The Most Beautiful Beaches in Playa del Carmen

Mamitas is a lively beach in Playa del Carmen where many music festivals take place every year
Mamitas is a lively beach in Playa del Carmen where many music festivals take place every year | © Image Professionals GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Mónica Ramírez López

From the turtle nests of peaceful Akumal to the party crowd at Mamitas Beach, Playa del Carmen has the most beautiful places to soak up the sun, have fun and relax overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea along Mexico‘s Riviera Maya. We have prepared a list of the best beaches for you to seek out on your trip.

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Playa Maroma

Natural Feature

© JAM WORLD IMAGES / Alamy Stock Photo

This beach is amazing. The sand is so white and the waters so clear that if you are watching from a distance, you can’t see the division between the sea and the sand. At 9mi (14km) from downtown, Playa Maroma is popular and has a lot of services for tourists, but it is still a quiet and spacious beach. Some of the activities offered here include horseback riding, paddling kayaks, snorkeling and even swimming with dolphins.


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© Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Xpu-Ha is one of the best beaches in the area. Just 20 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen, it has the charm of a virgin beach, with calm waves and a shallow sea. There’s only one restaurant around, but it serves good food and drinks and lets you use lounges and palapas (thatched shelters) if you order food. You can take your own food and have a picnic, do some snorkeling or rent a kayak, and stay to watch the dazzling sunset over the Yucatán peninsula – the view is magical.

Playa Mamitas

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© Johan Furusjö / Alamy Stock Photo

This is one of the most popular beaches right in town, a favorite of the younger crowd; it’s always buzzing and full of life. Access is free, and there are clean, well-maintained lounge chairs that you can use by if you order food and drinks. If you want to rent an umbrella or a lounger, or if you need to buy towels or snacks, go to Mamita’s Beach Club; it also has a spa where you can get a relaxing massage. This beach is the setting for some important events, such as the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Winter Beach, DJFest and Corona Sunsets.

Playa Akumal

Natural Feature

© Simon Dannhauer / Alamy Stock Photo

Located to the south of Playa del Carmen, this beach is considered the quietest of the Riviera Maya, so much so that turtles chose it a thousand years ago as a nesting area in which to deposit their eggs. The turtles spawn in this place during the months of April and May, and by July and August thousands of small turtles can be seen running along the beach towards the sea. Akumal, in the Mayan language, means “turtle land.” Let yourself be carried away by the gentle currents, along with turtles and rays, on one of the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.

Playa Paamul

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You can find harmony on this quiet beach to the north of Playa del Carmen. The white sands are perfect for a beach walk to admire the aquamarine waters. The services available include a pool, a restaurant, a trailer park, camping areas and a dive site – its reef, part of Mesoamerican reef system, is an excellent site for snorkeling and scuba-diving lovers. This perfect hidden paradise is a favorite with families and turtles, too.


Natural Feature

© Maritxu22 / Alamy Stock Photo

A stunning paradise away from the noise of the city, part of a protected nature area, Xcacel is an ideal place for scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s also an idyllic place for camping and fishing. You can only access it in small groups of a maximum of six people, and you will be able to swim only if you’re not using sunscreen or any other chemical product on your skin. This is another beautiful beach where turtles like to lay their eggs.

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