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The 14 Best Beaches in Cancun in 2024 | Our Top Picks

The 14 Best Beaches in Cancun in 2024 | Our Top Picks

What are the best beaches in Cancun?

Cancun’s coastline offers a perfect blend of activities and tranquility. From the thrill-seeking vibes at Playa Chac Mool to the calm, crystal-clear waters of Playa Norte, there’s a spot for every mood. Catch a glimpse of dolphins at Playa Delfines or swim with sea turtles at Akumal Beach—each beach delivers its unique charm, ensuring your Cancun experience is as diverse as it is unforgettable.

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The 14 Best Beaches in Cancun in 2024

Visiting Cancun and its blissful beaches sounds like a plan for your upcoming trip! With miles of continuous beach on the Caribbean Sea, you can make your search easier by focusing on only the best beaches in Cancun.

Some Cancun beaches are sheltered from powerful currents and waves with coral reefs situated just offshore. Others enjoy consistently big swells for surfing during the winter months, and some offer top-tier snorkeling, seclusion, or stunning views of Mayan ruins. 

We’ll show you the best beaches in Cancun (and a few nearby for day trips) that will be the perfect launch point for full days of relaxation, adventures on the water, or jungle and ruin exploration. 

1. Playa Chac Mool

Two women dipping in the wavy shoreline while watching several people swimming at a distance in Playa Chac Mool, one of the best beaches in Cancun, near Hotel Zone


Playa Chac Mool (named after the Mayan rain god) is a lifeguarded white sand beach on the stem of the 7-shaped Hotel Zone. Sparkling, soft sand meets the turquoise waters of the Caribbean in this dreamy beach destination that offers lots of amenities.

Playa Chac Mool often sees powerful waves in fall, but is known for calmer, more gentle waters during the spring and summer months. That makes it a great beach for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports — something for everyone! 

Located on Kilometer 10 of the bustling Hotel Zone, Playa Chac Mool is right on the action with popular restaurants, bars, and nightclubs within walking distance. This is a party area, but you won’t find the beach overly crowded or have trouble finding a spot to set up on the sand. 

The ocean here is nice and shallow, making it easy to wade in if you enjoy just playing in the waves without going for a serious swim. Waves vary from calm and gentle to large enough for surfing, depending on the season and weather (larger in winter).

Between August and October, conditions are better for surfing (and not so great for leisurely swims). If you’re here in the fall, you’ll be able to watch skilled surfers shredding the swells at Playa Chac Mool! 

The entrance to the beach is on Kukulcan Boulevard and you’ll find a free parking area (get here early for the best spots) that makes it convenient to travel to if your hotel isn’t on the beach. 

There are a few public umbrellas you can rent for the day at no cost, but if those aren’t available, look for a guy renting umbrellas on the beach for around $30/day (500 pesos). Restrooms, showers, and water sport rentals (like jet skis) are also available on the beach.

2. Playa Las Palmas

A Coconut tree seen bent towards the sea at Tulum Beach as a piece on one of the best beaches in Cancun, and other Coconuts in background planted on fine sand

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock

Playa Las Palmas is widely regarded as the best beach in Tulum, an ancient Mayan city that stands on a hill overlooking the sea with crumbling and preserved stone ruins. The beach is under 2 hours from Cancun, making it a great spot to venture out for the day.

Translating to “beach of the palms,” Playa Las Palmas does look idyllic with tall palm trees along the shore. The sand here is very fine and white, reminding you of tiny grains of sugar or soft flour as you walk along the shoreline.

With bright blue waters stretching out in front of you and Tulum’s stone ruins behind you, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place. The water is shallow and perfect to wade into safely. And since it’s a public beach, anyone can come here without paying for entry! 

The end of the beach is lined with resorts and beach clubs that offer beachside service from their restaurants and bars and rent sunbeds and umbrellas for tourists not staying at the resorts.

You’ll also find a number of tour operators that arrange snorkeling, diving, fishing, windsurfing, and other activities on the water. 

Playa Las Palmas can be very busy during the high season and certain parts of the day, so arrive early in the morning if you want a chance to grab an umbrella or chair. There isn’t much shade on the beach, despite the presence of palm trees. 

This is a spot where you can post up for the entire day, thanks to the variety of food and drink options from the resorts’ restaurants and bars just behind the beach. Restrooms and showers are available for use. 

Parking can be a challenge since most of the parking nearby is reserved for resort guests. You may have luck at lots across the street from the beach, which charge around 250 pesos, or $15, for a full day’s use of the lot. Otherwise, ride bikes or take a taxi to the beach.

3. Playa Delfines

Single pole tiki huts lined up at the vast shore of Playa Delfines, a pick on the best beaches in Cancun, and foamy blue sea due to crashing waves


Playa Delfines, or Dolphin Beach, is another of the best beaches in Cancun. It’s clear how this stretch of shoreline earned its name: There are always pods of playful dolphins swimming and jumping offshore. But the real allure of Playa Delfines is the breathtaking beauty, cleanliness, and size of the beach!

The water is some of the most vibrant turquoise you’ll see on the Cancun coast, the sand is clean and shines pristinely white in contrast with the water, and the mesmerizing sound of waves crashing on the shore will lull you into a peaceful reverie. 

It’s a popular and lifeguarded beach, so you won’t likely find it empty or consider it a secluded spot. There are several restaurants along the shore for quick bites and drinks. But with how large and well-maintained the beach is, there’s never any trouble finding your spot on the sand. 

Playa Delfines feels alive and vibrant with people lounging on the sand, kids building sand castles in the powdery white sand, and swimmers taking to the water for a refreshing dip.

Shy marine iguanas amble along the dunes, steering clear of people but creating awesome photo opportunities (along with the colorful Cancun sign that’s practically a requirement for photos). It’s worth coming in time to catch the multi-colored sunset as the sun sinks below the horizon. 

While the waves can be a little rough for young children, a wooden playground off the beach provides a nice distraction. There’s a calisthenics park if you want to head down early and get some exercise in before sprawling out on a sunbed (free if any are available) or towel for the day.

It’s free to enter the beach and convenient to get here with a bus stop directly at the entrance. A free parking lot (look for attendants who will help you park, but ask for a tip), restrooms, and showers are available at the entrance. 

4. Playa Norte

Aerial view of Isla Mujeres' white sand Playa Norte, one of the best beaches in Cancun, with its tall hotel buildings and residential area, and a speed boat passing by its vicinity

Gino Caballero/Shutterstock

Playa Norte, or North Beach, sits on the northern tip of idyllic Isla Mujeres just off the coast of Cancun. A popular day trip destination that’s easy to reach via the ferry (20-30 minutes), this stretch of powdery soft sand quickly became one of our favorite beaches in Cancun. 

Palm trees, beach chairs, and umbrellas stud the shoreline and give it the classic tropical beach resort vibe — but it’s a public beach that anyone can use! Beach clubs stretch back-to-back along the shore, offering umbrellas, sun beds, and beach service for a price. But it’s free to use the beach if you’re just bringing a towel to lie on. 

You won’t find better views or clearer water than here at Playa Norte. The ocean is shallow and easy to wade into from the beach. While this popular beach can be a bit crowded on the weekends and afternoons, it’s large enough to accommodate everyone without feeling cramped.

Restaurants and bars span the edge of the beach, making it easy to run up and grab drinks and food while you’re enjoying your blissful day on the shore. Many people rent golf carts and make their way up and down the beach, checking out different restaurants, bars, and shops along the way. 

While it’s free to use the beach, renting golf carts, umbrellas, and sunbeds for the day will cost anywhere from 350 (chairs and umbrellas) to 1800 (golf carts) pesos, or $20 to $105. Shorter 2-hour umbrella and chair rentals are around 200 pesos or $12.

Some of the beach clubs require a minimum spend on drinks and food after renting an umbrella and chairs. But for the absolute paradise that lounging under an umbrella on Playa Norte with your own sliver of shade offers, you’ll probably find it’s worth it. 

5. Playacar Beach

Aerial view on Playacar Beach, named as one of the best beaches in Cancun, its wide shore filed with native huts and a number of tourists swimming on the shallow crystal clear water

Erich Sacco/Shutterstock

Playacar Beach is in Playa Del Carmen on the Riviera Maya near Cancun. It’s a clean, less-busy beach if you’re hoping to avoid the bigger crowds on public Cancun or Playa Del Carmen beaches. It’s truly beautiful here and you’ll feel like you’re in on a local secret when you find the spot. 

Playacar Beach is wide and roomy, ensuring there’s plenty of space for you to stretch out on the shore. You’ll appreciate how diligently the beach staff works to keep seaweed and litter off the shore so the sand is clean and sparkling, just like the sea stretching before it.

You have two options when you visit Playacar Beach: Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 of the beach is a smaller, more secluded section away from the larger resorts and hotels. There are Mayan ruins within Phase 1 (Xaman-ha) with stone structures still standing. 

Phase 2 is slightly more crowded, larger, and offers more amenities for beachgoers with umbrella and chair rentals, a golf course and shopping mall, restaurants, and coffee shops nearby.

You can enter Phase 1 from 5th Avenue, left of the shopping mall through a gated entrance. Phase 2 has 4 entry points, but most people use the 10th Avenue entrance. Taxi drivers and hotel transport services can bring you to either. 

The resorts that front the Phase 2 beach have umbrellas and chairs for their guests, but you can always bring a towel and enjoy this part of Playa Del Carmen for free if you’re not staying at a hotel or resort on the beach.

You won’t find some of the usual beach amenities here — showers, restrooms, and restaurants/bars offering beach service beyond the resort restaurants that serve their guests — but it’s the best stretch of sand in the area. 

6. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

Aerial shot of the famous Sian Ka'an Biosphere as a piece on the best beaches in Cancun, surrounded by thick layers of Mangroves and houses a diverse ecosystem


Sian Ka’an Biosphere (meaning “Origin of the sky” or “Gate of heaven” in Mayan) is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico. It includes more than 400,000 hectares of land and 120,000 hectares of marine area that extends out to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. 

There are some stunning, secluded beaches within Sian Ka’an, which sits around 2 hours and 20 minutes from Cancun. It’s difficult to reach these coastal areas on your own (4WD vehicle is required since the road is filled with giant potholes), so we recommend taking a tour instead. 

You can opt for a boat tour that brings you through saltwater lagoons, through stands of mangroves, up to remote beaches, and out to the coral reef for snorkeling. You may see turtles, manatees, dolphins, and a host of colorful fish. 

While it’s a couple of hours from Cancun and requires you to book a tour for the easiest entrance, you’ll be in awe of the sheer wildness and natural beauty of the marine section of Sian Ka’an.

With a tour that includes snorkeling at the reef, snorkeling equipment is included and no worries about finding the right route to this dense, remote section of coastal Mexico. If you decide to go inside the land portion of the reserve, you’ll come across ancient Mayan ruins, diverse flora and fauna, and sections with wooden walkways.

There are a few restaurants outside of the reserve, but your snorkeling or park tour will likely include a traditional Mayan lunch, snacks, and drinks to fuel you up for the adventurous day.

You’ll find some small, secluded public access beaches just outside of the park if you’re not interested in snorkeling the reef. One that’s great is located near a restaurant called El Ultimo Maya. Just be aware of the $5 (85 pesos) entry fee.  

7. Playa Maroma

A Tiki Hut on a high tide at Playa Maroma, considered as one of the best beaches in Cancun, with its blue water and docked boats seen in background


Playa Maroma (Maroma Beach) is a great stretch of beach located about an hour south of Cancun. If you’re looking for soft sand, blue water, and a spot with plenty of water sport rentals right on the beach, Playa Maroma is it!

The beach is lined with high-end all-inclusive resorts and feels exclusive. You’ll see lots of sun umbrellas and chairs out on the sand in front of these resorts, but you’re welcome to bring a towel or chair to use other sections of the beach without being a guest.

There are regular concerts on the beach and it’s a lively section with families playing and people swimming, but it’s usually far from crowded. Water sport rentals are plentiful on the beach if you’re up for jet skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and more.

While you don’t have to stay at one of the beachfront resorts to come to Playa Maroma, you may need to eat at one of the restaurants here in order to get access to the beach. It’s a public beach, but there’s no true public access without entering through a resort or waterfront restaurant. 

You can pay around 100 pesos, or $6 per person, to use the beach and have access to the showers, restrooms, and the option to rent sunbeds while you’re here.

Be aware that the Cancun seaweed season can affect this beach from February to October with peak seaweed from June to August. 

8. Akumal Beach

Late sunrise shining on palm trees at Akumal Beach, one of the best beaches in Cancun, with few boats anchored offshore

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock

Akumal Beach is one of the best beaches around Cancun (about an hour and 30 minutes away) with clean, sugary sand and lots of palm trees offering shade. It boasts a thriving sea turtle population, so if you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with turtles, this is your chance! 

Snorkeling to see the sea turtles, rays, and schools of fish is the top activity on Akumal Beach. You’ll need to swim out or go with a guide to reach the deeper water near the reef where the marine life is abundant. 

Snorkeling tours cost around 400 pesos, or $23-24, per person. Many tour operators will give you your money back if you don’t see turtles, which is very unlikely because they’re so prolific in this area. 

If you want to skip the tour aspect, you can swim out to the buoys outside of the guide-only swim zone and bring your own snorkeling mask. You can avoid the crowds and get a more immersive experience with the marine life this way (and save some money). 

While this is a public beach, there’s an access fee to enter and another fee to park. You’ll pay around 120 pesos to enter, or $7, and 100 pesos, or $6, to park (refuse the snorkeling tour guides that will approach you when you pay to park and use the operators on the beach instead). 

Entrance to the beach grants you access to the showers, restrooms, and a storage locker for your stuff. That’s really handy if you’ll be heading out to snorkel and don’t want to leave your belongings unattended on the beach! 

9. Playa Xpu-ha

A tan young woman on hear swimwear and white sun hat posing on fine sand during a bright summer day at Xpu-ha Beach, one of the best beaches in Cancun


Playa Xpu-ha, or Xpu-ha Beach, sits on the Riviera Maya around an hour and 20 minutes from Cancun, offering one of Mexico’s best beaches with serene waters, soft white sand, and plenty of more secluded sections where you’ll find fewer tourists.

The water here is clear and pleasant for a swim, snorkeling, or going out for a dive. With palm trees scattered around the beach for shade, it’s such a nice place to spend an entire day on a day trip from Cancun. 

You’ll find that Playa Xpu-ha offers a range of experiences, depending on which part of the beach you set up on. The middle of the beach is the most crowded. Restaurants and resorts line the beachfront here and draw more tourists to rent sunbeds and chairs. 

But the north and south ends of the beach are much more secluded and relaxed, making the perfect places to settle on a beach towel, read a book, enjoy a beach picnic, or let the kids play in the sand. 

Snorkeling here is good and you’re sure to see rays just a few feet from the shore. When you’re ready for lunch or drinks, a beachfront restaurant and bar has tables set up right on the sand for a convenient meal. 

The entry fee is around 50-70 pesos, or $3-4, per person and includes your parking fee and access to showers and restrooms. Umbrella and sunbed rentals cost around 400 pesos, or $24, for the day or 250 pesos ($15) for a partial day. 

10. Playa Publica Puerto Morelos

Overhead view on white sand Puerto Morelos Beach's, one of the best beaches in Cancun, anchored small boats on crystalline waters and a short boardwalk leading towards a resort

Diego Prato/Shutterstock

Playa Publica Puerto Morelos, or Puerto Morelos Public Beach, is an unexpectedly awesome spot to enjoy the beach around Cancun. Puerto Morelos sits around 40 minutes south of Cancun and offers a more private, secluded place to spend a day at the beach. 

You’ll find the same sugar-white sand and clear, blue water at Playa Publica Puerto Morelos that you’d expect to see anywhere in Cancun. The waters here are calmer, being protected by a coral reef offshore, and it’s a phenomenal spot for swimming without huge waves. 

This is a free public access beach, so you won’t need to pay anything to enter the beach or make use of the convenient amenities for beachgoers. Along the beachfront, restaurants, bars, and shops are plentiful if you want to order drinks, food, or browse a store. 

The entire beach can be walked in about an hour, making it a really nice place for a stroll (especially at sunset). With clean sand that’s largely free from rocks, wading into the water is a pleasant experience here. 

The beach is cleaned daily to remove seaweed that tends to accumulate on the shore in this part of Mexico between February and October. That’s a nice touch that makes it even more amazing to visit this beach! 

You can take advantage of the restrooms, changing area, and outdoor showers here at the entrance. Bring your own snorkeling gear to see marine life, or book a boat tour further out to snorkel along the reef. 

11. Playa Isla Blanca

Overhead view of two touring ships docked on a clear turquoise waters at a boardwalk in Costa Mujeres, one of the best beaches in Cancun

Darren Tierney/Shutterstock

Playa Isla Blanca in Costa Mujeres is roughly 20 minutes north of Cancun. It’s a short trip away if you’re looking for a beautiful beach with clear, aquamarine water that’s surrounded by palm trees and greenery.

This beach feels more unspoiled than many of Cancun’s most popular shores, adding an element of natural and rugged beauty to it. Close to Isla Mujeres via a quick ferry trip, this is one of our favorite places to spend a blissful day on the water.

Playa Isla Blanca is a great spot for snorkeling with hundreds of varieties of fish swimming just beneath the surface. You’ll find dozens of diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and tour operators situated on and near the beach if you’re up for an adventure! 

There’s a short pier near Hotel RIU Palace Costa Mujeres, a resort on the beach, with thatched huts alongside it if you’re looking for a great spot to fish. You can also fish from the shore (but no more than 1 line in the water per angler at a time). 

This is a wilder, less-developed beach (though the area is up and coming), so you won’t find restrooms, pavilions, or umbrella rentals here. Bring everything you need for the day with you and pack lunch if you’re not staying at one of the resorts here. 

Nearby, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins at El Meco or visit the Chacmuchuch Lagoon for a change of scenery and a dose of the area’s authenticity away from the beautiful beach. 

12. Playa Paraiso

Grand and luxuries hotels at the long shoreline of Playa Paraiso considered as one of the best beaches in Cancun


Playa Paraiso, or Paradise Beach, lives up to the name with its coveted location just below Tulum, the ancient Mayan city where stone ruins still stand overlooking the ocean. With sugary-soft white sand, thriving palm trees studding the shore, and vivid aquamarine waters, it’s one of the best beaches near Cancun. 

You can see the ruins looming over the beach. It’s a unique backdrop that’s worlds away from the hotel-backed beaches directly in Cancun! It’s a great option for a day trip if you’re looking for a more authentic experience that still has tons of tourist-friendly amenities. 

The beach is lined with a few casual eateries where you can walk up and grab a bite or drink while you enjoy the sunshine and waves. Tour operators and water sport equipment rentals are located right on the beach if you decide you’re ready for more than sunbathing and swimming. 

You’re close enough to Tulum to walk over to the ruins from Playa Paraiso. There are other beaches close by if you continue walking along the shore, like Playa Pescadores and Playa Las Palmas, if you’re up for a little beach-hopping. 

Snorkeling is awesome here with the coral reef offshore attracting tons of colorful fish and marine life. There are large inflatables set up on the water for kids to play on. Sun bed rentals (around $30 or 500 pesos) can take your day at the beach to another level, adding more comfort and a little shade if you plan on hanging out all day. 

Pose by the colorful block letters of the Tulum Playa Paraiso sign to have a great memento of your time at this idyllic beach! 

Parking isn’t free, so expect to pay around $15 or 250 pesos to park near the beach. With access to the wide, sandy shoreline, great views and proximity to Tulum, and places to eat and drink right here on the beach, you’ll find it’s worth paying for parking.

13. Playa Langosta

A hut at the end of a boardwalk and a ship anchored at a deep portion of Playa Langosta, pictured as a piece on the best beaches in Cancun


Playa Langosta, or Lobster Beach, is probably what you imagine when you think about an amazing Cancun beach: Gorgeous white sand, brilliant blue waters, close proximity to all the action, playground for the kids, and shallow water that’s relaxing to swim and play in. 

This beach is one of the best beaches in Cancun with its northeastern location in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Nearby Isla Mujeres protects the beach from big swells and powerful currents, so it’s perfect for swimming.

While the heart of the Cancun party is nearby at the corner of the 7-shaped Hotel Zone, things are relatively quiet and laid-back here. If nightclubs and bars are of interest, it doesn’t take long to reach popular options like Coco Bongo or Mandala! 

You’ll find that there are few food and drink options on this beach, so pack a cooler and come prepared. But the lack of dining options directly on the beach is also a selling point — it makes this beach much less crowded with fewer tourists around. 

For incredible views of the Caribbean Sea, unmatched opportunities for calm swimming and snorkeling, and a great, family-friendly beach that’s still near the nighttime action, you really can’t beat a trip to Playa Langosta. 

You’ll appreciate the free parking at this no-fee public beach. You’ll also find showers and restrooms here to use if you’re planning on spending a few hours hanging out on the pretty, white sand shores. 

14. Playa X’cacel

If you’re looking for a secluded, natural beach that takes you far away from the buzz and crowds of Cancun proper, look no further than Playa X’cacel. This hidden gem is only 20 minutes from Cancun and sits between Chemuyil and Xel-Ha. 

The unspoiled natural beauty of Playa X’cacel makes it one of our favorite spots to hang out on the beach in Cancun. The road to get here can be a bit bumpy, but you’ll be so glad you got off the beaten path to discover this paradisiacal patch of Cancun’s coast. 

Playa X’cacel boasts fine white sand and clear, refreshing waters that looks untouched by man. You’ll pay an entrance fee to access the beach and its restrooms, but note that there’s limited shade on the shore, so you’ll need to bring an umbrella and load up on sunblock. 

This is a quiet, peaceful beach where you won’t hear music blasted over speakers or deal with big crowds of tourists. Whether you’re coming with your significant other for some serenity or bringing small children along, this is an amazing spot. 

The best area for snorkeling is over to the left of the beach, where a coral reef further out shelters the water from big waves and ensures a tranquil experience. On the right side of the beach, waves are bigger and good for body surfing or boogie boarding. 

Playa X’cacel is near Tres Rios Ecopark if you’re up for a little hiking and exploring. There are cenotes close by, like Dos Ojos and Xcacelito, that you can explore if you’d like to broaden your beach day with a unique experience and swim in these freshwater caverns. 

You’ll pay an entrance fee around 100 pesos, or $6, to access the beach and gain use of its restrooms (which are a bit primitive). The beach is open from around 9AM to 5PM, so there’s no option to hang out after dark here. It’s okay because the beauty is best when you can fully appreciate it in the sunlight! 

Things to Consider When Visiting Cancun

Gorgeous and deserted beach on Isla Mujeres, one of the best beaches in Cancun


Visiting this vibrant Mexican coastal town in search of the best beaches in Cancun will definitely set you up for success. Keep the following travel tips in mind to give yourself the edge of a seasoned traveler when you go! 

  • Seaweed season is real. Between February and October, sargassum seaweed afflicts Cancun’s beaches with an unsightly, smelly mess. If you’re not expecting it, it can really ruin your Cancun beach trip! The seaweed is at its worst between June and August, but top resorts and hotels rake their beaches each morning to keep seaweed at bay. 
  • Take usual travel precautions. Cancun is largely safe for visitors, but that doesn’t mean you should travel blindly without taking precautions. Leave valuables at home, don’t put wallets or phones in your back pocket while walking, and don’t leave your personal items on the beach while you swim. If you’ll be drinking and partying, don’t over-imbibe or go out alone at night. 
  • Be realistic about day trips. Cancun is a popular launch point for so many day trips — to Mayan ruins, to other beaches nearby, to islands like Isla Mujeres — but you’ll want to make sure you allow yourself enough time to get to another destination, do some activities, and return to your hotel at a decent time. Some destinations appear close to Cancun on the map, but poor road conditions can make it take hours longer to actually reach them (like Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Overhead shot of armored guards walking one of the best beaches in Cancun


Planning on hitting up the best beaches in Cancun sometime soon? Browse other travelers’ most frequently asked questions below to learn more. 

Which part of Cancun has the best beaches?

The southern end of the Hotel Zone in Cancun has the best beaches in general, but you’ll find beautiful coastline throughout Cancun in the north, uptown, central, and southern sections, too. Calm-water Playa Delfines is one of the best beaches in Cancun and it sits in southern Cancun near the El Rey Mayan ruins.

Where is the prettiest water in Cancun?

The prettiest water in Cancun is on the north-facing beaches in the Hotel Zone, where the water is shockingly clear and the waves tend to be calmer. Since these tranquil beaches don’t face east, they see much less sargassum seaweed and enjoy clean, clear water with white sand shores.

Which beach in Cancun is swimmable?

There are tons of swimmable beaches in Cancun, but the calmest waters can be found on the north-facing beaches in the Hotel Zone: Playa Langosta, Las Perlas, Tortugas, Parasol, etc. The east-facing beaches tend to see bigger waves not suitable for beginner swimmers, but some of these beaches are sheltered from waves by coral reefs offshore.

Are the beaches better in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen?

The beaches in Playa Del Carmen are more relaxed with more of a resort vibe, while Cancun’s beaches are diverse but see bigger crowds and more development. If you prefer a laid-back visit, Playa Del Carmen beaches are better. For amenities and convenience or a more lively atmosphere, Cancun beaches are better.

Which beaches are better, Cancun or Riviera Maya?

Cancun beaches are typically better for families and people seeking a beach trip with easy access to amenities, shops, bars, and restaurants on the water. Riviera Maya beaches can also offer these benefits, but tend to be more relaxed and cater nicely to couples or people seeking a tranquil beach getaway.

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The Best Beaches in Cancun: Final Thoughts

Overhead view of a young woman on her swimwear and sunglasses floating at the shallow waters in one of the best beaches in Cancun

Andrea De la Parra/Shutterstock

Practically synonymous with idyllic Caribbean shores, Cancun isn’t just known for having great beaches — it’s home to some of the best beaches in the world.

From secluded coves with water like glass to lively coastline backed by world-class resorts and every amenity you can imagine, the best beaches in Cancun will never disappoint. 

Spend your Cancun vacation with a drink in hand, swimming and relaxing on the sand all day, or pack as many water sports and adventurous excursions into your time as possible. With a list of the best Cancun beaches to guide you, you’re sure to have the perfect trip!