Without question, the most popular of Cancun’s attractions are its beaches. The fine, white sand and turquoise oceans in this part of the world can’t help but make you happy, especially when they’re accompanied by a cooling cocktail, beach umbrella, and a comfy lounger to relax on.
There are stunning beaches all along the Mexican Caribbean coast, but many tourists want to stay in and around Cancun for their vacation. Here are some thoughts on which beaches in Cancun will suit you best, whatever your preference – also, try this article for information on Cancun’s beach clubs.
Playa Delfines, or Dolphin Beach, is located in the bottom third of Cancun’s ‘7’. What makes this spot noteworthy is the fact it’s a public beach with free access for everyone, which is a rarity in Cancun. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful, wide, and sandy stretch of beach in relative peace, as it’s largely undeveloped with no hotels or restaurants backing onto it, and it doesn’t have the number of vendors you’ll find elsewhere along the Hotel Zone.
The water at this beach isn’t the calmest, and there is a rip current that may be too strong for kids and weaker swimmers, but plenty of people come here purely to soak up the sun and enjoy some relaxation. Also, don’t miss out on a selfie opportunity, as the colorful ‘Cancun’ sign is located right next to this beach!
Playa Chac Mool
Playa Chac Mool is further up the Hotel Zone, close to the entertainment district of Punta Cancun. Named after the Mayan God of Rain, this beach is great for people who want to lay out in the sun and watch the waves crash on the shore.
There’s no parking here, but its location makes for easy access on foot from nearby resorts, or by bus from other parts of the Hotel Zone, or from downtown. Again, the sea may not be calm enough for less confident swimmers, but if the most strenuous activity you want is working through the latest beach read and sipping on a cocktail, this could be the perfect option for you.
For vacationers with a rental car, an exciting beach that’s off the beaten path is Isla Blanca, right at the top of a virgin strip of land. There are limited facilities and little to no development, but that’s what makes this beach so charming.
It’ll take around 25 minutes to drive to the northerly tip of the peninsula which has the Caribbean on one side, and Laguna Chacmuchuch on the other. There are multiple public access spots and a couple of restaurants on the drive up, but after that, all you’ll see is beautiful nothingness! It’s a popular spot with kite surfers, but if that’s not your thing, why not bring a picnic, an umbrella for some shade, and set up camp for the day.
There’s a bit more in the way of amenities at this public beach, which is often busy and is enjoyed by a mix of vacationers and Mexican locals. You’ll be able to rent chairs and umbrellas here, so you’ll have some respite from the sun if you need it. Plus, there will be more beach vendors selling drinks and snacks – and likely an array of souvenirs, which is great if you’re on the lookout for gifts.
The water at this beach, like many along the northern stretch of the ‘7’, is calmer due to being protected by Isla Mujeres, so if you have kids in your party, this would be a great, safe option. For those who want to explore, the Isla Mujeres ferry also departs from Playa Tortugas, so you could combine your time at Tortugas beach with an afternoon at Isla Mujeres’s best beach, Playa Norte, which is described below.
Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
Although not strictly Cancun, Isla Mujeres is so close – only a 20-minute ferry ride from the Hotel Zone – that it has to be included on this list of best beaches. Playa Norte or ‘North Beach’ is the crowning glory of Isla Mujeres. Often voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the beach is easily accessed from the island’s ferry dock and visitors will find all the amenities required for a full day out.
The ocean at Playa Norte is the calmest you’ll find in the area, thanks to the nearby reef providing protection. The water’s also shallow, making it perfect for families with small children. Backing on to the beach are plenty of restaurants, bars, and beach clubs, and the charming downtown area of the island is only steps away from the sand.
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