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

Which Beaches Are Available?

You'll find several beaches to consider in the area. Just click on individual names to get additional information about 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 for beach-goers to consider is Playa Paraiso. Playa Paraiso is located down a sandy road through a separation in tree groupings off Captain Dulce Road.

Playa Caracol: Playa Caracol's calm waters and gentle surf make for excellent snorkeling conditions, one of the many attributes that draw visitors to the beach. Others include blindingly white sand and turquoise water.

Check the following chart to read more about beaches available in the area.

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

Bear in mind that Cancun has other attractions. Use this link to read our article about other interesting attractions for Cancun.


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