Best Beaches in Cancun
The sounds of the ocean serenade you as you dig your toes further into the sand. You adjust the umbrella to give you a little more shade, and sip your drink. A lone cloud drifts idly across the sky.
You watch some kids playing in the surf, splashing around in the wake and giggling with delight as the next wave approaches. You take a deep breath of the ocean breeze, settle back into your chair, and turn to the next chapter of your book. A smile spreads across your face.
Some of the Best Beaches Anywhere
No list of the “best beaches in Cancun” can really be complete unless it includes every single stretch of sand within a few hours drive (or boat ride) of the city! There are simply so many incredible beaches here that it’s more a matter of finding the type of beach you want to enjoy at any particular time. Whether you prefer sunbathing on secluded shores or mixing it up at an outdoor party, you’re sure to find your new favorite beach somewhere near Cancun!
Finding Your Favorite Beach
Decide how you want to spend your time at the beach, and find the right spot for you. The beaches in Cancun generally fit into a type, be it the secluded stretch of sand or the full-service luxury lounging spot. Which one of these is your ideal beach type?
The Popular Beach
Most of Cancun’s tourists come for the sun and sand, and you’ll find plenty of opportunity to join them at some of the most popular beaches in the world. If you want a beach with a full line of amenities, including food and drink service at your beach chair, you’ll be in good company!
Almost every hotel in the Hotel Zone has its own stretch of beach, many of which are open to the public regardless of where you’re staying. The more luxurious the hotel, the more luxurious the amenities available at its beach. Many popular nightclubs line these beaches as well, making it easy to transition into Cancun’s vibrant nightlife. If you want to relax in a beach lounger while being served icy drinks on a hot day, check out the Playa Forum, the Playa Caracol, or many of the other beaches in the Hotel Zone.
The Quiet Beach
In a tourist-heavy region like Cancun, no truly “quiet” beach is going to make it onto a list like this! But there are still plenty of options that offer smaller crowds and more secluded vistas than the more popular beaches in the region. If your idea of a perfect day at the beach involves less about amenities and more about natural beauty, one of these beaches may be just the spot for you.
In general, look for beaches that are parts of nature reserves, parks, or UNESCO sites. By their very nature, these beaches will have a more natural landscape and smaller crowds. You’ll also want to check out beaches that aren’t affiliated with a particular resort, as many visitors won’t necessarily stray from their hotel grounds to catch a little sun. Some of our favorite “quiet” beaches include Xpu-Ha, where you can swim in the ocean while gazing at Mayan ruins, and the amazingly beautiful Maroma Beach.
The Adventure Beach
Not everyone just wants to soak up some sun. The beach and shallow ocean are a great place to indulge your inner thrill seeker, and Cancun is the perfect setting to do it in. Many of Cancun’s best beaches offer equipment rentals or guided activities, so search around and find the right one to get your adrenaline going.
Jet skis, kayaks, and more exotic things like water-powered jetpacks are available for rent at many of Cancun’s beaches. If you want to spice up your beach visit with some extreme activities, you’ll find no shortage of places to oblige you. Check out Playa Choc Mool or the aptly named Adventure Bay, which features beach bungee jumping.
Planning Your Trip
Like we said earlier - there are just too many great beaches to choose from! Here are some other helpful lists of the best beaches in Cancun to help guide your trip.
Before You Go
One of the many wonderful things about Cancun is that it has so many beautiful places to explore - you don’t have to pick just one! Spend a day beach-hopping, or mix things up with a relaxing beach one day and a high adventure one the next.
You Should Also Know…
Don’t forget your eco-friendly sunscreen! There’s a vast ecosystem of sea life around Cancun - help protect them by choosing sunscreen that is safe for their environment.
Be sure it’s safe to swim if you plan on getting in the water! Check to see if there’s a lifeguard on duty, and look for the colored flags denoting ocean conditions. Strong currents and rough waves make some of these beaches unsuitable for swimming, so if there’s no one else in the water there’s probably a good reason why!
If you’re planning on fishing, make sure you have the proper license. You may also want to consider chartering a fishing tour.
Fun Water Tours
Tulum & Xel-Ha All Inclusive Tour$139
Xel-Ha All Inclusive Tour with Transport$119
Subsee Explorer Tour$47
Jungle Tour "Sunrise Marina"
Coba - Mayan Encounter Tour
Xel-Ha All Inclusive Tour Admission Only
Hummer Jungle Tour$188
Rio Secreto Tour
Coba Sunset Tour
Jungle Maya Tour$88
Experiencias Xcaret Package Only Entranc
Aquafun Marine Jungle Tour$69
Aquafun Marina Mangrove Tour$69
Jetpack Cancun Tour$118
Snorkeling Tour at MUSA Underwater Museu$58
Tulum Xtreme Tour$129
Xplor Fuego Tour