World renown as a spring break hotspot, the Yucatan Peninsula is a prime location for anyone looking for some time at the beach. Ranging from urbanized shores in the center of Cancun to nearly empty stretches in the south, the Yucatan will not disappoint.
Since the Yucatan has such a long coast, you can expect there to be a number of natural beaches that are empty of visitors or lifeguards. While this will offer a great deal of privacy, you do take a risk when swimming in unsupervised water. The more urbanized area of the Yucatan have developed a color system similar to that of beaches in the US. It is advised that you heed the warnings.
Cancun has miles and miles of beaches. You will find hotels lined up in the Cancun Hotel Zone, one right after the other along the coast. The east side beaches are the most popular. Even during high season, the beaches are not really crowded because of the amount of beach area in Cancun. Visit our Cancun Travel Guide to start planning your next vacation to Cancun!
Known for its thrashing waters, this beach is best experienced from a comfortable chair on the sand. There are strong currents that crash on the water. You can expect a relaxed vibe and magnificent views. Playa Defines is a public beach filled with locals and food and drink vendors. The famous Cancun sigh is here, so come snap a selfie.
Puerto Morelos is thirty minutes south of Cancun, and is a quiet fishing village. When the crowds and action of the main part of town become a bit too much, head for a calmer pace in Puerto Morelos.
You’ll find groomed beaches, friendly locals and that cozy small town vibe. Travelers don’t have to worry about being run down the beach by timeshare salesmen. One of the most notable parts of this area is the closed-off piece of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef that is available for exploration for snorkelers and divers.
Playa Chac Mool
Playa Chac Mool is the perfect destination for the beach-goer who actually wants to dive into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It offers beach-side rentals for water sports equipment and activities. Calmer waters and smaller crowds are attractive to sports enthusiasts from all over the world.
Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride northeast of Cancun. The beaches here are beautiful. As soon as you get off the ferry, the beaches are a short walk away. There are hotels also located near the beaches for those wanting to stay on the island. To start planning your Isla Mujeres beach vacation, visit our Isla Mujeres Travel Guide.
Playa Norte is the most popular beach on the island and is easy to get to. Along this wide stretch of beach, you can rent water toys, kayaks and snorkeling gear, as well as lounge chairs and beach umbrellas. You can also find shade beneath palm trees. There are several palapa restaurants and bars that will bring drinks and snacks to you on the beach. Just flag down a passing waiter.
Playa Lancheros, Playa Tiburon, & Playa Indios
Playa Lancheros has the iconic pier stretching across the glassy water, with a palapa gazebo at the end. Playa Tiburon has delicious fresh grilled fish and the added perk of swimming with nurse sharks. Playa Indios has beach volleyball and several artisan souvenir shops at the entrance.
Isla Holbox is a seven mile long island. The gulf side of the island is one long beach. You will find deserted sections for complete privacy. You will also find all the major hotels located along the beach, along with some smaller hotels located inland. To start planning your Isla Holbox vacation, visit our Isla Holbox Travel Guide.
Holbox Beach stretches the entire length of Holbox Town, though the most popular section is the part that lies right in front of the Central Plaza. Here you will find beach chairs, residents and visitors, as well as a fishing pier and dock. Once you leave this area though, the beach becomes much less crowded, save for the occasional hotel.
Punta Mosquito is located on the east side of the island. It is just a short distance from the downtown area. Don’t be fooled by the name. The beach is a wonderful spot with flamingo sightings and a great sandbar.
Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is the areas largest city. The Playa del Carmen beach runs for miles and miles being most crowded along the length that borders the 5th ave. Pedestrian Walkway. The further north you go the less crowded until its just you and the beach. To start planning your beach vacation to Playa Del Carmen, visit our Playa Del Carmen Travel Guide.
This is probably the most iconic beach in Playa del Carmen. Walk down Juarez until you reach 5th Avenue, and you will see the gigantic ‘Playa del Carmen Arch’ right in front of you. This area can get pretty busy and a little noisy. However, as this beach is the widest in Playa del Carmen, it can fit all those extra beach towels and loungers, while still having nice quiet spaces to relax.
Calle 10 Beach
There isn’t really anything special about the sand or the sea in this area of Playa del Carmen, but it’s the bountiful beach clubs that make the beach here so special. Because of the abundance of beach clubs on Calle 10, the actual public parts of the beach are usually fairly empty and quiet. Calle 10 attracts both locals and tourists but maintains a very laid-back, tropical vibe throughout the day.
Whether you’re seeking gentle wave and family-friendly beaches, or hidden, romantic coves far off the less-traveled path, these are four of the best beaches in Cozumel for every type of Mexico vacation. Read our Cozumel Travel Guide to start planning your beach vacation now.
Playa Chen Rio
With a protected area for swimming and snorkeling that stays relatively shallow, Playa Chen Rio offers a fun experience for both novice as well as advanced ocean swimmers. Large rocks break up the surf, and lush vegetation around the cove make for a picturesque getaway.
For fans of soft white sand and crystal blue waters, Playa Bonita is unlike most beaches that you’ll find on the eastern coast, making it desirable for tourists and often considered one of the most romantic beaches in Cozumel. Gentle waves make it a relaxing destination for swimming and kayaking. Another highlight is a small Mayan ruin at this beach for travelers more interested in history than sunbathing.
Playa Corona is a well-known dive spot. Though it’s a small stretch of sand, many visitors come here to admire the underwater scenery. When you’ve become completely waterlogged, relax under the shade of one of the many beach huts speckling Playa Corona.
Playa Uva Sur
For a more high-end Cozumel beach experience, head to Playa Uva Sur. You can spend all afternoon lounging on plush sunbeds, or paddling around in the clear-bottomed kayaks available for rent.