The 10 Best Beaches in the Riviera Maya
Enjoy the sun, the white sand and the infinite turquoise sea in these fabulous destinations. They are so stunning you won’t believe your eyes.
1. Playa del Carmen
Its cosmopolitan and relaxed atmosphere make this one of the most popular beach destinations in the Riviera Maya and in Mexico. Although Playa’s beaches are beautiful, what really pulls in tourists is La Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian road teeming with cafés, restaurants, stores and bars. This is definitely the place to see and be seen. Spend a day lying on the beach, ride a bike or a scooter around town. If you need a bit more action, drive to Playa Car, an upscale resort just minutes away from Playa del Carmen and enjoy a day playing golf, visiting its aviary or shopping in its malls.
Playa del Carmen is an hour from Cancún along highway 307.
This small town has a laid back atmosphere and peaceful beaches surrounded by dense, bright jungles. This is also the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy striking sunsets. There are endless charming hotels in the area, as well as a unique archeological site right on the coast. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot an armadillo.
Tulum is an hour 30 mins from Cancún along highway 307.
This is a relatively new destination with small hotels and dirt roads. Mahahual’s top attractions are sport fishing, snorkeling and diving. The nearby Banco Chinchorro, the Great Mayan Reef’s largest coral atoll is a great place to explore and see sponges, turtles, dolphins, seahorses, manatees and thousands of fish. There are also many shipwrecks which have become artificial reefs and are home to many different species of fish.
Mahahual is just under two hours from Chetumal, along highways 186 and 307.
4. Isla Mujeres
This small yet beautiful island sits just off the coast of Cancún and is a wonderful place to dive, snorkel, kayak, do sport fishing, or simply enjoy the sunshine. To try windsurfing go to Playa Norte, only minutes away from the downtown. If snorkeling, riding a bike or relaxing in a hammock sound more like your idea of fun then the Arrecifes Garrafón National Park, on the island’s south side calls out to you. Although downtown Isla Mujeres is tiny, there are several world-class hotels, spas and an exciting nightlife.
Isla Mujeres is an hour ferry ride away from Cancún.
The very first spot that made the Riviera Maya a tourist mecca has as some of the best hotels in Mexico, a lively nightlife and great beaches. Head to Playa Perlas, right on Boulevard Kukulcán, if you’re in need of a wonderful place to relax, play beach volleyball and enjoy good food. Playa Tortugas has calm, shallow waters perfect for kids. For a mind-blowing experience, visit the Underwater Museum of Art (musa), and snorkel through an increidible submarine gallery filled with sculptures.
Cancún has an international airport serving locations worldwide.
6. Punta Nizuc
South of Cancún, this national park surrounded by rainforest and mangroves has one of the three most-visited coral reefs in the world. It is also home to turtles and manatees.
Punta Nizuc is 30 minutes from Cancún along highway 307.
7. Punta Maroma
This is the perfect spot to dive, snorkel, swim with dolphins, horseback ride, kayak and explore a subterranean fresh water river which empties into the sea.
Punta Maroma is 50 minutes from Cancún along highway 307.
Most of the hotels, stores, restaurants and bars are found on the west part of the island, leaving large expanses of virgin beaches and forests to explore elsewhere. The Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, which circles the south side of the island, is one of the biggest attractions for divers. For snorkeling head to Chankanaad National Park and discover its amazing subterranean lagoon.
Cozumel is an hour by ferry from Playa del Carmen.
This is an excellent spot for those looking for a calm beach. Its crystal-clear and shallow waters make it perfect for snorkeling or diving. Another attraction you shouldn’t miss is the Yunaan-Ha cenote, surrounded by forest and a raised observation footpath along the entire coast.
Find Chemuyil 2 hour 30 minutes from Cancún along highway 307.
This bay has many underwater caves and subterranean rivers with depths of up to 150 m (492 ft) where you can snorkel and dive. This is also a great spot for fishing, kayaking, or horseback riding in the jungle. If you visit between June and November you’ll see thousands of baby turtles hatching and scampering over the beach towards the sea.
Akumal is 1 hour 30 minutes from Cancún along highway 307.
More info on Mexico: here.