beach's remote location means fewer crowds, ensuring a peaceful environment. Ideal for those seeking a serene spot, it's perfect for a day of sunbathing and snorkeling escapades.


Distinct Characteristics:


The beach is part of the Nizuc National Park, which means it's protected and has a vast and vibrant underwater ecosystem. Snorkeling here is a must, as the waters are home to part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.


Facilities:


Facilities are limited given the beach's more natural and undeveloped ambiance. However, visitors can rent snorkeling gear from nearby vendors.


Location:


Located at the end of Boulevard Kukulkan, Playa Punta Nizuc is at kilometer 24 of the Hotel Zone.


How to Get There:


The beach is less accessible by bus, and most visitors arrive by car or taxi. There is parking available at the Nizuc Resort.


 

Read More:


 

10. Playa Langosta


Playa Langosta, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Langosta, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Langosta, a picturesque beach in Cancun, is favored for its calm, shallow waters and family-friendly atmosphere. Located in the Hotel Zone, it's easily accessible and perfect for children to play and swim safely. The beach features soft white sands, dock facilities, and a variety of water activities. With nearby restaurants and essential amenities, Playa Langosta is a convenient and delightful choice for a relaxing day by the sea.


Distinct Characteristics:


The beach is well-known for its dock, where several cruises and boat tours embark on their journeys, offering a picturesque scene especially at sunset. Its shallow waters are especially good for children and those less confident in the water.


Facilities:


Visitors to Playa Langosta can enjoy amenities such as restaurants, restrooms, and rental services for lounge chairs and umbrellas. There is also a playground for children, making it a complete family destination.


Location:


Playa Langosta is located at kilometer 5 of the Hotel Zone in Cancun, near the beginning of the Kukulkan Boulevard.


How to Get There:


The beach is easily accessible by bus (routes R1 and R2) that run through the Hotel Zone. There is a parking area for visitors who prefer to drive.


11. Xcacel Beach


Xcacel Beach, Cancún, Mexico
Xcacel Beach, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Xcacel, slightly south of Cancun, is a hidden sanctuary renowned for its pristine beauty and status as a sea turtle nesting site. This secluded beach is part of a protected area, combining unspoiled sands with a lush palm forest backdrop. It boasts a tranquil cenote, providing a unique freshwater swimming experience. With limited facilities to protect its ecosystem, Playa Xcacel remains a natural retreat for those seeking a tranquil escape and eco-friendly adventure.


Distinct Characteristics:


Xcacel stands out for its dedication to protecting the local turtle population. It is one of the primary nesting sites for loggerhead and green sea turtles in the Caribbean. The beach also features a cenote (a freshwater sinkhole), which offers a unique swimming experience.



Facilities:


Facilities here are minimal to protect the natural habitat, though there are basic restrooms and showers. The beach operates with an entrance fee that goes towards conservation efforts.


Location:


Xcacel Beach is located south of Cancun, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, off the 307 highway.


How to Get There:


The beach is best reached by car or taxi as it's a bit off the beaten path. There is parking available on-site.


12. Palaya Caracol


Palaya Caracol, Cancún, Mexico
Palaya Caracol, Cancún, Mexico

Nestled in the bustling Hotel Zone of Cancun, Playa Caracol is a small yet enchanting beach with powdery white sands and gentle waters, ideal for families and swimmers of all ages. The shallow shore with minimal waves creates a natural wading pool, perfect for young children. With its central location, Playa Caracol is easily accessible and close to various amenities, making it a convenient and charming spot for a leisurely beach day.


Distinct Characteristics:


Its shallow, clear waters and the absence of rocks on the sea floor make this beach perfect for snorkeling and spotting a variety of fish close to shore. The beach's name, "Caracol", is derived from the abundance of seashells that can be found along the shoreline.


Facilities:


There are numerous amenities, including lifeguards, sun loungers, umbrellas for rent, and nearby shops and eateries.


Location:


Playa Caracol is situated in the heart of the Hotel Zone at kilometer 8.5, close to many popular resorts and the Cancun Convention Center.


How to Get There:


The beach is reachable by the R1 and R2 buses. There is also limited parking for those driving.


 

Read More:


 

13. Playa Gaviota Azul


Playa Gaviota Azul, Cancún, Mexico
Playa Gaviota Azul, Cancún, Mexico

Playa Gaviota Azul, situated in Cancun's vibrant Hotel Zone, is a lively beach that beckons with its clear blue waters and energetic atmosphere. Popular among the younger crowd, it's a hotspot for water sports and beach volleyball. The waves here are more suited to adventurous swimmers and surf enthusiasts. With its proximity to nightclubs and bars, Playa Gaviota Azul transforms from a daytime sports venue to a hub of nightlife as the sun sets.


Distinct Characteristics:


The beach is often visited by those looking to engage in water activities such as jet skiing and parasailing. Despite its popularity, it can offer moments of relaxation during less busy times of the day.


Facilities:


Playa Gaviota Azul is well-equipped with amenities including beach clubs, bars, restaurants, and rental services for water sports equipment.


Location:


This beach is located at kilometer 9 of the Hotel Zone, near the Punta Cancun area.


How to Get There:


Accessible by the R1 and R2 bus routes, Pl