Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Helen E. White
The best beaches in Cancun make this destination one of the most touristic and visited Quintana Roo. There are some that have become famous internationally, such as Playa Delfines, where the viewpoint with the famous sign is located. There is also Playa Tortugas, from where the ferries leave for Isla Mujeres.
On your trip, you will visit Playa Gaviota Azul, located practically next to a shopping center. Likewise, you will have the possibility of visiting spas with blue waters, this is the case in Playa Marlín. But not all the beaches in Cancun are the turquoise blue and white sand seen in promotional photos of the destination.
- 1 Top 13 Best Beaches in Cancun
Top 13 Best Beaches in Cancun
We have been touring the beaches of Cancun, taking pictures and interactive 360 tours to show you that, depending on their location, they have completely different characteristics.
1. Dolphin Beach
When they talk about the most famous public beaches in Cancun, you should think about Playa Delfines. Its waters are turquoise, the sand is very white and the waves are very strong, to the point that it is one of the best beaches for surfing but not for going with children.
Playa Delfines has the Blue Flag certification, and on its strip of sand, there are palapas and lounge chairs. It also has showers, an access ramp and a first aid station.
Also, in the surroundings, you will see lifeguards and street vendors offering shrimp empanadas and other local foods. Among the activities to do, there is parasailing. And if you want to combine your beach day with history, you can go to the El Rey Archaeological Zone as it is in front.
On this beach, there is a viewpoint from where the views of the Caribbean are impressive. In addition, there is the well-known Cancun sign with the turquoise sea in the background, so you can take a picture there because it is one of the main things to do in Cancun.
Address: Playa Delfines is in the South Hotel Zone, right at Kilometer 18, near the El Rey Ruins. Also, the Hotel Emporio is 3 minutes away by car and the Hotel Óleo Cancún is 5 minutes away.
2. Playa Mujeres
We located Playa Mujeres in the north of Cancun and outside the Hotel Zone. It has white sand and its sea is calm and crystal clear. In addition, access is public and it is difficult to get there from the highway due to the thick vegetation that surrounds it, which contributes to making it less crowded than others in the sector.
This is one of the beaches to visit in Cancun, and as services, you will find parking and trash cans. The strip of sand is wide, which is why it is ideal for playing volleyball or soccer. If you are interested in other types of sports, it depends on the season, here you can practice water skiing or parasailing. Or if you prefer you will have alternatives such as diving or snorkeling.
We found that the entertainment activities and restaurant options are not many, apart from those offered by the few hotels and resorts in the sector such as the Hotel Atelier or the Hotel Estudio. For golf lovers, there is an 18-hole course nearby that was designed by renowned golfer Greg Norman.
Address: This Mexican Caribbean beach is north of Cancun, on the mainland of Isla Mujeres. The Hotel Atelier Playa Mujeres is in front.
3. Chac Mool Beach
One of the best beaches for surfing in Cancun is Playa Chac Mool. It is characterized by its turquoise waters, like all those of this important destination in Quintana Roo in Mexico. Its waves range from moderate to strong, and it has the Blue Flag recognition. As for activities, it is ideal for parasailing or water skiing.
On this beach, we find free parking, bathrooms and showers. It also has palapas, lounge chairs and lifeguards. To eat and drink there are several options nearby such as the Picnic a la Playa restaurant, with specialties such as shrimp ceviche. In the same way, you will find alternatives such as LeʹNatura which, among other dishes, serves enchiladas de mole. A 5-minute walk away you will find places like Señor Frogʹs and Coco Bongo.
Another attraction of Playa Chac Mool is the turtle nesting that occurs from August to November and you will probably find it interesting to see if you visit it during that season. Unlike other beaches in Cancun, the name of this beach is of Mayan origin and is due to an ancient human sculpture that is represented reclining.
Address: Playa Chac Mool is located at Kilometer 10 of Boulevard Kukulcán, in the Central Hotel Zone, a 5-minute walk from the Sunset Royal Beach Resort.
4. Turtle Beach
If you ask any local for the best beaches in Cancun, they will undoubtedly start their list with Playa Tortugas. We were very impressed by how beautiful it is and how crystal clear its waters are. In several parts, it even looks like a natural pool, so it is ideal to go with children.
If you like sports, you can find volleyball nets and spaces for beach soccer. Another possibility is to practice snorkeling or bungee jumping from the 25-meter tower installed in the place. If you are going to want to eat, there are some food outlets like the Playa Tortugas restaurant, and if you like comfort there are lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent.
This beach is very popular and visited, which is why we count it among the tourist places in Cancun. In addition, it has a pier for the ferries that leave for Isla Mujeres.
We also recommend that you explore Playa Tortugas in its entirety since on one side there is a small inflatable water park on the water and on the other side there is a more natural and rocky sector where almost no people come.
Address: The location of Playa Tortugas is wrongly positioned on Google Maps. The reference point to locate the actual entrance to the beach is diagonal to AquaTours and there is an Oxxo at the entire entrance. The beach is located at Kilometer 6.5 of the Cancun Hotel Zone.
5. Marlin Beach
We classify Marlín as one of the most beautiful beaches in Cancun because of its turquoise sea. The strip of sand is quite wide, and you will access it by a wooden ramp. This is a beautiful beach in Quintana Roo that also has a distinctive Blue Flag.
In Playa Marlín there is free parking, although it is small and usually fills up quickly. It also has bathrooms, showers and rental service for loungers and chairs. Just before reaching the fine white sand, there is an area with wooden palapas that are used to eat, as well as a first aid station.
As for sports, here you can practice volleyball or beach soccer, and surfers come for the waves in this sector that range from moderate to strong. We also saw a place where they rent boogie boards, snorkel equipment and jet skis. And if you travel during the season that goes from August to November, you will be able to see the release of the turtles which usually takes place at night.
Address: Playa Marlin is located behind Plaza Kukulcán, at kilometer 13 of the Cancun Hotel Zone, and a 4-minute walk from the Occidental Tucancún Hotel.
6. Punta Cancun Beach
As its name indicates, Punta Cancún is located at the central tip or “corner” of the Hotel Zone, just before going down the “7”. We consider this to be one of the best beaches in Cancun for its completely crystal clear waters and various shades of blue. In addition, in the background, there are coral reefs.
In a rocky section of this coast, there is a lighthouse painted in white and red from where you can enjoy the view of the sea and take pictures. As information, we tell you that public access to this lighthouse is through Playa Caracol, which is located about a 10-minute walk away.
We had the opportunity to see Playa Punta Cancún from all angles during our visit to the Hyatt Ziva Hotel, one of the best in the destination and located right in front of it.
Among the sports activities that you can do on this beach are diving or snorkeling. Windsurfing and kayaking are also allowed, but due to the presence of corals, motorized sports such as jet skis are prohibited. Near this beach are others such as Playa Chac Mool and Playa Gaviota Azul, also known as Forum.
Address: Punta Cancún is located at Kilometer 9 of Boulevard Kukulcán.
7. Lobster Beach
If you want to go to the crowded beaches in Cancun, we recommend Playa Langosta. Its waters are crystal clear, it has a calm current and few waves. We thought it was one of the best beaches to go to with the whole family, especially with the little ones. Also, it is a public beach with free parking, toilets and showers. At Playa Langosta you can rent palapas, chairs and umbrellas. It is large and also has a pier from where boats leave for Isla Mujeres for excursions.
As a sporting activity, you will have the options of volleyball, kayaking or beach soccer. There is also a Cancun sign where you can take the best photos with the sea in the background. Nearby is an outdoor play area and gym. The name of this beach is due to the fact that they used to fish for lobsters many years ago.
Address: Playa Langosta is located at Kilometer 5 of Boulevard Kukulcán. The closest hotels are Temptation and Occidental Costa Cancun.
8. Snail Beach
We found Playa Caracol arriving at Punta Cancún, the “corner” of the Hotel Zone. It is characterized by having calm waters, and being located near the Plaza Caracol shopping center and just behind the Super Chedraui Selecto, a supermarket in the area.
This is one of the small beaches in Cancun, its strip of sand is not that wide and this does not make it very suitable for practicing sports such as soccer or beach volleyball. There you will find a rental of lounge chairs and umbrellas, among other services. As for the bathrooms, they are exclusive for those who pay for their use and consume in the premises of the place.
Among the dining options, you will find pizzas from La Pizza restaurant. And if you want something Asian, at Sushi Itto Rolls you can enjoy recipes like the roll prepared with mango, chipotle sauce, and avocado. But if you prefer, on the beach we saw street vendors that run along the coast offering fruit or fish wrapped in banana leaves and other alternatives.
Address: Playa Caracol is at Kilometer 9 of Boulevard Kukulcán, in front of Plaza Caracol and the Cancun Convention Center. Another reference is the Hotel Riu Cancún, which is a 3-minute walk from the beach.
9. Gaviota Azul Beach (Forum)
Playa Gaviota Azul has a shallow and crystalline sea that makes it one of the beaches to swim in Cancun and take the family. Its sand is white and fine. In addition, there is a lifeguard service and rental of lounge chairs and tables. However, the parking lot and bathrooms used by visitors are those of Plaza Forum, since from there you can access directly to the beach.
It is also called Playa Forum precisely because the Plaza Commercial Forum and places like Hard Rock Café are located in the surroundings.
If you are interested in water sports, this beach offers snorkeling and diving classes for beginners and equipment rental for those who have experience. You can also practice surfing, paddleboarding or kitesurfing. To eat and have fun there is the Mandala Beach Club, one of the biggest and best party venues you will find in this destination.
Address: Playa Gaviota Azul is in the nightclub area of the Hotel Zone, just behind Plaza Forum.
10. Whales Beach
Playa Ballenas is another of the beautiful beaches in Cancun. Its entrance is located on a small street between the Hard Rock Café and Dreams Sands Cancun hotels.
It has bathrooms, a lifeguard service and even a small doctor’s office. It also has parking and an access ramp for people with disabilities. However, it does not have palapas or lounge chairs. The positive thing is that there you can play soccer or volleyball because there are tights for it.
Likewise, it is possible to rent equipment for water sports such as jet skis to take you for a ride by the sea. On this beach, we did not see much food on offer except for those of the hotels that surround it, which are also for guests. However, we find street vendors offering snacks, fresh fruits and drinks.
On the other hand, the strong waves and currents of this beach do not make it the best place to go with children and perhaps for this reason you should think about taking them to other places.
We share our most complete article on parks in Cancun, in case you want to know more options for the little ones.
Address: You will find this beach on Boulevard Kukulcán, specifically at Kilometer 14. Another reference is that the JW Marriott Resort is right in front and reserves a section of the beach for its guests.
11. Pearl Beach
Playa Las Perlas is the first beach you will find when you arrive in the Hotel Zone from the center of Cancun, and although it is not ugly, it could not be said that it is very attractive either. Its waves are extremely calm, so it is appropriate to go with children and learn to swim during the trip.
Likewise, the strip of sand that it has is very narrow and the water is a bit cloudy, especially in the area of the pier that it has and from where boats leave. In fact, the day we visited this beach there was a thick string of seaweed accumulated along the shore.
Las Perlas is one of the public beaches in Cancun with free parking and other services such as showers and bathrooms. You will also find lounge chairs for rent and street vendors that walk around offering snacks and drinks. If you want family fun, there is an area to play soccer and a park for children. As it is located in a federal zone, from this coast you can walk on foot and reach Playa Linda.
Address: Playa Las Perlas is located at Kilometer 2 of Boulevard Kukulcán, in the North Hotel Zone, very close to the Hotel Imperial Las Perlas and the Holiday Inn Cancún Arenas.
12. Nizuc Beach
Of the little-known public beaches in Cancun, Nizuc is the southernmost in the entire Hotel Zone, and it is also one of the least visited. Being less touristic, this beach will be among your favorites if you want to be quiet and away from the hustle and bustle on your trip to Quintana Roo.
Playa Nizuc has crystal clear waters and few waves. In addition, it is shallow so we believe it is ideal for families. In fact, if you travel with your pet, you will love to know that they are allowed here from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. To do this, you must comply with some rules such as preventing your pet from bothering other visitors in the place or damaging the flora.
Playa Nizuc has a viewpoint and a free parking lot where there is a sculpture of Chac Mool. There is also an area with wooden palapas to eat and bins. We consider this beach a well-kept little secret.
Address: Playa Nizuc is next to the Hotel Nizuc Luxury Villas, at kilometer 25 of Boulevard Kukulcán, towards the exit to the Cancun International Airport.
13. North Beach (Isla Mujeres)
Playa Norte is considered one of the most beautiful beaches near Cancun. Although it is located on Isla Mujeres, which is half an hour by ferry from the coast, we include it on this list because it is a must for all those who travel to this destination for its attractions and activities.
The waters of Playa Norte are calm and turquoise blue. In addition, it is ideal for children because it is shallow. Access is public and you can practice diving, snorkeling or windsurfing. Likewise, there are those who prefer parasailing, flyboarding or jet skis. If you like to party, you will find clubs to enjoy, such as the Green Demon Beach Club, where you can eat and drink listening to relaxing music while enjoying the sea view.
It is also possible to stay overnight, as there are several hotels. One of them is Mia Reef, which can be reached in about 5 minutes on foot via a wooden walkway built over the water.