Cancun is an all-around beach vacation destination. From beaches that attract crowds of fun-loving tourists, to calm and quiet coves, Cancun’s got a beach for every style of traveler. Add historic landmarks like the Mayan ruins, natural wonders, and lively nightlife to the mix and you’ve got the perfect getaway. Lounge on Cancun’s best beaches by day, and enjoy the city’s dining and entertainment by night.
Is it possible to find a pristine white sand beach near Cancun where every inch isn’t covered by tourists? Head to Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village nearby, and enjoy a quiet day relaxing at a beach club, or hire a small fishing boat to snag the catch of the day.
X’Cacel Beach is rarely overcrowded. You’ll need to pay a small fee to access the beach and the adjoining freshwater cenote, so bring a bit of cash. You’ll also want to bring water, snacks and a thermos full of your favorite tropical drink, since there are few services here.
Families with small kids will love Xpu-Ha Beach, since the waters are protected by the cove shape of this stretch of land. Pay the small fee and relax on a rented lounge chair at La Playa Xpu-Ha Restaurant & Beach Club, where you can also hear live music on Sundays.
This small-town beach a few hours south of Cancun has plenty of palm trees to provide blessed shade during the day, and is famous as a wonderful spot to view migrating sea turtles. Several tiny establishments along the sand rent snorkeling equipment, as well as snacks and sundries.
Head to the southern point of Playa Maroma to find some of the most beautiful snorkeling in the world. Access to this gorgeous beach is only given to guests of the resorts lining the sand, or those who pay a ticketed price at the Maroma Adventures beach club. Don’t fear, the cost is well worth it!
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the only places in the world you can traipse along untouched white sand beaches (which are only accessible by walking through a bit of jungle) located at the same site as almost two dozen archaeological sites dating back thousands of years.
Windy conditions make Playacar, a beach in Playa Del Carmen, a hit for kite flyers or wind surfers. Just bring your own drinks and snacks, and your wallet to pay for a day pass to this gated stretch of sand.
Playa Norte Isla Mujeres
Take the ferry to Isla Mujeres for an unbelievable beach day. Though the calm waters are wonderful for floating and swimming in the protected shallows, life on the sand of this vibrant beach is more about fun in the sun and sipping cold drinks bought from one of the many vendors around.
Once an offbeat, hidden gem, the bohemian beach town of Tulum has become world famous as a hip and photogenic beach destination. You’ll find small shops and quaint restaurants rather than giant buildings lining the skyline here, but you won’t find completely secluded sand.
This stretch of dolphin-filled water is unique in Cancun because of the lack of construction or high-rises nearby. Take a bus or car here, and sink into the untouched sand. Bonus for those with kids: there’s a playground nearby.