Yucatan Peninsula Beaches

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!

Playa Delfines

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.

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Puerto Morelos

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.

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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.

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Isla Mujeres

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

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.

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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.

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Isla Holbox

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

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.

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Punta Mosquito

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.

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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.

Parque Fundadores

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.

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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.

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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.

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Playa Bonita

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.

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Playa Corona

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.

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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.

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  1. Mike

    Of all the gorgeous locations mentioned here, I’ve only been to Cancun once ! After reading this article I suddenly have an interest in Cozumel and a margarita!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Cozumel is another great beach destination in the Yucatan Peninsula! I know that once you have been to one spot, you are definitely more enticed to keep going back. I know that is how I am. Thanks for visiting Yucatan Peninsula Beaches.

  2. David

    Very good article! I have had Cancun on my list for a while! This was great information on which beaches I need to not miss! Playa Delfines and Peurto Morelos both look like great choices.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Both great choices for beaches! They are the best Cancun has to offer, and everyone likes to visit Playa Delfines for the photo opportunities there. Glad you enjoyed reading and thank you for visiting Yucatan Peninsula Beaches!

  3. Curtis Henderson

    As everyone else has said, these places look amazing! My wife and I are retired now and are looking for places to go. I am bookmarking your site. Thank you for all the great information. Your pictures are literally worth more than a thousand words.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Curtis, the pictures are definitely meant to entice 🙂 Thank you for reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Beaches!

  4. Jamie Pennington

    One of the benefits from working from home is the ability to travel. I have been all around Asia but never traveled too far south of the US. Been to Mexico but not far past the border.

    Out of all of these is there one that is more peaceful and relaxing. I know Cancun gets a lot of party goers. I would rather just sit on the beach, relax and write.

    Parque Fundadores beach looks pretty amazing but isn’t Juarez one of the most dangerous cities in the world?

    I just want to make sure my family is safe when we travel there.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, the Yucatan Peninsula is very safe. Juarez is not even close, so you are safe. I have taken my son at least 10 times, and I have been even more. Never had an issue or a complication. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

  5. Mike Chappell

    Oh my goodness ! How I would love to be sitting on one of those gorgeous beaches sipping a margarita! I like your site! Great information and beautiful pictures!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I agree! My favorite thing to do for relaxing. Enjoying the sun, my toes in the sand, margarita in hand, and listening to the waves hit the shore. Thanks for reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Beaches!

  6. Ben

    Wow, it seems like an amazing destination. I really love the pictures in your article, they look really beautiful and makes me want to be there.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You and me both Ben. I love beaches, but the Yucatan Peninsula has so much more to offer! Glad you enjoyed reading 🙂

  7. Ali

    What a great post. Mexico is one of the countries I hope to visit and this information will certainly help when making my choice. Your pictures are stunning and have made me want to go even sooner. Thank you.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Ali, that is my intention! Thanks for reading about all the wonderful Yucatan Peninsula beaches!

  8. Amar

    Omgosh these are some really picturesque views! Great article! I will certainly be considering some of these destinations for my next trip!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Amar! It truly is beautiful in Yucatan Peninsula. I don’t there is one bad beach. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

  9. Jerry Huang | Smart Affiliate Success

    WOW, simply WOW! This is beautiful. I’ve never visit Mexico before and I’ve never heard of this place called Cancun before. But guess what, it’s in my travel list now. I’ve bookmarked this site and I’ll come back when I’m planning for my trip.

    Thanks a lot for the info 🙂

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jerry! Cancun is a wonderful beach vacation destination. You will fall in love with the place. Please come back when you are ready to plan, and let me know if I can help you in any way! Thanks for visiting Yucatan Peninsula Beaches!

  10. Ernest

    Great information about Mexican Beaches. Are there any all inclusive destinations? My brother is planning on a Honeymoon in Mexico this July. I will let him know about this website. They are interested in snorkeling too. Any beach better for snorkeling, or were there are more reefs or colorful fish?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There are lots of all-inclusives.  Just click on the travel guide for each location.  You can also do a search for a particular location in the top right hand corner.  On the travel guides I list all the best hotels.  You will find snorkeling information there as well!  Thanks for visiting 🙂

  11. Daniel

    I recently moved from California to the UK, land of the grey, so reading your post really made me want to hit the beach! I didn’t realize how many different types of beaches there were in Yucatan until I read your post. You mentioned a color system for the beaches. Do you have a guide on that? I’d like to learn more. Thanks for the great information on the Yucatan beaches!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, it has to do with the flags.  Here is the breakdown:

      Green Flag: Water conditions are safe for swimming,  Yellow Flag: Use caution while swimming, Red Flag: Dangerous conditions, and  Black Flag: This is the highest warning level. Do not swim. Here in Florida (California too) we stop at the red flag.  I never go in the water on a red flag day as the waters are crazy then, more of a photo op kind of day.   Thanks for reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Beaches!

      1. Daniel

        Great information on the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula! I can kind of figure out which beaches I want to hit, and then plan accordingly! Thanks!

        1. Leahrae (Post author)

          Glad you enjoyed reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Beaches 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

  12. Tricia

    So many beautiful beaches! I don’t know if I could ever choose but having the mini reviews does help. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Tricia, for reading about the Yucatan Peninsula Beaches. Yes, there are so many beautiful choices, which means you can’t go wrong where ever you vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula!

  13. Kwacha

    Hi-thank you for such wonderful information. I didn’t know there is such beautiful holiday places near Cancun. This will be my upcoming holiday place next year. I like the way you have put your information together. I have enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed reading Kwacha. Thanks for visiting!


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