Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Cancun Beaches to Visit

Best Cancun beaches

Most of the best Cancún beaches are right in front of the hotels. But a few others are worth visiting on their own.

Cancún on the east coast of Mexico is home to some of the Caribbean’s most popular beaches. The hotel and resort beaches we have visited have been nice and convenient but somewhat narrow.

Most hotels face the ocean from the thin strip of land that surrounds Nichupte Lagoon. But some hotels face the lagoon and don’t have quite the same beach experience as the ocean-facing hotels.

Vacationers who want more than what their hotel beaches have to offer may want to visit some of the major public beaches. They may want to explore them on their own for amenities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.

While many of the beaches sit in front of hotels and all-inclusive resorts, a few hidden treasures are available for anyone. Here are some of the best Cancun beaches.

Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines beach
Playa Delfines beach. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Cancún’s biggest public beach, Playa Delfines, boasts miles of white sand and crystal clear waters. It is located in the southern half of the hotel zone near the Iberostar Golf Club.

This public beach is located on one of the highest points of Cancun, with steps to take swimmers down to the water level. The waves are pretty but can become strong and dangerous. The water has a strong rip current which makes swimming difficult at times.

When visiting this beach, it is worth staying around for the spectacular sunset at about six or seven in the evening. Admission to this beach is free.

Playa Tortugas

Cancun Beach Map

Spanish for “Turtle Beach,” this beach is west of Punta Cancún, Cancún’s easternmost point. The calm and shallow waters on this beach makes it a good destination for families with small children.

The beach is also home to a plethora of marine life and coral reef, creating a draw for snorkelers.

Those looking for more adventure can go diving on the Great Mayan Beach, a 450 mile stretch of coral reef off the beach’s coast.

Complete with open air restaurants and cafes, visitors to Playa Tortugas will find all the amenities they need for a happy stay. There is no admission fee to this beach.

Playa del Norte

This beach is on Isla Mujeres. The island, eight miles off of the Mexican coast, can be reached by boat at three ports around Cancún: Punta Sam, Punta Juarez, and Gran Puerto.

Visitors often come here to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. They spend time at the beach before or after their dolphin swim.

The beach, Playa del Norte, is quiet, pristine and beautiful. Playa del Norte is a strong draw for nature lovers, as it is surrounded by nice scenery.

Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving through the island’s caves, and relaxing on the white, sandy beaches. Travelers wanting to really get away from it all need look no farther than here.

Punta Bete

Punta Bete is one of the more secluded beaches in Cancún, located between Playa Morelos and Playa del Carmen.

This beach, popular with locals, is hidden away from the large scale hotels and shopping centers common to the rest of the area.

Visitors to this beach will find charming restaurants and boutique hotels, and the sense that they are far away from everything.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 14, 2023

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