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This Playa Del Carmen Beach Was Just Named The Best In Mexico

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The Mexican Caribbean is pretty hard to beat when it comes to beaches. With so many miles of stunning coastline featuring scenic backdrops, soft white sand, and extremely clear azure waters, the region has tons of beautiful beaches that attract millions of travelers to visit from all over the world.

However, one beach, in particular, has been branded a must-visit destination in a recent report.

Punta Esmeralda beach in playa del carmen

This summer, instead of heading to Cancun’s typical beach hotspots such as Playa Delfines, Playa Marlin, and Playa Gaviota Azul, it might be worth heading just an hour down the road to Playa Del Carmen – the popular beach town just over 40 miles from Cancun – to visit a beach that was recently crowned as the best in the country and the one of the best in Latin America.

Here’s everything you need to know about this gorgeous strip of sand and sea, including how to get there, what makes it so special, and how it earned its title as el mejor en Mexico.

@visitqroo Playa Punta Esmeralda en Playa del Carmen 🇲🇽 #visitqroo #mexico #paraiso #caribbean #caribe #tbt #azul #viral #drone #vivamexico #playadelcarmen ♬ Memories (Drinks Bring Back) – Ajay Stephens

Playa Del Carmen’s Perfect Beach- Information For Travelers

Playa Del Carmen is full of gorgeous beaches that are bound to make even the most discerning travelers lay back, relax and enjoy the sound of the waves.

The charming coastal city – famed also for being an authentic glimpse into everyday Mexican life and for its stunning Maya temple sites – is home to beaches such as the wide, community-centered Parque Fundadores beach as well as Calle 10 beach, a spot that’s full of bouncing beach clubs, highlighting the diversity of the beaches on offer.

However, one beach stands out – and that’s Punta Esmeralda.

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@exploratory_glory Playa Punta Esmeralda, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México 🇲🇽 #playadelcarmen #quintanaroo #mexico #mexicocheck #mexicotiktok #mexicotravel @exploratory_glory @exploratory_glory ♬ Eres para Mí (with Anita Tijoux) – Julieta Venegas

Located in the northern half of the town, Punta Esmeralda was voted the best in the country following a study by the International Center for Training in Beach Management and Certification ( CIFPlayas) and the Coastal Systems Research Group.

As well as this, it was also awarded the honor of being the third-best urban beach in Latin America, the fourth-best in the Caribbean, and the fifth-greatest beach in the Latin American region. But what makes Punta Esmeralda so special?

punta esmeralda beach pool trees

For a start, there’s no denying that it’s about as pretty as a beach can be. Sweeping bays give way to powdery white sand, with a scenic palm-lined backdrop that’s as aesthetically tropical as it is practical, providing much-needed shade from the sun.

The water is a stunning turquoise color and helps to create natural pools on the beach that are perfect for dipping your toes on or providing a shallow place to swim for kids. Throw in its perfectly-placed rocks and washed-up logs, and it’s almost as though it was hand-crafted for social media.

@togethertowhereve One of Playa Del Carmen's best kept secrets: Playa Punta Esmeralda ⛱️ It's about a 15 minute drive from the city center (Centro) so most tourists don't bother renting a car of paying for the taxi to get there. It's usually pretty quiet in the earlier part if the day, especially during the week. 🌞 It's perfect for families with small kids because it provides a shallow lagoon for them to play in and the waves in the sea are calm. There are swings, too! 🌞 the beach is wide and well kept. It also has bins for trash and recycling. 🌞there is a small cenote to see some small fish and maybe take a cool dip 🌞bathroom (5 pesos) and shower facilities make it very convenient 🌞lots of parking available. There may be food vendors on the weekends but I would recommend bringing your own food and drinks if you are spending the day. I would also recommend bringing your own beach umbrella (and maybe even chairs) since there are none there to rent. Make sure to clean up after yourself! Would you spend the day at this beach if you were visiting Playa del Carmen? #playadelcarmenmexico #puntaesmeralda #playapuntaesmeralda #playadelcarmenbeach #rivieramayabeach #tourismplayadelcarmen #playadelcarmenvacation #familyfriendlybeach #mexicobeach ♬ original sound – dikaartaa16

It’s not just this report – which factored in issues such as access, water and sand quality and security into its final rankings – that sees Punta Esmeralda as one of the best in the region, but other international bodies too.

Punta Esmeralda has been designated as a Blue Flag beach since 2018, joining other elite beaches in the region and around the world in being recognized for its high environmental and quality standards.

woman lying on a beach

Whether you’re staying up the road in Cancun or in downtown Playa Del Carmen, Punta Esmeralda is easy to visit.

From Cancun, it’s a fairly standard drive down the 307 highway towards Playa Del Carmen before turning down the Calle 106 Nte road once you reach the town.

It’s easily accessible from Playa Del Carmen both by taxi and car, with plenty on hand to bring you home when you’re done, while some may even choose to walk from the center of the city.

taxi in mexico

Regarding the rest of the study, El Corsario in Cabo San Lucas took the silver medal as the second-best beach in Mexico, with Del Holi in Jalisco, Acapulquito in San Jose Del Cabo, and Camarones in Puerto Vallarta making up the rest of the top five.

drinks with blur beach and sunset in background.

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Amir Doctry

Monday 12th of June 2023

This is not true. Even the cover picture is photoshop. The water hasn’t been that color all year. Also no place to buy beverages or even a restaurant. I’ve been covering the Sargassum situation in Playa Del Carmen for a year now. Playacar has a better beach. Punta Esmeralda has been one of the worst areas. To watch some of my updates go to Doctry360 on YouTube. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Kim Samsel

Thursday 15th of June 2023

@Amir Doctry, I watch your videos. I live in Playa del Carmen. Thank you.

Kim Samsel

Thursday 15th of June 2023

@Amir Doctry, I agree 👍


Monday 12th of June 2023

It should be El mejor not major.


Sunday 11th of June 2023

What a load of garbage. There's so much Sargussum can't even make it to the water! Stinks like rotten eggs and you can't even find one place to buy a drink! False advertising!! Need pictures? I can download's also been that way for a few years now. Playa del Carmen and Cancun are the worst places to go in Mexico, in my opinion. Overpriced and overcrowded.


Thursday 6th of July 2023

@Darren, agreed! I live close to here and can attest to this b.s. it has gone down overs the years considerably and even before the more extreme sargassum issues was decent but not the best

Kim Samsel

Thursday 15th of June 2023

@Darren, That's what I was thinking too....