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Cancun’s Most Popular Tourist Beach Is Currently Losing Its Sand

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Tourists enjoying the most popular tourist beach this upcoming peak winter holiday travel season may get the strange sense that the beach is actually getting smaller.

The bad news is that their eyes and sense of perception are not deceiving them.

Playa Losing Sand

Cancun's Playa Delfines

Sand is the essential item that truly makes a beach. However, lifeguards at Playa Delfines, the most popular tourist beach in Cancun, have been reporting that for the last several weeks, the sand on the beach has progressively been disappearing.

The result has been more rocks exposed on the beach, which now lay uncovered by sand and create more dangerous hazards for travelers swimming at the popular beach.

According to reports, it started as only a three-meter stretch of the beach that lost its sand. Now, it has extended to ten meters of the beach and led to the exposure of many of the rocks on the beach.

Because of this, lifeguards have stepped up patrols of the beach to make sure that tourists remain safe when swimming at Playa Delfines because many are not expecting exposed rocks to be part of the beach.

Playa Delfines

A Popular Tourist Beach

Tourists love Playa Delfines in Cancun because it is the longest stretch of white sand beach in the area without towering tourist resorts and hotel towers. It is also free, which is another added value for visitors.

Additionally, it was one of the first beaches in Cancun to have free WiFi internet available for tourists in the Mexican Caribbean.

Umbrellas on Playa Delfines in Cancun

Typically, the beach, with its many palapas and umbrellas, has calm waves and clean waters. However, the loss of sand may actually be in part a departure from how the beach is normally perceived by travelers.

What’s Behind the Loss?

Local officials in Cancun really aren’t too sure what is behind the loss of sand on the most popular tourist beach in the Mexican resort destination.

Busy Playa Delfines Beach in Cancun Mexico

There are a number of possible explanations. However, at this time they are really just educated guesses. They include rising sea levels due to global warming; more intense sea waves; tropical weather systems, or even the impact of human activities such as resort hotel construction.

Lifeguards at Playa Delfines have noted recently that the waves and current seem to be stronger than usual.

Recently, local officials realized the importance of the sandy beaches in Cancun and their direct connection to tourism. Because of this and the threat from global warming, they actually took out an insurance policy to protect the beaches from damage related to a level three hurricane or above. It is unsure if these losses could be covered under that policy.

Playa Delfines

Possible Next Steps

Local officials are currently reviewing the next steps to take to stop the sand erosion or add more sand to the beach.

Some ideas include adding more sand to the beach to cover up the areas of exposed rock. Some are even thinking about building some type of breakwater to slow the erosion. However, officials are unsure how that may impact other beaches in the area.

Woman Looking Out at Playa Delfines in Cancun, Mexico

What Beachgoers Need to Know

For now, travelers on their vacation getaway in Cancun need to be aware of the heightened need for safety while swimming at Playa Delfines.

Swimming shoes are always recommended when enjoying the waters of the Mexican Caribbean. However, travelers need to be aware that the exposed rock can make some areas of the beach slippery when walking and potential injury hazards when riding a wave crashing on to the beach.

Lifeguards are aware of the issue and the local municipality has trained them about the issue. It is critical that tourists visiting Playa Delfines be aware of the issue and on the lookout for areas of sand erosion.

Hopefully the issue is just a short-term problem and the addition of sand or other mitigation measures will improve the most popular tourist beach in Cancun for many more years of vacation getaways to come.

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Tuesday 28th of November 2023

I don't know about this specific beach, but it seems to me as if this is not new. We were in Cancun in January 2010 and there were huge rocks/boulders exposed in the shallow waters. Very dangerous; easy to get knocked over by a wave & onto a Boulder


Thursday 30th of November 2023

@Laura, Cancun has the nicest blue watter ever seen and the withest send, all beaches at Cancun are incredible amazing highly recommended.