Beaches in Cancun

Cancun's beaches are well kept, and promote ocean safety

Photo credit: © Claudio Paz Torres -

Cancun, which is a 7-shaped stretch of land separated from the mainland by a series of lagoons, is practically lined with beaches from one end to the other.

All of these beaches are public, despite the appearance of being privately owned by the hotels that front them. In essence, beach-goers can start at a beach on one end of the island, and walk along the water to the other end.

Water temperatures are at their hottest during the months of August and September, but any time of year is really a good time of year to swim along the beaches of Cancun. Because the temperatures remain hot throughout regardless of season change, the waters stay warm as well.

The beaches in Northern Cancun tend to be the best places to swim, due to the calming effect the nearby island of Isla Mujeres has on the wind and water. Regardless of where you choose to swim, make sure to check out Cancun's water-safety flags each day before you venture into the water. Cancun has established colored flags on beaches and in front of hotels to warn visitors of current water conditions.

Cancun's Flag System
ColorWater ConditionsProceed...
White Excellent ...without fear
Green Normal ...without fear but with caution
Yellow Uncertain ...with extreme caution
Black or Red Unsafe the nearest pool!

Most of the beaches in Cancun do have life guards on duty during the day, especially around the resort areas. The Mexican Navy also patrols the shores on a regular basis, allowing guests to feel safe from not only the ocean, but crime as well.

Sports are especially popular on the beaches. Hotels along the coast are known to provide their guests with equipment to play with, such as water skis, kayaks, beach volleyball courts, frisbees, and snorkeling equipment. If you aren't staying at such a resort, these items can often be rented from hotels at reasonable prices; as can lounge chairs, umbrellas, and towels. Guests who choose to snorkel along the beaches tend to surface unsatisfied, as marine life is not known to stay close to the sandy shores. Rather, the best snorkeling can be done inside caves and cenotes; though snorkelers on the beaches of the southern tip can sometimes get lucky and spot a few colorful fish.

Keep in mind that although there are no official nude beaches, it is perfectly legal for women to bathe topless. It is rare, but it does happen, so keep an eye open when choosing where to lay your beach blanket if you are traveling with children and feel that this type of activity is inappropriate.

Beach Recovery

After two hurricanes struck Cancun within two years of each other (Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Hurricane Dean in 2007), the island's beaches began to erode significantly. As a result, Cancun's Beach Recovery Trust began work to restore the beaches in 2009 with a budget of $71 million. Over sixteen miles of beaches were refurbished with sand collected from underwater sand banks. Almost 180 million cubic feet of sand was used to fill in gaps caused by erosion, but as of 2010 the beaches have been restored to their original state, if not better than ever.

The Beaches

The Area's Beaches

You'll find a large number of beaches to consider in the area. Click on specific names for a detailed guide to that section of the coast.

Playa Delfines

Playa Tiburon: This beach is one of the more developed on the island, so those who want to make their beach day a full experience should head to Playa Tiburon. Along the back of the beach guests will find vendors selling everything from snacks to henna tattoos, and closer to the emerald green sea is a small stretch of white sand.

A second place that beach-goers can consider is Playa Paraiso. Playa Paraiso is located on the west coast of Cozumel. While none of the beaches on this island are ever really crowded, Playa Paraiso is especially sleepy, making it a great place to lay out a beach blanket and relax.

Playa Caracol: Playa Caracol is located in the heart of Cancun's hotel zone, which is one of the most popular spots in Cancun. The central location of Playa Caracol makes this beach a hot spot with those vacationers who want to be close to it all.

The beaches in Cancun are provided in the chart below.

Beaches In Cancun
Name Location Coast
Playa Ballenas 0.3 mi. South of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Caracol 3.0 mi. North-Northeast of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Chacmool 2.4 mi. North-Northeast of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Delfines 1.8 mi. South of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Langosta 3.6 mi. North of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Las Perlas 3.9 mi. East of Central Cancun Mexico East
Playa Linda 3.8 mi. North-Northwest of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Marlin 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Playa Mujeres 3.7 mi. West-Southwest of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres Mexico East
Playa Paraiso 0.8 mi. South of Central Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres South
Playa Pescador 0.5 mi. South-Southwest of Central Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres South West
Playa Tiburon 0.8 mi. West-Northwest of Central Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres North West
Playa Tortugas 3.0 mi. North of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East
Punta Nizuc 4.3 mi. South of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico East

If you are seeking a wider variety of attractions beyond what's offered on this page, you can cast a wider net. You can read this article about even more attractions if you'd like some more information.


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