Beaches in Cancun

When we talk about beaches (span. playas) in Cancun, we mainly refer to all the left strip that compounds the famous Hotel Zone or Zona Hotelera, starting from Central Cancun city (also colloquially called: La Patagonia) to the Kukulkan’s Blvd.

In general, according to the Mexican Law, everybody is allowed to walk and swim on every beach in the country, except those within military compounds.

But it is also important to know or to remark so that it´s expected, some Hotels tend to restrict some access to the beaches, although, unless you look suspicious or like a local, you’ll usually be able to cross the lobby without problems and proceed to the beach.

Let us get started and travel along the beaches next to the beautiful turquoise waters:

  • Playa Las Perlas (at Km. 2.5), this beach remains a family beach and with quiet atmosphere and calm waves, a small beach great for kids, accessed from the north side of the Holiday Inn. There is also a children playground and a free parking space.

    Next to it you will find El Embarcadero which is a very crowded point specially when tours departs.
  • Playa Langosta (at Km. 5); in the middle of the north end of “Zona Hotelera”, with the lowest waters of the whole zone.

    Part of the water is very shallow and invites you to just swim and relax. Perfect for swimming babies and in other parts making it good for snorkeling.
  • Playa Pez Volador (at Km 5.5), popular with families for its calm, shallow foreshore.

    There’s free parking (but tip the guys watching your car). Access is from the huge flagpole flying the Mexican flag.
  • Playa Tortugas (at Km 6.3) is one of the busiest beaches, with loud music, shore restaurants, deck chairs and umbrella hire and a bungee jump place (~US$60).

    Access from the ferry terminal, where there is free parking, if you can find a spot. Very crowded by locals during the weekends.
  • Playa Caracol (at Km 8.7) lies next to the Isla Mujeres ferry dock, right in front the newest groceries store Chedrahui.

    This tiny stretch of sand is probably the least inviting, but you can head left when you hit the water to get to the lovely beach ‘belonging’ to the Hotel Riu. There is no parking space area.
  • Playa Gaviota Azul (at Km 8.8) is a beautiful little curve at the end of the bay, mostly monopolized by beach clubs.

    Access is from the north side of Cocobongo’s and Plaza Fórum, where there is extremely limited free parking.
  • Playa Chac-Mool (at Km 9.5) comes with no parking options and is one of the quieter beaches. Lifeguard on duty and parasailing available.

    No food but there are stores and restaurants near the access.
  • Playa Marlin (at Km 12.5) features a long lovely stretch of sand with lifeguards on duty and deck chairs at the entrance, big water waves.

    There’s no food, but there is an Oxxo convenience store nearby on Blvd Kukulcán, north of the beach access at Kukulcán Plaza.
  • Playa Ballenas (at Km 14.2) a long, quiet stretch of beach squeezed between luxury hotels. Wave runners (~USD$45, 30 minutes), bodyboards and parasailing (~USD$60, 12 minutes) available.

    Free parking. Access from the dirt road on the south side of Golden Parnassus hotel.
  • Playa Delfines (at Km 17.5), also called El Mirador, is almost the only beach with a public car park; unfortunately, its sand is coarser and darker than the exquisite fine sand of the more northerly beaches.

    On the upside, the beach has great views, there are some nearby Mayan ruins to check out and, as the last beach along the boulevard, it is rarely crowded except on weekends.
  • Playa del niño. This beach lies outside of the hotel-zone on the opposite side of Cancun, in a part called Puerto Juarez, and it is frequently visited by the locals, especially on the evenings and the weekends.

    It has several free umbrellas and palm-trees casting shadows. The water is not as clear as in the hotel-zone and filled with marine plants. Depending of the time you might see many kids playing in the water, which starts flat and only has minor waves.

    Close by, several little less touristic restaurants sell the fresh fish from the local fishermen.

Beaches in Cancun
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