The Most Beautiful Beaches in Cancún, Mexico

Relax in paradise at Playa Delfines, and admire rolling waves from a sun lounger
Relax in paradise at Playa Delfines, and admire rolling waves from a sun lounger | © MaxPhotoArt / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Perri J
3 September 2021

Cancún, Mexico, has many gorgeous white-sand beaches, each attracting a unique type of visitor. Playa Delfines is a local favorite, while watersports enthusiasts head to Playa Chac Mool. To help you find your coastal paradise, here’s our guide to the top beaches in the area.

Book Culture Trip’s nine-day Yucatán Peninsula tour for an immersive experience led by a local insider – you’ll be fast-tracked to the best beaches and cenotes, and get your own private catamaran to explore the shoreline of Isla Holbox.

Playa Delfines

Natural Feature
Cancun beach Mexico, ocean, vacation, caribbean, tropical
© Jean-Bernard Nadeau / Alamy Stock Photo
Known for its rolling waves, Playa Delfines is best experienced from the comfort of a sun lounger on the sand. With no hotels or resorts taking prime spots, you can expect a relaxed vibe and magnificent views. It’s a public beach filled with locals and food and drink vendors. Want to snap a selfie in front of the large colorful Cancún sign? You’ll find it here, but first, you’ll have to stand in line behind a slew of other Instagrammers.

Puerto Morelos

Natural Feature
Beach and Pelicanos Yacht Club pier from the malecon in Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexico.
© Greg Vaughn / VWPics / Alamy Stock Photo

When the crowds of Cancún become too much, take a 35-minute drive south to reach the quiet fishing village of Puerto Morelos. It has a much calmer pace. With groomed beaches, friendly locals and a cozy small-town vibe, you’ll never have to worry about being hassled at the beach by timeshare salesmen. One of the most notable parts of this area is the Mesoamerican coral reef that is popular with snorkelers and divers.

Playa Chac Mool

Natural Feature
Playa Chac Mool Beach, Cancun, Mexico, South America
© JZajic / Alamy Stock Photo

Playa Chac Mool is perfect for beach lovers who enjoy splashing about in (and on top of) the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Here, water sports and other activities are widely available. It would be a shame to venture to the eastern coast of Mexico without exploring this paradisiacal gem.

Playa Tortugas

Natural Feature
Playa Tortugas beach, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Image shot 11/2008. Exact date unknown.
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

The crystalline waters of Playa Tortugas need no introduction. A ferry operates between here and Isla Mujeres, meaning this tiny beach can become very crowded. However, with weaker currents than some of the other spots nearby, it’s an ideal place for a relaxing swim. Drinks, food and shops are reasonably priced, so you might stay longer than you expect.

Playa Forum

Natural Feature
Cancun Forum beach Playa Gaviota Azul in Mexico at Hotel Zone.
© agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Playa Forum is vibrant, beautiful and full of life, a mix of everything you could want in a beach retreat. As it’s in the heart of the Hotel Zone, there’s no shortage of restaurants, bars and entertainment; indeed, it’s directly behind one of the hottest spots for nightlife in the region. This beach offers the best of Cancún’s signature white sands and crystal water.

For more options, discover our guide on where to stay in Cancún. Enjoy these golden beaches with your other half by booking one of the best honeymoon hotels in Cancún, or go eco-friendly in these ec0-hotels in Playa del Carmen, now bookable on Culture Trip. If you’re visiting Cancún with the kids, check into one of the top family-friendly hotels.

These recommendations were updated on September 3, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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