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Cancun Beaches

Home > Cancun Travel Guide > Cancun Beaches

 
Naturally, the beaches are the biggest draw in Cancun with their soft, white sand and brilliant turquoise-blue water. Cancun's Hotel Zone is really just one long beach separated from the mainland by a system of lagoons.

The dazzling white sand of Cancun's beaches is light in weight and cool underfoot even in the blazing sun.  That's because it is composed not of silica but rather of microscopic plankton fossils called disco-aster (a tiny star-shaped creature). The coolness of the sand has not been lost on Cancun's ingenious promoters, who have dubbed it "air-conditioned."

All of these delightful beaches are open to you because all Mexican beaches are public property. Several of Cancun's beaches are set aside for easy public access, but you should know that you have the right to walk and swim on any beach at all. In practice it may be difficult to approach certain stretches of beach without going through a hotel's property, but few hotels will notice you walking through to the beach in any case.

The best snorkeling area off the beach is the area near the Westin Regina, down in the southern tip of the hotel zone.

Topless Sunbathing.  Although it is not considered scandalous for women to sunbathe topless in Cancun, it is not common like it is in Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres, where many more Europeans vacation. Topless sunbathing is not customary in Mexico, so please try to be respectful of that when you are sunbathing near Mexican families. If you are on hotel property in Cancun, you may be asked to put your top back on at the hotel's discretion.

 

Cancun Beach News

Beaches are always changing. They can change from day to day with the tides and weather conditions such as hurricanes and tropical storms. They can change seasonally in a natural cycle. And they can change long-term with changes such as construction on the beach, especially sea wall, or with a rise in sea level. They can also change from one hotel to the next.

Visit the Cancun Beach Conditions web site for recent photos of the beach in front of each hotel. All photos have been taken by recent travelers to Cancun instead of using a hotel's publicity shots that may have been taken months or years ago. If a wide, sandy beach is an important factor in choosing a Cancun resort, this site can help you gauge the beach conditions in front of every hotel.

 

Cancun Beach Descriptions

Cancun Map: Hotel ZoneCancun's hotel zone is shaped like the number seven, as you can see from the small map to the right. (Click to enlarge.)

At the top of the "7" is the Bahia de Mujeres - the northern end of the hotel zone.  Beaches here are beautiful turquoise-blue with white sand, shallow for some distance out, and have little or no surf, making them great for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports.

To the right of the "7" is the Caribbean sea.  The beaches here also have beautiful turquoise waters and white sand, and also have surf.  Be especially careful on these beaches fronting the open Caribbean, where the undertow can be quite dangerous at times.  In general, the best Caribbean-side beaches are found from the Sheraton and south.

To the left of the "7"is the Nichupte Lagoon.  It is a salt-water lagoon, and is generally not good for swimming.  During the day, the Nichupte becomes a water sports haven, and many marinas offer jet skiing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, and jungle tours. 

Yes, there are even crocodiles in parts of the lagoon!  However, Cancun's crocodiles are non-aggressive species that feed on fish and other small wildlife. It is estimated that no more than twenty-five adult crocodiles live in the 5,000-hectare-lagoon system, most of them in areas distant from tourist activities except where they are fed by restaurants as a tourist attraction.

 

Cancun Public Beach Access

While all beaches in Cancun are technically public (owned by the government), you may not be able to access the beach by walking through a hotel, which is private property.  Visitors staying in hotels that are not on the beach can access the beaches at any of the 10 public-access entries to the beach.

Playa Ballenas - Public entrance is a sidewalk along the Meridien Hotel wall fence.  Incredible views, and peaceful sunbathing. Keep an eye on the warning flags, however, as the currents can be quite dangerous any time of the year.  At kilometer 14 in the Hotel Zone, in between Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc.

Playa Caracol/Playa Las Palmas - Entrance is hard to locate.  Go through the small wood gate next to Fiesta Americana Coral Beach. Also accessible through Xcaret bus terminal. Near Punta Cancun, ideal for children or beginner swimmers. One of the nicer beaches because of its flat shallow sand bed. Located at 8.5 km in the Hotel Zone.

Playa Chac Mool - Public entrance is across the street from Señor Frog's. Public beach with changing area, handy restaurants.  Be advised however that the currents are strong and it's tempting to wade too far out into the shallow water.  Good water sports area - sail-boarding, water skiing and parasailing. Located kilometer 10 in the Hotel Zone, near Punta Cancun.

Playa Delfines - Peaceful sunbathing and breathtaking views.  However it also offers dangerous swimming conditions in the strong surf and sometimes treacherous currents.  There are some stone benches for sitting and contemplating the sea, but no other facilities.  At kilometer 18 in the Hotel Zone, near Punta Nizuc.

Playa Juventud - Here is a nice place for swimming and a good place for water sports. Located off of Kukulcan Boulevard at km. 3 in the Hotel Zone.

Playa Langosta - Excellent swimming.  Situated in the middle of the north end of the Hotel Zone and facing Bahia de Mujeres, you can find some of the best swimming that Cancun has to offer at Playa Langosta. Lots of beach restaurants and bars. Located at km. 5 of the Hotel Zone. A dock with shuttles to Isla Mujeres and other tours located here too

Playa Las Perlas -  Another nice place for swimming and a good place for water sports. There are restaurants and bars on the beach. It is located at kilometer 2.5  in the Hotel Zone.

Playa Linda - Excellent swimming. Close to downtown and facing Bahia de Mujeres.  Some of the best swimming in all of Cancun.  Restaurants, changing rooms.  Playa Linda's dock is the departure point for submarine and dive tours. Located at kilometer 4 in the Hotel Zone.

Playa Marlin - Public entrance behind Kukulcan Plaza. Sunbather's delight. Well known for its incredible, expansive views and peaceful sunbathing.   Keep an eye on the warning flags however, as the currents can be dangerous.  Located at kilometer 13 in the Hotel Zone, in between Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc.

Playa Tortugas - Public entrance is next to Fat Tuesday's. Good swimming here, and perfect for water sports. A number of restaurants and refreshment bars located here too. Located at kilometer 6.5 in the Hotel Zone. Dock offering shuttles to Isla Mujeres and other tours.

 

Explore Area Beaches

 Caribbean Funday
Location: ISLA MUJERES   Departs From: CANCUN 
Transportation From: RIVIERA MAYA / PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Enjoy an entire day of adventure on the Caribbean Funday, one of the most comfortable pleasure boats in Cancun. Once on the island of Isla Mujeres you will spend a great time at a beach club or wandering the quaint streets of the island, At lunch time you will savor a delicious buffet.
 Celestun, Enjoy Beach & Nature
Location: YUCATAN   Departs From: MERIDA

 

Celestun is a small village located 2 hours away from the city of Merida, a beautiful paradise of the Yucatan coast where you will enjoy the nature and crystal clear water beach extensions. Celestun is home to a pink flamingo's colony that represents a unique natural spectacle for the visitors
 Contoy Island Asterix Tours 
Location: ISLA CONTOY   Departs From: CANCUN 

 

Enjoy an unforgettable experience crossing the majestic Caribbean Sea to get to a place few have had the privilege to discover: Isla Contoy. This unspoiled island, which measures barely 5.2 miles long and only 70 ft. at its narrowest point, is located on one end of the second largest coral reef in the world.
 Contoy Island Kolumbus Tours 
Location: ISLA CONTOY   Departs From: CANCUN 

 

Come and explore the natural wonders of the most unspoiled place in the Mexican Caribbean, the Isla Contoy National Park. Watch with the guidance of our experienced bilingual guide the numerous species of tropical seabirds in their natural habitat
 Cozumel Bar Hop Tour 
Location: COZUMEL   Departs From: COZUMEL

 

Life is better by the ocean! The Cozumel Bar Hop Tour takes you to the hottest beaches in Cozumel so you can experience four incredible locations accompanied by excellent cocktails. You already have a designated driver, so join in the party and leave all cares behind on this exciting five-hour tour of Cozumel
 Cozumel Snorkel and Beach Premium Tour
Location: COZUMEL   Departs From: COZUMEL

 

Spend a day on the gorgeous beaches of Cozumel! Start your adventure on board a catamaran that will take you out to a beautiful coral reef. There, you can snorkel and discover the unique marine life. When you finish exploring the reef's waters, we'll head to the incredible Playa Mia Grand Beach Park.
 Discovery Island
Location: ISLA MUJERES   Departs From: CANCUN  

 

Spend a wonderful day at Dolphin Discovery Beach Club. This adventure begins when you board the ferry that will take you in just 20 minutes to the charming Isla Mujeres, where the view and the colors of the sea are simply breathtaking!
 Grand Beach Park
Location: COZUMEL  

 

Some of the activities and services that Grand Beach Park offer: kayaks, a water trampoline, sailing, paddle boats, water bicycles, a swimming pool, a playground, a huge restaurant, hammocks, six bars, entertainment staff, lifeguards, paramedics, volleyball court and many, many other activities
 Hummer Jungle Tour
Location: CANCUN & PUERTO MORELOS  Departs From: CANCUN

 

Dare to live an extreme adventure driving your own Hummer vehicle! Apart from the adrenaline rush, in this tour you can learn about the Mayan culture, visit a wonderful beach and swim in a crystalline cenote. Come and live this unforgettable 4x4 adventure!
 Jeep Tour with Snorkel
Location: COZUMEL  Departs From: COZUMEL

 

Drive a Jeep through the town of Cozumel and along a scenic road until reaching a beautiful nature reserve. Once there, we’ll take you on an exciting tour of a Mayan ruin and enjoy some crocodile-watching by the lagoon. Afterwards, head over to an amazing beach, where you can swim, snorkel, or just relax.
 Resort Pass, Hotel B, Cozumel
Location: COZUMEL

 

The Resort Pass Hotel B offers three different activities that will make your vacation a memorable one. Enjoy your stay in this beautiful oceanfront paradise from morning to night when you sign up for one of these packages.
 Royal Garrafon
Location: ISLA MUJERES   Departs From: CANCUN  Transportation From: CANCUN

 

During your visit to the Garrafon National Park you'll be able to go snorkeling, try your hand at kayaking, or go on the zip line. There are plenty of other activities to enjoy as well, ranging from exploring the Sculpture Garden to swimming with dolphins (available for an additional cost)
 Segway Tour with Snorkel
Location: COZUMEL

 

Explore the scenic coastline of Cozumel while effortlessly gliding on a Segway. This self-balancing electric vehicle will take you alongside gorgeous island beaches. Make your way to a fantastic beach club with a swimming pool and a beautiful beach area. Snorkel in the turquoise water of the Mexican Caribbean
 Swim and Snorkel or Dive with Rays at Stingray Beach
Location: COZUMEL   Transportation From: COZUMEL HOTELS

 

Come and experience the thrill of swimming with stingrays in a safe and controlled yet natural environment. First you'll have a personal encounter with the stingrays, where the trainers will teach you how to interact with these friendly fish and even feed them. Afterwards, you can relax on the beach.
 Tulum & Xel-Ha All Inclusive
Location: RIVIERA MAYA  
Transportation From: HOTELS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Discover one of the most beautiful Mayan archeological sites, the only one overlooking the Caribbean Sea as a walled fortress.  From here you will be taken to Xel-Ha, a spectacular theme water park, where you will spend a day of adventure enjoying natural, ecological and aquatic attractions.
 Tulum Akumal Snorkeling
Location: RIVIERA MAYA  
Transportation From: HOTELS IN RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

In the morning we'll start our 45 minutes trip at the archeological area accompanied by a certified guide explaining the origins of this site. Later on you'll go to snorkel at a tranquil and private inlet far away from crowds and ideal for observing a lot of tropical fish
 Tulum Undiscovered
Location: RIVIERA MAYA   Transportation From: RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Tulum Undiscovered Tour starts early in the morning and takes you on a guided visit of the archeological site, conducted by a specialist in Maya culture who will teach you about the building of the pyramids, the lives of the inhabitants, their religion and their advanced mathematical and scientific achievements.
 Wet'n Wild
Location: CANCUN

 

Wet’n Wild is the only water park in Cancun and Riviera Maya; it is located in the kilometer 25 of the Cancun’s hotel zone and has an extension of 18 acres with an array of attractions for all the ages. Here you can spend an entire day of entertainment
 Xcaret
Location: RIVIERA MAYA  
Transportation From: HOTELS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Known as ''nature's sacred paradise'', Xcaret is one of the world's most famous eco-archaeological parks. Here, you will find archaeological ruins, a dolphin show, horses, a farm with tropical birds, butterflies, bat caves and a stunning beach. You can go also snorkeling in the famous caves.
 Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor and Xichen
Location: RIVIERA MAYA  
Transportation From: HOTELS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Choose from two, three or four great tour options and schedule them on different days all for one single discounted payment. Discover Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor and Chichen Itza. Make the most of your stay in Cancun or Riviera Maya with these excellent tour packages!
 Xel-Ha All Inclusive
Location: RIVIERA MAYA  
Transportation From: HOTELS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

 

Xel-Ha is the perfect spot for snorkeling and relaxing. This natural aquarium is famous for its thousands of brightly colored tropical fish and dramatic limestone formations. At Xel-Ha you will be able to explore creeks, lagoons and caves fed by subterranean rivers.
 

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